Bellingham and Whatcom County 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 year.
Bellingham’s downtown Cultural Arts District includes:
- The Whatcom Museum’s state-of-the-art venues
- Allied Arts of Whatcom County
- Downtown Art Walks
- Follow the balloons around downtown to visit participating venues
- The historic Mount Baker Theatre showcasing live performing arts
- Home to the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra
- The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
- Mindport Exhibits
- The Bellingham Railway Museum
- The Pickford Film Center dedicated to independent films
- The Limelight Theater
- The Upfront Theater highlighting live improv comedy shows.
- Artist Studio Tours – October, various locations around Whatcom County
- Dozens of visual artists county-wide participate in the Whatcom Artists Studio Tour each October, opening their homes and galleries to visitors.
- The Pickett House
- Bellingham International Maritime Museum
- History comes alive throughout the county at numerous venues including:
When you’re ready to stretch your legs, a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Bellingham is available in desktop, mobile and printed version.
Additional Museum and Gallery Information:
Northwest Coast Salish tribes history and culture are celebrated in the new permanent exhibit at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham with People of the Sea and Cedar.
On the south side of Bellingham Bay, the historic Fairhaven District is home to numerous art galleries featuring pottery, woodworking, glass, and painting, as well as, a unique Pharmacy Museum.
Bellingham’s Big Rock Sculpture Garden, a 2.5-acre city park, also features more than 35 permanent works by distinguished international and local artists.
One of the Top 10 outdoor sculpture collections in the nation resides at Western Washington University in Bellingham. With over 29 pieces located throughout the campus by renown artists such as Bruce Nauman, Tom Otterness, Isamu Noguchi, Alice Aycock, Beverly Pepper and Robert Maki.
Get Insider Tips on Museum & Galleries
- Explore the Arts, Heritage, Theater and Fun in Lovely Lynden, WA
- Art, Nature, History, and Fun at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham
- Explore the Arts at Western Washington University
- Get Charged Up at The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
- Bellingham’s Sylvia Center for the Arts
Museums & Galleries Resources
Features 500 sq ft large scale toy train layout, interactive O Gauge layout, collections of antique toy trains, railroad history and more.
The exhibition features a selection of paintings, drawings and sculptures that spans David Syre’s artistic career so far, from one of his first works to the most recent large-scale canvases that show a complex mastery of painting techniques and visual translation of spiritual, personal and collective experiences.
The Western Gallery provides diverse experiences in the visual arts for its constituencies, encompassing the University community and region while providing a point of reference to the national and international art scene.
Dedicated to the arts in our region by empowering local artists through organized festivals and events, enriching our local school children through educational outreach programs, and working as a liaison to art enthusiasts of all ages
Whatcom County artists open their studios to the public during the 20th annual Whatcom Studio Artist Tour the first two weekends of October. Artwork is for sale and artists are available (some demonstrating) to meet with visitors. Tour includes clay, glass, handmade books, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and woodworking. This self-guided tour is free.
Extending from the Western Gallery’s plaza and integrated with other campus buildings, quadrangles, lawns, and playing fields is Western’s Outdoor Sculpture Collection. The Western Gallery is in the Fine Arts Complex, centrally located on campus and across from Carver Gym.
Located in Historic Fairhaven’s Orca Building, Peter James is ready to help you look your best, by putting you at ease while using the best modern lighting and composition techniques. He offer all types of personal and business photography in his high-tech photo studio, in your home or office, or at any outdoor location you desire.
The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention offers an exciting and educational experience for audiences of all ages. Compelling, interactive exhibits spanning four centuries of scientific achievement and cultural heritage are featured in a world-class collection of unique objects. The Spark Museum displays the inventions and innovations that changed the course of human history.
THE LIGHTCATCHER is designed by Olson Kundig Architects founding partner, Jim Olson. The building is named for its focal point and most innovative feature as a spectacular, translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long, that captures the Northwest’s most precious natural resource: sunlight.
We are composed of over 40 local artists & craftspeople, from watercolor & oil painters to wood & metal workers. Our photographers travel to bring you stunning images! We have artists creating jewelry & glass, handcrafted knits & textiles. Visit us Wednesday-Sunday 10:00-6:00.
Artwood is a cooperatively owned showplace and retail source for the finest in contemporary woodworking, providing custom design services, cabinetry, fine furniture, and many decorative accessories. Artwood also carries a variety of consigned work by other local artists. Come in and experience the beauty of wood.
The Whatcom Museum, located in the heart of downtown Bellingham’s cultural district, offers a rich variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature and Northwest history. The campus features two buildings with public hours; Old City Hall and the Lightcatcher.