Ballard's full of bikes and beers . . . and bites, oh my! Located in the northwestern part of Seattle, this neighborhood offers it all and draws fans of all ages for its daytime attractions, and, after the sun sets, the two main drags welcome the 21+ crowd anxious to enjoy cocktails, local brews and/or live music in one of the many venues here.
Begin the day around lunchtime so that you can relish some of the zone's many delicious flavors before beginning your exploration. (You'll need fuel for your afternoon touring, after all!) Grab a bite at one of the zone's many tempting eateries, ranging from those casual and cafe-like (Try Savour or The Other Coast for their scrumptious sandwiches.) to sit-down gems with delightful ambiance and talented chefs (like Bitterroot, Matador, La Isla or Bastille Cafe and Bar).
Mais oui ("Yes!"), France knows best at Bastille Cafe & Bar in Ballard — Photo courtesy of Bastille Cafe & Bar
If you happen to still be in the neighborhood around dinnertime, consider checking out much-discussed masterpiece The Walrus and the Carpenter, where oysters and small plates reign supreme.
After lunch, prepare to get your shopping and culture fix. Stroll the streets leisurely, popping into boutiques, galleries and coffee shops, as you see fit.
If you're interested in the neighborhood's Scandinavian roots, then journey father north to the Nordic Heritage Museum. To further explore the neighborhood's waterside perks, consider walking to the nearby Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, often referred to as the Ballard Locks (and its adjacent botanic garden) and then head father west (preferably by bike or car) to the Shilshole Bay Marina and the sparkling sands of Golden Garden Beach.
Here, soak in the sights of the Puget Sound, distant mountain peaks and a beach strip that bustles with kites, volleyball matches and, later in the evening, BBQs and bonfires.
After you've filled your afternoon with a sufficient amount of adventuring, reward yourself with a tasty brew at one of the neighborhood's many micro-breweries, such as Hilliard's or Peddler Brewing Company. Popular spots for evening drinks range from Hattie's Hat and Conor Byrne Pub to cocktail meccas like The Gerald, while music lovers flock to Tractor Tavern.
If you happen to be in Ballard on the weekend, check out its renowned farmers market, where vendors sell alluring goods from meats, cheeses, fish and local produce to crafted treasures like jewelry. Buskers often dot the curbs during the weekend market, adding their musical talents to this already pleasant scene.
Take a spin, and enjoy a reward brew at Peddler — Photo courtesy of Peddler Brewing Company