Too far away from Seattle to really be considered part of the same urban area, and yet close enough that people make the trip between the two regularly anyway, Bellingham is the heart of a much smaller urban area. Here, it is the largest urban center in a series of communities that serve as the gateway to North Cascades National Park.
The city itself has so far been able to retain a number of its historic buildings, and so the downtown has a much more interesting appearance than just another place with a bunch of cookie-cutter structures that look just like those built everywhere else in the last 20 years.
One of the reasons the community has a nice personality is that it is the home of Western Washington University, and university towns always seem to have a bit of their own unique flavor. This is also the end point for the Alaska Marine Highway - the ferry system that connects Alaska to the lower 48 states. There is a small amount of industry here, though it was not so long ago a much more active part of the community. There continues to be some activity around the old port complex, but some of this industrial activity has shifted to areas outside the city.
There is a fairly good sized sculpture park and art gallery in Bellingham, as well as several large parks and other outdoor amenities. This includes the very popular Whatcom Falls Park (see photo 3) which may not have a huge spectacular waterfall but is attractive nonetheless. A walkway exists along part of the old waterfront, and the downtown area has a number of independent stores and restaurants.
Seattle is connected to Bellingham by two Amtrak trains per day, plus a third Amtrak connecting bus. There is also BoltBus, and if you really want to do the Seattle to Bellingham trip cheap during the weekdays a series of transit buses (SoundTransit from Seattle to Everett, Skagit Transit from Everett to Mount Vernon, and Whatcom Transit from Mount Vernon to Bellingham. It is also possible to drive Interstate 5. Amtrak yields the better scenery though, as it travels along Puget Sound for part of the way, and in other places avoids going through the not very attractive suburban sprawl along the highway.
As Bellingham really isn't part of Seattle (it is much too far away) I have put the little information I have gathered about Bellingham into my Bellingham page at