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Great Neighborhoods: Seattle



The area of Ballard was originally settled by the Swedes, Norwegians, Icelanders, Finns and Danes and so the town has inherited a Nordic flair.  Known early on as the world’s top producer of wood shingles and for its fishing fleet, Ballard has become one of the regions ‘discovered’ neighborhoods.

Ballard’s business districts are known for restaurants and nightclubs and the town’s housing density has been increasing in recent years.  Artists and retailers team up for monthly, creative and genuinely sweet art walks.  Posh shops and funky galleries have been known to serve Hostess Ding Dongs with sparkling water.

Neighborhood Details

Cost of Housing

Ballard is no exception to a heated real estate market.  Homes range from the mid-$300,000 range for a small starter to above $800,000 for a two-story home on a generous lot with a water view.  Houses on the eastside are nothing fancy —World War II-era Cape Cod homes with one bath and postage stamp, manicured yards.  On the northwest end, early 1900’s, two- and three-bedroom Craftsman homes with 1,000 to 1,200 square feet feature inviting porches and fireplaces.

Rental property in Ballard averages around $700 but expect to pay in the mid-$900s for two bedrooms and a bath.

School System

The community of Ballard is served by the Seattle School District.  Ballard High School, rebuilt from the ground up in 1999, exemplifies the neighborhood.  The new campus sparkles and students have a sense of pride.  Whitman Middle School’s strong foreign language program allows students trips to France, Japan and Mexico.


Caressing Ballard on the west side, Shilshole Bay provides a pleasant sandy beach at Golden Gardens Park.  Visitors cram into the Hiram M.  Chittenden Locks, an engineering marvel of the WashingtonShip

Canal that connects Lake Washington, Lake Union and Salmon Bay to the tidal waters of Puget Sound.

The neighborhood’s retail anchor, Northwest Market Street, offers old-fashioned sidewalk sales and free samplings from the Great Harvest Bread Company.  The Majestic Bay Theater re-opened in the fall of 2000 and proudly displays a bench used in the blockbuster movie Titanic.


With Ballard’s increased popularity, downtown commutes can take 20 minutes for a seven-mile drive making freeway access difficult.  Not surprisingly, commuters have turned to metro buses for the trip downtown.

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