Welcome to Ballard
A walkable neighborhood with a thriving historic district and beautiful natural scenery.
Nestled between Puget Sound and Salmon Bay, Ballard can feel like a city a world away from Seattle. It was once an exclusively Scandinavian community that worked in the maritime and logging industries. Early lots were turned into farmhouses that were later subdivided into smaller living spaces. This is why Ballard’s architecture mixes Prairie homes, Craftsman cottages, and classic Victorian and Swiss Chalet, among many others. Today the population is more varied. Trendy new restaurants and microbreweries are continually popping up, but Ballard still retains its beautifully serene waterside setting.
Because of its proximity to Downtown Seattle, there’s a high demand for housing here. You’ll find charming older homes interspersed with modern ones in the primarily residential area north of 65th Street. But south of 65th, there are dense collections of newly built custom houses and townhomes that can come with EV charging stations, walk-in closets, chef’s kitchens, and rooftop decks. This area is closer to Ballard’s commercial hubs so that you can walk to your favorite café or restaurant. Many residents prefer to stay within this area and avoid the tourist traps downtown.
What to Love
- Quiet, leafy neighborhoods
- Beautiful outdoor spaces
- Lots of breweries, cafes, and restaurants
Ballard is unique and eclectic, so you’ll find some quiet suburbanites among the bustling professionals, the trendy hipsters, and the late-night party crowd. The concentration of shopping and dining is in the historic Ballard Avenue District. This area is always bustling with people and feels very hip and urban, but you’ll find a slower and more outdoorsy vibe along the waterfront.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
There are about 200 stores and restaurants in Ballard. You’ll find a diverse selection in the historic district alone. Asadero
serves Wagyu and Mexican prime steaks cooked over mesquite wood, while Walrus and Carpenter
is an oyster bar offering delicious seafood plates. San Fermo
is set in a classic white house and has homemade pasta and other Italian dishes. For American fare, Sawyer
serves comfort food in a rustic setting and outdoor patio. Bitterroot BBQ
is highly-rated for its smoked meats, country sides, and casual atmosphere. Coolly set in an industrial building, Ballard Pizza Co.
serves New York-style pizza on wide communal tables.
For upscale Mexican Fare, Gracia
boasts the best Baja tacos and lamb barbacoa, while Matador Ballard
, the flagship for this Tex-Mex chain, has excellent appetizers and signature cocktails. Further out, Copine
is a French-inspired restaurant offering prix-fixe menus and custom wine pairings. A local favorite, Ray’s Café
specializes in seafood dishes. Get a table waterside and catch the sunset over Puget Sound. And on the north side of Ballard, The Fat Hen
is a small neighborhood cafe popular for weekend brunch.
Ballard may be the best neighborhood for drinks in Seattle. It’s more casual and laid-back and has more breweries than the other areas. Stoup Ballard
has a bustling taproom and is great for day drinking. Sunset Tavern
is decorated with vintage board games and regularly hosts live music and comedy.
Home to incredible independent stores and vintage shops, you’ll find unique clothing and home gifts in Ballard. Horseshoe
is a women’s boutique offering complimentary styling service. Trove Vintage Boutique
has gowns and jewelry from the 1800s. The Ballard Farmers Market
features over 100 vendors with locally-grown foods and craft products on Sundays.
Things to Do
Ballard has beautiful scenic spaces perfect for nature lovers. Golden Gardens
has a sandy beach perfect for sunbathing. The 87-acre park also has hiking trails, protected wetlands, picnic areas, and a historically designated bathhouse. You can watch the boats dock at Shilshole Bay Marina
, where the waterfront views make for dramatic sunsets. You’ll find residents regularly strolling here. Sunset Park sits on top of the hill overlooking the marina. Watching the sunset over Puget Sound is even more stunning here. If you’re looking to take in a show, the Tractor Tavern
has been putting on nightly music performances for over 25 years.