Central Business District

The Central Business District Neighborhood/City Center is Bellingham’s core downtown neighborhood and central waterfront. It is the dominant cultural, civic, financial and service center of the community.

The City Center is a collection of smaller “neighborhoods,” each of which has distinct features that reflect historical land uses, topography and geographic location. For example, the Old Town area was shaped by the economics of the Port of Bellingham, while the Commercial Core Area has a long-standing tradition of general retail. Railroad Avenue has a unique identity as well, which in part comes from the very wide street that reflects the existence of a rail line earlier in the City’s history.

The Civic Center lies along the northern edge of downtown and spans Whatcom Creek. Buildings in this area house City and County offices as well as a variety of other governmental services. The Post Office and Public Library are also a part of this complex. The cultural district focal points include historic buildings containing the Whatcom Museum of History and Art and the Mt. Baker Theater. The Hillclimb, a ceremonial stairway leading from Holly Street to the Civic Center and Cultural District also serves as an outdoor amphitheater in Maritime Heritage Park on Whatcom Creek. Whatcom Creek Trail and Greenway runs along the northern border of the neighborhood and provides a pedestrian connector from the waterfront to adjacent neighborhoods

The central waterfront historically supported industrial uses and commercial fishing. It includes Squalicum Harbor Marina, Zuanich Point Park and commercial/industrial areas primarily managed by the Port of Bellingham. The City and the Port have recently joined forces to create a redevelopment plan for 137 industrial waterfront acres acquired by the Port with homes, shops, offices and light industry, as well as parks and promenades, a healthy shoreline habitat along Bellingham Bay, and a new marina.

Source: City of Bellingham Website in the Neighborhood Profiles pages located at, www.cob.org