Looking for things to do in Ballard, Seattle?
Seattle’s northern neighborhood of Ballard is known for its Nordic roots, the sandy beaches at Golden Gardens Park, the Sunday farmers market, and an extensive craft brewery scene. It also has charming indie boutiques for shopping, quirky bars, and some of Seattle’s best restaurants. And, of course, we can’t forget the coffee shops—this is Seattle, after all.
We rounded up our favorites in each of those categories and more, so scroll through to plan your perfect Ballard experience.
Here are the top things to do in Ballard:
Cafes and bakeries
Before you start your exploring, you have get fueled up with caffeine and a pastry. Here are some of our favorite cafes and bakeries in Ballard (plus an adorable tea shop).
Ballard Coffee Works is a good choice on a weekday if you’d like to sit and use the free Wi-Fi while sipping a cortado. We also love that they’re open until 7:00 p.m. every day. Be warned that it’s a popular spot and gets particularly crowded on Sundays during the Ballard Farmers Market.
Location: 2060 NW Market Street
2. Caffe Umbria
The Ballard location of this boutique coffee shop has a sophisticated European cafe vibe. They have locally baked goods, light lunch options, and Italian wine and beer.
Location: 5407 Ballard Ave NW
This cozy and colorful cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating. In addition to the coffee and food, you’ll also find a mini wine shop inside.
Location: 5308 Ballard Ave NW
4. Miro Tea
Not a coffee fan? Check out Miro Tea in Ballard. You can enjoy all sorts of tea beverages and snacks while relaxing in the soothing space, and shop for tea-related wares before you leave.
Location: 5405 Ballard Ave NW
If you’re searching for macarons in Ballard, head to Rosellini’s Fine Cakes & Baked Goods. They also have freshly baked bread, cakes and French pastries, and espresso drinks.
Location: 1413 NW 70th St
Given its Nordic background, it makes sense that Ballard would have a bakery serving traditional Danish pastries. Larsen’s Bakery also serves espresso drinks, cakes, bread, and more.
Location: 8000 24th Ave NW
Ballard is a foodie heaven. Whether you’re looking for a quick, cheap bite or planning to make a reservation for a special occasion, you can’t go wrong with one of these Ballard eateries.
Looking for pizza in Ballard? You must head to Delancey. Their wood-fired pizza is extremely popular so while you wait, you can step into some local shops or get cocktails at Essex next door. Afterwards, pop into the neighboring vegan ice cream shop Frankie & Jo’s for dessert.
Location: 1415 NW 70th St
During the day, Sabine is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. At night, it transforms into Bar Sabine, their 21+ cocktail joint. Whichever one you choose to frequent, you can’t go wrong.
Location: 5307 Ballard Ave NW
It can be hard to find good bagels or burritos in Seattle, yet somehow Rachel’s has both.
Location: 5451 Leary Ave NW
Craving fried chicken? Head to Cookies Country Chicken for a casual but delicious meal.
Location: 1744 NW Market St
10. San Fermo
San Fermo is our favorite Italian restaurant in Ballard. Their homemade pastas are served in a cozy historical house with two levels of seating and a patio.
Location: 5341 Ballard Ave NW
11. Rupee Bar
You can get cocktails and small plates inspired by India and Sri Lanka at Rupee Bar. The decor alone makes this spot worthy of date night.
Location: 6307 24th Ave NW
The Walrus and the Carpenter is the go-to spot for oysters and elevated seafood in Ballard. The attached Barnacle Bar is also a great place to sip a cocktail while you wait for your table.
Location: 4743 Ballard Ave NW
13. Cycle Dogs
You wouldn’t expect Cycle Dogs to be 100% vegan just by looking at its menu of hot dogs and burgers, but they prove that comfort food can be entirely plant-based. They also have great cocktails.
Location: 5410 17th Ave NW
14. Spice Waala
If you want a more casual vibe than Rupee Bar, head to Spice Waala for some delicious Indian street food and rotating soft serve flavors.
Location: 340 15th Ave E #202
Bars, breweries, and nightlife
If you’re planning to do some brewery hopping in Seattle, Ballard is hands-down the best place to go. The nightlife scene here isn’t as lively as, say, Capitol Hill but you can find plenty of dive bars and chic craft cocktail joints, depending on your mood.
Head to Little Tin in Ballard for creative cocktails, witchy vibes, and tasty bites.
Location: 5335 Ballard Ave NW
Ballard residents love Baker’s for its cozy neighborhood bar vibe and delicious food. Check out the patio seating in back if it’s nice out.
Location: 6408 32nd Ave NW
17. Pie Bar
Yes, you can get drinks here. Yes, you can also get pie here. What else does one need?
Location: 2218 NW Market St
You’ll find lots of sours and IPAs at this brewery that also has Burbs Burgers in-house if you’re hungry.
Location: 5101 14th Ave NW Suite 101
19. Skål Beer Hall
Ballard’s roots are displayed at this Nordic beer hall with a Viking theme, mead and craft beer, and hearty Nordic food.
Location: 5429 Ballard Ave NW
This chic little bar is a nice place to take a date. They offer elevated craft cocktails and wood-fired small bites. They’re right next door to Delancey if you’d like to tack a dinner onto the date.
Location: 1421 NW 70th St
21. Sloop Tavern
Sloop Tavern is a beloved dive bar in Ballard where you can enjoy classic pub fare with beer and wine.
Location: 2830 NW Market St
22. King’s Hardware
This character-rich pub is a great hangout spot with skeeball, arcade games, and a covered patio.
Location: 5225 Ballard Ave NW
23. Percy’s & Co.
This artisanal cocktail bar has a chic vintage vibe and a lovely covered patio out back.
Location: 5233 Ballard Ave NW
24. Reuben’s Brews
This family-owned brewery and taproom has an excellent rotation of draft beers (and a fun trivia night every Wednesday).
Location: 5010 14th Ave NW
The BBYC taproom in Ballard is a great hangout spot on nice days, thanks to their large outdoor area with fire pits and rotating food trucks.
Location: 826 NW 49th St
We love shopping in Ballard. There are so many well-curated boutiques and small businesses, it was hard to narrow it down to our top favorites that you see below.
Whether you’re in the market for a new sofa or you just have an hour to kill before your dinner reservation, there’s always something interesting waiting for you at Ballard Consignment. This sprawling consignment store is the largest in Seattle and is full of both vintage and modern furniture, art, and decor.
Location: 5459 Leary Ave NW
27. Woodland Mod
We love the soothing, minimalist vibe of this boutique store that fits in nicely with Ballard’s Nordic roots.
Location: 5330 Ballard Ave NW
28. Standard Goods
Stock your closet with some cool pieces from Standard Goods, which focuses on sourcing from small and local businesses.
Location: 5317 Ballard Ave NW
Baleen is a sustainable and affordable jewelry shop that also stocks gift-able items such as candles, socks, and more!
Location: 6418 20th Ave NW
Prism is a boutique in Seattle that’s ideal for shopping for your home, your friend, or yourself. You’ll find the shop is stocked with colorful, zany, and stylish goods of all sorts.
Location: 5208 Ballard Ave NW
31. Fair Trade Winds
Focusing on selling only sustainable and fair trade products, this family-owned shop in Ballard is a great place to shop for gifts.
Location: 5329 Ballard Ave NW
At this minimalist-chic plant store in Ballard, you can stock up on both plants and coffee. They also sell a few other highly-curated items such as books, fair trade chocolate, and incense.
Location: 5000 20th Ave NW
Seattleites are known for being outdoorsy and that applies in Ballard as well. All of the below spots are worth a visit year-round, although they really come alive in the summer.
Everyone in Seattle heads north to Ballard to soak up the sun on the beach at Golden Gardens in the summer months. In addition to the beaches, the park also has hiking trails, picnic tables, and playgrounds that are enjoyed year-round.
Location: 8498 Seaview Pl NW
34. Salmon Bay Park
This little park in Ballard is a neighborhood favorite for picnics, playground hangs, and even free Shakespeare productions.
Location: 2001 NW Canoe Pl
35. Sunset Hill Park
This little pocket park is accurately named. Everyone in Ballard knows that this is the best place to have a picnic at sunset.
Location: 7531 34th Ave NW
36. Ballard Locks
The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, more commonly known as the Ballard Locks, is a popular site in the neighborhood for locals and tourists alike. It is a complex locks system that lets boats pass between the saltwater of Puget Sound and the freshwater of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. It’s also a good spot for seeing salmon spawning, having a picnic, and catching summer concerts.
Location: 3015 NW 54th St
Entertainment and culture
With museums and art galleries, annual festivals, and live music, it’s not hard to find entertainment while you’re in Ballard.
The National Nordic Museum is right here in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Learn about Nordic countries and culture, then hit up the Freya cafe on your way out for some delicious bites. You’ll find one of the best cookies in Seattle there.
Location: 2655 NW Market St
38. Ballard Art Walk
Every second Saturday of the month from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., you can take a self-guided tour of the Ballard Art Walk.
Every summer, all of Seattle packs Ballard’s streets for the annual seafood festival. This year the Ballard Seafood Fest takes place July 14-16, 2023.
People who love gaming can make friends and find community at this Ballard club that provides space for playing Warhammer and other miniatures game. All are welcome to visit to play a game or just have a drink.
Location: 1736 NW Market St
41. The Give Inn
The Give Inn is a community theater space in Ballard where you’ll find the Seattle Burlesque and Cabaret Co-Op offering classes and performances centering BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists.
Location: 2220 NW Market St
This virtual-reality arcade has over 70 solo and multi-player games, plus snacks and beverages. It’s family-friendly and they often host birthday parties and team events.
Location: 2601 NW Market St
43. Tractor Tavern
Looking for live music in Ballard? Head to Tractor Tavern, where you’ll find a wide variety of live musical acts every night of the week.
Location: 5213 Ballard Ave NW
Speaking of live music, you don’t want to miss out on the annual Freakout Festival in Ballard every November. Read more about Freakout Festival.
Finally, we can’t leave out the Ballard Farmers Market. This popular year-round market is open every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., rain or shine.
Location: 5345 Ballard Ave NW