In 2013, after living in Seattle for 10 years, my husband and I decided to move 85 miles north to Bellingham, WA. We loved Seattle with every ounce of our youth, but once our kids came along, our priorities changed and we looked for something that might make the day-to-day a little easier. Here’s the top five reasons why we moved to Bellingham.
No. 1. More affordable housing.
In January 2016, the median sales price of a single family home in Bellingham was $339k. In that same month, the median sales price in the Ballard/Greenlake/Greenwood neighborhoods (where we lived) of Seattle was $650K — 92 percent higher. Wow.
As an expanding family, the opportunity to get more square footage for our money was really appealing. We were lucky and landed a home with a view of Bellingham Bay.
No. 2. Less traffic.
In our younger, childless days, it wasn’t as big of a deal to endure a 45-minute to an hour commute to and from work. But after kids, we found ourselves counting the minutes spent in the car every day—and wishing we were home already to snuggle our kiddos and prepare a nice meal. And every day, my agitated self sat in that line of cars fighting to get home, and I would multiply our weekly commute by our nanny’s hourly wage. I started feeling like there had to be a better way.
In Bellingham, it seems like you can get anywhere in about 5-15 minutes. The easy commute to and from work might be my number one favorite thing about living here. We’ve happily adjusted to a new normal.
No. 3. Quality schools
Since moving here, I’ve become a huge fan of the Bellingham Public School District. There are many quality public schools, and many active and engaged parents. Our kids go to Lowell Elementary, which is a charming utopian elementary school in a gorgeous 1908 building. So far we’ve enjoyed an active PTA, a smart, engaged principal, and kind, energized, teachers. On my daughter's first day of kindergarten, I realized she had a view of the bay. It doesn’t really get better than that.
No. 4. Great community - Down-to-earth people.
There’s just something about the people that live here. Some of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met live in Bellingham. I think a lot of people have chosen to live in this quaint community for the wonderful work-life balance, and so a grounded, down-to-earth community has been formed. There are many smart, resourceful, entrepreneurial types in Bellingham and Whatcom County. The proximity to the water and mountains draw an active, outdoorsy crowd. The college keeps the community fresh, and intellectually stimulating.
No. 5. More accessible summer activities.
Want to go a beach? Choose between Boulevard Park, Larrabee Beach, or Bloedel-Donovan, just to name a few. And don’t worry about parking because chances are, a spot will be waiting for you!
On hot summer nights, you’ll find adventurous teens jumping off of Taylor Dock, or folks getting ice cream at Mallard Ice Cream. There’s so many things to do—and it won’t take two days of planning and a half a day worth of traffic to get there.
a good choice.
Three years in, we feel good about our decision to move to Bellingham. Don't get me wrong, at times, we definitely miss the energy of a larger urban area. But Bellingham is a beautiful, relaxed and wonderfully charming place to live.