Bellingham has a number of distinct areas and districts, each with their own charm and unique culture. Fairhaven is in the South of Bellingham, nestled next to Chuckanut Drive and Bellingham Bay. If you are looking for a day of leisurely activities and great food, Fairhaven is the perfect stop for you.
Full of book stores, excellent food, and family-friendly activities, Fairhaven is a superb summer stop. Locals and tourists alike spend hot summer afternoons strolling the streets of Fairhaven with ice cream cones, iced coffees, and their dogs!
Best Eats in Fairhaven
Deciding where to eat in Fairhaven might be your most difficult choice of the day. With tons of great, local, family-owned options, it can be hard to decide where to head. There are dozens of restaurants in just a few block areas, so we have picked out our favorites for you to try.
Fat Pie Pizza is located on the corner of Harris Ave and 11th street, right in the heart of Fairhaven. Known for their deep-dish pizza, Fat Pie Pizza is definitely a popular spot. It may look like a small place from ground level with only a few outside tables and a handful of tables inside. However, Fat Pie Pizza has a rooftop dining area with a fantastic view of the Bay. Head into Fat Pie for great pizza, appetizers, and drinks with a view!
Just two doors down Harris Ave from Fat Pie Pizza is Jalapenos Mexican restaurant. This is a popular sport in the area for its margaritas and great food. They have a fun outdoor seating area on an overhanging deck for those over 21 and a traditional Mexican-American menu that is sure to please everyone. Located on the outward-facing side of the main square, Jalapenos is centrally located and an excellent stop for big appetites.
Avenue Bread is a neighborhood café and bakery that serves sandwiches, salads, and homemade bread from 11th street overlooking Bellingham Bay. There are a few Avenue Bread locations throughout Bellingham, but the Fairhaven location serves Breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, salads, and a large selection of fresh, homemade bread. They use fresh and locate ingredients and have excellent Gluten-Free bread. The average price of a full-size sandwich here is $10-$15, and you’ll have to take home at least a few loaves of their bread.
The Black Cat
The Black Cat is located in East Fairhaven and is a sophisticated tavern with a classic bistro menu and excellent cocktails. This charming spot is located on the 3rd floor of the Sycamore Square Building. They feature starters such as steamed Manilla Clams, Dungeness Crab Cakes, and Cauliflower totes that average $10. Their entrees offer a wide selection of seafood, pasta, and red meat, ranging from $15- $40. The Black Cat also has a wide range of salads, soups, and desserts.
They offer a weekly specialty cocktails menu as well as classic cocktails. On their specialty menu, you can find drinks tailored to the season. They feature drinks such as the Cat Scratch Lemonade in early summer, which has Jalapeno Lime Vodka, Basil, Simple Syrup, and Sierra Mist for $9. For hot summer days, check out the Pineapple Ginger Mojito with rum, ginger liqueur, pineapple, lime, mint, and soda. They are always busy and are a great place for those 21+.
Fairhaven has such a wide array of dessert options that you might have to skip dinner altogether and just eat ice cream. Make sure to save room wherever you decide to have lunch because you are surely going to watch to check out some of these sweet eats.
Starting at the Colophon Café, you must stop by their dessert case. While they have excellent food options, their desserts are to die for. They are known for their cakes. With towering carrots cake, cheesecake, peanut butter pie, and more, it might be hard to choose just one. Their Chocolate Chunk Cake served ala mode is a must-try. Grab a coffee with your cake and head out into the courtyard to enjoy it in the sun!
Acme Valley Ice Cream
Located right next to Fat Pie Pizza, Acme Valley Ice Cream is a fan favorite. They have an array of ice cream flavors made in Acme, Washington, as well as a number of baked goods. This tiny store is directly on the corner of 11th and Harris Ave, one door up from Fat Pie Pizza. Most people pop out the doors of Fat Pie Pizza after dinner and pop in Acme Valley Ice cream doors for an after-dinner treat.
Sweet Bellingham is located right next door to Jalapenos. This Sweetshop has cakes, caramel apples, and cupcakes! They have something for everyone and lots of fun, colorful options to choose from. They are located within walking distance to nearly everything in Fairhaven and are a fun stop for kids!
The Sirena Gelato Café offers artisanal gelato and Sorbet in many different flavors. If you are a fan of gelato over traditional ice cream, head over the Sireana’s and choose from their huge stock of different flavors. They also have cookies and coffee, so if you want a gelato espresso, they have you covered.
If you are looking for a few activities to do in Fairhaven, there is plenty of family-friendly stops! Bellingham is home to tons of entertainment and activities, and Fairhaven is no different. Whether you need something to pass the time between dessert stops or are looking for an activity for kids, Fairhaven has it all.
Creativitea is a super unique stop that is fun for all ages! This is a pottery painting shop that doubles as a mini café. When you head into Creativitea, you will be able to pick out the pottery you would like to paint. From mugs and plates to animals, birdhouses, and more, there is a ton of different options to choose from. Once you have picked out your pottery, you pay for the ceramics and then can choose a table. There is endless paint options, brushes, and other tools to decorate your creation!
Best Activities in Fairhaven
If you get hungry while you are crafting away, they offer tea-time foods. Small appetizers, sandwiches, pastries, and of course, tea! Once you have finished up painting and your snack, you give your pottery to the front desk so that it can be put in the kiln to set. This process usually takes 2-5 days, so make sure you have time to stop back in to pick everything up.
Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema
The Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema is one of the most fun activities in the area. From June to late August, the Fairhaven Village Green hosts outdoor movies. Everyone is able to bring a blanket and find a spot on the grass to watch a film. These are usually classic family favorites mixed in with a few new releases. Each summer, there are normally movies on Friday and Saturday nights starting when it gets dark enough to see the projector. There is often popcorn for sale, and you can bring your own snacks.
This is a cheap movie option that adds some excitement over just watching a movie at home. Many people get there considerably early to find a seat on the grass, so make sure to plan ahead to make sure you can get in. The Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema will be resuming in June of 2022 due to the ongoing pandemic, so make sure to check out their website for the dates!
One could spend hours wandering around the floor of Village Books. Located on the main square on 11th street, Village books is a three-story book store. There is an excellent children’s area with a cozy reading corner, a young adult section, and games for younger children. The rest of the book story is floor-to-ceiling books with plenty of selection for everyone. Downstairs you can find hiking and travel guides while the upper two floors host all sorts of different genres and sections. If you need help finding a book or need a recommendation, just find a Village employee who always has great suggestions.
Eclipse Book Store
If you are looking for winding towers of books and piles of used stories to dig through, Eclipse Book Store is a must-stop! This used book store quite literally has piles of books on every available surface. You never know what you might find buried in some of these mounting piles. This two-story book store overlooks the Bay, and while you won’t find many new books here, you are sure to find exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for.
Fairhaven is full of fun activities, plenty of good eats, and a great place to walk around with the family this summer. During the hottest weekends and summer evenings, the sidewalks will be full of tourists and locals alike, taking in all of the great offerings of Fairhaven.
Fairhaven is just one district of Bellingham, so check back into the CleverNeighbor for more cool areas to check out in Bellingham.