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Bellingham (Washington)

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Bellingham[17] is a city in the North Cascades region of Washington State.


Nightfall over Bellingham Bay.

The City of Bellingham (aka the City of Subdued Excitement) formed in 1903 when the cities of New Whatcom and Fairhaven consolidated from what were once four separate settlements (Fairhaven, Whatcom, Sehome, and Bellingham). The local economy got its start in resource extraction, notably coal and timber. The Georgia-Pacific mill on the waterfront, whose site is now being redeveloped [18] into a dynamic mixed-use neighborhood, sustained the local economy for many years. Recently employment has diversified from heavy industry to education, services, tourism, and retail. Bellingham is the seat of Whatcom County.

Situated on Bellingham Bay, you can venture from downtown and in minutes be in rural farmland, the North Cascades or out on the salt waters around the San Juan Islands. Bellingham is situated about 80 miles North of Seattle and 55 miles South of Vancouver, BC. Environmentally friendly practices such as recycling are part of the culture here. Bellingham is known for being a town that cares for its environment and its residents enjoy the many outdoor activities the region supports.

Outdoor adventure[19] has become a big part of the reasons why people live and visit here. From skiing at nearby Mt. Baker to whale watching near the San Juan Islands, the region offers many attractions. While the community is growing, it still retains much of its authentic self and commitment to its laid back, progressive style.

Downtown [20] thrives with a variety of locally owned businesses, fine dining and nightlife options. It is also the cultural core of the city, with an eclectic mix of museums and performance venues all within blocks of each other. The historic Mt. Baker Theatre[21] hosts a variety of live performances year-round. The nearby Whatcom Museum of History & Art[22] showcases exhibitions of contemporary art and regional history in four buildings.

Down on Bay Street is the American Museum of Radio and Electricity[23]. It links the scientific exploration of the phenomenon called “electricity” with the development of radio into its Golden Age. Compelling, interactive exhibits spanning three centuries feature a world-class collection of unique electrical objects and radios. Next door, Pickford Film Center [24] is dedicated to showing the best in independent, foreign and documentary film 365 days a year. Fiercely independent, downright neighborly, Pickford Film Center serves as a community living room where everyone is invited. Around the corner is the Limelight Cinema - the Pickford's other screen housed in a slightly more intimate theatre.

Nearby on Commercial Street is the Bellingham Railway Museum[25]. This facility traces the history of the railway in Bellingham through a variety of hands-on exhibits and simulators. The Museum's Lionel and tinplate exhibit features a collection of pre- and post-war Lionel, Marx and Ives toy trains and the accessories that went with them.

Western Washington University [26] attracts students from across the region to Bellingham. This keeps the city relatively young and vibrant, and contributes to an unusually rich local cultural scene. WWU is also home to one of the largest & finest collections of outdoor sculpture[27] on the West Coast, featuring works of internationally renowned artists including Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi, Beverly Pepper and Anthony Caro.

Fairhaven [28]is noted for its colorful, 19th century history. With hopes of being the next Chicago, Fairhaven bustled with hotels, taverns, an opera house, concert garden, restaurants and brothels. The boom, driven initially by demand for lumber, coal and fish, was further fueled by the rumor that Fairhaven was to become the western terminus of the second northern transcontinental railroad.

Today, several red brick relics of Fairhaven's era survive in the federally designated historic district's six square-blocks. They (and other structures) are now home to a variety of unique local restaurants, pubs, art galleries, antique shops, bookstores, boutique hotel plus an inn and spa. The district has blossomed into a major destination and residential community.

As coffee is a way of life in the Northwest, the region certainly has its share of local espresso stands. Whatcom County holds the record for the most drive-up espresso stands per-capita in Washington (state). More than 50 stands dot the landscape, with such lively names as "Brewed Awakening", "I Wana Moka", "Jitters Cafe", "Shot in the Dark" and "Well Latte Dah".

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, [29] is the central resource for community information. 800-487-2032 toll free in US and Canada, 360-671-3990. They have an info center at Interstate 5, Exit 253 City Center. Open daily 8:30AM-5:30PM

Get in[edit]

Visit the Tourism Bureau's transportation page [30] for more information on accessing Bellingham and travel within the region.

By plane[edit]

Bellingham International Airport (IATA: BLI) [31] is the area's regional airport serving Whatcom County, San Juan Islands, North Cascades, Whidbey Island and the entire Skagit Valley in northwestern Washington. The airport is located 6.5 mi (11 km) north of downtown, just west of I-5 and is accessed from Exit #258 (Airport Dr). Major airlines serving Bellingham are:

  • Alaska Airlines/Horizon [32]: (Honolulu, Las Vegas, Maui, Portland, Seattle-Tacoma). Commuter flights, at discounted rates, just to Seattle costs just as much as it would be to southern California. These same flights are included for free or at a deeper discount as part of a through ticket to to/from another destination and only allows the traveler to stay in Seattle from 1.5hr to 6hrs, long enough to transfer planes. Most people take a bus (see below) or drive to get to/from Seattle.
  • Allegiant [33]: (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, Oakland, San Diego, Palm Springs, Phoenix/Mesa, Honolulu) They don't offer flights to/from Seattle and Vancouver. This is the alternative airport they fly to for this area.
  • Frontier [34]: (Denver)
  • Northwest Sky Ferry [35] (nearby San Juan Islands)
  • San Juan Airlines [36]: (nearby San Juan Islands)

To travel from the airport to downtown:

  • A taxi from the airport will cost around $10+ 15% tip. Click here for a list of other shuttle & bus companies at the airport.
  • There is no direct service to/from the airport by the local WTA buses. Nearest bus stops are located 0.8mi/1.3km south of the terminal at Airport Way & Airport Dr. Whatcom Transit Rt#50 bus [37], passes by east/west along Airport Dr and costs $1.00 per boarding Takes 25 minutes to travel from the airport to downtown. Take the eastbound bus (towards the freeway) to get to downtown.
  • Bellair Airporter [38] operates regularly scheduled buses to Sea-Tac Airport down in Seattle via Burlington, Mt Vernon, Stanwood, & Marysville and north to Ferndale, Birch Bay, Blaine, & Lynden from the airport. Passengers transfer buses in Burlington to get to Anacortes and the San Juan ferry terminal on another route.
  • Quick Shuttle [39] operates regularly scheduled buses to Sea-Tac Airport down in Seattle via Tulalup, & downtown Seattle to the south and up to downtown Vancouver, BC and the Vancouver Airport (YVR) up north.

By train[edit]

By car[edit]

Access to Bellingham is primarily from the seven exits off Interstate 5, although travelers using the Lynden/Aldergrove border crossing will arrive via State Route 539, a.k.a Guide Meridian. Fairhaven is served by Exit 250, and downtown is served by Exit 253 Lakeway Drive.

A scenic alternative when coming from the south is Chuckanut Drive [41] (State Route 11), a winding road that follows the side of Chuckanut Mountain along the water overlooking the San Juan Islands. Turn off I-5 at Exit 231 and expect to take an extra twenty minutes to reach downtown. This route is also popular with cyclists (warning: narrow shoulders) and has been used frequently for national car commercials.

Another rural alternative in the eastern part of the county is State Route 9, which parallels Interstate 5 and can be accessed south of Whatcom County via Skagit County. This route carves through a valley east of Stewart Mountain and the Mt. baker foothills. On a two lane highway, you pass through small towns and by various farms, follow the south fork of the Nooksack River, and end up at the border community of Sumas on the U.S. and Canadian border. Be sure to stop in at Everybody's Store in Van Zandt for unique provisions and treats. To connect back to Bellingham, visitors should go west on Highway 542 when it intersects with Highway 9.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound buses [42] arrive at the Fairhaven Transportation Center at the south end of town.
  • Quick Shuttle buses [43] provides services from Vancouver and Seattle to the Bellingham Airport. From the Bellingham airport call the WTA in advance to book Bus #50 to take you into town or take a taxi from the airport.
  • Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) [44] buses provide service to the Bellingham bus station, which in turn provides service to most of the city as well as a number of towns in Whatcom County. Some buses travel as far north as Blaine (near the Canadian border) and as far south as Mount Vernon (in Skagit County).
  • Airporter Shuttle/Bellair Charters [45] provides scheduled coach transportation from NW Washington to and from Sea/Tac Airport with connections to the Anacortes Ferry, Bellingham Airport, Mt. Vernon, Marysville and other points. Charter service available.

By boat[edit]

Alaska State Ferry [46] offers weekly sailings between Fairhaven and Alaska for passengers and vehicles .

Get around[edit]

You can get around on foot within the Fairhaven district, downtown, and the University, but transportation between these areas is best by bicycle, car, or bus.

Parking is 75¢ per hour downtown, and notably more expensive at the University. On-street parking is available at most hours, except in resident parking areas, and there are some free lots. Downtown Bellingham, though small, is something of a maze, with many odd angles and one-way streets. It may be helpful to have a detailed map handy when navigating this area. Free maps are available at the Visitor Center just off I-5 at exit 253.

Because traffic is relatively light and parking is relatively easy, most locals get around by car. Many students, some ecologically-minded souls, and other people walk, ride a bicycle, or use the local buses operated by WTA [47]. There is a network of bike and pedestrian paths, with a map available online [48]. Riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk in a business district is prohibited. Local taxi company Designated Taxi [49] caters to Bellingham's lifestyle by providing bike racks on all of their hybrid, smoke free, cabs. 360-201-0700

Some Whatcom County roads outside of Bellingham are referred to by locals with a preceding the. Guide Meridian is "The Guide," and so on.

  • Pacific Sea Taxi, 1 Bellwether Way, +1-(360) 393-7123 (), [1]. Provides water taxi service between Bellingham and the San Juan Islands on a 30', 12-passenger motor boat. Price depends on number of people in boat, and distance of destination. Departs from the marina on Bellwether Way, to the north of downtown. $20-110/person; $28-50/person for 3-person group.  edit

Powered wheelchairs can give some visitors better mobility, but are difficult to transport on airliners. They can be rented from some stores, and a few are available for a donation from the local Lion's Club charity.

  • Lion's Club Mobility Equipment Warehouse, 4141 Maplewood Ave, +1-360-752-5526. Mon, Th 9AM-11:30AM. An assortment of powered wheelchairs are available to visitors and residents alike. Also scooters, walkers, unpowered wheelchairs, commodes, crutches, and more. Donations accepted at the warehouse or by mail to Bellingham Central Lions, P.O. Box 602, Bellingham, WA 98227. Free, donations accepted, $100 deposit.  edit

See[edit][add listing]

The historic Fairhaven District [50] at the south end of the city is probably the most tourist-oriented area, with a number of nice shops and restaurants. Many of the buildings in Fairhaven date back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Beautiful historic homes overlook the bay from the South Hill neighborhood, just north of Fairhaven.

Western Washington University, [51] on the flank of Sehome Hill boasts an outdoor sculpture garden and adjoins the Sehome Hill Arboretum, with a number of trails and a lookout tower at the top.

Downtown [52]lies to the north of the University. Although less touristy than Fairhaven, it is still vibrant during regular business hours, and caters to college revellers at night.

  • Pickford Film Center 1318 Bay Street, +1 360 738-0735 [53] is a vital, mission-driven organization dedicated to its community, PFC offers an authentic, rich and uniquely Bellingham “experience” in a casual and friendly environment. Through year-round, independent, foreign and documentary film and related special events, PFC programming brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate the joy of the moving image.
  • Limelight Cinema 1416 Cornwall Avenue, +1 360 738-0735 [54] is the Pickford's little sister cinema, providing one-screen theatre fiercely dedicated to screening the best indie, documentary and foreign films.
  • SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention 1312 Bay Street, +1 360 738-3886 [55] houses a collection of over 1,000 vintage radios and offers visitors the chance to listen to old radio programs from the 1930's as well as a glimpe into a replica of the Titanic's radio room. A great destination for the entire family.
  • The Mount Baker Theatre 104 N. Commercial St., +1 360 734-6080, [56] built in 1927, is listed on the register of National Historic Places; its Moorish style architecture is a vibrant setting for Broadway shows, family programs, and rock acts.
  • The Whatcom Museum of History and Art, 121 Prospect Street, +1-360 676-6981, [57]. open Tue.-Sun. 10AM-5PM. Admission Free. Housed in the 1892 Old City Hall Building, a major red-brick presence in downtown, this museum has fixed collections of artwork and local history artifacts, plus some visiting exhibitions. The museum is also in three other buildings, which are also on Prospect Street between Central Avenue and Champion Street. The other buildings are: Syre Education Center, 201 Prospect Street, Photo archive open Wed.-Fri. 1PM-4:45PM, other parts open by appointment, admission free; ARCO Exhibits Building, 206 Prospect Street, Tue.-Sun. 12PM-5PM, admission free.
    • Building Tradition: Contemporary Northwest Art from Tacoma Art Museum, an exhibition of contemporary art from Northwest artists, collected by the Tacoma Art Museum in the last 70 years [58]. From Nov 19 2006 – April 29 2007, in the ARCO Exhibits Gallery.
  • Whatcom Children's Museum, 227 Prospect Street, Tue., Wed., and Sun. 12PM-5PM, Thur.-Sat. 10AM-5PM, admission $3.50/person.
    • By the Bay: Working on the Waterfront Allows children to discover what it’s like to work on the waterfront in a hands-on exhibit that encourages exploration and discovery.
  • Up Front Theatre, 1200 Bay St., ''+1-360'' 733-8855 (), [2]. Th-Sa 19:30h and 21:30h. Founded by local improv comic Ryan Stiles, this theatre offers a mixture of improvisational comedy shows by local and touring performers. See the web site for details on the current shows. Generally, the earlier show is more kid-friendly. The Up Front also offers classes in improv comedy. $10 ($8 with student ID).  edit

Lake Whatcom lies to the East of the City, a 9.2-mile long lake that also serves as a drinking water reservoir for about 88,000 local residents. Bloedel-Donovan park offers a swimming area, and the North Lake Whatcom trail offers a good view of the less-developed half of the lake.

Whatcom Falls Park is a beautiful park at the center of the city with a depression-era sandstone bridge overlooking Whatcom Falls, a cascade of water that drops 20 feet directly towards the city, down to Whatcom Creek. Numerous paths connect to the city's system of bicycle and pedestrian trails. Part of this park was the site of a massive pipeline explosion in 1999. 1401 Electric Ave. Open daily from dawn to dusk.

Lake Padden, 4882 Samish Way (A couple miles southeast of town), 676-6985. 6AM-10PM daily. Motor boats are banned on this smaller lake, so it is ideal for relaxed kayaking, rowing, or swimming. The lake can be circled on shady paths in an hour or so of easy walking. Lake Padden also offers the best off leash dog park in the county with two acres of completely fenced area for dogs to run and socialize. In 2018, highly invasive New Zealand Mud Snails were found at lake Padden, so additional cleaning efforts will be required for any boating related endeavors.

  • Eldridge Ave Historical District[59]
  • Hannigan Speedway[60]
  • Lairmont Manor[61], 405 Fieldstone Road, a 1913 mansion built by Charles Xavier Larabee, a founder of Fairhaven
  • Maritime Heritage Center, 2014 C St, +1-(360) 676-6806
  • Roeder Home[62], 2600 Sunset Dr, Bellingham, +1-(360) 733-6897
  • iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Avenue, [3]. Voted Bellingham’s Best Performance Theater by readers of the Cascadia Weekly the last two years running, iDiOM Theater produces more world premieres per season than any other theater in the United States. iDiOM is an independent, non-profit regional theater, and almost all its productions are written and produced locally.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St. (Downtown Bellingham, the heart of the Bellingham Arts District), Movie Line: 360.738.0735, Office Machine: 360.647.1300, [4]. Open 30 Minutes before the first published showtime. A vital, mission-driven organization dedicated to its community, PFC offers an authentic, rich and uniquely Bellingham “experience” in a casual and friendly environment. PFC programming brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate the joy of the moving image. PFC was founded in 1998 by a small group of local film fans dedicated to making high-quality cinema available in Bellingham and the entire Whatcom County region. The mission of PFC is to provide a forum and resource for independent cinema, strengthening community through education, dialogue and the celebration of film. PFC offers year-round, independent, foreign and documentary film and related special events. Members $7.25 // Tues – Sun General Admission $10.50 // Mondays and Bargain shows $8.50 // Children under 12 and Students with valid ID $8.00.  edit

  • April Brews Day, [5]. Bellingham's biggest party. On the last Saturday in April every year, this benefit event brings in local brewers (and some not-so-local) for a 5-hour-long beer tasting bash. Nearly two dozen brewers compete for judges' and people's choice awards. Proceeds go to the local Max Higbee Center, which provides recreational opportunities for the developmentally disabled.  edit
  • Farmers' Market, [63]. Located downtown at the corner of Railroad and Chestnut. Saturdays from April through October, 10AM-3PM. Pick up local fruits, vegetables, and meats (many organics) for a barbeque. Try any of the prepared food stalls for a quick and easy lunch. Though still called a farmers' market, there are several craft and souvenir tables as well.
  • Ski to Sea, [64]. A historical race held in Bellingham. The race has been held annually since 1973. It consists of a seven man team that travels 85 miles from Mount Baker to Bellingham Bay, each individual does a different event. The events start with cross-country skiing, then it goes to downhill skiing, running, bicycling, canoeing, mountain biking and sea kayaking. The actual Ski to Sea takes place on Memorial Day weekend on Sunday May 27th. There are many other fun family activities leading up to the race also on Memorial Day weekend, such as parades, art shows, and boat shows. The weekend prior to the main race on May 20th, is the Junior Ski to Sea Race. This is a wonderful activity for all the kids.
  • Chalk Art Festival. An August weekend festival in which people of all ages and skill levels are let loose to draw on the sidewalks of Downtown. Drawings are judged in varoius catagories. It is amazing to walk through downtown in the weeks following and watch the chalk slowly wear away.
  • Mt. Baker Blues Festival Voted best blues event in the state, featuring three days of national and international blues and R&B acts. Baker Blues Festival [65]
  • Deming Log Show Watch loggers perform daredevil maneuvers and feats of strength, and check out the equipment and truck displays. Deming Logging show [66]
  • Scandinavian Fair.
  • Doctober Film Festival.
  • Scottish Highland Games.
  • Whale Watching Island Mariner Cruises [67]
  • Rosy Custom Cruises offers a personalized and private way to experience some of the area's lesser known islands Rosy Custom Cruises [68]
  • Bellingham Sailing [69]
  • Gato Verde Adventure Sailing Sailing on the first plug in diesel electric hybrid charter boat on the West Coast [
  • Kayaking Elakah Expeditions - sea kayak tours. Day trips in Bellingham and multi-day trips in the San Juan Islands. [70]
  • Vartanyan Estate Winery, 1628 Huntley Rd (I-5, exit 255, Mt Baker HWY-3 miles,left on Noon Rd-less than 1 mile, left on Huntley Rd.), 360-756-6770, 360-393-7633, [6]. Just 5 minutes from exit 255 I-5 there is a boutique Winery with its excellent wines to enjoy. Small, women owned and operated winery by Margarita Vartanyan produces some of the finest limited edition wines. Share the beauty and the bounty of magnificent Mount Baker view from Tasting Room/Gallery or outside patio with the fireplace. Sample wonderful wines and check the art of local artists!  edit
  • Whatcom Wine Tours, 360-224-7034, [7]. Whatcom Wine Tours, a locally owned company, provides wine tasting tours to Whatcom County’s boutique wineries. Whatcom Wine Tours offers tours on Saturdays and Sundays. Tours range in price from $55-$65 per person depending on the pickup location. Each tour includes guest pickup and drop off at a home or hotel, lunch, and a souvenir wine glass. Tours begin between 11-11:30AM, and guests are returned to their home or hotel between 4:30 and 5PM Group tours are available. Each tour includes a visit to three wineries. Saturday tours include Dakota Creek Winery, Great Lake Missoula Winery, and when it opens, Dynasty Cellars. Until Dynasty Cellars opens, the Saturday tour will include Samson Estates, or Vartanyan Estate Winery. Sunday tours include Mount Baker Vineyards, Samson Estates and Vartanyan Estate Winery. There are currently nine boutique wineries in Whatcom County, also known as the Whatcom Wine Trail. $55-$65 per person.  edit


  • Western Washington University [71]
  • Whatcom Community College [72]


Major employers in Whatcom county represent about 25% of the total jobs in the county. Yet the city encourages small business development and small businesses make up a large percentage of our employment. Top ten employers in the county are:

    • Alcoa Intalco Works
    • Bellingham School District
    • Bellis Fair Mall
    • BP/Cherry Point Refinery
    • Brown & Cole, Inc.
    • Georgia-Pacific Corporation
    • Haggen Foods
    • ConocoPhillips Company
    • Manpower
    • St. Joseph Hospital
    • Western Washington University

Buy[edit][add listing]

A major retail center is the Guide-Meridian Street, off I-5 in the North end of town. This includes Bellis Fair Mall and a variety of strip malls and major retail outlets.

For those in search of something authentic, downtown Bellingham and the historic district of Fairhaven offer a number of small one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, bakeries and unique services. In Fairhaven don't miss Village Books, 1200 11th St. [73], Bellingham's largest independent bookstore.

Nearby communities like Lynden and Ferndale are smaller, but have some interesting retail and dining options. Throughout the region there are seasonal produce stands and orchards that offer locally grown items.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • The Colophon Cafe, 1208 11th Street, +1-360 647-0092. M-Sa, 9AM-10PM. [74]. Serves soups, salads, sandwiched, and others. Located in wonderful, historic Fairhaven. Also has great desserts!
  • Diego's Mexican Grill, 300 N. Samish Way, +1-360 714-9426. Winter hours: M-Sa, 11AM-9PM, Sunday 11:30AM-8PM. Summer hours: M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-9PM. [75]. Popular eating spot for university students, excellent salsa, free wi-fi!
  • Dos Padres, 1111 Harris Ave. , +1-360 733-9900. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Bar until midnight daily. Standard Mexican food such as fajitas, burritos, and so on. The restaurant side is comfortable and relaxed. Note the separate bar entrance to the right if you are mainly interested in the margaritas. The building was extensivly damaged by fire but re-opened Nov '07.
  • Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro, 1107 Railroad Ave., +1-360 647-5593. Opens 11AM daily. Fax +1-360 671-5897. [76] This brewery, bar, and restaurant is a good place for a drink or food. Minors are welcome in the restaurant. Seafood, steaks, and Mexican food on the menu from $8-$25. Try the beer sampler with a friend to get an idea of all the brews they produce.
  • La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza, 200 E. Chestnut at Railroad Ave. in downtown, +1-360 647-0060. [77] Mo-Th 11AM-9:30PM, Fr-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 12PM-9:30PM. Excellent pizza in loud, friendly environment.
  • Mallard Ice Cream 1323 Railroad Ave., +1-360 734-3884. M-W 8:30AM-10PM, Th-F 8:30AM-11PM, Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. [78] Located in downtown. Serves a wide variety of ice cream and other deserts. Favorite of locals, and the servers are very friendly.
  • For a great view, and great food, try Nimbus at the top of the Bellingham Towers (even though there's only one). Go in and take the elevator to the top. 119 N Commercial St. +1-360 676-1307. After 10PM, have the truffle fries, they're addictive.
  • Rhododendron Cafe, 5521 Chuckanut Dr., Tel +1-360 766-6667. [79] located South of Chuckanut Mountain in the country town of Bow, features exquisitely prepared combinations of Northwest and ethnic food in a casual setting. Drive down Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11), 25 minutes from Fairhaven, for a visual treat. Open for Lunch & Dinner, W-Su, 11:30AM- 9PM; Sa-Su brunch 9AM. Closed M-Tu. Reservations for parties of 5 or more only. Entrees $9-20; complete meals with wine and tax $30-$40 per person.
  • The Horseshoe Cafe, 113 E. Holly St., tel +1 360 734-0380. [80] located on Holly Street since 1886, is an old-fashioned diner with breakfast most of the day and burgers for lunch and dinner, enough modern sensibility to offer free wireless internet access, and waitstaff that call you "honey" and/or sport the latest piercings. Reasonably priced.
  • The Pacific Cafe, 100 N. Commercial St., tel +1 360 647-0800. [81] in the Mount Baker Theatre building, was one of Bellingham's top gastronomic experiences. It offered fresh food skilfully prepared, with Asian and Northwest accents. The Pacific Cafe is currently closed and will re-open in Fall 2008.
  • Tony's Coffee is awesome. 12th Street in Fairhaven District.
  • Taco Lobo is a great place to get fresh, inexpensive Mexican food and many kinds of homemade salsa. It's the best Mexican in town. Downtown at 117 W Magnolia St
  • Skylarks Hidden Cafe, 1308 11th Street, tel +1 360 715-3642. in the historic Fairhaven district serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has a late night menu. Courtyard dining next to the fire is a nice option on cool Spring evenings.
  • The Swan Café & Deli, 1220 N. Forest and 315 Westerly Rd, +1 360 734 8158, [8]. 7:00-21:00h. Located in the Community Food Co-op [9] The Swan Cafe offers a variety of healthy organic food with numerous vegetarian dishes and an in-house bakery with options for those with allergies or other dietary restrictions.  edit
  • Mount Bakery, 308C West Champion, +1-360-715-2195, [10]. M-F 08:30 - 16:30h. A crêperie crossed with a café. Eggs Benedict breakfast $10.55 (served all day), Crepes with soup, salad, or potatoes $8.95, quiche, salads. Family owned and operated by Olivier Vrambout. Their "slow food" approach allows gastronomic pleasure and fun with the waiters, but means a lunch can take two hours. 15% off any one item when you arrive by bike. Cash or checks only, no credit cards. $10-$20.  edit
  • Rudy's Pizzeria, 1230 N. State, +1 360 647-7547. M-Th 11:00 - 23:00h, Fri 11:00-24:00h, Sat 12:00-24:00h, Sunday 16:00-22:00h, free delivery starting at 17:00h (12:00h Saturdays). Located in a converted bar with hardwood floors, giving it an ambience somewhere between beer hall and coffee house. A wide range of toppings, from "Avocado" to "Zucchini", plus Taco, Greek, and White pizzas. Friendly, low-key service. Great for groups with appetites. large pizza $12-18, salad $3, drinks $1.  edit
  • Old Town Café, 316 W Holly St (between Champion and Bay streets), +1-(360) 671-4431. M-Sa 7AM - 3PM, Su 8AM - 2AM. One of the local hot-spots for weekend breakfasts, they offer a diner menu. A rich assortment of pancakes, omelettes, and home fries for breakfast. Sandwiches and grilled items for lunch. Plenty of vegetarian, organic, and locally-sourced options. They don't take reservations, so sign your name on the wait list and sit on the bench (or at the kids play area) until your turn comes up. breakfast $10-15.  edit
  • The Bagelry, 1319 Railroad (Between Holly and Magnolia), +1-(360) 676-5288 (, fax: +1-(360) 676-9703), [11]. M-F 6:30AM–5PM; Sat 7:30AM–4PM; Su 8AM–3PM. 13 kinds of bagels, baked fresh on the premises. 12 cream cheese spreads. Bagel-based sandwiches and omelettes for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Plenty of tables for eating with friends, rapid service for take-out. A twenty-year history in the community. The Bagelry is a great place for a bagel. Bagels $0.85, sandwiches $4.35-$6.05, omelettes $4.85-$6.45.  edit
  • Pad Thai, 4285 Meridian St #101 (North of Bellis Fair, in shopping center with CostCo, on Meridian side of parking lot), +1 (360) 752-2422 (, fax: +1 (360) 752-2423), [12]. Sun–Thu 11AM-9:30PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10PM, closed some holidays. Don't be unnerved by the curious presence of sushi in a Thai restaurant. The tasty menu has some interesting touches, such as the option of dishes made with Splenda instead of oil, and a range of vegan and vegetarian items. The large dining room includes a cocktail bar and sushi bar. Rises above the uninspiring standards of Bellis Fair-Guide Meridian area restaurants. $10-15/person. (48.796765,-122.487012) edit
  • The Daisy Café, 114 W. Magnolia St., #102 (at Cornwall Street), +1-360-733-8996, [13]. Mon–Fri 7:30AM–2:30PM, Sat–Sun 7:30AM–2PM. Breakfasts (pancakes, omelettes, and the like) and lunches (burgers, pizzas, and the like) in a bright, friendly environment. $7-$11. (48.751202,-122.477281) edit
  • San Juan Cruises, 355 Harris Avenue #104 (Fairhaven District / Bellingham Cruise Terminal), 360-738-8099, [14]. Chuckanut Cracked Crab dinner cruises, wine and beer tasting cruises, and a full-day San Juan Adventure tour that includes whale watching, lunch and a 2-hour stop in Friday Harbor. $25 - $99 / adult.  edit
  • Rocket Donuts, 306 W. holly St 98225, (360)671611, [15]. Mon-Sat 6:30 AM-9:00PM SUN 7:30AM-5:00PM. Sci-fi theme, great donuts, organic + fair trade coffee $.89- $2.29.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Schnauzer Crossing, 4421 Lakeway Dr. , +1 800 562-2808, +1-360 734-2808, +1-360 733-0055, (Email, fax: +1-360 734-2808), [82]. Check in daily 4PM-6PM or by arrangement, check out 11AM. Enjoy lake views from the veranda as you eat a truly amazing breakfast cooked fresh with local ingredients. This small B and B has one double room, one suite, one detached cottage, and an outdoor hot tub jacuzzi. The owners have taken great care in furnishing the rooms in this long established inn. As the name implies, be prepared to be greeted by a schnauzer or two on arrival. The dogs are trained and very well behaved around guests. $140-$225 ($30 extra for a third guest in rooms).
  • Hotel Bellwether One Bellwether Way., +1-360-392-100 Toll Free: 1+877-411-1200 [83]. High-end lodging on the waterfront with walking access to fine dining, specialty shops.
  • The Chrysalis Inn and Spa 804 10th Street., +1 360 756-1005, [84]. A waterfront boutique hotel with day spa facilities and wine bar within walking distance to the Fairhaven Historic district. With oversized jetted tubs in each room and one of the most complete spa menus in the Northwest this is the place to go for a pampered stay.
  • Fairhaven Village Inn, 1200 10th St., (360) 733-1311, [16]. Charming, unique Inn four blocks from the ferry and train stations in Bellingham's historic Fairhaven district. Restaurants, live music, and boutique shopping, all right out the front door, with Western Washington University just over a mile away. Complimentary breakfast, private parking, and wireless internet. Bayside rooms have a fireplace and a small balcony overlooking the harbor. Fresh cookies everyday at 3 and tea and coffee in the library. AAA and WWU rates. $159 and up. (48.720824,-122.504617) edit


  • Comfort Inn, 4282 Meridian St., +1 360 738-1100, Comfortable rooms for business or leisure travel. Offers and indoor pool, spa, and sauna. Close to Bellis Fair mall. $79-149
  • Val-U Inn, 805 Lakeway Drive, +1 360 671-9600, ideal for business and recreational travel the Val-U Inn provides nicely decorated rooms at affordable prices within walking distance to restaurants and shopping. $59-$99
  • Rodeway Inn 3710 Meridian +1 360 738-6000, A Choice Hotel near the Bellis Fair Mall shopping district. $59-$99
  • EconoLodge Inn & Suites 3750 Meridian +1 360 671-4600, just off of I-5 at the Bellis Fair Mall exit, the perfect place for a shopping stop. $59-$99
  • Best Western Lakeway Inn, 714 Lakeway Dr., +1 360 671-1011, [85] a full service hotel including two restaurants, a martini bar, indoor pool and hot tub. "The Lakeway" is often used for conventions and meetings. Room Prices range from $99 to over $159.


Stay safe[edit]


The crime rate is relatively low for an urban area by American standards. Violent crime perpetrated by strangers is nearly unheard of, but property crime is more common. If you are parked at a trailhead or in a park, keep your valuables out of sight, or better yet leave them where you're staying.

There are few areas of the city that couldn't be considered safe at all hours of the day and night. The downtown bar scene sometimes attracts a drunk and somewhat rowdy crowd at night, and a few street corners downtown attract groups of loiterers that have occasionally become belligerent. But overall no unusual precautions need be taken. Certain areas in Alabama neighbourhood should be avoided.

Rail/Trail Crossings[edit]

When hiking in the area it's not unusual to have to cross the railroad tracks that hug the shoreline south of the city, or in some cases walk along the tracks (though both are technically considered trespassing). Be sure to stay alert; while the numerous freight trains that pass through make plenty of noise, the passenger trains are surprisingly quiet and can easily sneak up on an unwary hiker.


Bellingham's winters are often long and rainy, and it's the northernmost city of its size in the lower 48 states. If you visit between the months of October and May be prepared for a good deal of wind and precipitation.

Get out[edit]

  • Mount Baker: A glacier-covered volcano with a popular outdoor recreation area and ski resort, located east of Bellingham on Mount Baker Highway, Highway 542.
  • Chuckanut Mountains has numerous hiking trails exist south of the city. Lookout (Galbraith) Mountain offers some of the best mountain biking in the area. Chuckanut Drive (state route 11) is a scenic drive leading south of Bellingham overlooking the Salish Sea, while hugging the cliffs of these mountains
  • North Lake Whatcom Trail is a treat on hot summer days, as it has numerous spots to take a dip in the lake or just take in the scenery. Follow North Shore Drive nearly to the end and follow the signs to the trail head. Come early, as the insects can be a bit overwhelming in the evening.
  • Bellingham Bay and the local rivers and lakes provide for some great boating opportunities. Rent a sailboat or kayak on the Bay or Lake Whatcom. Join a charter trip to the stunning San Juan Islands or Victoria. Watch the mighty Orca whales glide majestically in their home waterways. Take an exhilarating raft trip on the Nooksack River. Spending time on the water is a great way to experience Bellingham.
  • North Cascades Highway: No major city in Washington has quicker access. Take I-5 south to exit 232 Cook Road, and turn left. Make another left turn when you meet the highway in the town of Sedro Woolley (4.5 miles).
  • Vancouver: Just an hour north of Bellingham across the border in Canada, this beautiful city hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.
  • Seattle: Surrounded by water, mountains and picturesque isles, this city has something for everyone. About 2 hours south of Bellingham on I-5.

Routes through Bellingham
Vancouver (via Bc99.png)Ferndale  N noframe S  BurlingtonSeattle

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