Things to Do in Northwest Seattle
Northwest Seattle is an area with arguable borders — some would include Ballard and some would say it borders Ballard, Crown Hill, and Fremont and is it’s own thing. Whether Ballard is technically “in” Northwest Seattle or simply nearby, we are lucky to have access to all that Northwest Seattle offers.
Our area is a quick crossing over Lake Union to Downtown Seattle, including Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, and the Space Needle. But we aren’t defined by what we’re near — Northwest Seattle has its own offerings that keep our residents happy in their own backyards.
If you want to learn more about Ballard, check out our Ballard guide. To learn about the rest of Northwest Seattle, keep reading.
Places to Visit
The Pacific Northwest in general is known for being gorgeous, and Northwest Settle delivers with shores and nature preserves along the Puget Sound and plenty of parks, lakes, and green spaces.
Green Lake and Green Lake Park is a popular destination for trees — especially the cherry trees that bloom every year — picnicking, and more. The lake offers water sports, including boating, fishing, and swimming. There are paths all around the lake that are popular for biking, roller blading, or just a beautiful walk.
Woodland Park Zoo
Not just any zoo, this conservation park has won endless awards certifying how it makes a difference in the lives of their animals as well as their visitors. This zoo was the originator of a movement to create zoo habitats that imitate the animals’ natural habitats, as well as using sound control techniques to keep the animals undisturbed. The park works with universities such as University of Washington to further conservation and environmental education.
Carkeek Park Beach
One of the best spots to look over Puget Sound, this park and beach has hundreds of acres of nature, including forest and wetlands. The beach is a great spot to get in some sun, and there are picnic facilities, boat launches, playgrounds, and other amenities for a full day of fun.
These ten acres of landscaped gardens was originally the summer home of the Dunn family. Views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains enhance this lush area full of trees and flowers.
Northacres Off-Leash Dog Area
This shady, fenced-in park is the perfect spot to take your favorite fur-children to socialize with other dogs and enjoy some off-leash exploring.
An expansive garden store with a cafe and gift/supply shop, this spot is a local favorite for many reasons, whether it's the knowledgable clerks, the seasonal harp concerts, the koi ponds, or visiting holiday reindeer. Even if you can’t keep plants alive, its a great place to walk around and grab a snack while smelling beautiful flowers.
Restaurants and Bars
The Northwest Seattle culinary offerings are nothing to sneeze at — we have a food scene as awesome as downtown. Here are some of our favorite restaurants and bars within an easy drive of Ballard Yards.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
With a title inspired by Lewis Carroll, you know this place is unique. This pub/restaurant is dedicated to excellent seasonal seafood, including the best oysters in Seattle and a particularly exquisite rock fish tartare. The curated selection of wine and draft beer will make for a rounded meal.
The Un Bien menu is dedicated to Caribbean food, especially sandwiches. Our favorite dishes marry the cuisine tradition with the Seattle seafood in their Caribbean scallops or Un Bien prawns. More laid back than The Walrus and the Carpenter, we love to go here for a late lunch on a Saturday afternoon.
Barking Dog Alehouse
For a great, classic pub, we love the Barking Dog Alehouse not far from Green Lake in Northwest Seattle. Beyond a curated selection of excellent, rotating drafts, they offer elevated bar food, including French Dip sandwiches and fish and chips. Not to mention — a few televisions playing sports at all times and a dog-friendly covered patio.
Our favorite cocktail spot is in South Ballard, and it has the best happy hour in Seattle. The vintage-inspired decor brings visual delight while still being laid-back.
If you like either Lebanese food or whiskey, this spot is dedicated to doing both well. The restaurant opened in 2012, before hummus became a beloved mainstream spread. It also offers something special: a Sunday dinner, every Sunday evening with a special Chef’s choice surprise menu.
For good Mexican takeout in Seattle, check out this low-key Tamales spot just east of Green Lake in Northwest Seattle. While they don’t offer seating, they are the perfect place to grab lunch on the way to a day at the lake.
Named after a unit of energy, this restaurant sure energizes cust#omers with a unique Asian–Northwest fusion cuisine. Great for a date, they are known for gorgeous plating and a sophisticated setting.
Windy City Pie
If you’re a midwestern transplant, here’s where you go for the pizza of your home: the deep dish. This controversial slice becomes less-so with the delicious version that Windy City Pie cooks up at their Northwest Seattle location.
Salt and Straw
An export from our quirky neighbor to the South — Portland — this next-level ice cream shop is known for extra-creative flavors. They also have what they call “Culinary Perfume” which is an edible scent to enhance your dessert experience.