Bellingham, Washington, has a reputation amongst those in the know for its outdoorsy appeal, eco-friendly ways and bustling harbor. But that is to underestimate this truly pleasant city’s cultural charms, historic, artistic and atmospheric. With a population of roughly 80,000 and set a hop skip from both Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British, Columbia (both cultured cities to be reckoned with), Bellingham, Washington, has become over the years a force in its own right, home to modest clutch of museums and host to a numerous arts-oriented organizations. Happily, the cultural offerings available aren’t overwhelming in scope, so with a day or two of exploring you should be able to get a thumb on the pulse of this lovely green city.
A good place to start is the Whatcom Museum, housed in the Old City Hall building, an all-in-one stop that takes in art, history, nature and family-friendly exhibits within its walls. For more in the historic vein, try the Lynden Pioneer Museum (about 15 miles to the north), the Bellingham Railway Museum or the American Museum of Radio and Electricity. Interested in some creative, educational fun? Try Mindport, a unique facility that showcases both fine and interactive art. Keep an eye on the Bellingham events calendar, too. Watch for the annual Bellingham Festival of Music, the True/False Film Festival and regular concerts as part of The Jazz Project in season, as well as productions in theatre and the performing arts. With some time to spare, also enjoy a wander through local galleries, where you just might find the perfect souvenir.
A sunny, warm day in Bellingham? Then be sure to check out the Big Rock Garden of Art and detour up to Blaine for a look around Peace Arch International Park. You can also have a look at Canada just across the border, provided you didn’t come prepared with a passport.