Staying active and getting out of your room during the winter in Bellingham can be challenging — especially if you aren’t accustomed to the cold, rain and early-setting sun.
Grace Stewart, a second-year student at Western Washington University, said it can be hard to get out of class at 4 p.m. when the sun is already setting. During the winter months, she likes to go bowling.
“A bowling alley is like a casino where you don’t know what time it is. It’s just light and bright and fun inside and all of your friends are there,” Stewart said.
20th Century Bowl, located on North State Street in downtown Bellingham, is the closest bowling alley to Western’s campus and can be enjoyed both alone or in a group.
Michael Salinger is the general manager at 20th Century Bowl. He said prices range from $4.50 to $5 a game depending on the day of the week and time of day, and rental shoes are another $3.
They offer a variety of food: burgers, chicken strips and grilled chicken quesadillas, and drinks including local beer, seltzers, ciders and non-alcoholic beverages.
Molly Costello, a second-year student at Western, said she enjoys the relaxed yet active nature of the sport, eating food, drinking and hanging out with friends while getting out of the house.
“You’re getting your body moving and you’re doing a sport, even though it’s barely a sport,” Costello said.
Escape rooms are another fun way to connect with friends away from the rain. In Bellingham, there are two escape room companies: Lock Breaker Escapes, and The Eureka Room. The Eureka Room recently opened a second location in Fairhaven called Cryptid Escapes.
John Froehner is the owner of Lock Breaker Escapes. They currently have two themed rooms — The Elevator and the Cask of Amontillado. Each one is an hour long, and prices vary from $30 to $40 per ticket. The more tickets you buy, the cheaper each ticket is.
“If people are looking for something to do out of the rain, this is a good option. A good way to kill an hour,” Froehner said. “Come in and get out of the rain.”
CharLee Betehje and Eileen Lee are two of the four owners of the Eureka Room/Cryptid Escapes. Between the two locations, they offer five themed escape rooms, most of which are an hour long.
“You can be the main character in whatever story you choose to jump into,” Betehje said. “You’re immersed in a different world for like an hour.”
Lee said escape rooms are also fun to do with friends.
“It definitely feels like being in your own movie, and then you and your friends get to play as the stars of this movie,” Lee said.
If you are looking for something a little more active, Volli is an indoor recreation center that offers pickleball, shuffleboard, cornhole, darts and a state-of-the-art golf simulator. They are currently offering a monthly membership for $99.
Kathy Middleton, co-owner of Volli, said they eventually hope to open an on-site kitchen. For the time being, you can grab a bite to eat at Little Mexico, a local food truck that the business is supporting.
For a calmer and potentially more educational indoor activity, the Spark Museum is located in downtown Bellingham.
Abby Whatley, director of programs at the Spark Museum, said they are best known for two attractions: their world-class collection of electrical artifacts and MegaZapper show on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
“The MegaZapper show is about an hour-long show where we demonstrate a lot of the bigger devices that you can’t do in the museum gallery. Things like the Tesla coils and indoor lighting machines,” Whatley said.
Whatley is a Western alumna who moved to Bellingham for school. She said she urges students to get off the hill and explore Bellingham and its community.
“Your experience here [Bellingham] and your time at Western will be so much richer by participating in what the community has to offer,” Whatley said.