Located on Bellingham Bay with Mount Baker as its backdrop, Bellingham is the last major city before the Washington coastline meets the Canadian border. It’s 85 miles north of Seattle and 50 miles south of Vancouver, B.C.

Bellingham is an acclaimed outdoor recreation haven and known for it’s subdued, healthy and authentic vibe. It’s been named “Best Place to Play Year Round,” “Adventure Town USA” and “Best Place to Retire and Live” by various media. While many come here to play hard and sweat, others take in the scenery, laid-back vibe and relax.

It’s a popular destination for biking, hiking and annual outdoor events like Ski to Sea.

Bellingham has an active waterfront port that supports fishing, charter cruises, leisure boating, boatbuilding, shipping and marina operations. Squalicum Harbor is the second largest in Puget Sound, with 1,900 pleasure and commercial boats moored. From Bellingham’s ports, passenger ferries leave for cruises around Bellingham and Chuckanut Bays to the San Juan Islands, either for whale watching or beer, wine, history and/or sunset cruises. It’s also big with paddlers (kayak, canoe and stand up paddlers) and is rated “Best Paddling Destination in the US” (Outside Magazine).

Bellingham Beer / Credit: Heather Hulbert

Its downtown area has a mixture of restaurants, art galleries and specialty shops. Locals and visitors enjoy a mix of brew pubs, wine bars, cafes, and casual eateries – most of which make a concerted effort to source locally grown and made food. The Saturday Bellingham Farmers Market is a huge draw.

Bellingham is home to Western Washington University on Sehome Hill, from which you have a sweeping view across the bay to the San Juan Islands. Visitors bound for Alaska depart on the Alaska Marine Highway System ferries from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in the Historic Fairhaven District.

Downtown Bellingham Info.

Whatcom Museum

  • Our downtown truly has something for everyone and boasts a unique variety of public art, specialty shopping, fine dining, and cultural entertainment – all within walking distances from each other
  • Parking downtown is convenient and offers easy-to-use pay stations and meters. Street parking is $0.75/hour and requires U.S. coins. Most meters have a 2-hour limit (check the meter time restrictions, which are posted on each meter). Street parking is free after 5:00 pm, weekends and holidays.

For longer stays and off-street parking, the first floor of the Commercial Street Parking Garage at 1300 Commercial Street is $6.00 for a full day of parking. Find more parking details here. 

More Information

Incorporated: 1904
Population: 80,885
Elevation: Sea level

City of Bellingham
210 Lottie Street, Bellingham

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