Bellingham is an outdoor enthusiasts' paradise, but don't forget about all the arts and culture.
Bellingham’s downtown features a diverse array of venues, including the Pickford Film Center, the Upfront Theatre, the Idiom Theatre and the historic Mount Baker Theatre, the latter serving as home to the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. And each summer, Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center plays host to the Bellingham Festival of Music, where principal players from major U.S. and European orchestras come together to perform classical music concerts.
The Whatcom Museum occupies three buildings in downtown Bellingham’s cultural district, including the distinctive, 42,000-square-foot Lightcatcher building, which features a translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long. History buffs will also enjoy the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention (formerly the American Museum of Radio & Electricity), the Bellingham Railway Museum, the Heritage Flight Museum, Jerns Military History Museum and the Bellingham Maritime Museum.
Western Washington University is home to one of the top outdoor sculpture collections in the country. And Bellingham’s Big Rock Garden Park features dozens of works by distinguished international artists.
Bellingham has a well-deserved reputation as a pedestrian- and bike-friendly community, and there are countless hiking and mountain biking trails throughout the region. Being in proximity to the San Juan Islands and Bellingham Bay, sea kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding are also popular. Meanwhile, fishermen gravitate to Lake Padden, which is stocked with rainbow, kokanee and cutthroat trout, while golfers favor Lake Padden Golf Course, one of nine challenging, picturesque golf courses in the area.
Belllingham’s 100-mile Sea-to-Ski race is held each year on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The seven-leg relay race – featuring cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, running, cycling, canoeing, mountain biking and kayaking – begins on the snowfields of Mount Baker and ends at Marine Park, with the Fairhaven Festival held near the finish line.