20 Best Things to Do in Bellingham, WA

Bellingham, WA
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A city of excitement, Bellingham is one of Washington's hidden gems.

The city is located quite close to the Canadian province of British Columbia and has a lot to offer its visitors.

With North Cascades National Park as its neighbor, it's also a hub for adventurous activities.

Bellingham is a friendly place with many natural sights to explore, including scenic lakes and rivers, majestic mountains, and vast state parks.

Interested in finding out what else the city has in store for tourists?

These are the best things to do in Bellingham, Washington:

Hike at Whatcom Falls Park

Daytime view of Whatcom Falls Park
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Whatcom Falls Park might be the greatest tourist attraction in Bellingham.

This 241-acre park boasts a lot of features, including four waterfalls and vast woodlands.

Nature trail at Whatcom Falls Park
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The moment you enter the park, your eyes will land on a moss-covered stone bridge from which you can enjoy scenic nature views.

If you consider yourself a nature lover, Whatcom Falls Park should be at the top of your list.

With beautiful scenes, hiking trails, BBQ grills, and even a fish hatchery, there's something for everyone at this park.

View of a bridge at Whatcom Falls Park during a misty morning
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Spend a Day at the Historic Fairhaven Village

Fairhaven
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Fairhaven Village was not so popular before 1889.

It slowly started gaining popularity due to its economic aspect and location.

The logging industry started to flourish, and its location near a seaport made Fairhaven quite a popular tourist destination.

Shops along Fairhaven Village
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With Victorian-era buildings built, brick roads, and beautiful views of Bellingham Bay, Fairhaven has made quite an impact on the tourism industry of Bellingham.

It's listed in the National Register of Historic Places, making it all the more famous.

An old passenger bus displayed on Fairhaven Village grounds
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Go Mountain Biking at Lake Padden Park

Sunset at Lake Padden Park
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The scenic Lake Padden is a nature lovers’ paradise in Bellingham.

Mountains, lakes, forests, and oceans can be viewed from Lake Padden Park.

Built on an area of 147 acres, Lake Padden Park is just a drive away from Bellingham's central area.

West entrance of Lake Padden Park
Robert Ashworth from Bellingham, WA., USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are many fishing options at the lake, which is filled with a vast variety of fish: cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and more.

Apart from fishing, there are other activities you can enjoy, such as paddle boating, motorboating, and picnicking.

There's also a playground for kids.

The best thing about this park is the serenity that surrounds it.

Aerial view of Lake Padden Park
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Enjoy Scenes of Bellingham Bay from Boulevard Park

The Boulevard Park pier in Bellingham
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Located in Bellingham's eastern area, the beautiful Boulevard Park serves as one of the town's most iconic spots.

A waterfront with views of Canada on one side and the United States on the other, the park is a favorite attraction among locals.

A sailboat on the Bellingham bay near Boulevard Park
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There are many trails where you can go hiking and enjoy panoramic views.

Want to catch the best sunset in Bellingham?

Boulevard Park is the city's top place to catch a glimpse of the heavenly sunset.

Couple sitting on Boulevard Park's bench near the shore Bellingham bay
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Admire the Majestic Lairmont Manor

Exterior of Lairmont Manor
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Lairmont Manor is one of Bellingham's most famous landmarks.

It's been around for over 100 years and is like a gathering place for important town meetings.

The house was built under the initiative of Charles X. Larrabee, commonly known as the founder of Bellingham.

He hired Seattle-based architect Carl F. Gould, Sr. to design his Italian Renaissance-style dream house featuring 25 rooms.

People mainly use this beautiful structure for special events and big weddings.

Go Boating at Lake Whatcom

Scenic view of Lake Whatcom
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Lake Whatcom single-handedly provides the drinking water for Bellingham's entire population of 100,000.

There is also a part of the lake that has been segregated for other recreational purposes.

You can go boating, fishing, or even swimming in Lake Whatcom.

Aerial view of Lake Whatcom
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There are also several hiking trails around the lake.

Hikers find these trails to be exquisite, as some of them follow the lake's outline and provide some of the best views.

The Hertz Trail is one of the most favored trails in Lake Whatcom.

Learn New Things at the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention

Interior of SPARK Museum of Electrical invention in Bellingham
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention is entirely dedicated to celebrating electricity.

This museum contains everything to know about the invention of electricity and the events that led up to it.

Static electricity exhibit in SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The artifacts in this museum cover a history of roughly 400 years.

Those fascinated by physics will be aware of the famous MegaZapper that is present, along with the other interesting documents.

Exhibits in SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention
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Go Biking at Galbraith Mountain

View from Galbraith Mountain
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Galbraith Mountain is one of the most touristy places in Bellingham.

It offers endless possibilities for different activities.

Adventurers mainly endorse this place as there are a lot of hiking and biking trails here.

It is officially maintained by the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition and boasts more than 50 miles of paved biking trails.

Members of the coalition frequently visit this place and highly encourage beginners to try them out.

There are beginner-friendly and expert-level paths on Galbraith Mountain.

Shop at the Bellingham Farmers Market

Vegetable display in Bellingham Farmers Market
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The famous Bellingham Farmers Market is located in the prime location of downtown Bellingham.

It takes place every Saturday from April to December and is the liveliest market in the city.

If you are a fan of organic products, the farmers' market is a must-visit.

It supports the local organic farms that bring their products to the table.

You can enjoy freshly prepared homemade goods and join in the events that take place in the square.

Catch a Show at the Mount Baker Theatre

Exterior of Mount Baker Theatre
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The Mount Baker Theatre is a huge theater located in Bellingham's exquisite arts district.

It not only supports local artists and shows, but it is also quite well-renowned for hosting international performances.

Constructed back in 1927, the theater is still going strong.

Though it went through many renovations in 1965, the theater still gives off a cool vintage vibe.

Catch a musical here if you get the opportunity to do so.

Take Snaps of the Scenic Larrabee State Park

Rock formations at Larrabee State Park
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Larrabee State Park has a lot of beauty and history attached to its name.

It also happens to be the first state park in Washington.

Situated in a gorgeous location amid the Cascade Mountain Ranges, Larrabee Park offers breathtaking views of the Chuckanut Mountains.

Rocky shore of Larrabee State Park
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Several hiking trails decorate the park.

The Oyster Dome Trail is the most famous of them, having both Samish Bay and San Juan island views.

Are you interested in spending a night under the stars?

The park has an area specifically dedicated to those who'd like to go camping.

A performing stage at Larrabee State Park
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Pay a Visit to the Vast Whatcom Museum

Exterior of Whatcom Museum
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Sponsored by the American Association of Museums, the Whatcom Museum is the ultimate place to see all the hype about Bellingham culture.

The museum is so vast that it takes more than a single day to explore it.

Interior of Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall
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It showcases more than 200,000 artifacts.

The collection is so extensive that the museum is spread across three buildings: the Old City Hall, the Lightcatcher, and Syre Education Center.

Whatcom Museum's lightcatcher building
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Learn about History at Sehome Hill

Steps at Sehome Hill Arboretum
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The Sehome Hill area has a rich cultural history.

Contributing significantly to Bellingham's economy, it has seen the participation of the locals in coal mining and logging.

It also can be considered an educational center of Bellingham.

The overuse of the area led to its very destruction, and 100 acres of this rich land is now stated as preserved land of Bellingham.

Mountain view of Sehome Hill
Robert Ashworth from Bellingham, WA., USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are into rocks, you must visit this area to see its various rock formations.

Sehome Hill provides some of the best views of Bellingham.

There is also a place perfect for you if you want to try meditation in the great outdoors.

The Quiet Rocks are used by many to find some calm amid chaos.

Take Photos with the Installations at Big Rock Garden Park

The Big Rock Garden Park has a total area of around 2.5 acres.

There are a few amenities and at least 30 different sculptures.

Do you wish to begin your day by taking a leisurely stroll around a serene park, all by yourself?

If you do, be sure to visit this garden of sculptures.

Visitors may enjoy a permanent outdoor display of sculptures by prominent artists in the form of evergreens, a gazebo, restricted parking, and facilities that are both accessible and well-maintained.

Take a stroll through this hidden gem on a calm morning to enjoy the peace and quiet.

As you move around, these sculptures are created from various materials, including concrete, granite, steel, bronze, and more.

Other activities include jogging, relaxing in the gazebo while reading, taking photographs of the gorgeous landscapes, and more.

Discover Different Sea Creatures at the Marine Life Center

The Marine Life Center sits on the banks of Bellingham Bay and is an excellent place for families to visit.

Looking for things to do in Bellingham on a budget?

If that's the case, seeing this fantastic aquarium for free is an excellent option.

This is a place where you may learn about and engage with local aquatic creatures.

Traveling with friends or family to the Bellingham Marine Life Center is one of the most incredible ways to see the city's diverse array of marine life.

Check out hermit crabs and octopi and a wide variety of fish species in the water.

Shop till You Drop at Bellis Fair

Bellis Fair launched in August 1988 with several shops and six anchor tenants.

Nothing beats a day of shopping at this mall when it comes to stress relief.

It's a great spot to go shopping, with retailers like Target, H&M, Forever 21, Macy's, and JCPenney.

It also has various dining options, along with services like rental facilities, a children's play area, parking, and more.

Take a pause from touring and outdoor pursuits to indulge in retail therapy at this world-famous mall.

Shop for apparel, shoes, furniture, accessories, make-up, gadgets, jewelry, and more.

To recharge your batteries after a day of shopping, dine at one of Bellis Fair's restaurants or get your nails done at a salon.

Cap Off Your Day at Stones Throw Brewery

Founded in April 2016, Stones Throw Brewery is a local favorite and top-rated brewery in Fairhaven.

This brewery is an excellent choice to spend a relaxing afternoon with your pals or significant other.

It has a beer garden, a patio featuring a fire pit, outdoor seating, skylights, and more.

After a full day of traveling and experiencing the city, unwind with your pals at Stones Throw Brewery.

Indulge in cool drinks like a handcrafted craft beer or a glass of wine while you relax.

This brewery is surrounded by several food trucks, which provide a wide range of alternatives, including vegetarian dishes, juicy barbecues, and chicken masala.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Get Amazed by the Picturesque Lummi Island

Aerial view of Lummi Island
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Want to bless your eyes with something colorful and vibrant?

Lummi Island has got just what you need.

Home to a fascinating community of artists and craftsmen, Lummi Island boasts beautiful art galleries and art-filled streets.

Paintings, photographs, arts, and sculptures can be found in every nook and cranny.

The Willows Inn is an excellent place to stay if you want to spend a luxurious night here.

You can find a few fancy restaurants here, too.

Go Skiing at Mt. Baker Ski Area

People skiing on Mount Baker Ski Area
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Want an Alps-like experience right in the heart of North America?

Visit the magnificent Mt. Baker Ski Area and try out your skiing skills.

It is just 56 miles from Bellingham and happens to be America’s one of the most prominent skiing destinations.

Skiers at Mt. Baker Ski Area
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Locals call this a skier’s paradise, for the royal slopes of Mt. Baker are extremely snowy and powdery.

The 1,000-acre ski area receives almost 600 inches of snowfall every winter.

There are a lot of events hosted on Mt. Baker every year, including several snowboarding competitions.

Ski and snowboard tracks on Mt. Baker Ski Area
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Final Thoughts

It is possible to have a great time on land and at sea in this magnificent city.

Treat yourself to Bellingham's various attractions, including stunning state parks, eye-catching museums, active commercial areas, dynamic theaters, and intriguing historical sites.