Where art, adventure and brews abound

Bellingham

Tongue in cheekily nicknamed the city of subdued excitement, Bellingham is a booming brewpub town, a hub of outdoor adventurers and a beautiful place to visit. In Bellingham, parks abound, and people often find themselves on a hike, at a lake or down on the shore. There is no end of boating and water-based activities, and a short drive away is Mount Baker, just waiting for your next alpine hike. The summers in Bellingham are warm and pleasant and the parks fill up with hammocks and people throwing disks to their friends and dogs alike.

Bellingham is home to nearly 90,000 people, but one would never know it. Walking around Bellingham feels like  a small town, where people smile at those who pass them on the street, and the baristas at the many coffee shops know their regulars by name.

Established in the early 1900s when the towns of Sehome, Whatcom, Fairhaven and Bellingham were amalgamated, Bellingham is a collaborative hub. Bellinghamsters don’t hesitate to share their knowledge and recommendations about what to do in Bellingham.

Through the summer, the Saturday Farmers Market is an experience not to be missed. Throngs of locals make their way through booths sporting local art, wares, fares and produce. There are face painters and hula-hoopers sure to light up the eyes of any little ones. Located at Depot Square, attending the farmer’s market in the morning places you in the heart of downtown, so you’re already in the right place to see an independent film at the Pickford, continue shopping at local businesses, or find somewhere to stop for a bite to eat.

Alternately, if you find yourself in town on a Wednesday in June through August, head over to the Barkley Village Market from 3 to 7 p.m. to find farm fresh food, peruse crafts and take in some local entertainment.

Shopping in Bellingham is an exercise in supporting local business. From local bookstores to running stores and from eateries to antiquaries there are treasures for every interest. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Wherever you are in Bellingham, good food is just moments away. Whatever kind of adventure you find yourself on in the ‘Ham, as the locals call it, you’re sure to find yourself soaking up local culture, local brews and you’ll probably find yourself melting into that famous local chilled out and relaxed attitude.

The culture of Bellingham is truly what sets it apart. In the evenings, the local breweries are full of hipsters drinking their IPAs and adventurers carbo-loading on Oatmeal stout after a fun day of outdoor activities. Dietary restrictions are rarely a problem in Bellingham, as most restaurants have gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options readily available. A local cider will not disappoint as a gluten-free alternative to those Bellingham brews.

If you imbibe too much of that local beer, you may find yourself in need of coffee in the morning, and Bellingham will not disappoint you either. Local coffee is around every corner, each coffee shop sporting a different vibe. Artisan or off the wall, Bellingham has the coffee shop that will fit you. Many coffee shops have local art for sale so support a starving artist or two.

You’ll find that art abounds in Bellingham in the form of galleries, city sponsored sidewalk sculptures and occasional murals. Check out the Whatcom Museum or the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention. Visit Western Washington University’s campus for more outdoor art. Wander through WWU’s arboretum to find yourself at the observation tower, where you will take in a breathtaking view of the city and Bellingham Bay.

Each year, Seafest celebrates Bellingham’s history of commercial salmon fishing which is still a big part of Bellingham today. Seafest is an annual two-day event held September 21 and 22, 2019. The event features music and entertainment, demonstrations and competitions, as well as tons of delicious seafood.

For outdoor activities, take in a Bellingham Bells baseball game, or head to Lake Padden for paddle boarding. Ride the interurban trail on a bike or stroll through Whatcom Falls and wade in the cool, shaded water. Muse in shades of green while exploring the sculptures in the wooded glens of the Big Rock Garden on Sylvan Street. Beauty in Bellingham is around every corner, so come and seek it out.

For more information visit Bellingham.org.

Suggested Itinerary

Arrive on a Saturday by10 a.m. and head straight over to the Bellingham Farmers Market for a quick breakfast and some tasty snacks for later.

With your hiking boots or mountain bike in hand, head to some of the greatest mount biking or hiking trails in Whatcom County. After a good ride or hike check in to The Chrysalis Inn & Spa Bellingham, Curio Collection by Hilton. There you will be able to enjoy a luxurious bath or spacious shower overlooking Bellingham Bay. Schedule a massage for Sunday morning; your tired muscles will thank you.

But as for Saturday night, take the short walk into Fairhaven and over to Stones Throw Brewery for a nice cold one (their ginger beer is amazing). A food truck will be parked outside, so you can eat dinner under the heated tents while enjoying the Fairhaven summer air or inside the pub.

For those interested in beer, Bellingham has more of breweries per capita than Seattle; and Seattle has the most breweries in the U.S. Bellingham’s Tap Trail will help any beer enthusiasts learn about Bellingham breweries.

For those folks more interested in galleries than brews, Fairhaven has an abundance of wonderful galleries, such as Good Earth Pottery, which is right down the street from Village Books and Paper Dreams, a bookstore/gift shop with a little something to appeal to anyone who walks in. If you get back to The Chrysalis before 9 p.m., head down to their spa to enjoy a steam in their slate steam room.

In the morning after a massage at the spa, have some brunch at Keenan’s at the Pier the restaurant at the Chrysalis.

At noon, head into downtown Bellingham and check out the Whatcom Museum. If the day is just too beautiful to stay inside, you can take lessons or rent canoes, kite surfing equipment, paddle boards or sail boats at Kite Paddle Surf , Community Boating Center, or San Juan Sailing.

After a glorious weekend, grab some coffee at one of Bellingham or Fairhaven’s many coffee houses and head on home.

Check out these other communities:

Fairhaven

 A small place with a big reputation

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Lummi Island

 Plenty of places for the outdoor adventurer

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Birch Bay

 The destination for good, old-fashioned beachside fun

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