Bellingham, Washington, is the northernmost city of the contiguous United States. Located on Bellingham Bay in the northwestern corner of Washington State, Bellingham offers beautiful water and mountain views, as well as lovely historical homes and buildings. It is close to both Seattle-Tacoma and Vancouver. Here are the best things to do in Bellingham, WA.
1. Boulevard Park
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Established in 1980, Boulevard Park is a waterfront community park on the eastern shores of Bellingham Bay, WA. Its waterfront location makes it a popular place to view beautiful sunsets over the water. The park contains hiking trails, including access to the 2.5-mile South Bay Trail.
Hikers who travel south along this trail will venture out over the water on the historical Taylor Dock. To the north, there are views of the Canadian Border Peak. Other park facilities include picnic areas, playgrounds, restrooms, and a fishing dock. Coffee and snacks are available at Woods Coffee, located right on the water.
470 Bayview Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225, Phone: 360-778-7100
2. Lairmont Manor
© Lairmont Manor
Lairmont Manor has been a Bellingham landmark and gathering place for over 100 years. This grand 25-room Italian Renaissance mansion was commissioned by Charles X. Larrabee, the founder of the city, and designed by Seattle architect Carl Gould, Sr.
The home has hosted many social, musical, and political events throughout its history and even served as a nursing school and hospital for a time. Today, Lairmont Manor is a popular place for local weddings. The home also hosts private events such as parties, business meetings, family retreats, auctions, seminars, concerts, and recitals. More weekend getaways from Seattle
405 Fieldston Road, Bellingham, WA 98225, Phone: 360-647-1444
3. Lake Padden
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With its mountains, forests, lakes, and ocean, Washington State is a nature lover’s dream. Lake Padden is a 147-acre lake located near Interstate 5 just south of Bellingham and is surrounded by Lake Padden Par. The lake is stocked with many species of fish, including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and coastal cutthroat trout.
Non-motorized and electric motor boats are allowed on the lake, and fishing is easily available from the shoreline. The surrounding park is open daily and contains picnic and barbeque areas, walking trails, shelters, playgrounds, restrooms, a basketball court, and a golf course.
4882 Sammish Way, Bellingham, WA 98229
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4. Lummi Island
© Lummi Island
Lummi Island is a vibrant community of artists of every kind. Located in the Salish Sea, it is accessible from the US and Canadian mainlands by a short ferry ride. Visitors to Lummi Island will find shops and galleries featuring paintings, photographs, sculpture, furniture, jewelry, and more made by talented local artisans.
Casual dining is available at the Beach Store Café. Guests can also stroll along the island’s beaches or get a relaxing spa treatment at the local spa.
5. Village Books and Paper Dreams
© Village Books and Paper Dreams
Village Books and Paper Dreams is an independent community bookstore in Bellingham's Historic Fairhaven Village, founded in 1990 by Dee and Chuck Robinson. The beautiful bookstore, which expanded from its original location into a newly-constructed three-story location in 2004, strives to build community one book at a time, offering expansive collections of new, used, and bargain books. Titles are all chosen by in-house staff, taking local interest and community requests in mind. A collection of digital audiobooks and ebooks are also sold, along with gifts and home decor at sister store Paper Dreams. Delicious cafe drinks are sold at Evolve Chocolate and Cafe, located on the bookstore's mezzanine floor.
1200 11th St, Bellingham, WA 98225, Phone: 360-671-2626
6. Sehome Hill Arboretum
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The Sehome Hill area of Bellingham has a rich and storied history. At various times, it has served as a center for coal mining, logging, and education. Today, 100 acres of Sehome Hill have been preserved as an arboretum and park.
Visitors to this wooded preserve can view the ancient rock layers at the Old Quarry and the vertical rock walls or climb to the top of the watch tower for a spectacular view of the entire preserve. The Quiet Rocks and the outdoor classroom provide excellent places for relaxation and meditation in a natural setting. The arboretum is open daily from 6 am to dusk.
600 25th Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
7. SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention
© SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention
The ability to harness and utilize electricity radically changed the course of life on Earth. The SPARK Museum celebrates that discovery and the inventions that followed it. The museum covers 400 years of the history of electricity.
Exhibits include early artifacts from the study of static electricity, telegraphs and radios from the 1800’s, and equipment from the ‘golden age of radio’ in the 1950’s. And every weekend, the museum presents a live show featuring the ‘Mega Zapper’, a 9-foot Tesla coil that produces lightning bolts up to 9 feet long!
1312 Bay Street, Bellingham, WA 98225, Phone: 360-738-3886
8. Whatcom Falls Park
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Nestled on the eastern side of Bellingham is Whatcom Falls Park. This 241-acre community park features breathtaking wooded and water scenery, including four waterfalls. Near the entrance to the park is a mossy old stone bridge that provides a great view of the main falls.
Three and a half miles of hiking trails wind through the park, making it a great destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The park also contains picnic areas and barbeque grills, restrooms, playgrounds, tennis courts, and a fish hatchery.
1401 Electric Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98229, Phone: 360-778-7000
9. Whatcom Museum
© Whatcom Museum
Established in 1941, the Whatcom Museum spans three buildings and is a haven for history, art, and culture in Bellingham. Guests will find exhibits about the history and growth of the city in the Victorian-influenced Old City Hall building.
The Lightcatcher is an architectural masterpiece designed to catch and display sunlight, and is home to the museum’s fine art exhibits and interactive gallery. The Syre Education Center is home to historical and photo archives that can be viewed for research purposes. On-going special events, such as classes, camps, tours, and speakers, mean there is always something happening at the Whatcom Museum!
121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225, Phone: 360-778-8930
More Bellingham Resources:
Western Washington University
The Bellingham Herald
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10. Mount Baker Theatre
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Originally built in 1927, the Mount Baker Theatre has been restored to its original splendor and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. The building’s architecture and rich detail is truly stunning. It was originally built to accommodate silent films and vaudeville shows, but today, the theatre is dedicated to bringing a variety of performances to the Pacific Northwest.
This venue is the largest performing arts facility north of Seattle and hosts movies, musicals, ballet, concerts, plays, comedians, and more throughout the year. Tickets are available at the theatre box office, by phone, or at the theatre’s website.
104 North Commercial Street, Bellingham, WA 98225, Phone: 360-733-5793
11. Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park is located on Samish Bay, on the seaward side of the Chuckanut Mountain, close to Bellingham. The park is Washington’s original first state park and was established in 1915. Today the park covers more than 2000 acres which provide an excellent outdoor recreational area. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the San Jaun Islands as they make their way along a short pathway to the beach. If you want to explore a little further you can go hiking along a network of hiking and biking trails. There is easy access to the water for paddling, boating and sail-boarding and you can also enjoy salt-water fishing and camping.
245 Chuckanut Drive, Larrabee, WA 98229, Ph. +1 360 676 2093
12. Fairhaven Stones Throw Brewery
© Fairhaven Stones Throw Brewery
The dog-friendly Stones Throw Brewery is a popular community meeting place in Larrabee. Their motto is “the closest pint to adventure” and they encourage all beer enthusiasts to combine their beer passion with a passion for exploring the Great Outdoors. Year round beers on tap include an IPA, a lager and a porter which are joined by seasonal offerings including their Fresh Hop IPA, the Small Changes Pale Ale series and a few other interesting options. The brewery is family friendly and you can enjoy trivia nights and regular live music evenings. The tasting room offers a daily special meal option and you are more than welcome to bring in your own food.
1009 Larrabee Ave, Larrabee, WA 98225, 360 362 5058
13. Mindport Exhibits
© Mindport Exhibits
When Mindport originally opened they hoped to create a space where elements of art and science could be explored by visitors of all ages. The interesting and thought-provoking interactive exhibits are all hand-made by the staff and are intended to stimulate imaginations and get those brains thinking out of the box. Interactive exhibits include a light bender, various wooden contraptions which respond to movement and much, much more. The visual art exhibits are produced by the staff and some outside artists and are once again intended to stimulate creativity. There is a small library area where you can read about some of the exhibits.
210 West Holly Street, Bellingham, WA 98225, 360 647 5614
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14. Chuckanut Bay Distillery
© Chuckanut Bay Distillery
The Chuckanut Bay Distillery occupies an historic building in the heart of downtown Bellingham. Besides being home to their distillery, the building also houses an expansive bar and restaurant with an outdoor dining area, a tasting room and a function venue. The owners of the distillery wanted to produce some niche spirits which truly reflect their location – the very first batch produced was brilliant Vodka made from locally sourced Yukon Gold potatoes. The distillery has come a long way since those early days and visitors are encouraged to join a guided tour of the distillery before visiting the Tasting Room and the Penny Farthing Bar and Restaurant.
1311 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225, 360 738 7179
15. The Upfront Theatre
If you fancy a good laugh you are sure to find one when you visit the Upfront Theatre for an Improvised comedy show. The theatre is waiting to entertain you 5 times a week with an excellent variety of improvised comedy shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Like many other performing arts companies, the Upfront Theatre was forced to close during the Covid pandemic and re-opened in new premises at the end of 2021. Many of the original artists have returned to keep the laughter going at the Sylvia Center of the Arts. Budding comedians are welcome to join their auditions – new members are always welcome.
207 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225, 360 200 8697
16. Chocolate Necessities
© Chocolate Necessities
When you visit Chocolate Necessities you can rely on 30 years of chocolate-making experience to bring you the best ever chocolate delights. Headed up by chocolatier Kevin Buck, Chocolate Necessities make all your favorite chocolate treats to the highest quality and supplement their range with wonderful Italian ice cream. You can look forward to stocking up on a wide range of decadent chocolate treats including chocolate chips for baking, melt-in-the-mouth truffles, light and dark chocolate-nut bark and much, much more.
They also produce a selection of sugar-free chocolates for diabetics. Chocolate Necessities is you one-stop shop for chocolate gifts for every occasion.
4600 Guide Meridian 109, Bellingham, WA 98226, 360 676 0589
17. The Eureka Room
The Eureka Room in Bellingham is waiting to stimulate those neurons and get your brain thinking laterally. Offering a carefully-designed escape room experience that will challenge your problem-solving skills, the Eureka Room has four thrilling themed rooms to choose from. The Winter Wonderland is the easiest of the four rooms and is perfect for beginners or younger groups – suitable for 2-5 players. The other three rooms are called Robotic Resurgence, Out of Orbit and Backstage Breakout; these are a little trickier and will demand sharp brains and amazing team work. You can book your room online and look forward to a fun hour of problem solving.
114 W. Magnolia Street, Bellingham, WA 98225, 360 626 6037
18. 1-Up Lounge
1-Up Lounge is the only cocktail bar in Bellingham which combines socializing with gaming. This is a great place to meet your friends for a couple of drinks, a meal and some serious gaming fun. 1-Up Lounge has all your favorite retro gaming consoles as well as many of the latest releases for you to try. In addition, they have recently acquired several wonderfully nostalgic pinball machines for you to master. The bar serves up a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including several cocktail choices. You can order up a variety of finger foods and snacks or opt for traditional fish and chips or panko-crusted chicken strips for larger appetites.
1121 Mackenzie Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225, Ph. +1 360 398 6183
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