Ballard is one of Seattle's oldest neighborhoods and was settled by Danish and Finish immigrants in the mid 1800s. Today, its Scandinavian roots are reflected in its historic landmarks and attractive winding streets.

Trendy cafes, neighborhood pubs and unique shops have made Ballard a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. Stores range from home design shops that focus on "green living" to the latest in chic apparel. Visitors can find a wide range of ethnic restaurants in Ballard, from popular Thai cuisine to upscale dining.

Ballard's pubs, like its restaurants, are often known as much for their unusual settings as for their excellent fare. Converted hardware stores, historic buildings and Ballard's famous library have become settings for unique meeting places, adding to the attractive atmosphere that makes up one of Seattle's most popular neighborhoods.

Overlooking Salmon Bay, the community of Ballard is often associated with the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, what is locally known as the Ballard Locks. This waterway at the northwest end of Seattle provides an essential link between Puget Sound and Seattle's two principal lakes, Lake Union and Lake Washington. A favorite location for strolling or for boating, the Ballard Locks are a popular summertime attraction.

The community of Ballard is also known for its Golden Garden Park, with its panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, sandy beaches and winding forest trails. The park includes an off-leash dog park, fishing pier and boat launch.

Today, a diverse population calls Ballard home. You’ll still run into the fisherman-type, but an abundance of young professionals have also moved into the area. Almost 60% of its residents are between the ages of 20 and 40. Still, Ballard has a more balanced age distribution than other areas of Seattle. For example, almost 30% of the residents are over the age of 50, according to Zillow. There are more single folks than married, and 15% of households have kids.

Because of its wide variety of residents, Ballard has a very unique personality. You’ve got the let’s-go-out-for-happy-hour crowd, the early-morning-market crowd, the trendy-shop-and-salon crowd, and the late-night-debauchery crowd. You can see it all in one spot–Ballard Avenue. This street was once the commercial district, but now houses about a gazillion restaurants, shops, bars, and art spaces. On one block, for instance, you can find the Smoke Shop (a complete dive bar frequented by fishermen), a self storage facility, a few of the trendiest bars in Ballard (Ocho, BalMar, and Volterra, for example), an architecture firm, and a music venue. Expand this example to Ballard as a whole, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s like there.

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