Bellingham, WA is a popular destination for shoppers. Many people enjoy the main shopping area on Guide Meridian street, while others are eager to find the more unique, off-the-beaten-path places to shop, which are plentiful in the Bellingham and Whatcom County. Here are a few “secret” locations:

On the south side of Bellingham (I-5 freeway exit 250) is the Fairhaven Historic District. This Victorian-era, 6-block village is loaded with cute shops featuring items from shoes and clothing, to books, art and household wares. Each year the district hosts the Fairhaven Holiday Festival from the day after Thanksgiving until the Saturday before Christmas. Each Saturday during the Festival, old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage rides depart from the Fairhaven Village Inn lending a nostalgic, slower-pace air to the shopping season.

In downtown Bellingham, many people are not aware that the Bellingham Farmer’s Market on Railroad Street continues each Saturday until Dec. 31. Gift items are a larger focus as the market enters November and December, and this is a primary outlet for many local artisans. The market is located inside Depot Market Square, which protects it from fall and winter weather and lends a fun atmosphere.

Downtown Bellingham (I-5 freeway exit 252) is also filled with interesting shops, and is home to the Cultural Arts District with many entertainment options including museums, theatres, and art galleries. Shopping highlights include fine housewares, clothing, used books, art, and food specialty items including artisan chocolate and locally-made ice cream. Restaurants are also plentiful throughout the downtown core.

Parents will be happy to know, the best secret location in Bellingham for a wide array of hard-to-find classic toys is the basement of Yeager’s Sporting Goods at 3101 Northwest Avenue. Park out front or in back and walk through the fishing and hunting gear to a small staircase at the  middle of the store. Walk downstairs, and voila! Here is aisle after aisle of games, puzzles, legos, trucks, dolls, horses, etc. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

In north Whatcom County, the small town of Lynden is celebrated by shoppers for its funky antiques stores along the picturesque Front Street. Lynden’s Dutch heritage is prevalent throughout the community, with architecture including traditional Dutch windmills and facades. Among the best kept secrets is the Lynden Pioneer Museum, which touts itself as the “biggest small museum in Washington State” and offers a unique gift store in its entry.

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