How often have you traveled to some faraway place, only to realize that there were some insider tips you wish you’d known before?
If it has happened to you once, it has probably happened to you more than once! That’s why I created this Bellingham WA travel tips guide – to help future visitors see the true beauty of Bellingham and enjoy their trip even more.
You won’t find travel advice like this anywhere else! So get ready to see the best parts of Bellingham! Here are some top tips for making your stay in Bellingham safe and fun! But before this, you can also check out the best things to do in Bellingham, Washington.
Let’s get started!
Bellingham WA Travel Tips: Your Official Guide to Visiting
What To See And Do
You’re not in your hometown anymore; you’re in a new place. You don’t know anyone and everything is different!
To make your stay enjoyable, it’s a good idea to take some time to explore and experience all that a new city has to offer. Use these travel tips as your official guide for exploring Bellingham, WA, when you visit.
When you arrive, the first thing to do is get out of your hotel room and start exploring. Some of our favorite things to see and do in Bellingham are the following.
After arriving at Bellingham International Airport (BLI), take an Uber ride downtown to Fort Worden State Park. It’s one of our favorite places in town!
The park features stunning views of Puget Sound and San Juan Island and several beautiful buildings left over from its days as an active military base.
The abandoned officers quarters are particularly interesting, with historical photos on display throughout several rooms showcasing what life was like here during World War II.
Be sure to check out the ruins of Battery Caulfield while you’re there – they provide an awesome view of Stuart Island beyond! From Fort Worden, drive down Chuckanut Drive towards downtown Bellingham.
Along the way, you’ll pass through Fairhaven Village, full of great shops and restaurants. One of our favorites is The Red Door Saloon & Eatery.
They have live music every night, and their menu includes tons of local beers on tap and delicious seafood dishes such as Dungeness crab mac n’ cheese or salmon tacos.
If you’d rather enjoy your meal outside than indoors, we recommend sitting at their outdoor patio tables overlooking Saratoga Passage.
From Fairhaven Village, continue along Chuckanut Drive until you reach Downtown Bellingham where there’s plenty more to see and do!
Where To Eat
If you’re a foodie, Bellingham is for you. With small neighborhood restaurants serving up global cuisine and plenty of casual cafes and coffee shops offering locally-roasted espresso and fresh baked goods, there’s something here for everyone.
And it’s all fairly affordable, especially if you compare what you pay here to Seattle. While some of my favorite spots are listed below, ask your hotel concierge or local bartender where they like to eat in town. You’re bound to get some great recommendations!
Here are my top picks For Breakfast/Brunch:
Nicki’s Bella Marina (2615 S Harbor Loot) – This adorable little cafe has been around since 1977 and serves up delicious breakfast fare seven days a week.
The menu offers everything from eggs benedict to French toast with an array of toppings, including blueberries, bananas, strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate chips, and pecans.
You can also order items à la carte, such as pancakes or french toast, making it easy to customize your meal based on how hungry you are (or how many people you’re dining with).
For lunch, try their famous chicken salad sandwich, which comes served on homemade bread with lettuce and tomato plus mayo on request. Yum!
My other go-to spot is
Saffron Thai Cuisine (1722 Railroad Ave) is located just north of downtown. I love that they offer both Thai and American dishes, so I always feel like I have options no matter what mood I’m in.
It’s one of those places that feels fancy without being overpriced or pretentious, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your budget while enjoying a nice meal out.
La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza & Pasta (1235 Bay St #100) – Located just south of downtown, La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza & Pasta offers traditional Italian dishes and wood-fired pizzas cooked in a 900-degree oven.
I recommend sitting at the bar so you can watch them prepare your food in front of you. Plus, it’s fun to chat with locals who often stop by after work to grab a drink and catch up with friends. They also have an extensive wine list featuring Italy, France, and California selections.
No matter what time of year you visit, check out Downriggers Restaurant & Bar (1401 N State St), located right on scenic Chuckanut Drive overlooking Samish Bay.
Open year-round, Downriggers features indoor seating and large outdoor decks complete with heaters and fire pits during colder months.
Their seafood is sourced from local waters, and they also have a full bar with an impressive cocktail menu. After dinner, you can walk across the street to downtown Bellingham for some live music or a movie at The Pickford Cinema.
If you’re looking for a low-key night out, I suggest checking out any of these bars in downtown Bellingham: Bula Kava House (1325 N Commercial St) – A funky little kava house that offers more than 40 types of kava drinks as well as beer and wine.
If you’ve never tried kava before, it’s worth stopping in to learn more about it and decide whether or not it’s your thing.
Where To Stay
Whether you’re a hotel person or an Airbnb kind of traveler, Bellingham has plenty of options.
The city has everything from five-star hotels and resorts that make you feel like you’re staying at a tropical resort to cheap and cozy Airbnb listings that offer more personality than a generic hotel room.
Most accommodations in Bellingham are located within walking distance of restaurants and other attractions. Even if you want to explore further outside the city, it won’t be difficult or time-consuming to get out for some sightseeing.
Plus, several ferry services are running up and down Washington State’s coast, making day trips easy no matter where your accommodations are.
If you don’t have a car (or don’t want to rent one), hop on one of these ferries instead. They can take you across Puget Sound and drop you off right near downtown Bellingham.
Where To Shop
Downtown is perfect for any fashionista. There are several boutique clothing stores with one-of-kind fashions and accessories.
If you prefer more mainstream shopping experiences, then walk a few blocks down towards Sam’s Club, where you will find large department stores like JC Penney and Macy’s.
Bellingham is also an excellent spot for grocery shopping at big chain markets like Fred Meyer or Safeway.
For some unique finds in groceries and unique wares overall, check out two markets on Cornwall Avenue called Downtown Market Bellingham and Main Market Co-op.
They carry local products that you won’t find anywhere else. And if you want to get your hands on fresh produce, try The Growers’ Market right next door!
They have everything from organic fruits and vegetables to locally made honey and baked goods. It’s all certified organic, so it’s a great place to shop if you’re looking for healthy options.
Bellingham Tourist Attractions
If you’re a traveler, you’ll quickly discover that Bellingham has enough sightseeing opportunities to keep you busy.
If you want an exhilarating experience while visiting, head over to Mt. Baker. This state park is situated around 10 miles south of town and offers plenty of ways for travelers to enjoy all that Washington’s forests offer.
If camping is your thing (and even if it isn’t), there are many campsites on site where you can pitch a tent and get away from it all. Just be sure to bring some warm clothes. It gets cold at night up here!
Another popular tourist attraction in Bellingham is Chuckanut Drive. It’s a 17-mile road that runs along a cliff above Samish Bay and features some beautiful views, especially during sunset.
You can drive or bike along Chuckanut Drive, but we recommend bringing a camera. The scenery will make you want to stop every few minutes so you can take pictures!
And finally, if you like hiking trails, don’t miss out on hiking in Whatcom Falls Park. About five different trails wind through lush forests and lead to scenic waterfalls. The best part?
Popular places to visit in Bellingham
Bellingham is a major city located in northwest Washington. The population of Bellingham is about 80 thousand people. No matter what season you visit, you can visit some amazing places when visiting Bellingham.
Here are some of my favorites. You should check out the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. This museum offers art and history from all over America and even has an extensive collection of Northwest Coast Native American art.
You will find something for everyone here. If you’re looking for more information on the Whatcom Museum of History and Art or if you want to see more great places to visit in Bellingham, then please click here.
I hope these tips were helpful! Please feel free to share them with your friends and family by clicking one of the social media buttons above or below! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I would love to hear from you!
Don’t forget that Washington is not only about Seattle. Bellingham is a wonderful place to live and work. Make sure you visit our beautiful country on your next travel adventure.
Come back and tell us what you think of our state when you visit, and don’t forget your WA travel tips. Thanks for reading my Bellingham travel tips. I hope they help make your next trip truly memorable.
We love visitors, so please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. And if you have any WA travel tips of your own, please share them in the comments below!