Ballard is one of the hippest and most coveted neighborhoods in Seattle…especially for first-time homeowners. Close proximity to the burgeoning tech industry in neighboring Fremont and reasonable access to the Eastside via 520 makes Ballard an extremely convenient place to call home. Construction is booming to accommodate the growth this Seattle neighborhood is experiencing. Located in the northwestern part of the city (map), it is bounded by Crown Hill, (N.W. 85th Street); to the east by Greenwood, Phinney Ridge and Fremont; to the south by the Lake Washington Ship Canal; and to the west by Puget Sound’s Shilshole Bay. Ballard is part of the Seattle School District.
Ballard enjoys a healthy microbrew industry and is home to many local tasting rooms, trendy restaurants and new multi-use buildings that include both residential and retail. Sidewalks are bustling with people walking their pets, strolling down the street window shopping and groups of people meeting up for a meal. Historic Ballard Avenue is lined with restaurants and boutiques, and is home to the year-round Ballard Farmers Market. Ballard’s Market Street, on the other hand, is the neighborhood’s modern business district. It also contains shops and restaurants, sidewalk cafes, the Majestic Bay movie theatre, and urban green spaces. The monthly Second Saturday ArtWalks is an event showcasing the wares of local artists being sold at galleries, studios and shops that line Market Street. NW of Old Ballard, local landmarks include the Nordic Heritage Museum and the Shilshole Bay Marina. To the South, the Ballard Bridge provides access over Salmon Bay to the Interbay neighborhood, and the Salmon Bay Bridge carries the BNSF Railway tracks across the bay, west of the Ballard Locks.
Ballard houses a vibrant working waterfront and looks out upon Fisherman’s Terminal, the home base for the North Pacific Fishing Fleet. The terminal offers a collection of delicious dining options and is a great place to purchase the freshest seafood. The Hiram M. Chittenden “Ballard” Locks enable boat traffic to move from freshwater Lake Union to the salt water of Puget Sound– a 26-foot grade change. Pass a sunny day watching the parade of sailboats, motorboats, tugs, barges and yachts come into the locks, and the water level is adjusted to allow their safe passage to the lake or sound. A popular tourist destination, the locks contain a salmon fish ladder that is fun to visit when the fish are moving from the Puget Sound back to freshwater. Glass panels make it possible to view the fish as they navigate their way through the ladder, adjusting to different levels of salt each step of the way. Occasionally, a clever sea lion will hang out, waiting for his next meal. Shilshole Bay Marina offers moorage for 1,500 recreational boats, plus a boat ramp and sailing schools. The marina includes a waterfront promenade, which features fabulous views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains beyond. Promenade users can stroll over to Golden Gardens Park, a popular beachfront park.
Check out this recent Seattle Times article about Old Ballard.
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