Seattle: Exploring Ballard
Collected by Stephanie Perry , AFAR Local Expert
In 1887, Captain William Rankin Ballard won the land that would become Ballard in a coin toss. It was its own city until it officially became incorporated in 1907 — and they've never quite gotten over it. Ballard still marches to the beat of its own drum, and you can find "Free Ballard" bumper stickers around if you look. Mostly, though, it's an artsy neighborhood full of boutiques, cafes, and Scandinavian flair.
5345 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Rain or shine, the Ballard Farmers Market offers some of the Puget Sound’s finest local products every Sunday, from 10am-3pm. Tents line up with the season’s freshest fruits and vegetables along historic Ballard Avenue, which is transformed into a...
5459 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
If you like strange and one-of-a-kind vintage home decor, Ballard Consignment could be a very dangerous place for you. A maze of connected rooms on two floors, the store is set up as a series of furnished rooms decorated in different periods and...
3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
The Great American Railway Bridge sits to the east of the Ballard Locks, here in the up position to let boats pass through below. I picked the Ballard Locks for the best early-morning photo opportunity for Seattle Before8 because it is such a cool...
5344 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
A little gem of a store located on a cobbled brick side street in Ballard, Horseshoe has a fun, casual hipster-boho-chic aesthetic and beautiful clothes and jewelry, whether you’re shopping for a professional work look or a wedding outfit. Their...
2214 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Open for over 35 years, this venerable independent bookstore has a good selection of adult fiction and nonfiction, but it really specializes in children’s and young adult books. Good karma alert: they offer free gift wrapping, plus discounts...
5419 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
While Seattle is the home of the flagship of another outdoor wear giant, the neighborhood of Ballard has it's own homegrown outdoor brand. The KAVU store in historic downtown Ballard is always a friendly place to step into, selling it's "Busy...
2204 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
A pretty pastel bonbon of a vintage boutique, Trove is so full of amazing stuff that you won’t know what to look at first. Will it be the sparkling sequined cardigans? The chunky costume jewelry? Or the gorgeously voluminous circa-1950s vintage...
2220 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Called “one of the five best music stores in America” by the Wall Street Journal, Bop Street is a vinyl collector’s paradise, with a genre-ranging inventory of over half a million titles. The store has been around for nearly 30 years and is still...
Ballard, Seattle, WA, USA
Whether as a visitor or a resident, the Ballard neighborhood in Northwest Seattle is a one-stop-shop for those who love to eat. One can easily walk a only few short blocks within the “downtown” Ballard core to find most anything your stomach...
5424 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
The sister store to their larger, original University District location, Lucky’s Ballard store is a small but thoughtfully curated collection of men’s and women’s vintage clothes. You’ll find fun novelty-print Hawaiian shirts, pretty party...
5405 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
With over 150 varieties of loose leaf teas and tisanes and a great seasonal crepes menu (with gluten free options) - Miro Tea is my favorite spot in historic downtown Ballard for a late brunch. The interior is made up of a stylishly mismatched set...
5105 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Gamers, rejoice! Card Kingdom has everything a board or card game enthusiast could ask for — including an attached gaming cafe, where you can take a game for a spin before buying. The large, nicely lit store has rooms dedicated to role-playing...
2044 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Ballard’s Majestic Bay Theater is the best of both worlds: it looks classic and old-timey on the outside (including a lovely neon marquee and box office), but it’s modern and well-maintained inside, with stadium seating, comfy seats, and a lobby...
5231 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Hattie’s Hat is a Ballard classic, even if you’re not hung over (but especially if you are). It’s definitely a bar that serves food, rather than a restaurant, but the booths in the back area tend to be relatively quieter. The brunch menu includes...
2209 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Sonic Boom Records is a large, dog-friendly independent music store on Ballard’s main shopping stretch. They have new and used CDs and vinyl for the collectors, and the knowledgeable staff is happy to help you find whatever you’re looking for....
5427 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Let's be honest, while local chocolatier Autumn Martin serves up cookies and seasonal savory treats like grilled cheese and salads, the real treats at Hot Cakes are the melty centered chocolate cakes and the inventive boozy milkshakes. The Hot...
5242 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Senor Moose bills itself as "comida tipica" — real Mexican food. They feature regional food from Oaxaca, Jalisco, and Michoacan, plus more familiar fare like tacos and enchiladas. But the highlight is brunch, when they serve up dishes like Chorizo...
5408 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Venue Studios & Boutique is a combination of work studio spaces for artists and designers, and a consignment boutique for over 40 Seattle artists and designers. You’ll find local art, notecards, hand-thrown ceramics, photography, jewelry, bags,...
5332 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
A charmingly decorated paper-goods store in Ballard’s shopping area, Lucca has a touch of gothic style, between the black walls. lavish chandeliers, and mounted animal heads, but it’s done with a distinctly playful feel. The mismatched tables and...
5338 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Jax Joon’s small Ballard storefront can be easy to miss as you’re strolling by, but it’s worth a stop to check out their assortment of affordable women’s clothing and jewelry, quirky throw pillows, original art, and decor items. They have a small...
5315 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Sometimes only a sandwich — thick and hearty, piled with meat and cheese and toppings — will do. The Other Coast Cafe won’t blow your mind with some revolutionary take on the sandwich, but what they do, they do well: hot and cold sandwiches,...
5318 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
When you pick your way down the metal stairs into Space Oddity, it quickly becomes very clear that this vintage furniture store is the result of a collector’s passion. Owner Todd Werny focuses on midcentury style, assembling an eclectic mix of...
5330 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Sure, Camelion Design is a furniture store, but they also have a wide selection of smaller and more suitcase-friendly items artfully displayed throughout. Snuggle up with one of their extra-soft, jewel-toned, luxe alpaca blankets and you may find...
2655 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
The Nordic Heritage Museum is an interesting museum of local history year-round, chronicling the history of Seattle’s Nordic immigrants through art, cultural objects, and replica storefronts and buildings. But for one winter weekend, the annual...
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