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Bellingham is a city in the North-West corner of the United States and is the 12th largest city in Washington State. It is a college town and is the largest city in Whatcom County and is the County Seat. Half of Whatcom County's population resides in Bellingham.

Bellingham is a college town with Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College there. Located on Bellingham Bay and Puget South Sound, it is close to the metropolitan areas of Seattle and Vancouver, BC, and within an hour of the San Juan Islands and North Cascades National Park.

The city has been lauded by various magazines and groups such as Outside Magazine, Modern Maturity, Mountain Bike Magazine, Forbes Magazine as a great place to live because of recreational opportunities, livability and scenic beauty.

Bellingham has a generally mild climate with a long rainy season. It has a Nor'Easter weather pattern which can bring cold fronts, high winds, ice, snow and heavy rain.

People enjoy a lot of recreational sports including skiing and snowboarding at the Mount Baker Ski Area in the winter.  Mount Baker is in the Cascade Mountains to the east of the city and the mountain is 11,000 feet tall. Mount Baker holds the unofficial world record for seasonal snow fall with 1,140 inches recorded in 1998-1999 season. Kayaking, bicycling, mountaineering, jogging and bird watching are also very popular recreational pursuits.

Squalicum Harbor is Bellingham's port and almost 2,000 commercial and pleasure boats anchor there.


Bellingham is about 88 miles north of Seattle and about a 1-1/2 hours drive by car on Interstate Highway 5.  Vancouver, British Columbia is about 54 miles north of Bellingham via Interstate 5 which continues on to Highway 99 N once it reaches the Canadian border.

Bellingham Bay opens onto the Strait of Georgia and city is located West of MountBaker, and North of the Chuckanut Mountains and Skagit Valley.

Bellingham International Airport provides commuter flights to and from Seattle and Friday Harbor and jet service to Las Vegas, Nevada; San Francisco, California; Mesa, Arizona; and Palm Springs, California.

Incorporation & Boundaries

Bellingham was incorporated in 1903. The 2008 census recorded a population of 75,750  in 31.7 square miles.

The city was founded when four towns, Whatcom, Sehome, Silverbeach and Fairhaven, merged into the city of Bellingham.

The city has the following distinct Neighborhoods: Alabama Hill, Barkley, Birchwood, Chuckanut Drive, Columbia, Cordata, Cornwall Park, Edgemoor, Fairhaven, Geneva, Happy Valley, lettered Streets, North Shore, Puget, Roosevelt, Samish Hill, Sehome Hill, Silver Beach, South Hill, Sudden Valley, Sunnyland, Whatcom Falls and York.

Nearby cities include Anacortes, Birch Bay, Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden, Oak Harbor, San Juan Islands, Semiahmoo, Skagit County, and Sudden Valley and Skagit Valley.

SchoolsMajor Employers

A majority of jobs in Whatcom County are in the Service Sector. Western Washington University, St. Joseph Hospital and the Bellingham School District are the three top employers with more than 1500 employees each.

Major manufacturing employers are Alcoa Intalco Works, British Petroleum, Heath Techna, and Alpha Technologies.

Contracting, Construction and Building companies with more than 200 employees include Diamond B Constructors, Haskell Corporation and Homestead Northwest.

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