Where is Bellingham?

One of the most common questions about our beautiful corner of the PNW seems to be: "Where is Bellingham?" 

We would love to address this inquiry! I have curated a list of landmarks to help place Bellingham for our readers; using the heart of downtown, I will show how close we are to infamous locations! 

1. UpFront Theatre: 2 minutes, 0.3 miles. Just a 2 minute jaunt will get you to the theatre run by Ryan Stiles, producer of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?". There, you can see him perform, or run into him at local restaurants and shopping centers!

2. Sehome High School: 9 minutes, 2.2 miles. In under ten minutes, you can find yourself at the high school campus that welcomed award-winning actress Hilary Swank, and members of R.E.M and The Posies, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer. 

3. Western Washington University: 6 minutes, 1.8 miles. For fans of the parody show "Portlandia" (comedic gold), the bands Wild Flag and Sleater-Kinney, you'll be impressed to know that lead actress, guitarist and singer Carrie Brownstein attended WWU! Additionally, Odesza was formed during the members' WWU attendance; Jason McGerr (drummer) & Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie were also students of WWU.  

4. KUGS-FM: 5 minutes, 1.3 miles. As you head southwest from the heart of downtown, you will start to hear the rumble of our well-regarded local radio station run by college students; you will hear a variety of genres including 1960's - 1970's Philedelphia Soul music pioneered by Thom Bell! Thom made waves in this genre with his work on music for the Spinners, the Delfonics and the Stylistics (he even sang with Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates). He and his family moved to Bellingham in 1998 after falling in love with it in the '60's, remembering fondly "how nice the people were."

Pictured here: Thom Bell in Fairhaven, WA. Picture borrowed from Seattletimes.com

5. Fragrance Lake Trailhead: 18 minutes, 8.0 miles. Driving to this trailhead is an experience in and of itself; winding your way up Chuckanut Drive hugging the mountain to the east and following the coast to the west is nothing short of spectacular. As you ascend the trail to Fragrance Lake, keep your eyes peeled for the protected fossils of Alder leaves, palm and fern fronds, and animal tracks! 

Photo by Dan Coe, WGS/DNR

6. Mt. Baker Ski Area: 1 hr 21 minutes, 54.2 miles. Did you know that we are under two hours away from the third highest peak in Washington and the fifth highest peak in the Cascade Range? Additionally, Mt. Baker has a higher volume of snow and ice than that of all of the other Cascades volcanoes combined (except Rainier)?! 

7.  Orcas Island: 2 hours 23 minutes, 61.9 miles with ground transport and WSDOT Ferry. When stepping onto the island, you are stepping onto the home of Apollo 8 astronaut, William Anders, cartoonist Gary Larson and former location of one of Oprah's vacation homes! P.S. the movies 2011 "Your Sister's Sister" (starring Emily Blunt) and 2022 "Lou" were filmed on Orcas! And the video game, "What Remains of Edith Finch" takes place on the island! 

8. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival: 33 minutes, 27.6 miles. Have you ever wondered what the largest tulip festival in the USA looks like?! A speedy drive south of Bellingham can answer that question. Our annual Tulip Festival is painted with blooms breaking records by the sheer acreage of tulips, number of farms and days of blooms! It's a must-see. 

Bellingham and it's surrounding areas offers countless landmarks. Being under two hours north of Seattle, and less than hour from Canada, we have easy access to metropolis bliss and are surrounded by recreational delights. There are seemingly endless wonders tucked away in our PNW paradise. I am, personally, always learning new things to love about our charming Bellingham. 

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