Western Washington University Students' Guide to Bellingham

With every season comes a different way to experience Bellingham and Whatcom County! If you’re a new student, parent, or a returning student looking for something new to explore, here are some tips to discovering what this area has to offer and how to get involved with the community. 

Here in the Peak of the Pacific Northwest, Outdoor recreation is one of the top five reasons folks choose to come to Whatcom County. Positioned between the Salish Sea and the North Cascades, Whatcom County is home to 100+ Miles of shoreline to kayak, the best Mountain Biking in the State of Washington, epic amounts of snow, and scenic Drives like Chuckanut Drive and Mount Baker Highway. 

Stroll Along Taylor Dock

Explore Historic Fairhaven and Downtown Bellingham by way of Boulevard Park and Taylor Dock, one of Bellingham’s most popular trails. Taylor Dock is part of the South Bay Trail making it the perfect walk to visit Fairhaven before heading to Downtown Bellingham. Taylor is one of the most popular trails and the best way to explore Bellingham Bay and the waterfront. 

Explore Whatcom Falls Park

Known for its namesake waterfall, there is something for everyone at Whatcom Falls Park. The park features 241 acres, and you’ll find everything from miles of serene, forested trails to a 100-year-old railroad trestle standing silently over Whatcom Creek.

Whatcom is full of water trails making it a true kayak paradise. From the Salish Sea and Bellingham Bay to rivers and lakes, we have it all. To help locals and visitors, the Port of Bellingham recently created the Whatcom Water Trails map which highlights 22 of our most popular water trails. 

Whatcom County is also home to two companies that offer recreational kayak excursions: Moondance Kayak, owned by Kristi Kucera, and Dragonfly Kayak Tours, owned by Victoria Ayres. Both are women-owned companies and great for anyone looking to rent gear and take a guided tour!

Insider Tip: The Water Trails Map can be found online here or you can email info@bellingham.org and request to have a map mailed to you if you’re planning your water adventure from home!

Heading up to Mt. Baker is an essential activity this season. Did you know professional snowboarder Hana Beaman calls Bellingham home? Hit the slopes just like Hana or, if cross country skiing is more your style, try out the Nooksack Nordic Ski Club. This local group maintains the trails and helps to build the community around the sport. 

Snowboarders and skiers alike can enjoy a variety of terrain, day lodges, ski lessons, and rentals at the Mt. Baker Ski Area, which has the longest season in the state and often the most snow in North America. In Bellingham, you can also rent snowshoes, skis, and more at Backcountry Essentials 

Check out our Snowsports page for even more information, including a digital Mount Baker winter guide. 

See a Live Show or Music Performance 

If you would rather stay closer to sea level, there are also a variety of indoor activities to keep you entertained with local experiences. 

The historic Mount Baker Theatre features musicians (both local artists and nationally recognized acts), movies, comedians, the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, and other events throughout the year. You never know what is going to pop up at MBT!  

There's also plenty of places to see live music, like The Wild Buffalo, the Shakedown, and Boundary Bay Brewery

Get Electrified at the SPARK Museum 

Discover the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention! Explore world-class collection of artifacts and objects that highlight the history and development of electricity, radio, and early technology. On weekends, catch the hour-long MegaZapper Electrical Show, featuring one of the largest Tesla coils in the US.

Catch a Movie or Take a Walking Tour

Leave the planning to us! Use our new Culture Crawl Quest Pass to discover the incredible arts and culture around Whatcom County. The pass also includes The Pickford Film Center, history-themed tours with the Good Time Girls, and a variety of murals including the largest mural in Washington and the brand new 720-foot long mural by Lummi artist Jason LaClair. 

First Fridays Art Walk 

Head downtown on the first Friday of every month for the First Fridays! Typically over a dozen downtown businesses host artists, with a bunch of other fun events ranging from signature dishes at local restaurants to pop-up stages and live music. It's the perfect time to explore Downtown Bellingham and discover a new favorite spot.

First Fridays have been a Bellingham tradition for over 20 years and is a great way to experience the community and connect with Whatcom County artists and locals.

Go to a Game Bar in Downtown Bellingham

When it doubt, putt putt it out!! Head to downtown Bellingham for a fun day or evening of trendy indoor sports. Flatstick Pub features nine holes of mini-golf, local beer, brick oven pizaa plus other unique games.

Bellingham Axe Throwing is exactly what it sounds like – a place to toss an axe in a sport similar to throwing darts, but with some extra excitement and flair.  

Check the Events Calendar

Use our itineraries to sightseesavor, and unwind through Bellingham and Whatcom County! Spend a few days being a tourist in this place you now call home. These specialized guides help you explore popular locations like Chuckanut Drive and Larrabee State Park, and also give you tips for the best ways to drive or hike Mount Baker.

You can also explore Bellingham and Whatcom County using one of our interactive mobile Quest Passes:

Culture Crawl

Just like we said earlier, engage in authentic local arts and culture (without hours of research) when you follow along the Culture Crawl! 

Forty-Ninth Parallel Ports Pass

Voyagers ahoy! Travel to the extreme NW peak of the US Pacific Northwest when you visit gorgeous port communities on the 49th parallel.

Farm to Table Trail

Calling all foodies! Discover local restaurants, farms, markets, and hot spots for a taste of Whatcom County’s best foodie experiences.

Coffee & Dessert

Through rain and snow, or the occasional crisp weather sun break, a mug of coffee fuels the PNW. Whether you are hitting the books or slopes this winter, Bellingham has a variety of local coffee shops where you can pick up your favorite drink or dessert. 

Breweries & Taprooms

Whatcom County is also home to 17 different breweries! We have created a FAQ sheet to help you keep track of family-friendly optionshappy hours, pet-friendly spots, and get the inside scoop on what makes each brewery unique. 

Restaurants & Dining 

Restaurants in this area (some of which are award-winning) take pride in using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible from surrounding area farms. We also encourage you to save time by making reservations or order take-out and enjoy the scenery. Open Table is a good starting point for booking reservations around the county. You can also check out the restaurant’s website to see if they offer reservations or order online and enjoy a meal on the go!  

21 & Under

Not 21? No worries. Bellingham and Whatcom County have plenty of options for college students who aren't of drinking age. Catch a show at The Blue Room or grab a mocktail at Quantum Leaf. Before 7pm, people under 21 can play around at Flatstick Pub. 

There could be a time when you have family coming up to help you move in or a friend visiting that would like to see the area. Check out our lodging page for a waterfront resort, mid-price hotels, or a bed & breakfast.  

Getting around Bellingham is easy, especially if you're starting at or near the Western Washington University campus. 

By bus: 

The Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) offers unlimited and free transit for WWU students. WWU students can use their Student Bus Pass to ride anywhere within WTA's bus system, including to Mount Vernon.

Western's campus is on the BLUE Line, which means that every 15 minutes, one bus departs toward Downtown and another departs down Bill McDonald Parkway. Routes on the BLUE Line have three-digit numbers (107, 190, etc.). 

By bike: 

Bellingham is an extremely bike-friendly town. With lots of roomy bike lanes, established bike routes, and greenways that help you avoid road traffic, biking is a a great alternative to driving or taking the bus. 

You don’t have to physically be here to experience Bellingham and Whatcom County. Explore with our virtual tours blog or book an exclusive virtual tour with the Good Time Girls. You can even invite your friends and family to ‘travel’ with you! 

Last but not least, don’t forget to share your photos with us on social! Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and tag us at Bellingham Experience for a chance to share your own Bellingham Experience on our page! You can also submit your shots to our annual Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County photo contest for a chance to win sweet local prizes. 

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Cheba-Con
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
5:00 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Cheba Hut
306 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA 98230
Flatstick Pub's Mini Golf State Championship!
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
6:00 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Flatstick Pub Bellingham
902 N State St, Bellingham, WA 98226
Pound: Rockout ~ Workout!
Monday, Oct 10, 2022
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Maritime Heritage Park Pavilion
514 W Holly Street, Bellingham , WA 98225
College Day at Neko Cat Cafe
Tuesday, Oct 11, 2022
12 p.m. -5:45 p.m.
NEKO Cat Cafe
1130 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Cheba Hut Trivia Night!
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Cheba Hut
306 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA 98230
Pound: Rockout ~ Workout!
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2022
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Maritime Heritage Park Pavilion
514 W Holly Street, Bellingham , WA 98225
Flatstick Pub's Study Hall - Free Mini Golf with Student ID
Thursday, Oct 13, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Flatstick Pub Bellingham
902 N State St, Bellingham, WA 98226
St. Olaf Orchestra at Western Washington University Performance Art Center
Sunday, Oct 16, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Western Washington University Performing Arts Center
515 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Pound: Rockout ~ Workout!
Monday, Oct 17, 2022
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Maritime Heritage Park Pavilion
514 W Holly Street, Bellingham , WA 98225
College Day at Neko Cat Cafe
Tuesday, Oct 18, 2022
12 p.m. -5:45 p.m.
NEKO Cat Cafe
1130 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225

Showing results 1 to 10 of 139


Cheba-Con
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
5:00 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Cheba Hut 306 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA 98230
Downtown First Friday
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Downtown Bellingham 1300 Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Flatstick Pub's Mini Golf State Championship!
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
6:00 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Flatstick Pub Bellingham 902 N State St, Bellingham, WA 98226
Griffin House at the Mount Baker Theatre
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Mount Baker Theatre 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Healing Hearts Lunch
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Bellingham Ferry Terminal 355 Harris Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Hellingham: An Improvised Murder Mystery
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
The Upfront Theatre 207 Prospect St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Friday Saturday, until October 29, 2022
Native Arts Collective Exhibit - Opening Reception
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Allied Arts of Whatcom County gallery 1418 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Spirit Things: the Secret Histories, Science, and Mythology of Objects on a Fishing Boat
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Village Books: 1200 11th St, Bellingham, WA 98225
The Uncanny Valley Show
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Make.Shift Art Space 306 Flora St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Distillery Tour and Tasting at Chuckanut Bay Distillery
Saturday, Oct 8, 2022
4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Chuckanut Bay Distillery 1311 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Saturday until May 13, 2023
Bellingham Farmers Market: Saturday Market
Saturday, Oct 8, 2022
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Depot Market Square 1100 Railroad Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Saturday until December 17, 2022
Punk Rock Patches Workshop at Make.Shift Art Space
Saturday, Oct 8, 2022
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Make.Shift Art Space 306 Flora St., Bellingham, WA 98225
The MegaZapper Electrical Show
Saturday, Oct 8, 2022
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention 1312 Bay Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Sunday Saturday, until December 31, 2022
Village Books Saturday Story Time
Saturday, Oct 8, 2022
11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Village Books and Paper Dreams 1200 11th St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Saturday until December 24, 2022
Pound: Rockout ~ Workout!
Monday, Oct 10, 2022
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Maritime Heritage Park Pavilion 514 W Holly Street, Bellingham , WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Monday Wednesday, until November 02, 2022
College Day at Neko Cat Cafe
Tuesday, Oct 11, 2022
12 p.m. -5:45 p.m.
NEKO Cat Cafe 1130 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Tuesday until December 27, 2022
Free Live Trivia at Flatstick Pub
Tuesday, Oct 11, 2022
7:00 p.m & 8:00 p.m.
Flatstick Pub 920 N State St Suite 105, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Tuesday until December 13, 2022
Cheba Hut Trivia Night!
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Cheba Hut 306 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA 98230
Bellingham Celtic Festival
Thursday, Oct 13, 2022
All day
Downtown Bellingham Businesses Bellingham, WA
Occurs: Every week on Sunday Thursday, Friday, Saturday, until October 16, 2022
Flatstick Pub's Study Hall - Free Mini Golf with Student ID
Thursday, Oct 13, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Flatstick Pub Bellingham 902 N State St, Bellingham, WA 98226
Occurs: Every week on Thursday until June 01, 2023
Industry Day at Neko Cat Cafe
Thursday, Oct 13, 2022
12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
NEKO Cat Cafe 1130 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Thursday until December 29, 2022
Magic Hour at the Mount Baker Theatre
Thursday, Oct 13, 2022
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Mount Baker Theatre 104 North Commercial Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Author Alyssa Quinn at Village Books
Friday, Oct 14, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Village Books Fairhaven 1200 11th Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Curator Tour of "Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art"
Friday, Oct 14, 2022
1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Lightcatcher Building 250 Flora St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Bewildered Book Launch at Village Books
Saturday, Oct 15, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Village Books and Paper Dreams 1200 11th St, Bellingham, Wa 98225
Destination Imagination Mini Workshop
Sunday, Oct 16, 2022
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Bellingham Coding and Robotics Club 1304 12th Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
St. Olaf Orchestra at Western Washington University Performance Art Center
Sunday, Oct 16, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Western Washington University Performing Arts Center 515 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Cheba Hut Trivia Night!!
Wednesday, Oct 19, 2022
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Cheba Hut 306 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA 98225
The Robert Cray Band at the Mount Baker Theatre
Wednesday, Oct 19, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Mount Baker Theatre 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Bellingham's Northwest Avalanche Center Benefit Party
Thursday, Oct 20, 2022
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
The Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewing Co. 1107 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
Lean in
Thursday, Oct 20, 2022
Oct 20,21,22 @ 7:30 p.m. and Oct 23 @ 5:00 p.m.
Firehouse Arts and Events Center 1314 Harris Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98226
Occurs: Every week on Sunday Thursday, Friday, Saturday, until October 23, 2022
TRAVELOGUE: In Search of the Perfect Night Sky Image
Thursday, Oct 20, 2022
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Whatcom Museum 121 Prospect St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Darlingside at the Mount Baker Theatre
Friday, Oct 21, 2022
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Mount Baker Theatre 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Open Roller Skate at the Depot Market Square
Friday, Oct 21, 2022
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Depot Market Square 1100 Railroad Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs:  10/21/2022, 11/18/2022, 12/16/2022
Intro to Urban Sketching Workshop at Make.Shift Art Space
Saturday, Oct 22, 2022
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Make.Shift Art Space 306 Flora St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Lewis Black: Off the Rails
Sunday, Oct 23, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Mount Baker Theatre 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Dance for people with Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders
Monday, Oct 24, 2022
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Firehouse Arts and Events Center 1314 Harris Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
Occurs: Every week on Monday until December 19, 2022
BODYTRAFFIC at the Mount Baker Theatre
Friday, Oct 28, 2022
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Mount Baker Theatre 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association Salmon Sighting Event
Saturday, Oct 29, 2022
12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Maritime Heritage Park 1600 C St. , Bellingham, WA 98225
Schweinhaus Halloween Party featuring Whalien & Smooth Kiwi
Saturday, Oct 29, 2022
8 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Schweinhaus Biergarten 1330 N State St, Bellingham, WA 98225
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Saturday, Oct 29, 2022
9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Mount Baker Theatre 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Downtown Trick-or-Treat
Monday, Oct 31, 2022
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Downtown Bellingham 1300 Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Welcome to "FEAR"Haven - Village Trick or Treat and Photo Booth
Monday, Oct 31, 2022
3pm - 6pm
Historic Fairhaven Village 1106 Harris Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
        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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