Ballard: Get to Know One of Seattle’s Oldest Neighborhoods

 •  5 min read



Rachel Rowland

About Author

As one of Seattle's oldest neighborhoods, Ballard brings a historical flavor to the Emerald City. Here are some of the attractions that make Ballard such a draw for both residents and visitors. 

  • Tractor Tavern - 5213 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107
    Housed in a historic building that dates back to 1902, the Tractor Tavern has been an iconic part of Seattle's notable music scene since 1994. In keeping with the venue's unpretentious vibes, the name was inspired by a picture of a tractor that was hanging above the bar. Over the years, the Tractor Tavern has hosted an eclectic array of national, local, notable, and up-and-coming acts, including Leon Russell, Mumford and Sons, and Greta Van Fleet. There is a full bar and no kitchen, but you're welcome to BYOF (bring your own food). Hours are 8 a.m. - 2 a.m. daily.
  • Hiram M. Chittenden Locks - 3015 NW 54th St., Seattle, WA 98107
    While the official name of this attraction is the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, everyone refers to them as the Ballard Locks. Planned and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the early 20th century, the locks provide passage between the saltwater of Puget Sound and the freshwater of Lake Union. In 1978, Hiram M. Chittenden Locks was added to the National Register of Historic Places. One of the highlights is the Fish Ladder Viewing Room, where visitors can watch salmon heading upstream to spawn. Plan extra time to stroll through the surrounding Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens. Hours are 7 a.m. - 9 p.m., seven days a week, and admission is free.
  • Sunny Hill - 3127 NW 85th St., Seattle, WA 98117
    Ballard was established by Scandinavian settlers, but the neighborhood restaurants feature a full spectrum of global cuisines. Sunny Hill draws inspiration from right here in the United States with their Detroit-style square pizzas. Gourmet specialty pies, such as the Duckie, with shaved Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, and fennel sausage, change seasonally based on the availability of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Another customer favorite is the smash burger with a side of waffle fries and umami ketchup. Sunny Hill is open 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. weekdays except for Tuesday, noon - 9 p.m. Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. Sunday.
  • Larsen's Bakery - 8000 24th AVE NW, Seattle, WA 98117
    A Ballard staple for all things Scandanavian and baked! This establishment has been slinging kringles and other pastries for 48 years. Rachel highly recommends the tiny cheesy croissants. You'll definitely want more than one! They're not only adorable but also filled with buttery, flaky goodness. Larsen's hours are Sunday: 6:00am - 6:00pm and Monday - Saturday: 5:30am - 7:30pm.
  • Gold Dogs - 5221 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107
    "Cowboy" and "chic" may seem like mutually exclusive terms, but a visit to Gold Dogs will change your perspective. This is not the Western attire of John Wayne and Gary Cooper. Clothing and accessories for men and women include cropped sweatshirts, denim overalls, and sherpa jackets. The shop also carries funky and fashionable home decor items such as rock star mugs, graphic print blankets, and scented candles. Browse the impressive selection of vintage cowboy boots, clothing, and accessories. Hours are 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • The Walrus and the Carpenter - 4743 Ballard Ave. NW, 98107
    With multiple local properties and a James Beard award on her shelf, Renee Erickson is the queen of Seattle restaurants. As with her other restaurants, The Walrus and the Carpenter highlight the bounty of the Pacific Northwest by adding some European flair. Typical items on the sharing-plate menu may include delicata squash salad, scallop crudo with oyster mushrooms and shrimp chips, and roasted Medjool dates with vanilla-infused olive oil and salt. The signature oyster bar features half a dozen varieties, with an optional addition of paddlefish caviar. The Walrus and the Carpenter is open daily from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Golden Gardens Park - 8498 Seaview Pl. NW, Seattle, WA 98117
    Part of the appeal of Seattle is more than 485 parks that make nature easily accessible in this urban paradise. Golden Gardens Park in Ballard is one of the crown jewels of the Seattle park system. Located on the shores of Puget Sound, the park offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains. Amenities include boat launches, grills and picnic areas, fire pits, beach volleyball, hiking trails, and a playground. Dogs are not allowed on the beach or playground, but Golden Gardens does have a one-acre off-leash park with trees, tables, benches, and a small covered area. Park hours are 4 a.m. - 11:30 p.m. except June through August when closing time is 11 p.m. This is a community staple for Rachel and she always stops by when in the area! If you're lucky you may even spot the local beaver, migrating birds, a harbor seal, California sea lion, or even one of our resident Orca pods swimming through!

Seattle has a hip, trendy reputation, but it's balanced with incredible history and tradition. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Bain for all your real estate needs.

Seattle WA, Things to do, Area info, Local attractions, Local businesses, Seattle, Ballard

Leave a Reply

Contact Us