My Ideal Day in Historic Fairhaven – 10 Must-Dos

If you love great food, boutique shopping, an amazing art scene and getting outside in a small town, you will love Bellingham’s Fairhaven Village. One of the best things about the Village is that everything is local, walkable, and can only be found here in Whatcom County, making it the perfect day trip from Seattle or Vancouver. No visit to Bellingham is complete without crossing off at least a few items on this list. 

1. Cruise Chuckanut Drive / Explore Larrabee State Park

Chuckanut Drive is Washington State’s original scenic byway. Better known as WA State Highway 11, Chuckanut Drive begins at 1-5 exit 231 in Burlington and features 20 miles of incredible views looking out to the San Juan Islands, Olympic Mountains and Lummi Island.

At the end of Chuckanut Drive is historic Fairhaven Village, known for its Victorian-era red-brick architecture, quaint shops, amazing restaurants, and breath-taking galleries.

2. Enjoy Outdoor Dining

You could spend a whole week in Fairhaven and still not have time to visit all the delicious restaurants. 

Three lunch spots with great outdoor seating are Colophon Cafe, which looks over the the Fairhaven Green, Evolve Chocolate & Cafe, which offers a birds-eye view of Fairhaven, and Port Fairhaven Fish-N-Chips, which looks over Bellingham Bay. 

For a list of great local coffee shops, check out our comprehensive coffee blog

When its time for dinner and drinks, head to Filling Station, Galloway's Cocktail Bar, OVN Wood Fired Pizza, Skylarks Hidden Cafe, Jalapeños, or The Black Cat

For a meal to remember, head to Bistro Estelle, named among Esquire's 50 Best New Restaurants in America in 2023.

For more ideas on where to find a phenomenal cocktail in Fairhaven, check out our blog on the best bars in Fairhaven

Stones Throw Brewery is a Fairhaven favorite. With the motto “the closest pint to adventure,” Stones Throw keeps the atmosphere upbeat. The owners have been brewing beer for decades and won’t disappoint you. Stop by for a beer and enjoy Stones Throw’s unique roof access and fire pit. 

Stones Throw also offers a full calendar of events, including trivia, live music, holiday parties, and more!

Fun Fact: Fairhaven was once home to “Devil’s Row” and the famous brothel “The Palace.” Stones Throw now stands where Miss Annie’s brothel was. 

3. Grab an Ice Cream Cone

Whatcom County is home to spectacular ice cream and gelato makers who are known for their innovative and creative flavors. If you’re in need of a feel-good treat, Fairhaven is the place to go. 

If you’re a butter pecan, fudge brownie, dark chocolate or expresso fan, then you need to visit Acme Valley Ice Cream. Acme ice cream is made from Whatcom County cows and comes in seasonal fruits and flavors. 

Founded in 2005, Sirena Gelato is a family-owned business serving delicious local gelato.

4. Shop Local

Fairhaven is the perfect place to shop local and directly support small merchants in Bellingham. You are sure to be greeted warmly and offered a unique selection of gift items, clothing, shoes, housewares, garden ware and yes - books! 

Since 1980, Village Books has been “building a community one book at a time.” Today, this three-story, dog-friendly bookstore is the heart of Fairhaven Village and the main independent bookstore in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Explore their huge selection of bestsellers, children's books, periodicals, puzzles, and gift items. 

After Village Books, head next door to Paper Dreams. This locally owned greeting card and gift store is a must-stop shop. Explore rows of knick-knacks, cards, jewelry, notebooks, and more. Their selections change weekly so you never know what you’ll find this time around.

5. Visit Great Art Galleries

The Whatcom Art Market (WAM) is a non-profit co-op featuring more than 40 artists local to Whatcom and Skagit County. WAM features paintings, photography, glasswork, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, cards and more. As Whatcom's largest cooperative gallery, they offer a large selection of locally made art and gifts. WAM is known for it's rotating art demonstrations and displays, meaning you'll never see the same work twice. The market is open every day of the week. Visit their website to learn more about hours, artists, and current displays. 

After checking out the Whatcom Art Market, head to Peter James Photography Gallery to view breathtaking local photography. Peter James wants to take you on a sweeping tour of Washington State from the comfort of his studio. All of Peter's photos are printed on metal prints, some up to 8 feet tall, and feature scenic views from the Olympic Peninsula to the Cascade Mountains and Mount Baker.

6. Go Whale Watching with San Juan Cruises

One of the best ways to soak up Bellingham and Whatcom County is with San Juan Cruises, May through October. Departing from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven, spend the day exploring Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands on one of San Juan Cruises Whale Watching Lunch Cruise or their Chuckanut Cracked Crab Dinner Cruise. 

They also offer cruises to Sucia Island in the San Juans.

7. Get on the Water with Community Boating Center

Spend the day on Bellingham Bay with the Community Boating Center! Visitors can rent out kayaks, paddleboards, rowboats, and sailboats or sign up for one of their youth camps or adult classes happening through October.

8. Set Sail with Schooner Zodiac or Gato Verde Adventure Sailing

Gato Verde and Schooner Zodiac offer sailing excursions of Bellingham Bay and San Juan Islands. The Schooner is a 160-foot classic tall ship while Gato is the first plug-in diesel-electric hybrid catamaran on the West Coast!

9. Walk Taylor Dock / Boulevard Park

After exploring Fairhaven Village, you will want to stroll to Taylor Dock. As you walk over the open waters of Bellingham Bay to Boulevard Park, it's easy to understand why this is one of Bellingham’s most popular trails.

In Boulevard Park, you will find open fields and a play structure for kids. Take in the breathtaking views of Downtown Bellingham and Bellingham Bay as you walk, run or bike along the waterfront.

Fun Fact: The original town of Bellingham was located in the area that is now Boulevard Park.

10. Stay Overnight

Whether you prefer a luxurious waterfront resort, a rustic camp spot or an experience right in the heart of downtown, immerse yourself in Bellingham’s “laid back, lovely” feel!

Fairhaven Village Inn is a great option for those seeking a stay in the village. Located across from the village green, it's in walking distance to everything you want to do with views overlooking the bay. 

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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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