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 my favorite things about the Village is that everything is local and can only be found here in Whatcom County, making it the perfect day trip from Seattle. No visit to Bellingham is complete without crossing off at least a few items on this list. 

1. Chuckanut Drive / 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.

Chuckanut Drive ends in the Fairhaven Village. Fairhaven is loved for it’s Victorian-era red-brick architecture, quaint shops, amazing restaurants and breath-taking galleries.

2. Outdoor Dining

I'll start with the most important meal of the day, breakfast! You could spend a whole week in Fairhaven and still wouldn’t have time to visit all the delicious breakfast spots. You should know about all of them, but I’ll only get in-depth with my three favorites. 

Breakfast options in Fairhaven include Avenue Bread, Firehouse Cafe, Harris Avenue Cafe, Mount Bakery Cafe, Shirlee Bird Cafe, Iron Rooster and The Old Independent Coffeehouse, formerly known as Tony's Coffee.

Magdalena’s Creperie is not only known for its fresh and delicious food, but also for creating edible artistic masterpieces.

Magdalena Theisen wanted to create a European-style restaurant with food that reflected her Polish roots. Six months after moving to Bellingham she achieved her dream and opened Magdalena’s Creperie in the heart of Historic Fairhaven.

Over the past ten years, Magdalena’s has evolved to offer a variety of sweet and savory crepes, Polish pierogi and unique Eastern European soups all made with fresh local ingredients. It’s the perfect spot for breakfast or brunch.

When its time for lunch or dinner, try Evolve Chocolate & Cafe, Fairhaven Poke, Filling Station, Galloway's Cocktail Bar, OVN Wood Fired Pizza, Skylarks Hidden Cafe, Jalapeños, or The Black Cat. 

Since 1985, Colophon Cafe has been serving up award-winning food made from local ingredients. With their patio on the edge of the Village Green, this is the perfect place to take in the excitement of Historic Fairhaven. Stop by Colophon Cafe to soak up some sun on their patio and enjoy a delicious local meal. 

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

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. Ice Cream

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. Just around the corner is Edaleen Dairy, another local favorite. Edaleen Dairy opened it’s sixth shop in February 2019 and is now bringing over 24 delicious flavors to Fairhaven. All of Edaleen’s ice cream is made from locally produced milk from their farm up in Lynden, Washington. Cones to sundaes and ice cream cakes to banana splits, Edaleen has all your ice cream needs.

Edaleen Dairy can be found across the street from Fairhaven Village Green. Grab yourself an ice cream cone and make your way down the South Bay Trail towards Taylor Dock and Boulevard Park.

Bonus Activity: Taylor Dock / Boulevard Park

After enjoying a delicious ice cream treat, 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.

4. Shopping in Fairhaven

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. (Tip: there's also a second location in Lynden, WA.)

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. Great Art Galleries

The Whatcom Art Market (WAM) is a non-profit co-op featuring more than 45 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 Studio 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. 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. Many special safety protocols have been put in place. 

7. 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. Schooner ZodiacGato 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. Bellingham Training & Tennis Club

When it comes to getting in shape, no one knows health and wellness like the Bellingham Training and Tennis Club. Established in 1973, the Club has remained one of the only places in Whatcom County with indoor tennis courts. Guests also enjoy a full gym, group cycling classes, and saunas. 

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!

        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.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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