The Central Business District of Bellingham includes the City's civic area, the downtown cultural district, Squalicum Harbor and the adjacent waterfront area. It includes the 137-acre waterfront property formerly owned by Georgia-Pacific. The Port of Bellingham and the City of Bellingham are currently working on the redevelopment of this centrally located waterfront property.
Downtown Bellingham is host to several festivals and events including Gallery Walks, Ski to Sea parades, the Downtown Sounds Summer Alley Concert, Bella Strada Arts Festival, and the NW Projections Film Festival. In addition, the Mount Baker Theatre located here is host to local, regional and internationally known performers. Other local theatres include The Upfront Theatre, the iDiOM Theater and the independently owned Pickford Theater. The Whatcom Museum of History and Art, American Museum of Radio and Electricity and Mindport museums are downtown, all within walking distance of each other.
Squalicum Harbor is a full-service marina on Bellingham Bay with over 1,800 boats. Squalicum Harbor has parks, trails, restaurants, shops, marine supplies, a Marine Life Center and a hotel. Visitor moorage is available.
Several new condominiums have been built in the southern portion of downtown and give residents easy access to shops, restaurants and public transportation. These new condos are not far from WWU. The Leopold is a retirement community located in downtown Bellingham. The Leopold was originally built in 1889 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers both independent and assisted retirement living.
There are many retail shops in downtown Bellingham. Places to buy groceries include the Community Food Co-op, Terra Organica in the Public Market and the Grocery Outlet.
Depot Market Square, on the corner of Railroad and Maple streets, was completed in 2006 and is the home of the Bellingham Farmers Market. On Saturdays, the Bellingham Farmers Market has a variety of local fresh produce, flowers and goods for sale. The Saturday Farmer's Market is now open from April through December.
Zuanich Point Park (below) is a popular park located on the waterfront of Squalicum Harbor. The park has a grassy area that is great for picnics, kite flying and community events. It also has a small playround, a boathouse, walking paths and a community rental facility. Visitors can enjoy views of Bellingham Bay from the park or walk, jog or roller blade on the Squalicum Promenade that runs around Squalicum Harbor and the Bellwether Hotel.
Maritime Heritage Park is located at the mouth of Whatcom Creek next to the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. The park has a hatchery and educational facility and is host to a number of city events. The public can learn about the life cycle of the salmon here and see large numbers of Coho and Chum salmon that return to the hatchery during October and November. Local residents come to the park to fish for the salmon each fall.
South Bay Trail is a popular pedestrian and cycling trail that runs from Depot Market Square to Boulevard Park and Fairhaven. It is a scenic waterfront trail about 2.5 miles in length.
In general, public school students who live in the Central Business District fall within the Parkview Elementary, Whatcom Middle and Bellingham High School attendance areas.
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