It's a Friday night and you're watching Netflix. You know there's nothing inherently wrong with spending an evening like this, in the comfort of your own bed with yourself as company, but you want to start taking advantage of the freedom you have as a college student living in a town as cool as Bellingham. The only hitch: being a college student also means you're broke AF. And whatever money you do have, is spent at Fred Meyer for food, drinks, and laundry detergent. You know Bellingham is catered to college students like yourself, so there has to be plenty of free and/or inexpensive things to do. To make your choices clear, I've compiled a (probably incomplete) list of ways to spend a weekend in this lovely town of ours.
1. Whatcom Falls Park
A creek into which multiple cascading waterfalls run? A stone bridge that looks like it could be leading you straight to Terebithia? Count me in. This place is perfect for an afternoon of nature walking, and might just take your breath away. There's a picnic shelter, too, so bring some food and your favorite person!
2. Bellingham Farmers Market (opens February 16)
The farmers market boasts an expansive array of fresh produce, art, and local goods of all kinds. Whether you want to spend money is entirely up to you, but sometimes it's nice just nice to walk around downtown and see what the town has to offer. Although it's not open often in the Winter months, many of the vendors have independent shops in town and websites to visit if you find something you like.
3. Pickford Film Center and PCF's Limelight Cinema
This movie theater, which shows a large collection of different indie, foreign, and documentary film, also has a cafe and lobby (with beer, wine, and snacks galore) attached to it.
4. Village Books and Paper Dreams
This independent book store has three floors and a cafe. Not kidding. Not to mention, any book you could want, new or used, and other fun goodies, like crafting supplies, jewelry, and home decor. If you're anything like me, you could easily spend a day in here just browsing.
5. Downtown Bellingham's Art Walk
Open every first Friday of the month, from 6-10 p.m., this art walk features local works found in studios, museums, restaurants, and shops all across downtown! So while you're appreciating the talent of Bellingham's finest, you might as well enjoy some food and drink.
6. 20th Century Bowling
A classic, this place has a jukebox, video game arcade, and candy machines. Sometimes there's nothing better than spending your Saturday bowling with friends!
7. Marine Life Center
No matter what age, interactive touch pools are the coolest thing ever. Plus, it has free admission.
8. Mount Baker Theater
Concerts, plays, and interactive events (plus, an annual showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show), this theater is a thing of dreams. And you'll feel like you stepped right into the twenties!
9. Boulevard Park
Apart from being the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the bay, it's home to Wood's Coffee and provides a venue for lots of local concerts and shows.
10. Mallard Ice Cream
I couldn't make this list without including the best ice cream joint in town. Honestly, if you haven't gone, you really need to. Obviously, if you don't like ice cream, you have other options. But if you do, it's the best place to broaden your ice cream flavor horizons.