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Yah Sure YaBetcha – It’s Time to Rediscover Ballard Washington

Location: Ballard Washington

Only a few decades ago, sleepy Ballard was the butt of all Scandinavian jokes. A neighborhood of working class families descended from working class immigrants, Ballard was solid, if a bit rough around the edges. Times have changed and It’s Time to Rediscover Ballard Washington.

Sleepy No More

I sure wish I had bought a house in Ballard back then. I’d be a millionaire today. Today, Ballard is hip. A cool place to be for young singles and families….without losing that solid working class vibe. Still home to much of the Seattle area fishing fleet, the history of fishing and shipbuilding runs deep in this community.

Shilshole Bay Ballard
View from Sunset Park

What a difference a few decades make. Ballard is blooming and is now not only home to the magnificent Nordic Heritage Museum (opened in 2018), it is also a culinary Mecca – home to dozens of highly rated restaurants, some difficult to get a reservation for. Ballard, sleepy no more. I love a lot of my home state, and Ballard is one of my favorite places among those.

It’s Time to Rediscover Ballard, Washington

A day in Ballard is a pleasant idea….but even better why not a weekend or several days? There is so much to do here, without ever actually going into downtown Seattle. Beautiful Ballard. We want you to give it the time it deserves, so we share with you a wide variety of our favorite Ballard finds…everything from beer to parks, coffee to fish, and hiking to vintage. Yah sure yabetcha – it’s time to rediscover Ballard, Washington.

One of the friendly locals

Our Recommendations to Get You Started

It’s a long, long list but we hope these recommendations will give you a variety of reasons to visit Ballard and it’s surrounding neighborhoods. If you can make your visit more than a day, we recommend the beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Ballard, The Hotel Ballard. It’s exceptional and will make your visit to Ballard exceptional. And here are more recommendations for you;

Let’s Eat!

Stoneburner Restaurant Ballard
Stoneburner is my fav

It’s impossible to list all the delicious and innovative dining options in Ballard…so I am offering up here my favs. These are all restaurants I have eaten at and would not hesitate to go back to.

Walrus and the Carpenter Ballard
Oysters at The Walrus and the Carpenter
  1. Stoneburner – amazing food. Probably my favorite restaurant in Ballard
  2. The Walrus and the Carpenter – one of the best restaurants in Seattle. Reservations a must.
  3. Rays Boathouse – a Seattle area institution, with stunning water views.
  4. Portage Bay Cafe – often a wait for breakfast or lunch but always worth it.
  5. La Carte de Oaxaco – what real Mexican food should taste like.
  6. Red Mill Burgers – old school burger joint with outdoor seating or take away
  7. Lil Woody’s – another great burger and sandwich option…try the salmon burger
  8. Hot Cakes – it’s all about the chocolate here.
  9. Shiku Japanese – excellent sushi and Japanese specialties
Little Woody's Ballard
Salmon Burger from Lil Woody’s

Get Outside

For such a compact neighborhood of Seattle, Ballard is blessed with an abundance of parks, and a visit to beautiful Ballard wouldn’t be complete without a visit to at least one of Ballard’s parks. This is a list of our favorites.

Discovery Park Ballard
Discovery Park
  1. Discovery Park – the granddaddy of them all, this 534 acre park is a hidden natural gem.
  2. Golden Gardens – where the sunbathers, stand up paddle boarders, wind surfers, sailors and beachcombers will be found high tide, low tide and everything
  3. Burke Gilman Trail – ride or walk on this trail that will take you for miles and miles
  4. Sunset Hill – this little pocket park is the definitive place for a Seattle Sunset
  5. Shilshole Marina – enjoy a boardwalk stroll through this beautiful waterfront area and try to count the masts. Be sure and stop at the Leif Erickson statue for a taste of Scandinavian heritage.
Leif Erickson Statue Ballard
Leif Erickson

So Many Things To Do

Don’t miss any of these awesome things to do in Beautiful Ballard

Nordic Heritage Museum Ballard
Nordic Heritage Museum
The locks Ballard
Going through the locks on my son’s sailboat
  1. The National Nordic Museum – allow yourself a few hours to explore this amazing museum that chronicles the history of the Nordic people both locally and throughout the world. The cafe and gift shop are great too.
  2. Ballard Locks – officially the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks but known locally as the Ballard Locks is a fun and educational working locks that provides boat traffic to navigate between Lake Union and the Puget Sound. Don’t miss the information on the salmon ladder.
  3. Fisherman’s Terminal – a working fishing terminal for local fishing vessels, you can walk amongst the vessels in port and also purchase fresh seafood.
  4. Ballard Farmer’s Market – every Sunday from 9am to 2pm visit the Ballard Farmers Market for a colorful selection of fresh and locally made
  5. The Cycle Saloon Tours – Fun and crazy way to drink beer, get your exercise and see the sites
  6. Ballard Kayak Rentals – get out on Shilshole Bay and see the beautiful sites from the waterside
Ballard Farmers Market
The Ballard Farmer’s Market on Sundays

Do You Brew?

Beer? Coffee? Even a distillery is waiting for you in Ballard. Ya Sure YaBetcha, there is something for everyone. This is a tiny sample:

Beers in Ballard
  1. Reubens Brews – Beer
  2. Stoup Brewing – Beer
  3. Venture Coffee – Coffee
  4. Ballard Coffee Works – Coffee
  5. Woodland Coffee – Coffee
  6. Ballard Beer Company – Beer
Guatemalan Coffee
Ballard Coffee Works

She Shops!

To be honest, I’m not much of a shopper, preferring to spend my time outdoors, eating, learning history…all that stuff. BUT, you might like a few funky or vintage places and don’t miss a Scandinavian shop

  1. Scandinavian Specialties – one of the few shops left that focuses on delicious Scandinavian delicacies as well as, art, sweaters, ceramic and more.
  2. Gold Dog – for someone who doesn’t really shop….I spent some fun time in here. Cowboy boots and so much more.

As Long As You Are Here…

Ya sure yabetcha, as long as you are here definitely spend as much time as possible at any or all of these wonderful attractions near Ballard.

Woodland Park Zoo Lowland Gorilla
Woodland Park Zoo
  1. Woodland Park Zoo – not the zoo of yesteryear, today’s award winning Woodland Park Zoo is focused on conservation, preservation and immersion exhibits that provide animals a healthy and authentic living environment. Woodland Park Zoo also offers a variety of events and activities through out the year on it’s 92 acre urban site.
  2. Fremont – Ballard’s neighbor Fremont is Seattle’s answer to funky and fun claiming to be “the center of the universe”. Be sure to visit the Fremont Troll, JP Patches and Gertrude statue, Waiting for the Bus Sculpture and many other fun and quirky Fremont finds.
  3. Green Lake, just over the hill from Ballard is Seattle’s beloved Green Lake. A perfect place for a stroll or bike ride anytime of the year. Seattle gathers here.
  4. Gas Works Park – The idea to turn this huge former and simply ugly former gas works on Lake Union into a park was brilliant. Today the rusted “gas works” create an urban sculpture unique and beautiful in a strange and Seattle kind of way.
Fremont Washington
Funky Fremont

Are You Convinced?

Have I convinced you that it’s time to rediscover Ballard Washington? I have spent a lot of time there over the last five years, because my adult sons call it home. If they had never moved there, I would never have rediscovered Ballard myself…and I’m so glad I did. I still have a lot to see in Beautiful Ballard…so I’ll see you there.

Learn more about Ballard at Visit Ballard

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  • Reply Alma

    Ballard looks worth discovering and rediscovering! My mouth is watering with all those delightful eats and drinks too.

    May 28, 2021 at 11:34 am
  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    I know what you mean about wishing you had invested in a place before it became really popular. Great for Ballard. And for everyone who is newly discovering this spot in Washington. We would visit for the seafood for sure. And certainly try one or more breweries. But those outdoor spots would keep us there.

    May 28, 2021 at 4:35 pm
  • Reply Susan

    I’m just discovering Ballard for the first time. But it looks like there is much to do there that it may not be possible to do it all in one trip, therefore requiring rediscovering! Thanks for introducing me to someplace new.

    May 29, 2021 at 3:41 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Worth a second trip.

      May 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Heather Markel

    Love this! Even though you aren’t traveling international at present, you’re doing a stellar job showing us some great places near home. I guess we’d all be rich if we cold have foreseen places that would become booming towns later, wow. Seems like there is a lot to do over there, amazing!

    May 29, 2021 at 5:27 pm
  • Reply Lena

    I would love to visit any place that for us European tourists are somewhat off the main road. And I would for sure go for the oysters 🙂

    May 30, 2021 at 11:36 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Great seafood here for sure!

      May 31, 2021 at 6:49 pm
  • Reply Anita

    I have been to Seattle but not to Ballard, so it’s a great idea to discover Ballard also. It’s interesting to see how many Scandinavian roots this place has. Thanks for sharing!

    May 31, 2021 at 11:59 am
  • Reply Renee

    Looks like a fun place to visit. I’m always curious about getting a little taste of Europe while closer to home.

    May 31, 2021 at 6:04 pm
  • Reply Chirasree Banerjee

    A beautiful place to visit. I would love to explore Ballard – one of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods someday!

    June 4, 2021 at 12:26 am
  • Reply Go Wander Wild

    I loved reading about your experience in Ballard, Washington. Your descriptions really made it come alive for me. Happy travels!

    June 8, 2021 at 8:31 pm
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