Guide to Ballard

Things to Do in Ballard

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This once blue collar, industrialized area has transformed into a trendy urban oasis, boasting some of the city's best shopping, dining and entertainment.

Originally focused on trades such as lumber and fishing, Ballard was incorporated into the City of Seattle in 1907. While most of the mills have long since ceased operation, you'll find an active marina at Fisherman's Terminal, home to many of the boat's featured on the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch."

Historically, Ballard was the center of the Puget Sound's Scandinavian seafaring population. The Nordic Heritage Museum celebrates both the local Scandinavian culture and history of the neighborhood. On May 17 each year, the community celebrates Ballard Seafood Fest and Norwegian Constitution Day with a parade, vendors and live music.

No visit to the neighborhood would be complete without checking out the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks connecting freshwater Lake Union to the saltwater Puget Sound. Known locally as the Ballard Locks, the grounds also include a visitor's center, botanical gardens and a fish ladder where you can view migratory salmon under the surface of the water.

The Ballard Avenue Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is the heart of the neighborhood. Walking through the area you'll find an abundance of quaint brick buildings housing cafés, restaurants and enticing shopping. At night the area comes alive with taverns and venues hosting a variety of music from folk to heavy metal.

Seattle's Ballard and Fremont neighborhoods offer hip, urban vibes, great architecture and history to spare. Ballard takes its identity from the water and the street. The working waterfront is home to the North Pacific fishing fleet. On the city streets there are trendy boutiques and a wide variety of good things to eat. Fremont, the self-described "center of the universe" is a highly walkable neighborhood with loads of public art, cool shops and great food. The neighborhood is home to the Redhook Ale Brewery and Pike Brewing Co. On Sundays, Fremont has a great outdoor market. Hungry? Locals love La Carta de Oaxaca, a Oaxacan-style Mexican restaurant that always seems to be packed. Other must-stops include Ray's Boathouse, Staple and Fancy Mercantile and Hi-Life.

[Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / cdrin]

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Popular Things to Do in Ballard


The People's Pub

5429 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

The People's Pub is a low-key Seattle neighborhood bar and restaurant that specializes in traditional German fare with some American comfort food choices peppered in for those not into wiener schnitzel. The People's Pub has a full bar for the boozers, bu

American Restaurants

Staple & Fancy Mercantile

4739 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Italian, Seafood. Celebrated Chef Ethan Stowell struck gold again with Staple & Fancy Mercantile, a casual Ballard restaurant set in a beautifully renovated 1900’s building. The menu highlights Stowell’s simple, Italian-inspired cooking style with an arr


The Matador

2221 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

The Matador bar and restaurant brings down home Tex-Mex grub to Seattle with some sensible twists that make this Ballard neighborhood eatery much more than just a burrito and barbecue house. The drinks at The Matador are poured stiff and fast for their t


Ray's Boathouse

6049 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Seafood, Northwest. Hailed as one of the best seafood restaurants in the country and as one of the top romantic places to eat in the world, Ray??s Boathouse features a heart-stopping, postcard view of the Olympic Mountains over Puget Sound. Executive Che


Domanico Cellars

825 NW 49th St, Seattle, WA 98107

Domanico Cellars is a small family owned & operated winery located in the Ballard area of Seattle, Washington.



5411 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Italian. With a beautiful setting and a fabulous selection of contemporary Italian cuisine that has earned critical acclaim from publications like Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator, Zagat and Seattle Magazine, it’s no wonder that celebrity chef and cookbook au

Air Tours & Boat Tours

Candere Cruising

4020 Leary Way Northwest, Seattle, WA 98107

Experience Hawaii in Seattle aboard Candere, Seattle's only private Cocktail Cruise! While cruising Lake Union, you'll view seaplane take-off and landings up close and see the Space Needle, Gas Works Park, the Fremont Bridge and much more!


Tractor Tavern

5213 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

The Tractor tavern is the live music club in Seattle to get your alt-country, rockabilly, roots and Americana fix featuring local acts and national tourers no less than five nights a week. Everything from the drinks to the barbecue fare to the crowds and

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Scenes from Ballard
Utilities 4Fremont Summer Solstice Parade 2018 (294)Nova 350Last Colors Before Winter (Japanese Maple)Cedar Sketching01-12-2019 Golden Gardens SunsetserenadeA Photo a Day 82/365The Absolute Monarchs at the Sunset on September 30th 2016Red SunSeattle Public Library Fremont BranchLittle FeetCurrents #10Pier 91 08-16-2015. Ruby Princess