With snow-capped Mount Baker in its backyard and the Salish Sea at its door-step, the city of Bellingham Washington, is a true coastal paradise engulfed in nature. Combining breathtaking landscape with the quirky culture, this gem of the Pacific Northwest attracts a blend of outdoor enthusiasts, socially responsible entrepreneurs and artists.
City of Subdued Excitement is the curious moniker of this Pacific Northwest town, 85 miles north of Seattle, situated at the jumping off point of one of the most iconic cruising playgrounds in North America, the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands.
Perhaps the word subdued is included in its nickname due to the take-your- breath-away natural beauty that surrounds it. The accessibility to outdoor recreational activities include once-in-a-lifetime skiing, biking and boating.
If the first-rate biking ad hiking trail system doesn't excite you, visit the Tap Trail to access the many boutique brewpubs in the city. The sophisticated cultural scene also should not be missed, including The Upfront Theatre, home to the king of improv, Ryan Stiles, and the Pickford Film Center, a rare independent movie theater and host of Bellingham Music Film Festival.
A visit to Bellingham is not complete without a trip to the Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building. This first LEED registered museum in the state is a spectacular translucent wall spanning 37 feet high and 180 feet in length while capturing the Northwest's most precious natural resource: sunlight.
Take a stroll through the beautiful campus of Western Washington University to witness over 20 sculptures by world-renowned artists. To excite your taste buds, don't miss the unique flavors of Mallard Ice Cream and wine on tap at Vinostrology.
Slightly south of Bellingham, make a visit to the historic Fairhaven neighbor-hood. Comprised of four square blocks of century old brick buildings, Fairhaven is also jam-packed with charming locally owned shops and unique restaurants with views of Bellingham Bay. Continue your exploration with a bike ride or walk down the two mile trail along South Bay Trail from downtown Bellingham. Some additional highlights of Fairhaven include Village Books, Rocket Donuts & Acme Ice Cream, The Black Cat and Övn Wood Fired Pizza.
This full-service marina on the northeastern shore of Bellingham Bay serves both recreational and commercial fishing vessels.
Rock and Rye Oyster House
(1145 N. State St.)
A true oyster lover's oasis, happy hour at this downtown Bellingham restaurant features locally sourced and seasonally available produce and seafood.
(221 W. Holly St.)
This all-day cafe offers comfort meals that entice such as Hen of the Woods Porridge for breakfast and Beer Ramen and Rosemary Lamb Burgers for dinner.
Aslan Brew Pub & Depot
(1330 N. Forest St.)
Known for producing organic ales, lagers and soda using sustainable practices, Aslan Brew Pub & Depot Open also offers a full range of mouth-watering burgers and tofu kabobs.
Fairhaven Keenan's at the Pier
(804 10th St.)
True to its name, Keenan's capitalizes on its magnificent panorama of Bellingham Bay and the Alaska ferry terminal offering an extensive wine list and seafood fare.