Everyone Loves Bellingham – We’ve Made The Lists!

Accolades For Our AreaBoulevard Park Bellingham, WA

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)
  • Mt Shuksan near Bellingham, WAAdventure 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  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)

    Education Excellence

    Western Washington University sculpture 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.