Best Towns 2006
Best paddling town in the U.S.
American Lung Association Study
May 2006 (6 years in a row)
Bellingham among top 11 cities with the cleanest air nationwide
Bellingham ranked 2nd in the Greenest Cities of the U.S.
Bellingham rated the 5th hottest boomtown under 150,000 in population
Where to Retire Magazine
Bellingham one of the best places for active seniors to live
Dog Fancy Magazine
Bellingham rated on of the top ten dog-friendly cities in the USA
National Geographic Adventure Magazine
Bellingham among the top 10 adventure towns
Organic Style magazine
Bellingham named an environmental Oasis
Bellingham rated the top 8th Place to Retire in America
Bellingham Rated 2nd in US Dream Towns for Baby Boomers
Bellingham among the 15 Best Places to Reinvent Your
Men’s Journal Magazine
Bellingham rated one of the 50 best small cities in which to live
Men's Journal Magazine
Bellingham rated one of the top 50 Hippest, Healthiest and adventure-packed small cities in America
Bellingham rated as one of the best college towns to retire to in America
Bellingham rated the 7th best golf city in America
Bellingham as the 2nd best paddling and ski town in America
American Lung Association
Bellingham voted cleanest city in air quality in America
Bellingham Named a Top 10 Dream Town
Bellingham named one of the top 50 most alive and clean places to retire in America
Bellingham rated the best small city in the state to do Business
Best Place to Walk in Washington-Prevention Magazine
Bellingham Mt Baker Region – WA State
Accolades & Fun Facts
Acclaimed Outdoor Recreation Haven
* Best Paddling Town: Outside Magazine rated Bellingham as the best paddling destination in the U.S. (August 2006)
* Top Ski Mountain: Skiing Magazine ranked Mt. Baker Ski Area 18th on a list of nation-wide ski areas, and number one in the state of Washington, based on a survey of ski professionals. (2005)
* Silver Award Cyclist Town: Bellingham was awarded a Silver rating by League of American Cyclists. Only eight other cities nationwide received an equal or higher honor. (2006)
* “Trail Town USA”: The American Hiking Society and the National Park Service designated Bellingham as a “Trail Town USA.” We are one of only 30 cities nationwide and the only city in Washington and Oregon, to be so honored. We are a "city of greenways" with over 80 miles of pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian trails and more than 600 acres of open space. Bellingham leads the nation in the amount of green space available with 15 percent of the city's total land area utilized as a park or natural reserve. (June 1, 1996)
* Adventure Town USA: National Geographic Adventure named Bellingham one of the top adventure cities in the nation. The issue, themed “Where to live and play now,” describes Bellingham as a “base camp essential to the Northwest.” (September 2004)
* Mt. Baker- World’s Highest Snowfall: Mt. Baker, a 10,778 ft. glacier-covered volcano, holds the world’s record for having the world’s highest annual snowfall with 1,140 inches, set in the winter of 1998-1999. This tops the previous record of 1,122 inches set at Mount Rainier, in the winter of 1971-72! (National Climatic Data Center, August 1999). A new record was claimed in Dec. 2006 with the most snowfall in a single storm – 12 feet in total! Mt. Baker has the longest ski season in Washington State (Nov.-April). Mount Baker is consistently rated as one the best places to snowboard and ski, by such publications as New York Times, National Geographic Adventure, Skiing Magazine, Powder, Snow Country Magazine and Northwest Travel Magazine.
* Best Golf City: With 16 public golf courses, the Bellingham Mt Baker Region has more golf courses per capita than any other county in the Pacific Northwest. Golf Digest rated Bellingham the seventh best “golf city” in the nation out of 314 cities (Nov. 2002). The region is frequently referred to as "Monterey North." Specific course accolades include Loomis Trail Golf Course, which was rated the number one course in WA by Golf Digest (2005-2006) and in the top 100 courses America (the only one in WA State).
* Top Mountain Biking Destination: Bellingham was ranked the 7th best locale for mountain biking in the U.S. (out of 10 cities) by Mountain Bike magazine (June 2001), who highlighted Bellingham’s Greenways (a web of dirt paths stretching throughout Bellingham), the Interurban Trail System (follows an old railroad bed) and hard-core Galbraith Mountain (which offers rock faces, logs, twisty single-track, log ramps and ladders).
Best Place to Visit & Live
* Top Art Town: The 100 Best Art Towns in America by John Villani features Bellingham in the ranks. (2005) Research provided by Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit that promotes the arts, compared the nation's metropolitan statistical areas and derived the Bellingham metro area ranks 2nd in the nation for arts businesses per capita. (Americans for the Arts, 2004)
* Dream Town USA: Outside Magazine recognized Bellingham as an outstanding place to live, work and visit and as a top ten “Dream Town” and “Outdoorsy Community” in the nation. Outside Magazine chose Bellingham based on its close access to an abundance of usable outdoors, realistic living wages and character. (September 2001)
* America’s Healthiest City: Organic Style Magazine touted Bellingham as one of the seven best environmentally healthy oases in the nation. (September 2003)
* Hippest, Healthiest & Most Adventure Packed: Men’s Journal rated Bellingham 33rd among the “hippest, healthiest and most adventure packed” small cities in America, as well as one of the 50 best small cities to live. (May 2003)
* Breathe Easy! Cleanest Air in the Nation: For the fourth consecutive year in a row, Bellingham, Washington is rated as having the cleanest air in the nation (in regards to air pollution), according to data collected by the E.P.A. as reported by the American Lung Association. (Voted #1 since May 2000 thru 2003)
* Boomer Haven: AARP The Magazine rated Bellingham second among 15 “Dream Towns” for boomers looking to settle down in a new locale citing the city’s “natural charm, affordable neighborhoods and recreational opportunities.” (June 2003)
* Sophisticated Retirement: Money Magazine/CNN ranked Bellingham among the eight best places to retire in the country highlighting the area’s “great outdoors, sophisticated community and metropolitan ambitions without big-city hassles.” (July 2003)
* Best College Town: Bellingham is listed as one of the best college towns in the United States to retire in Kiplinger Magazine (Nov. 2002) and the book, "Choose A College Town for Retirement.” (1999)
* “Most Alive” and Green & Clean: AARP's Modern Maturity rated Bellingham as one of the 50 “most alive places” in which to retire and 4th in their 'clean and green' category. (May/June 2000)
* Best Place to Do Business: Forbes Magazine named Bellingham the best small city in Washington State to do business and 19th in the country. (May 2000) Fortune Magazine named Bellingham as the "Best city to balance work and family life." (Nov. 1996)
* Western Washington University is Washington State’s third largest institution of higher education with more than 12,000 full-time students and 73 permanent buildings on a 215-acre campus. For several years, Western has been ranked among the top public regional universities in the West and nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. Yahoo has named Western among the 100 “most wired” universities in the country. Western has been hailed for its national reputation, its high level of individual academic attention to students from faculty, and for being “academically competitive” by Kaplan/Newsweek’s College Catalog 2001. WWU is also home to one of the largest & finest collections of outdoor sculpture on the West Coast featuring the works of internationally renowned artists including Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi, Beverly Pepper and Anthony Caro.
( Art Town USA: Bellingham was designated a Top Ten Art Town in America by John Villani, author of the book “100 Best Art Towns in America.” (May 2005)
Food for Thought
* America’s Raspberry Capital: Whatcom County is the largest producer of raspberries in the nation, harvesting more than 57 million pounds each year. This represents almost 65% of the raspberries grown in the nation! Many of the raspberries are shipped to Ocean Spray and Smuckers and used in making their juices and jams.
* Espresso Capital: Whatcom County holds the record for the most drive-up espresso stands per-capita in Washington. More than 50 stands dot the landscape, with such lively names as "Brewed Awakening", "I Wanna Moka", "Jitters Cafe", "Shot in the Dark" and "Well Latte Dah".
* Shellfish & Clams: The Taylor Shellfish Farm, located off scenic Chuckanut Drive, is the largest Manila clam producer in the United States and cultivates a greater variety of shellfish than any other shellfish grower in the nation. Taylor Shellfish Farm has been farming the tidelands along Chuckanut Drive since 1890 and sells fresh oysters, clams, mussels, crab, scallops and prawns on site.
* Got powdered milk? The Bellingham Mt Baker Region is #1 in the nation in milk production per cow, producing more than 1.3 billion pounds of milk each year, and the largest producer of powdered milk. Each day, four million pounds of fluid milk (about 480,000 gallons) come into the Darigold Plant in Lynden, which equates to 53 double tanker truck loads per day. The fluid milk is then converted into 400,000 pounds of powdered milk.
Other Fun Facts
* World’s Most Photographed Peak: Mount Shuksan, located off Mount Baker Highway, is the most photographed peak in the world.
* Largest Collection of Antique Radios: The American Museum of Radio & Electricity, located in the heart of downtown Bellingham’s cultural district, has accumulated one of the largest collections of antique radios in the United States open to the public. The interactive museum features more than 800 radios & early technology including a Tesla coil, a Parisian Portable record player with a wind up needle directly connected to a paper-cone speaker and an early 1900's original wax cylinder Edison phonograph.
* Getting’ Buggy with It: The Lynden Pioneer Museum is home to the largest publicly displayed collection west of the Mississippi of vintage horse-drawn buggies used to get around in the industrial age. More than 50 classic examples of horse-drawn vehicles are featured from all over the world.
* Pacific Northwest’s Biggest Barn: Hovander Park's elaborate, turn-of-the-century farmhouse, located in Ferndale, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the biggest barns in the Pacific NW.
* Pioneer Log Cabins: Pioneer Park, in Ferndale, represents one of the finest collections of original pioneer log cabins and artifacts in the world.
* Best Places to Kiss: Numerous spots around the Bellingham Mt Baker Region have been listed as the Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest including Chuckanut Drive, Boulevard Park, Pacific Café, Oyster Creek Inn, Cliffhouse Restaurant, Wild Garlic, Squalicum Lake Cottage and Schnauzer Crossing Bed and Breakfast. (2000-2004 editions)