Bellingham’s art scene is everywhere. Take to the outdoors for murals and sculptures, head indoors for curated displays, or relax at a world-class show. Here’s an itinerary including ideas on satisfying your sweet tooth, too!
Pro tip: find your perfect place to rest before you begin. (You’ll need a couple of days!)
Master level: Sign up for the Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County Culture Crawl and attend to win a prize (and get the gift of immersion in arts and experiences!)
Ready? Here we go!
A good place to start an artsy exploration of Bellingham is the Downtown Arts District with a variety of venues located within walking distance of each other.
Whatcom Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate featuring national-caliber visual art exhibitions, regional culture, and local history in two buildings: the modern Lightcatcher and the vintage Old City Hall. Visual Arts are also the focus at Allied Arts Gallery, and Mindport Gallery.
Performing Arts take the stage at Mount Baker Theatre, which showcases national traveling music, performers and theater acts. Independent and documentary film is the focus of the Sundance-affiliated Pickford Film Center. The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention features a shocking Electrical Show tracing the history of currents that power our modern world, and culminating in a 4-million volt arc of lightening.
Art has a way of calming the mind and spirit, as does getting outside in the elements. Sunshine, rain or overcast skies compliment Bellingham’s outdoor sculpture art exhibits. The Western Gallery collection of pieces on the Western Washington University campus is one of the top 10 outdoor sculpture collections in the nation and is highly walkable.
Big Rock Sculpture Garden is a City of Bellingham park featuring 35 permanent works by distinguished international and local artists. Both Big Rock Garden and the Western Gallery's collection feature exhibits that are great for kids; art feels so much more accessible when you can actually touch it and climb on it!
Walking around Bellingham, you'll notice lots of color on the sides of buildings and in alleyways. In large part, these murals and street art are thanks to Bellingham artist, Gretchen Leggitt. Over the past several years, Gretchen has worked on pieces strewn about town. From Boundary Bay’s Cedar Dust Alley to the largest mural in Washington State located on Puget Sound Energy’s Encogen Facility that spans the length of two football fields, Leggitt is leaving her mark on the city of renewed excitement.
Stop by Mallard Ice Cream in downtown Bellingham to experience hand-crafted ice cream and inventive flavors like Earl Grey, avocado, and Vanilla Black Pepper. They also serve favorites like Mint Oreo, Super Chocolate and seasonal fruit mixtures like Strawberry or Rhubarb.
Bellingham’s Historic Fairhaven District is home to numerous art galleries featuring pottery, woodworking, glass, and painting open daily.
Want more? Check out Bellingham.org/Attend