10 Cool Things About Seattle’s Ballard Neighborhood

Ballard’s unique history and lively streets make it a popular hangout for those looking for shopping, nightlife, or a Sunday morning farmers market. Founded by Scandinavian immigrants in the 1800s, the old streets were filled with shipyards, warehouses, lumber yards and historic buildings that have for the most part been converted into restaurants, breweries, shops and cannabis dispensaries! Here are some of our favorites spots you’ll want to visit next time you’re in Ballard:

  • Ballard Locks
    If you’re looking for something fun and FREE to do in Ballard then the Ballard Locks might be the spot for you! Relax in the botanical garden or watch the water levels in the channel rise and lower as different vessels pass through. There’s also a fish ladder for the salmon and an underwater viewing window! The Ballard Locks initially began in 1909 and were completed in 1917. As of today, roughly 50,000 vessels pass through the locks each year.


  • 4B’s Dive Bar
    The 4B’s (which stands for Ballard’s Best Burgers & Brews) is one of Seattle’s most authentic dive bars and is also known as Ballard Grill & Alehouse. When you step inside, it’s akin to going into a time machine where you’re surrounded by tasty bar food, bar games, and drinks. They have a great assortment of activities from many a pool table, shooting hoops, skeeball, plus all sorts of arcade games!


  • Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop
    If the strange and weird is your cup of tea then visiting Ballyhoo is the whole teapot. It’s a mix between a natural history museum and a bizarre antique store. You’ll find all sorts of unusual artifacts that are out of this world! From fossils to taxidermy to vintage and antique items— prepare to be amazed!


  • The “UP” House
    Also known as the Edith Macefield house named after the previous homeowner who lived 50 years of her life in her Ballard home. She passed at the age of 86, but years before had become a sensation when she refused to sell her home to a large commercial development. Holding out forced the development to build their big box retail stores around her home. Many found similarities in her plight to that of the plot of the Pixar movie Up which is how the home got its name along with balloons that were tied to the house in the mid-2000s. The frame of this memorable house endures as of August 2021 and the juxtaposition of this small house surrounded by huge modern buildings is still a sight to see.


  • Ballard Farmers Market
    This happening farmer’s market is all outdoors and boasts the best local food, flowers and local wares happening every Sunday from 9 am-2 pm rain or shine. They also offer the option to shop the market online for Sunday pickup. We dare you to walk away without finding something in this curated and exciting space!


  • Giddy Up Burgers
    If you’re looking for the tastiest burger in the neighborhood, look no further! These burgs were voted Seattle’s Most Unbeatable Burgers by Thrillist. Giddy Up offers healthy meal options for vegetarians, vegans, and people with gluten sensitivities. Visit them today and visit our Dockside Ballard location across the street!


  • King’s Hardware
    Located in the heart of Ballard, this spot has it all: great drinks, food, and skeeball! Not to mention fried chicken and a patio they’re famous for! Grab your friends and get ready for a night of good food and good times at King’s!


  • Ice Box Arcade
    In 2012, Allied Ice closed, a local business that had operated for over 45 years in Ballard providing blocks of ice for local businesses and nearby fishing boats. Now, this unique spot has become home to the Ice Box Arcade, a spot packed with pinball machines and vintage video games. There’s also an outdoor beer garden. Swing by to play, buy or lease a game and enjoy a beer on the patio! Masks are required and games are cleaned regularly.


  • Burke-Gilman Trail
    Get moving on one of the most scenic walking and biking trails in Seattle. Built in the 1970’s, Burke-Gilman Trail is over 20 miles and winds between Seattle and Bothell. The trail doubles as a means for commuting to work as it is a social landscape for social activities and fitness enthusiasts. The Burke-Gilman was one of the first of its kind and helped inspire dozens of similar projects around the nation. Take your time and explore. You could even stop at some of these unique local Ballard businesses while you’re at it!


  •  Dockside Cannabis Ballard
    Dockside Cannabis is a woman and minority-owned company, rooted in the belief that cannabis promotes wellness. In 2011, Dockside first opened its doors as a medical dispensary, Dockside Co-op, in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Today, Dockside Cannabis encompasses four award-winning retail stores in the greater Seattle area that offer the highest quality service and selection to both medical and recreational cannabis shoppers. We look forward to serving you and our community!


Photo Sources:

5. Photo credit: Ballard Farmers Market

7. Photo credit: King’s Hardware

8. Photo credit: Ice Box Arcade