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Imagine a slightly less gentrified slice of Portland, OR, broken off and towed 250 miles to the north. Welcome to laid-back Bellingham, a green, liberal and famously livable settlement that has a distinctly libertine, nothing-is-too-weird ethos. Mild in both manners and weather, the city is an unlikely alliance of espresso-sipping students, venerable retirees and all-weather triathletes, with brewpubs on every corner.

Historically, Bellingham was four different towns – Fairhaven, Sehome, Whatcom and Bellingham – that amalgamated into a single metro area in the late 19th century. Despite vestiges of its industrial past along the waterfront, and a flirtation with out-of-town 1980s mall development directed mainly toward bargain-hunting Canadians, Bellingham's downtown has been revitalized in recent years with intra-urban trails, stylishly refurbished warehouses, independent food co-ops, tasty brunch spots and – in genteel Fairhaven – a rejuvenated historic district.

Explore Bellingham

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Bellingham.


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