While I’ve been fortunate to have lived in a few different Seattle neighborhoods over the the years, I must tell you about the not-so-hidden gem of Ballard. Once a quaint neighborhood that felt more industrial than city, more Nordic fishing village than hot spot for yuppies and hipsters, Ballard hit its growth spurt in the early 2000s and there is no sign of slowing down. I’m one of those “outsiders” who made the move to the lively neighborhood a couple years ago and I’ve been thanking myself ever since.
My favorite part of town is, without a doubt, Ballard Avenue. Lining this street are incredible restaurants featuring all types of cuisine, bars that range from trendy to hole-in-the-wall, and shops to keep you entertained all day. It would take a lifetime to adequately explore this stretch of Ballard; time well spent in my mind.
Credit: Alberto Blanchard
The newest addition in town is Hotel Ballard, a 29-room boutique property that features a modern look, but Ballard feel. With amenities like a rooftop courtyard, an attached 50,000 square foot athletic club (complimentary to hotel guests), and of course a swarm of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops at your doorstep, it is the perfect way for visitors to explore the neighborhood – and Seattle – given it is just a 10-minute drive to downtown.
Credit: Janet Christopher
Also new to the scene is Ballard Annex Oyster House, which as you might imagine, serves up fresh Pacific Northwest seafood and their specialty, oysters. Oddly enough, Ballard was in need of a traditional seafood dining experience and Ballard Annex delivers with flying colors! And in true Ballard form, you can visit the Annex’s sister restaurants, Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen and Matador, all within a one block walk!
Deserving of its own blog post is the Ballard Farmers Market, regarded as one of the best street markets in Seattle and the entire region. Taking over Ballard Avenue on Sundays year-round (rain or shine!), you’ll find fresh and locally sourced fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, cheeses, flowers, breads and baked goods. Plenty of live music and entertainment, too!
While I could fill the screen with must-visit restaurants and bars, the rest is up to you. Here are some additional resources to map out your own excursion on Ballard Ave: