1. Golden Gardens. The name is a bit deceiving, but those of us from town know that Golden Gardens is not a garden but one of the best beaches in Seattle. Situated on the Western edge of Ballard, Golden Gardens offers a sandy beach with amazing views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain Range. During the summer, the beach is a popular spot for locals and visitors to gather and soak up the sun. A snack bar provides refreshments during the day, and fire pits are a great place to gather when it cools off in the evening.
2. Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks). Venturing back into town from Golden Gardens, you almost pass the Locks without knowing it. Situated on the waterfront, the Locks are a popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy. You walk through a brilliant garden, the Carl S. English Junior Botanical Gardens, before you reach the Locks. It’s worth the wait for a boat to come, as an assortment of everything from a kayak to a yacht get situated into a small space then raised to the lake or lowered to the sea. Cross the dam and discover the fish ladders. Take advantage of a sunny afternoon and set up a picnic at the park to watch the boats sail inland for the evening.
3. Sunday Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday, rain or shine, the farmer’s market takes over Ballard Avenue in downtown Ballard. It’s a great place for families and young adults alike to find organic produce, fresh flowers or a delicious lunch. Browse through booths with handmade soaps, treats and gifts. Street musicians provide entertainment while you wander through the market
4. Carkeek Park. Located a little north of Ballard, but nonetheless as enchanting. You would have to know Carkeek Park is there in order to find it. Wander through a forested area and end up in a hillside park overlooking the Puget Sound with breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains. It’s an ideal setting for a family gathering. There are covered picnic areas with barbeques, and a playground area for kids. Take the walking bridge over the train tracks and down to the beachfront. Be sure to time it so you can experience the rush as the train passes right below you, quite incredible!
5. Nightlife. Ballard is transitioning to a younger crowd. There are plenty of small bars and restaurants to accommodate a healthy nightlife in Ballard. Down on Ballard Ave., the streets light up with activity, just make sure you’re prepared to be patient with parking.
6. Cafés & Restaurants. Some of the best dining experiences are found in Ballard. Head out to the beach and dine at one of the restaurants that overlook the Sound. Drive down Market and discover everything from sushi to Mexican to Italian. There are hidden gems off the beaten path too, go for a walk through the neighborhoods and you’ll probably stumble upon your new favorite spot.
By CertaPro Painters of North Seattle