Neighborhood Watch: Ballard, Seattle

Ballard: A Seafront Neighborhood with a Contemporary Scene

A seafront neighborhood with Scandinavian roots, Ballard in recent years has become one of the hottest and hippest areas of Seattle. Whether hanging out in the official Ballard Avenue Historic District or checking out the working waterfront at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks you can get a feel for the past, present and future of this maritime-centric enclave. Located in the northwestern part of the city, you can reach Ballard with your Sixt car rental in about twenty minutes from downtown.

If it’s Sunday start your tour at the all weather, all year Ballard Farmers Market, or grab a cup of coffee at Anchored Ship Coffee Bar on Ballard Avenue. From there head to Bergen Place, a park dedicated to Seattle’s Norwegian sister city and to the Scandinavian roots of the local population. Admire the historic mural and artist Jennifer Dixon’s the Witness Trees or see what’s going on at the community information kiosk. Then make your way towards to the shops on Market Street browsing the stacks at Sonic Boom Records and the shelves at the Secret Garden Bookshop. Pick up a pastry or croissant at Cafe Besalu before a visit to the Nordic Heritage Museum or a trip to the Ballard Locks to watch the salmon swimming through the underground windows. When you are ready for a meal you have your choice of amazing restaurants offering up an array of international cuisine. For Mexican there is the popular La Carta de Oaxaca or Senor Moose which is great for a late breakfast. There are great pizza joints and the classic The Walrus and the Carpenter oyster bar. If it’s time to satisfy your sweet tooth stop by for a scoop at Full Tilt Ice Cream or at Hot Cakes for some molten chocolate cake goodness. Finish the day up with a beach bonfire at Golden Gardens Park.

Local Fixtures:

  • Secret Garden Books has been keeping the community well read as an independent bookseller for over 30 years. Despite specializing in children’s book they are well-stocked with a selection to suit every kind of reader.
  • Venue Ballard is a shop featuring wares only from Seattle artists and those from around Washington State. Whether its pottery, glassware, candles or artworks you can purchase an array of treasures from local artists.

New Arrival:

  • Full Tilt Ice Cream, besides serving up delicious all natural frozen treats, brings you some yummy nostalgia as well. In between licks you can play pinball and enjoy the sweet tunes coming out of top shelf speakers. Vegan options are on the menu along with unique flavors like salted caramel, thai iced tea and a few that nod to the Seattle music scene like Sub Pop and Mudhoney.

Community Character:

  • The Nordic Heritage Museum is an internationally recognized museum and cultural center that celebrates the area’s ties to Nordic culture and its peoples. It honors the legacy of Nordic immigrants from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Stop by and spend some time viewing its fantastic temporary exhibitions, its permanent collection or check out a special event like a film or lecture.

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