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27. Bellingham, Wash.
Population: 73,357
Pro:
Skilled workforce
Con: Rising home prices

Bellingham - which sits on Bellingham Bay, tucked in the northwest corner of Washington - is strategically located between Seattle and Vancouver. The city, 23 miles south of the Canadian border, is also near Mt. Baker, a popular skiing and snowboarding destination, and the scenic North Cascades National Park.

The mountainous location fosters a thriving tourism industry, which will no doubt receive a boost from the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Startups looking to cater to visitors can receive support from the city's Tourism and Promotion Fund, which supports ventures that create cultural and entertainment-related activities in the city.

Washington state levies a Business & Occupations Tax, but Whatcom County softens the blow by offering credits for workforce training, manufacturing, and international services. -Mina Kimes

Interactive map: Bellingham, Wash.
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Bellingham, Wash.


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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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