Located 20 minutes north of downtown Seattle, Ballard is a historic town with plenty to see and do. Ideal for any type of visitor, Ballard is the getaway spot for people young and old, solo travelers and families.
Although farther from downtown, Ballard is a destination on its own. The main area of town spreads out from the historic downtown on Ballard Ave., where trendy shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars all intermingle. This is the perfect place to spend a casual day with no real plan in mind.
History of Ballard
First settled in the mid 1800s, Ballard saw quick growth, primarily among immigrants from Scandinavia. In the early days of the town, Ballard was known as “the shingle capital of the world.” The area boasted a wide number of jobs, ideal for new immigrants. Ballard was actually its own town at that time and didn’t become part of Seattle until 1907 when it was annexed to the city.
The quick growth was too much for the town to manage on its own, so after much debate, the town voted to become part of Seattle. This was to be able to rely on their safe water supply and other public services.
Always at the forefront of the needs of the Pacific Northwest, Ballard has transitioned over the years from a town built on construction and lumber, to being a haven for fisherman and canneries.
Don’t let that fool you though, this town has plenty more going on for it than just the jobs it provides. A stroll through downtown Ballard will give you a quick glimpse into its history through the architecture, while taking you straight to the present day with the delicious dining options and boutique shopping.
Things to Do in Ballard
The perk of staying in Ballard is that everything you need is within walking distance from your vacation home. With plenty of coffee shops and bakeries to start your day, restaurants for any time, and bars that offer you a nightcap, the great location of the town will leave you wanting to stay longer.
Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Ballard and nearby Seattle neighborhoods:
- Ballard Ave NW: Head to Ballard Ave to walk through the heart of downtown Ballard. This is the perfect spot to pick up a few souvenirs and really get a feel for this vibey town.
- Golden Gardens Park: Spend a relaxing day on Puget Sound at this locally-loved beach. This is a great place to lounge in the sand or catch a beautiful sunset over the Olympic Mountains.
- Fisherman’s Terminal: Head here to see fishermen preparing for their day or coming back to harbor after a day at sea. This is a great way to see what daily life is like for local fishermen. To enjoy some of this fresh catch, grab a bite at Chinook’s at Salmon Bay.
- The National Nordic Museum: To dive deeper into Ballard’s history, take a few hours to explore this beautifully designed museum.
- Downtown Seattle: Ballard is about 20 minutes from Downtown Seattle, giving you access to all of Seattle’s hotspots like Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, the Seattle Aquarium, the Space Needle, the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Center, and Chihuly Garden.
- Visit Nearby Neighborhoods: Other great nearby neighborhoods to check out while in Seattle are Ballard, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Lake Union, and Phinney Ridge.
Our Seattle Vacation Homes
By booking a short term house rental directly for your next vacation, you’re not only saving on third party fees from Airbnb or Vrbo, but you’re getting the personal touch of dealing with the property managers directly.
We’re able to help you with all of your Seattle vacation needs and can point you in the right direction for anything from nearby grocery stores to fun, unique things to do in the area, based on your interests. From the moment you check-in, you can rest assured you’re in good hands while in Ballard.
All of our properties come equipped with free wifi, fresh linens, and a washer/dryer. Some properties have window air conditioning units and/or gas fireplaces.
Get ready for a great vacation to Seattle by staying in one of the city’s best neighborhoods, Ballard.