Bellingham : Washington

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What Bellingham is like for active adults

If there was ever a town with momentum it is Bellingham Washington. It was rated the #2 City & Metropolitan area in the country in “Cities Ranked and Rated”. Kiplinger’s called Bellingham one of the top retirement communities in the U.S. Located on the northwestern coast of Washington, this city of 79,000 (180,000 in the Metro area) has several colleges and Western Washington University with 14,000 students.  Bellingham has unbelievable natural scenery from Puget Sound on the west and Mount Baker to the east.  Bellis Fair Mall is a large mall that attracts many shoppers from Canada. There is a functional downtown and an active redevelopment plan for the waterfront.

For a list of profiles of over 900 cities and towns go to retirement community reviews, or for more information on taxes and what it is like to retire in Washington State. Here are our reviews of Walla Walla, and San Juan Islands.

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Where to Live & Real Estate Values

The Fairhaven neighborhood near the ferry has many lovely Victorian homes. Many new developments are being built to accommodate active adults. Seattle is just 78 miles away.

Real estate is starting to get higher than the state average but lower than Seattle and the rest of the west coast. City-Data reported the median selling price of a home here was about $240,000 in early 2014.  Zillow however, reports the median sale price to be much higher in mid-2014 at $267,630.

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What is special about this retirement community

• College town • Evergreen forests and Mount Baker ski resort • Puget Sound • Sea to Ski Race • Whatcom Museum of History and Art • Whatcom Falls Park • Village Books (independent bookstore) • Bellingham Farmers Market • Sea Race ends here, Bellingham Bay, Short train ride to Seattle or Vancouver, Very close to Canadian border. Nice parks.

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What is not special about this retirement community

Crime (particularly property crime) is somewhat high. It rains a lot in winter. Transportion to other parts of the US can be expensive.

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What kinds of people like retiring here
Bellingham attracts a community of who would like to live in a college town. Recreational opportunities provided by being adjacent to Puget Sound and the Mountains make this to one of the world’s great outdoor environments. Bellingham offers significant diversity with many native Americans, aging hippies, and college students thrown into the mix.
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Local economy is driven by

Education, medical, and shipping drive the economy. For Bellingham Craigslist

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Climate and Physical Environment

Bellingham is in the extreme northwestern corner of Washington State, Puget Sound is on the west and Mount Baker 25 miles to the east. It sits on a coastal plain with the land rising away in coniferous forests. It rains a lot here in winter, although seldom torrentially. The climate is somewhat mild. Air conditioning in houses is rare.   Google Map Bellingham

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Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Bellingham has an active music scene that attracts many from the university. Bellingham is home to the Bellingham Theatre Guild. Whatcom Museum of History and Art sponsors art exhibitions. Western Washington University provides some university arts programs. There are 4 two year colleges in town. Restaurants from upscale to inexpensive college fare. Pickford Cinema is the place to see film, while current movies can be seen at Barkley village.

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Crime

Crime index is about average.

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Medical facilities
There are fewer hospital beds per capita than national average. St. Joseph's Hospital is here
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Transportation

Bellingham is the maritime gateway to the San Juan Islands and Alaska. Bellingham International Airport is about 5 miles north of downtown. Amtrak has a station in Bellingham.

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Valuable Links

City-Data.com page for Bellingham

City of Bellingham

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What people are saying about Bellingham

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Facts about BELLINGHAM
  • State: WA
  • Environment: College Town,Mountain,Coastal,
  • City Population: 50,001-100,000
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 41-60
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 20,001-40,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $200,001-$300,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: Less than 2000
  • Total Crime Index: 101-110 (slightly above average)
  • Cost of Living Index: 101-110 (slightly above average)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: No
  • Name of the Guide: retirementguy

Can you add to or correct these Facts? Or do you have a photo of this community we could use? If so, please click on Edit these facts

Vote on the Ratings for Bellingham
Update Your Ratings
1. Overall Retirement Ratings Discuss

1. Rating: 3.1/5 ( 18 votes cast)

2. Expense:
Inexpensive to Luxury Discuss

2. Rating: 3.3/5 ( 15 votes cast)

3. Taxes:
Inexpensive to Expensive Discuss

3. Rating: 3.5/5 ( 14 votes cast)

4. Culture:
None to Cosmopolitan Discuss

4. Rating: 2.5/5 ( 13 votes cast)

5.Recreation:
None to Summer camp Discuss

5. Rating: 3.9/5 ( 12 votes cast)

6. Transportation:
Boondocks to World Hub Discuss

6. Rating: 2.7/5 ( 11 votes cast)

7. Security:
Dangerous to Ft. Knox Discuss

7. Rating: 2.7/5 ( 13 votes cast)

8. Medical Facilities:
None to Excellent Discuss

8. Rating: 2.5/5 ( 10 votes cast)

9. Political Situation:
Conservative to Liberal Discuss

9. Rating: 4.1/5 ( 13 votes cast)

10. Environmental:
Oblivious to Ultra-Green Discuss

10. Rating: 4.1/5 ( 15 votes cast)