Bellingham, you might know, is a vibrant and beautiful college town of roughly 90,000 people. We’re tucked into the northwest corner of Washington state, with a coastline that kisses the Salish Sea. We’re also within less than an hour’s drive of the pristine Mount Baker wilderness.
It goes without saying, then, that there is a TON to do in and around Bellingham.
But what if you only have half a day? Never fear. We have a short tour of downtown businesses sure to keep you and your crew entertained during your 12 hours in Bellingham. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., here’s a sample itinerary for a fun day with friends or family in downtown Bellingham:
10 a.m. to noon: Brunchtime! Downtown Bellingham is packed with delicious places to eat. Pick a good-looking restaurant or cafe from this list and enjoy a bite while taking in the growing vibe of the city as it wakes up and gets humming. Just be sure you get plenty of fuel for the day ahead!
Noon to 1 p.m.: Just a short jaunt down Bay Street from SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, at the intersection with W. Holly Street, is Mindport, which offers a number of really cool interactive exhibits and finely crafted art, combined in a way that’s unique to Bellingham. Spend a leisurely hour here wandering your way through the building and pondering the interactive exhibits. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
1 to 2 p.m.: Not only is Whatcom Museum a Bellingham icon, it’s also brimming with fun activities for the family. In the classic Old City Hall building, you’ll find historical exhibits and public events, while the Lightcatcher building has art galleries and the Family Interactive Gallery, or FIG. The buildings are close to each other, but you’ll probably need to pick just one to make the most of your hour. Like SPARK and Mindport, Whatcom Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
2 to 4 p.m.: SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention: You already know about us and our kid-friendly museum. We’re the only place in Bellingham where you can experience indoor lightning with every visit! If it’s a Saturday or Sunday, catch the MegaZapper show at 2:30 before playing with the interactive exhibits and touring all of the fascinating displays of electrical history.
4 to 5 p.m.: From SPARK, it’s another short walk around the corner to Commercial Street, where you’ll find the Bellingham Railway Museum. In addition to a number of working trains that — with a nostalgia-inducing clickety-clack — trundle through model cities, countrysides and mountain tunnels, the museum features displays of train-related artifacts, such as a variety of old railway lanterns and models of 1/2-inch scale lumber trains. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
5 to 6:30 p.m.: Next, spend 90 minutes at the Heady Virtual Reality Arcade, a new VR arcade and snack bar that’s just one more block toward the water from Mindport, on the left just before you get to the Upfront Theater. It has been getting rave reviews in its short time in Bellingham. Go check it out for a new way to see the world!
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Yes, that’s the dinner bell! After leaving the train museum, grab a cup of coffee, a beer or a bite to eat at one of Bellingham’s many downtown restaurants and relax before an evening of entertainment.
7:30 to 10 p.m.: Just up Commercial past the intersection with Champion Street is the inimitable Mt Baker Theatre. The historic building is packed with entertaining events all year long, from music to movies to speeches and stand-up comedy. Just be sure to get your tickets early, as shows often sell out.
There you have it! A fun half-day in Bellingham. All of these stops are within a two-block radius, and all are consistently ranked among the top indoor attractions in Bellingham. Do you have other ideas for this list of things to do in Bellingham? Just let us know.