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5 Things to Do in Ballard When Visiting Seattle

Welcome to Ballard, a neighborhood rich with Nordic history and seafaring trade, as well as some of Seattle’s best restaurants and boutique shopping. Aside from the classic Seattle tourism hotspots that are closer to Downtown, such as the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and Miner’s Landing, the Ballard neighborhood has a lot to offer someone visiting Seattle.

If you’re staying in Ballard just for the weekend, or for a longer visit, you’ll want to see and experience the following hotspots and activities:

Picnic or Visit the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks: The Locks in Ballard are an important part of the neighborhood and Seattle’s history. Completed in 1917 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the locks carry recreational and commercial boats and ships between Salmon Bay and the Puget Sound and Lake Union and Lake Washington. Featuring a fish ladder, historical and educational kiosks, and beautiful grounds with the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens next to the locks, the site is excellent for site seeing and picnicking.

Tour the Nordic History Museum: The Ballard neighborhood has a rich Nordic history, which is showcased at the Nordic Heritage Museum. Art, objects, collections, and more are on display to share the Nordic culture with visitors to the museum. They also offer educational and cultural experiences to further feature the culture and history of Nordic peoples. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $4 for children over age 5 (children under 5 get in free). The first Thursday of every month offers free admission.

Boutique Shopping: All along Ballard Avenue, Market Street, and their side streets, there are shops and boutiques of all offerings and tastes to explore. Whether you’re hunting for apparel and accessories, home décor and furniture, candles and knick-knacks, this area within the Ballard neighborhood had dozens of hole-in-the-wall shopping treasures to discover!

Dine at a Notable Eatery: Ballard contains some of Seattle’s best restaurants – a couple of which we mentioned in our last blog post. Enjoy a great meal any time of day at one of these or other Ballard restaurants and cafés. One restaurant we’d like to note: Stoneburner opened right next door and attached to Hotel Ballard, and it’s a fantastic spot to grab lunch, dinner, or drinks! Stoneburner does stone hearth cooking and handmade pasta with a farm focus!

Beach Bonfire at Golden Gardens Park: Summer nights are perfect for a bonfire on the beach! Golden Gardens Park is Seattle’s only beach with legal fire pits. They are first come, first serve, so get to the beach early to stake out your spot! Parking is free and the park is open until 11:30 p.m. Another thing to note, the public restrooms at this location can run out of toilet paper and get pretty messy, especially during the busy summer season, so come prepared with your own anti-bacterial wipes and TP!

As you enjoy visiting Seattle, we hope these things to do in Ballard will help keep your summer vacation schedule filled with fun neighborhood experiences and activities.

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