Originally Ballard attracted fishermen and people who wanted to live away from the urban center of Seattle. Ballard consists of original smaller homes, many of which have been spruced up, expanded, or in recent years, razed to make way for very modern-designed housing. Condos and townhouses are filling in along major thoroughfares in Ballard center.  Old Town Ballard includes tree-lined streets filled with cute boutiques, cool new restaurants and well-loved dive bars. There is plenty to see in Ballard with the Ballard Locks (which provides boat transportation from Elliott Bay to Lake Union and Lake Washington, and Shilshole Marina, complete with restaurants and beautiful views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains. During the summer, you can watch the salmon leaping from the Sound up through Salmon Bay and into the fresh water lakes.

Places to Visit: Hiram Locks, Golden Gardens, Nordic Heritage Museum, Shilshole Bay Marina

Wow!:  There is a fish ladder at the Ballard locks that is viewable from underneath. You can watch the salmon swim upstream.

Walking score: 87 out of 100

Livability: 78 out of 100 (higher is better)

Safety: 32% safer than the Seattle average

Public Schools with rating:

  • Elementary: Salmon Bay K-8 (A), Adams Elementary (A)
  • Middle School: Salmon Bay (A), Whitman Middle School (A)
  • High School: Ballard (A)

Estimated travel times (without traffic):

  • Ballard to Lake Union: 12 Min
  • Ballard to Downtown Seattle: 18 min

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