Find the Best Things to Do in Ballard

About Ballard

Photo courtesy of Chas Redmond

This neighborhood began as an industrial center more than 100 years ago, but today, it's mostly known for its Scandinavian culture. The distinctive accent is a neighborhood trademark, with "ya sures" and "you betchas" serving as the source for many jokes. Restaurants serve up traditional foods like lutefisk and lefse, and many shops sell Scandinavian trinkets. In addition, the Nordic Heritage Museum displays the history of this neighborhood from its origin to the present day.

See & Do

Ballard is known for its Scandinavian heritage, and one of the best places to explore it is at the Nordic Heritage Museum. The neighborhood is also the hub of Seattle's maritime industry thanks to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and the nearby marina. Underground viewing windows at the locks allow visitors to watch salmon returning to their spawning grounds using the fish ladders.


Ballard Avenue is a registered historic district, and the shady street is lined with hip restaurants. As the center of the city's maritime industry, Ballard's restaurants specialize in seafood, and visitors can dine on the fresh catch of the day at Ray's Boathouse or Chinook's at Salmon Bay. On Sundays, the neighborhood has a farmers market throughout the year.


Ballard's hip nightlife scene centers around Ballard Avenue, where you'll find a collection of neighborhood pubs, chic cocktail bars and live music venues, like the Tractor Tavern, or Double T as the locals call it. Head to Ballard Station Public House for Tuesday night trivia.


The very walkable Market Street in Ballard serves as the neighborhood's business district, and you'll find the sidewalks lined with red brick storefronts and galleries. Ballard Avenue is the place to go for home decor and specialty gift shops.