Local Area

Western is located in a pretty special place.  Bellingham is home to vibrant arts and social scene, including theatre, cinema, bookstores, music venues, and numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes, while the surrounding area is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Tourism and Events

The Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism website includes useful events and calendars.


The Bellingham Herald is the area’s local newspaper.

Cascadia Weekly is an alternative weekly newspaper covering Whatcom, Skagit, and Island Counties and lower British Columbia.  It has good arts and events listings.


The Northwest is known for its rainy weather, but it doesn’t rain all the time!  The climate in Bellingham is pretty mild – the average high temperature in July is 71⁰F (22⁰C) and the average low temperature in January is 32⁰F (0⁰C). Average yearly snowfall is 10in (26cm). Temperatures in the US are given in Fahrenheit, so you may find this converter useful. Weather.com and weather apps on your phone are the best way to keep tabs on the local forecast. Keep in mind that the weather in other places may be very different, so it’s a good idea to check the forecast for the area you’re traveling to and be prepared for any disruptions, especially during the winter months.

You will need to have clothing for all seasons and a good rain jacket is a definite must. The Bellis Fair Mall has a range of clothing stores, including a number of more affordable options. There are also many thrift and consignment shops in Bellingham, where you can purchase used clothing at low prices. REI is a well-known Washington-based chain that sells high performance outdoor clothing and gear, while Backcountry Essentials sells both new and used equipment.

If you’re from a warm climate and are concerned about being prepared for the cold weather, please contact ISSS. We would be more than happy to advise you!

Places of Worship

Bellingham and Whatcom County are home to a number of religious communities. Contact details for many of those organizations can be found on this site. The Islamic Center of Whatcom County is also located in Bellingham at 1244 Nevada St, (360) 752-9399. Additionally, some AS Clubs are religiously oriented and hold their own services and activities.