9 Great Music Venues in Bellingham and Whatcom County

Whether you love rock, hip-hop, jazz, blues, soul, folk, or classical music, Bellingham and Whatcom County has you covered any night of the week with a variety of live music venues. You can dance, bang your head, or sit and enjoy a savory snack and a drink.

Explore the best music venues in Bellingham and Whatcom County and learn why so many music lovers keep coming back.

1. The Wild Buffalo House of Music

Also known as The Buffalo, this venue offers perhaps the widest variety of music shows in town including reggae, hip-hop, funk, soul, and electronic. The cover ranges from free for open mic to higher ticket prices for nationally recognized touring artists. The sound system is good and loud and there is ample space on the dance floor. “Balcony” seats offer the best view and make you feel like you’re sittin’ in with the band. 

Local Bellingham bands get their chance at the Wild Buffalo but the venue also has the connections to bring in big names visiting the Pacific Northwest. In the past few years, we’ve had visits from George Clinton, Snoop Dogg, Primus drummer Tim Alexander and the late, great legend Bernie Worrell.

2. Mount Baker Theatre

Bellingham's historic Mount Baker Theatre is a sumptuous 1,500-seat venue that provides a grand stage for cultural music performances as well as international touring favorites. Ticket prices are generally higher than the other venues but offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

Open since 1927 and listed on the register of National Historic Places since 1978, the Mount Baker Theatre is also home to the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra and, on a spookier note fitting of its history, at least one ghost named Judy.

3. Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro

Across the street from the Farmers Market, this kid-friendly bistro offers award-winning beer brewed on-site, an outdoor deck and beer garden plus the Mountain Room for special events.

Boundary's concerts are outdoors in the summer and in the bar when the weather doesn’t cooperate. They are partial to Americana, folk, and bluegrass but also blues-rock and other genres, with both local and touring bands making appearances.

Some evenings you can also hear piano in the bar, a tradition that has been going on for at least the last 15 years. Musicians provide a wide variety of their favorite tunes from across the last century. Whether you love old show tunes and Gershwin, early rock 'n' roll, blues, or some modern rock/pop tunes, you’ll dine in style at Boundary Bay over some old-school Steinway barroom piano. It's upbeat, fun and recognizable.

4. The Shakedown

The Shakedown, a head-banging, mosh-loving music venue, is conveniently connected to the quieter Racket Bar and Pinball Lounge with 14 vintage pinball tables. The Shakedown dance floor is ample and the sound on the main floor is good and loud. Affordable drink prices, savory comfort food like authentic Philly cheese steak and falafel, and an affordable cover (from free to around $15) makes this place a favorite with local rock bands and patrons alike.

5. Make.Shift Art Space

Local musicians are part of the core of this all-ages DIY non-profit art and music venue. The music variety is as wide as the interests of Bellingham’s musicians and every dollar raised supports local artists. The Make.Shift is also home to local artist studio space, Bellingham’s Local Music Library, and the community radio station, KZAX (94.9 FM and available to stream on their website). Tour the artists' studios and stroll through the gallery at the First Friday Art Walk at the beginning of each month. 

6. Honey Moon Mead & Cider

Built-in a historic warehouse on the alley behind Pepper Sisters restaurant, the Honey Moon is a venue for local singer/songwriters as well as a variety of bands including Latin fusion, Irish fiddle and cello, country, and Appalachian tunes. The venue is intimate so you feel like you know the band by the end of the show. Their outdoor seating is great in good weather. In addition to local music and the occasional out-of-towner, they love to host poetry events as well. The venue has been locally owned since it opened in 2005. They make their mead and cider on-site and offer simple snacks. Entry to this hip hole-in-the-wall is in the alley.

7. Kulshan Brewery

Kulshan Brewery has three locations--Sunnyland (James Street), Roosevelt (K2), and Trackside Beer Garden--and you can catch all-ages musical performances at each one. 

Kulshan’s James Street and K2 locations have outdoor seating areas and offer plenty of locally brewed beer and live music, especially Americana, Irish, and folk. Enjoy food from some of the area’s best food trucks or bring your own fare from off-site.

Open from late spring to fall, Kulshan Trackside features a stage for performances as part of their large family-friendly outdoor beer garden in the heart of downtown Bellingham. 

Check Kulshan's event calendar to learn more about upcoming shows.

8. Stones Throw Brewing Co.

Stones Throw is a local favorite in Fairhaven Village. They often have events going on at their brewpub, like trivia, block parties and live music. Join them on First Fridays, when they host High Mountain String Band. 

In the nicer months, band performances happen outside, when the brewery closes the street to create a beer garden party. When the weather forces us inside, the band gets smaller—two or three piece—and moves to the taproom. A variety of food trucks complement their locally-made brews. Trucks vary depending on the day of the week. The outdoor seating area is dog- and child-friendly.

9. The Main Street Bar & Grill

The Main Street is a good old American bar. They like local rock music and offer comfort food and drinks that satisfy. They have a solid sound system and a great dance floor making this a must-stop in Ferndale.

BONUS: The Blue Room (a venue for all ages)

The Blue Room is an all-ages space in downtown Bellingham featuring a variety of musical and arts performances. The venue also hosts a FREE weekly open mic night to showcase local talent, including musicians, writers, poets, stand-up comedians, and more. 

Though the venue is open to all ages, there is a 21+ area where you can buy beer, wine, seltzer, and cider. 

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        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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