You’ve been scouring the internet, trying to find your perfect next home. I know you’re looking for a smaller town, a slower pace, access to the mountains, the bay, trails, and gorgeous lakes. I know you are wondering, “Is this the place? Will Bellingham be my next home?” I know this all, because I have been there, I have done it. There is only so much you can discover online about a place. You HAVE to visit it to know if it is right for you!
Whether your visit is for the weekend or for a whole week, there are certain things you should do, and certain places you should see, so you can really get the feel of Bellingham. These are my best choices of places to go and must sees here in Bellingham.
Boulevard Park, Taylor Dock, and Fairhaven
This is the perfect recipe to fall in love with Bellingham. I will suggest this any day of the year, and it will always be spectacular. Drive to Boulevard Park at 470 Bayview Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225. Here you will find spectacular views, access to the bay, and often impromptu shows in the park. Walk past the coffee house out onto Taylor Dock and enjoy the dog walkers, free range kids, and occasional stunt jumpers into the bay. If you’re lucky you will catch site of otters or a seal. This 20-30 minute stroll leads you right into the center of Fairhaven. Mosey up the sidewalks, stop at Village Books, the 3 story bookstore, and eat at Colophon Cafe right next door. If you want something fancier, try The Black Cat, situated in Bellingham’s most haunted building at 1200 Harris Ave Suite 310. To end the night try ACME Ice Cream Cafe at 1021 Harris Ave, or Sirena Gelato at 960 Harris Ave. While you are walking around Harris Ave, be sure to look down. You will see one of my favorite things along the ground in random places. If you time it right, walk back to your car at Boulevard Park when the sun is setting. You’re welcome.
Now that you have fallen in love with Fairhaven, it’s time you feel the real pulse of Bellingham and experience downtown. I am writing this during COVID times, but I am hoping when you are reading this we are past those times. If you can catch a show at historic Mount Baker Theater, located at 104 N Commercial Street, but easily located by its iconic spire, it is a chance you should not pass up. There is also always Pickford Film Center at 1318 Bay Street which shows an eclectic selection of films that usually make you think long after the film has ended. Walk around town and grab some tacos at The Black Sheep at 211 Holly Street, and shop for cool things from trendy jewelry to glass blown marijuana paraphernalia at Third Planet at 200 W. Holly St. I don’t drink, but if you do there are many breweries throughout downtown like GRUFF Brewing Co located at 104 E. Maple Street, and if you want to stay out late catch a live show at The Wild Buffalo at 208 W. Holly Street. One of my favorite evening past times is Up Front Theatre, Ryan Stiles’ comedy and improv theatre.
There are 25 neighborhoods in Bellingham proper, check out the neighborhood map HERE, and other neighborhoods like Geneva and Sudden Valley right are right outside of Bellingham proper. Each neighborhood really holds a unique feel and I strongly suggest you take some time to drive or walk through the neighborhoods that have homes in the price range you are hoping to spend. If you want to drool over gorgeous turn of the century homes with all of their charm and elegance in place my very favorite neighborhood is the Columbia neighborhood on the north side of Bellingham. Following close behind is South Hill behind Fairhaven, Sunnyland, and Cornwall Park…especially the homes along Broadway Park. That said there are beautiful homes in every neighborhood, and of course these drool worthy neighborhoods are the most pricey neighborhoods. Don’t miss getting a feel for neighborhoods that you could live in while you are visiting, it may really help you narrow down your search and help you feel confident if you decide to buy remotely.
Whatcom Falls Park is iconic Bellingham in so many ways. The gorgeous stone bridge overlooking the falls is easily accessed from the parking lot off of Lakeway (on Silver Beach Road). The trail system is so diverse here you can walk a different path dozens of times. Whatcom Falls Park features a fish hatchery, swimming holes, and trails. The trails will take you to Bloedel Donavan Park, and connect you to a variety of other trails that can take you all throughout Bellingham. My favorite is to walk the off leash dog area down to the Bayview Cemetery. Bayview is one of my other favorite places to walk.
Sudden Valley is a neighborhood I am including on its own because it is close to Bellingham, but the property is far less expensive than in Bellingham proper. I have written extensively about Sudden Valley HERE. Take a drive out to Sudden Valley while you are here so you know if you want to consider this unique place for your next home. Drive around the roads, check out the driveways, visit the marina, and view the golf course. This neighborhood has over 3100 homes, so it is huge. Driving around will only show you a small part of this neighborhood, but it is worth the time if you are considering Sudden Valley in your home search.
Zuanich Park and Squalicum Harbor
Zuanich Park and Squalicum Harbor did not make my radar until I had lived here for some time, so when I found it it was like finding a gold mine. Zuanich Park is right on the bay with a walking path around playgrounds, park benches, and green fields. You can see seals and otters often from the walking path, and watch boats going by. You can also walk on the docks here and check out the luxury yachts and the commercial fishing boats side by side. There is so much I have learned by observing the huge commercial fishing boats as I walk this park and harbor. This is one place you really see the polar opposites that are so apparent in Bellingham….luxury yachts and their owners right next to the commercial fishermen. It is also a spectacular place to watch the sun set.
Artist Point and Nooksack Falls
If you are here for more than a few days, and it isn’t winter or spring time, taking a drive out to Mount Baker’s Artist Point....enjoying the gorgeous views along the way, is time very well spent. You will see storybook red barns against rolling green fields. You will see family owned farms do still exist, and they are just about the most beautiful things. Along the way stop at Nooksack falls and see the icy blue grey water flowing into the Nooksack river. On your way back stop at North Fork Brewery for some of the best brews and food you ever wished for. If you’re heading out in the morning, the Wake and Bakery is a fantastic stop as well.
There are so many things I left out of this post, but I don’t want to overwhelm you when you only have a limited time to get a feel of the Bellingham area. You are making a huge decision, and if you do decide to relocate here you will be welcomed with open arms. Read HERE why I chose to make Bellingham my next home. Bellingham is my forever home, and I haven’t regretted that decision once since I made it.
If you are ready to start looking at homes while you are visiting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I love working with buyers, and I would love for you to have as much information as you can gather while visiting. Don’t worry if you’re not ready to buy right away. I’m patient, and this way we will get to meet each other. Call me or text me at 360-325-9076, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with you!