Why Is Bellingham Worth Visiting?
Before we look at all the things to do in Bellingham, let’s get to know it a bit. It’s the largest city in Whatcom County, with a population of over 80,000 people. Bellingham was originally part of the Oregon Territory, until 1872 when it became part of Washington State.
Bellingham is known for its strong sense of community and rich culture. It has a vibrant arts community and a wealth of different events throughout the year. Bellingham also sits in an area known for its natural beauty and plethora of outdoor activities. The city has over 33 miles of walking trails (including the Bellingham Boardwalk and the Boulevard Park), as well as several lakes where residents can swim, fish and boat. Many people love to visit Bellingham’s unique neighborhoods and diverse selection of restaurants.
Things to Do in Bellingham – Explore the Downtown
Bellingham is one of Washington’s most charming small cities, and its downtown area is particularly alluring. In addition to containing many of the city’s restaurants, pubs, shops and hotels, downtown Bellingham also contains some of its most popular attractions.
Tour The Whatcom Museum
The Whatcom Museum is a three-building complex where visitors can learn all about the people who have lived in the Pacific Northwest since the end of the last Ice Age. The museum features an extensive collection that includes Native American artifacts and art, as well as paintings by modern artists who were inspired by the region.
Two of the buildings – the Lightcatcher and Old City Hall – are open to the public with regular tours. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for youth, students, and the military.
Explore the Maritime Heritage Park
This beautiful waterfront park sits at the edge of downtown Bellingham and overlooks Bellingham Bay. It features a public pier, a replica 19th century sailing ship and a historic lighthouse that has been converted into a maritime museum.
Visit the Bellingham Farmers Market
The Bellingham Farmers Market is open year-round and features local produce, flowers, crafts, and more. The market is located in the heart of downtown Bellingham and is the perfect place to find gifts or souvenirs.
Outdoor Things to Do in Bellingham and Nearby
Washington is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, which means there are plenty of outdoor things to do in Bellingham, WA. The Chuckanut Drive will take you on a winding road along Fairhaven Park, Woodstock Farm, Teddy Bear Cove, and down to Larrabee State Park.
Take in the Scenic Views of Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park is one of Washington’s most popular state parks, and it’s easy to see why. The park offers stunning views of the San Juan Islands, the Olympic Mountains and Mount Baker. There are also plenty of hiking trails, a beach, and a campground.
If you want to take some beautiful photos, be sure to visit Fragrance Lake, Trees of Life, and Lost Lake Waterfalls nestled in the state park. There’s also the Cyrus Gates Overlook, which gives hikers a breathtaking view of the valley below.
Get Active on the Lakes
Lake Whatcom isn’t the only lake in Whatcom County, but it’s certainly the largest and most popular. The 3rd largest lake in Washington State, Lake Whatcom is a haven for boaters, fishermen, and recreation.
At over 22 miles long, Lake Whatcom offers plenty of space to spread out and enjoy a day on the water. The southernmost portion of the lake is part of Bellingham city limits, so there are several parks and lakeside trails in this area.
Lake Samish is a 1,000 acre lake just south of Bellingham. There are two public access areas – one on the east side at Samish Park and another on the west side at Bloedel-Donovan Park.
Explore Lake Padden Park
Lake Padden Park is a large city park that offers something for everyone. The park has hiking and biking trails, a disc golf course, a playground, picnic areas, and a swimming beach. There’s also an off-leash dog area where your furry friend can run and play. If you’re looking for a place to relax, the park also has a Japanese garden and a rose garden.
Admire the Waterfalls in Whatcom Falls Park
Whatcom Falls Park is a beautiful spot for a picnic or a hike. The park features several waterfalls, as well as a swimming hole at the base of the falls. There are also miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that wind through the forest.
Places to Visit in Bellingham – Fairhaven
If you’re looking for things to do in Bellingham away from downtown, Fairhaven is the city’s commercial and cultural epicenter. Once a thriving port, Fairhaven is now home to bookstores, bakeries, art galleries, boutiques and bistros.
The district is a popular location for tourists and locals alike because of its beautiful settings. With many restaurants with outdoor seating along the water, it feels like you are on vacation even if you are just going out for lunch or dinner. Here are some of the most popular places to eat:
- The Black Cat – American cuisine;
- The Filling Station – a BBQ place;
- Dirty Dan Harris Steakhouse – a top-notch steakhouse;
- Zane Burger – an old-school burger joint with good prices.
Fairhaven is also home to Village Books, one of America’s top-rated independent bookstores. The store has a great selection of books, gifts, and cards. They also have a café where you can grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee.
Just across the street from Village Books is Taylor’s Chocolates, a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. The chocolate shop has been in business since 1912 and is known for their hand-dipped chocolates.
Have a Nice Walk Around Fairhaven
There’s also the Old Fairhaven Parkway, a brick-lined pedestrian path that runs along the waterfront. The path is lined with trees and flowers, and there are several benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.
At the end of the Old Fairhaven Parkway is Marine Park, a small park with a beautiful view of Bellingham Bay. The park is also a great place to watch the sunset. This is just a taste of what Fairhaven has to offer. Be sure to explore all the nooks and crannies of this vibrant district the next time you’re in Bellingham.
Western Washington University and Its Neighborhood
Western Washington University is located in the south part of Bellingham. The campus is situated on a bluff overlooking Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. The surrounding neighborhood is a great place to explore, with its coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques. The area is also home to Sehome Hill Arboretum and Wade King Student Recreation Center.
Discover Everything Bellingham Has to Offer!
Bellingham is a great place to live, work, and play. With so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored in this city. From the beautiful parks and lakes to the vibrant downtown district, there’s something for everyone in Bellingham. So what are you waiting for? Discover all the things to do in Bellingham!
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