The Pacific Northwest is not famous for its winter weather. But Bellingham and Whatcom County locals know the secret to enjoying all the amazing indoor activities our area has to offer throughout the rainy season. You too can make the winter bright by taking advantage of some of the entertaining activities on this list that make our area great, regardless of what’s happening outside.
1. Cozy Up with an Independent Film
Known as the place for independent film in Bellingham, Pickford Film Center (PFC) features daily film screenings, festivals, and education programs and is especially active in the winter. Below are just a few of their winter offerings and sponsored partnerships.
- The Guerilla Film Project, where Northwest high school teams compete for awards by making short films over President’s Day weekend.
- The Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival is in its 20th year. Showings of a range of documentary films from local to international across 13 different Whatcom County venues, your mind is guaranteed to be stirred by the insightful, inspiring films that promote human rights near and far.
- Bellingham Film Annual Showcase highlights the best of films made locally and across Washington State from the previous year. Many local filmmakers attend each February so it’s a great way to peek inside the Whatcom film making scene.
2. Stretch Yourself at Vital Climbing Gym
Like its name, Vital is a wonderful place to get a little–or a lot–of exercise indoors. It’s a great way to stay fit when you can’t play outside. You can practice or learn basic rock climbing skills, via bouldering, in a safe environment without ropes or other gear. Bring your own shoes and equipment or rent on-site.
The community there is kind and helpful no matter what your age or skill level. Plus, there are slack lines and rowing machines, yoga, and clinics too. Vital’s chill out room with WiFi also allows you to take breaks and bring family members that just want to relax.
3. Appreciate Live Music
Bellingham has enough small- to medium-sized music venues, breweries, and pubs to allow you to find quality music almost any night of the week. Some are intimate and heartfelt while others offer a plenty of dancing room.
Check out the short list below to choose the one that’s right for your tastes. Venue size increases as you go down the list.
- At Honey Moon Mead and Cider, you feel like you get to know the performers during a show. It’s small and relaxed. Bands and singers feature locals, their friends and occasionally out-of-towners passing through. They favor bluegrass, string band, and singer/songwriter and often host poetry events.
- The Shakedown loves rock and roll, punk, grunge and alt bands, both local and regional. Their comfort food— Philly cheesesteak and vegan falafel—and possible slam dancing will keep you warm. When you need a break, their quieter sister bar, The Racket, has a huge collection of vintage pinball machines upstairs
- The Wild Buffalo is among the larger area music venues. It also gets some of the biggest names and has the most music variety. From hip-hop, rap, and reggae to soul, rock, and funk, the ample dance floor will keep you moving all evening.
Note: For more details, check out my previous Insider Blog on Bellingham live music venues.
4. Find Performing Arts Perfection
No matter what your preference, Bellingham has you covered for live theater, dance, and even circus performing arts.
- Mount Baker Theatre is the largest performing arts venue in town. The historic building and world-class, culturally-diverse live theater, dance, celebrity, and music performances that come to beautiful Bellingham from across the globe will entertain and delight.
- The recently remodeled Bellingham Theatre Guild offers the feel-good musicals, comedic farce, and serious dramas that appear nowhere else since 1929.
- The Sylvia Center for the Arts includes iDiOM Theatre which features the avant garde independent live stage works by both local and national playwrights, directors, and actors.
- The Bellingham Circus Guild will make you feel like a kid again. The array of jugglers, aerialists, singers, dancers, and more at their Vaudevillingham shows will take you back and have you mesmerized.
- The Upfront Theatre, owned by world-renowned comedian Ryan Stiles, will keep you warm with laughter. Their variety of improvised comedy shows are reliably hilarious and affordable.
- We can’t leave out dance performances. Kuntz and Company and Bellingham Repertory Dance offer several chances per year to catch contemporary and modern dance up close and personal. Their performances are meaningful, moving and original.
5. Sip Brew, Wine and Spirits
Sampling some of our finest elixirs will literally warm your heart. Bellingham is quickly and happily becoming known as a craft brewery town. There are so many options we can’t list them all. The good news is, Bellingham Experience has you covered here. Not to be overshadowed by microbrew, Whatcom County also has a wide variety of happy hours, wine tastings, and distilleries in our area. Many are geographically close together so you won’t have to be in the weather for long.