Welcome to Bellingham & Whatcom County

Bellingham, WA is located just 80 miles north of Seattle and is a great area to explore for a weekend get-away.

If you heard about us on KPLU or KING-FM recently, you may be interested in learning more about the following activities and events.

Our community offers…

Year-Round Trails

Hundreds of miles of hiking trails stretch from the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest through Whatcom County and within the city limits of Bellingham, WA, which has been named a Trail Town USA. Low-grade trails and paths run through dozens of city and county parks. To get your heart rate up and see incredible vistas, check out trails in and around the Chuckanut Mountains and Mt Baker region. For more information, visit our Hiking page.

Skiing & Snowboarding on Mt. Baker

The Mt. Baker Highway (State Route 542) is a designated “Scenic Byway” and begins at I-5 exit 253 in Bellingham. In winter, the road ends at milepost 55 at the Ski Area. Mt. Baker provides ample opportunities for winter snow sports, including downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

10,781-foot Mount Baker is a popular destination in the winter locals, Western Washington University students and visitors from Canada and the Seattle area, especially. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest also attracts snowmobilers and sledding enthusiasts in the winter months. Mt. Baker Ski Area is located 60 miles east of Bellingham, WA on highway 542 and opened November 18, 2011 for the winter season.
For more information, visit our Snow Sports page.

Art, Theater & Museums

Ranked second in the nation for arts businesses per capita, Bellingham and Whatcom County, WA, shine with arts and heritage activities. A combination of nationally touring and locally produced museum exhibits, gallery tours, theater productions, symphony performances, comedy shows, science and history exhibits provide an active and diverse calendar of events throughout the year.

Bellingham’s downtown Cultural Arts District includes the Whatcom Museum’s state-of-the-art Lightcatcher building and Family Interactive Gallery; Allied Arts of Whatcom County, First Friday Art Walks; the historic Mount Baker Theatre showcasing live performing arts and home to the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra; the American Museum of Radio & Electricity; Mindport Exhibits; the Bellingham Railway Museum; the Pickford Film Center dedicated to independent films; and the Upfront Theater highlighting live improv comedy shows.

On the south side of Bellingham Bay, the historic Fairhaven District is also home to numerous art galleries featuring pottery, woodworking, glass, and painting, as well as a unique Pharmacy Museum.   For more information, visit our Museums page.

Breweries and Wine

Locavores who love their spirits find plenty to rave about in Washington’s far northwest corner. The region’s natural beauty and community-focused population has inspired a range of talented winemakers and brew masters here. Bellingham and Whatcom County are now home to 8 boutique wineries, 3 popular brewpubs, 2 urban tasting rooms and a mead winery. These are ideal destinations for visitors who love to taste the local experience. Transportation to wineries for weekend tours is also available from area hotels.  For more information, visit our Wine & Beer page.

Shopping

What type of shopper are you? If you like to stroll, browse and pamper yourself with a spontaneous purchase, enjoy the easy pace of our region’s old towns. Find handcrafted wares, used books, specialty shops and boutiques in Historic Fairhaven, Downtown Bellingham, or Lynden. Bellingham’s Farmers Market is one of the biggest and busiest markets in Western Washington (Saturdays April-December). Bellis Fair Mall is a regional shopping mall with five major department stores including Macy’s and 150 smaller shops. Bargain hunters may enjoy Birch Bay Square or Duty Free Shopping near the border crossings.   For more information, visit our Shopping page.

Upcoming events include:

Fairhaven’s Holiday Celebration – November 25 through December 24, 2011 – The Historic Fairhaven Holiday Celebration is a month-long celebration featuring weekend activities that include longer shopping hours, Christmas lights and activities for the whole family. It kicks off on the day after Thanksgiving, when Black Friday turns into a glittering evening in Bellingham’s Fairhaven Historic District and the Victorian-era streets of Fairhaven are officially lit with thousands of tiny lights. The Festival begins with an evening Art Walk through the district’s unique shops. Jingle bells and the familiar clop of hooves set the tone each Saturday in Fairhaven, (end of Nov-Dec), as shoppers and families enjoy free horse-drawn wagon rides through city blocks built in the 1800s, as well as appearances by Santa at the Fairhaven Village Inn.  http://www.fairhaven.com

Whatcom Museum’s Lesley Dill’s Exhibit – October 23, 2011 through March 4, 2012 – Lesley Dill is one of the most prominent American artists working at the intersection of language and fine art. Her elegant sculptures, art installations, mixed-media photographs, and evocative performances draw from both her travels abroad and profound interests in spirituality and the world’s faith traditions. Exploring the power of words to cloak and reveal the psyche, Dill invests new meaning in the human form. Intellectually and aesthetical engaging, the core of her work emerges from an essential, visionary awareness of the world. http://www.whatcommuseum.org

Allied Arts Festival of the Arts – December – The Annual Holiday Festival of the Arts is a six-week long festival featuring the work of over one hundred local artisans and craftspeople. The affordable handmade products range from jewelry to paintings to wearable art to specialty foods. Weekends are packed with activities; hear live local music, catch some of our artists in action, and bring the kids in for fun art projects. http://www.alliedarts.org

Holiday Shows at the Historic Mt Baker Theatre – December – The Mount Baker Theatre in downtown Bellingham’s Arts District is the largest performing arts facility of its kind north of Seattle. A beautifully restored 1927 architectural treasure, listed on the register of National Historic Places, the theatre is dedicated to showcasing some of the best live performing artists on both the professional and community levels for audiences in the North Puget Sound area and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

Stay at a hotel, motel, bed & breakfast, vacation rental or camp when you visit Bellingham and Whatcom County! Plan your trip at Bellingham.org.