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Living in Ballard, WA

cyclist on Ballard waterfront gazing into scenic Puget Sound

Where in Seattle is Ballard?
About 20 minutes north of downtown, Ballard is in northwest Seattle. The area’s history runs incredibly deep, with the Duwamish people calling it home for at least 12,000 years and Scandinavian immigrants settling there in the 1890s to work in the shipyards and fisheries.

Ballard is bordered by Salmon Bay to the south, Phinney Ridge to the east, and North Beach to the north. The neighborhood’s entire western border—and the reason for its nautical roots—is Puget Sound.

Why Live in Ballard?
A working-class neighborhood for generations, Ballard has transformed over the past couple of decades into one of the trendiest, most desirable places to live in Seattle. Whether you’ve been living in Ballard for years or are moving to Ballard soon, there’s plenty for you to discover in this thriving hub.

Ballard Avenue NW and Market Street, two of the main thoroughfares, are home to some of the neighborhood’s best restaurants, coffee roasters, bars, and shops—and lucky for Ballard Yards residents, they’re both just steps away from home. On Ballard Avenue NW, grab a latte at Anchored Ship Coffee Bar and pick up a bottle of natural wine from their in-house wine shop, Grape Juice Wine Shop. Book at table at The Walrus and the Carpenter to enjoy impossibly fresh oysters and modern Scandinavian fare—a nod to the neighborhood’s earlier roots. And be sure to save room for ice cream from Salt & Straw, a wildly popular ice cream shop with flavors ranging from classic vanilla to innovative options like Pear & Blue Cheese. On Market Street, don’t miss tapas at Ocho, seafood at Sailfish, and drinks in the garden patio at Brimmer & Heeltap.

Other Ballard attractions include the National Nordic Museum, dedicated to the history and culture of the entire Nordic region; The Ballard Farmers Market, which takes place every Sunday throughout the year; and Golden Gardens Park, with coastline walks, forest hikes, and sandy beaches.

How Easy is it to Get Around Ballard?
Residents and visitors alike love that Ballard is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Seattle. It’s also considered one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city. For neighborhood destinations that are farther away, your best bet is to take the bus, a ride share, or drive.

Commuters can get from Ballard to downtown in about 20 to 40 minutes by car and 33 minutes by bus; to Bellevue in 35 to 65 minutes by car and 75 minutes by bus; and to Redmond in 35 to 70 minutes by car and an hour and 10 minutes by bus. For more details, check out our post on commuting from Ballard.