Monday, January 16th, 2017
5 Ways to Stay Warm and Active in Bellingham this Winter
Lorraine Wilde

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 season. You too can make the winter shine by taking advantage of some of the entertaining activities below that make our area great, regardless of¬†what’s happening outside.

activities pacific northwest winter

Winter weather in the Pacific Northwest offers a beautiful view.

1. Cozy Up with 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 in a single weekend.¬†February 17-20, 2017.
  • The Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival is in its 17th year. With 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. February 16-25, 2017.
  • Bellingham Film Annual Showcase highlights the best of locally-made film from the previous year. Many local filmmakers attend so its a great way to peak inside the Whatcom filmmaking scene. Feb. 11, 2017.

    Pickford Doctober Dogs on the Inside documentary prison activities

    Pickford Film Center brings diverse independent film to our doorstep, including this documentary about prisoners who pay their debt by training service dogs, Dogs on the Inside. Photo by Peggy Vance.

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. Its 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 will allow you to¬†take breaks and bring¬†family members that just want to relax.

Vital Climbing Gym activities nancy McNeely Jake McNeely

Climber Jake McNeely gets his winter work out at Vital. Photo by Nancy McNeely.

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 plentiful dance floor. 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. Its small and relaxed. Bands and singers are locals and their friends. They favor bluegrass, string band, and singer/songwriter and even have poetry events.
  • The Green Frog is known in the area for its tireless support of local musicians and its ability to lure in national legends on their way up or down the I-5 corridor. The dance floor, local beer and whiskey, and exotic grilled cheese sandwiches will keep you warm on a cold winter evening. You’ll find blues, bluegrass, string band, and singer/songwriters here regularly.
  • The Shakedown loves rock and roll, punk, grunge and alt bands, both local and regional. Their comfort food 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 to keep you challenged.
  • 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.

    activities Murphy Evans music Honey Moon

    Honey Moon Mead and Cider hosts many local artists. Photo by Murphy Evans.

4. Find Performing Arts Perfection

No matter what your preference, Bellingham has you covered for live theater, dance, and even circus performing arts. Here’s a sample to help choose.

  • Mount Baker Theatre is the largest performing arts venue in our area. 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 new 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 performance. 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.

    activities Bellingham Theatre Guild Drowsy Chaperone

    Bellingham Theatre Guild’s production of¬†The Drowsy Chaperone.¬†Photo by David S. Cohn.

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 here. 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.

beer whatcom washington tourism activities

Sample Whatcom County’s beer, wine, and spirits to warm you up.

Of course, there are even more fabulous opportunities that will get you out of the house while remaining warm and cozy. Let us know your favorite ideas by commenting below. Then get out there and enjoy winter!

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About the Author:

Lorraine Wilde has immersed herself in so many of Whatcom County’s vibrant communities over the past 25 years. Owner and Publicity Strategist for Wilde World Communications, Lorraine has connected with locals as a writer, actor, scientist, teacher, filmmaker, singer, and mom. Lorraine has performed improv and staged works in several of Whatcom County’s theatres and she is active in the Bellingham Film community. She is also a big supporter of the local music community. When she has a spare second, its spent with her children outside exploring a new adventure.