New Ballard Eateries To Try: Spring and Summer 2018

Ballard is full of excellent eateries. From novel restaurants to craft beer, this neighborhood has a great array of cuisine to offer. If you are looking for something new and different to try, you’re in luck! A number of new bars, restaurants, and specialty food stores have recently opened in Ballard. Be sure to add these hot spots to your list of places to eat in this neighborhood!

Locust Cider

Whether you are a cider connoisseur or you are looking for some delicious gluten-free beverage options, Locust Cider is the place to be. They recently opened a new location in Ballard offering an array of delicious ciders on tap. They also donate a percentage of their profits for research to benefit children with hydrocephalus!

Salt and Straw

This welcoming Ballard ice cream parlor will curb your sweet tooth! With rotating seasonal ice creams you’ll find local novelties and classic flavors alike. Named one of Thrillist’s Top 21 Ice Cream Shops in America, Salt and Straw is well-worth a visit.  

Verve Bowl

If fresh smoothies, acai bowls, and kombucha are your calling, you should give Verve Bowl a try. Full of fresh fruit concoctions with fruity flavors from around the world, this newly-opened Ballard eatery should be on your list!

Coming Soon

Skål Beer Hall

Connecting Ballard with its Nordic roots, Skal Beer Hall will be a Viking-themed gathering space planned to open in summer 2018. Owner Adam McQueen will combine his Norwegian heritage and knowledge of beer to create this bar that speaks true to Ballard’s roots!

Trailbend Taproom

Owners of two Seattle favorites, The Dray and The Yard, are opening a new taproom and restaurant in the heart of Ballard. Located in Ballard’s brewery district, this space will be a sit-down restaurant with 42 beers on tap!

Bonus: Geo’s Bar and Grill in Greenwood

Geo’s Cuban and Creole, a Ballard favorite, has a new bar and grill 15 minutes north on the corner of Holman Road and Greenwood Avenue! This sit-down restaurant will transport you to Havana for the evening, and is a great place for a date night or fun sit-down meal. With live music on weekends and a speakeasy-style lounge in the back of the restaurant, Geo’s is another delicious restaurant to try. Consider also checking out a new microbrewery in this area, Broadview Taphouse, if you head north!


4 Stunning Ballard Wedding Venues Where You Can Say I Do

Whether you are recently engaged, a parent of a soon-to-be bride or groom, or simply someone daydreaming about saying yes to the dress, Ballard has many excellent wedding venues to consider. Our Seattle neighborhood boasts a coastal escape in the heart of the city and is an ideal backdrop for a Pacific Northwest wedding.

For Ballard natives and transplants alike, this neighborhood is home to several popular Seattle wedding venues. Offering the perfect setting for a seaside summer wedding or a cool sunset backdrop for your winter celebration, there are many reasons to make Ballard the place you say “I do.” For anyone planning on exchanging their vows in Seattle, be sure to consider some of these spectacular wedding venues in Ballard!  

Ballard Bay Club

If you are seeking an elegant and romantic wedding venue, Ballard Bay Club should be on your list. This space is a versatile setting that can be configured to create the experience you are looking for. The Ballard Bay Club is equipped for events large and small, with full dining options for 150 up to 400 guests and cocktail style receptions for up to 1,000 guests. With beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound, this is a picturesque venue for a wedding any time of the year. This space also offers:

  • Views and easy access to Shilshole Beach
  • Hardwood dance floors
  • Outdoor patio
  • Private bridal suite
  • Beverage and dessert service

Olympic Rooftop Pavilion

For couples who picture their special day on a rooftop that overlooks the city they call home, Ballard’s Olympic Rooftop Pavilion is the place to be. This space is located on the rooftop of Hotel Ballard in the center of Market Street. Guests will enjoy spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains, the Puget Sound, and the city skyline. Equipped with audio-visual equipment, outdoor fireplaces, and seating for up to 130 guests, this is an optimal location for a beautiful wedding. Hotel Ballard also offers discounted rates for groups to simplify lodging for out-of-town guests! Additional features include:

  • Options for food and wine pairings
  • Space and be configured for open-air or indoor seating
  • Full bar and customized cocktails

The Canal

The Canal is a spacious, open venue in a historic Ballard setting. Encompassed by forest and water, this is an ideal location for a true Pacific Northwest wedding. The happy couple and their guests will enjoy indoor and outdoor features of this venue including a landscaped courtyard, banquet style seating, outdoor cocktail tables, and more. The Canal includes a number of amenities to simplify your wedding process and create maximum enjoyment for the wedding party and their guests including:

  • Flexible event start and end times
  • Food and beverage catering, if needed
  • Banquet hall-style seating with waterfront view

Ray’s Boathouse

No list of Ballard wedding venues is complete without including Ray’s Boathouse. Situated at the edge of Ballard just south of Golden Gardens park, Ray’s offers a beautiful venue for any couple interested in a seaside wedding. This space has a private banquet room that seats up to 120 guests. Couples can also get married in an open, outdoor seating area if weather permits! Not only does this venue have an incredible view but it also boasts a delicious menu of seafood and other Pacific Northwest culinary delights. Ray’s Boathouse also offers:

  • Rehearsal walk-through
  • Dressing area
  • On-site event planner
  • Expert wait staff and hospitality

Ballard has no shortage of beautiful views to see and spaces to enjoy, many of which make a perfect backdrop for a wedding! Best of luck to you and your future spouse in finding your ideal wedding venue.

Image courtesy of

Ballard Events: Things to Do in March

Are you looking for some fun and exciting activities during the final weeks of March? Whether you are seeking family fun, outdoor activities, or all of the above, our neighborhood has a ton of engaging activities for couples, families and more. If you are looking for a few fun events to participate in, be sure to add some of these local activities to your list!

March 15-April 8: Moisture Festival

Times vary | Hale’s Ales Palladium

Anyone interested in a stage performance like no other should consider attending Ballard Moisture Festival! This showcase is a unique comedy/variete. This fun spectacle is made up of 3-15 minute performances by magicians, jugglers, acrobats, strong men and women and more! You can catch these novel performances now through April 8.

March 22-24: Ballard High School Playmakers Present “Damn Yankees

Times vary | Earl Kelly Performing Arts Center at Ballard High School

Don’t miss your chance to get tickets to Ballard High School’s presentation of “Damn Yankees!” This musical is a comedy with classic songs such as “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Heart.” Preformed by Ballard High School actors and orchestra, this play is a must see! You can purchase your tickets at

March 19: Games for Good

5:30 – 7:30pm | Lagunitas Taproom

What better way to spend a Monday than with beer, games, and more?! Plus, this event benefits charity. Games for Good at Lagunitas Taproom will feature live music, cornhole, giant Jenga, trivia, and more. For a $5 cover, guests will gain access to all of the games plus two slices of pizza. Proceeds from this event go toward FamilyWorks, a food bank and resource center for families in need. Be sure to get your taste of many delicious varieties of Lagunitas beer while also supporting your community.

March 31: Easter Egg Coloring Party

11:30am | Ray’s Cafe

Easter is right around the corner! For anyone seeking a great place to get together with their community, consider attending Ray’s Cafe Easter Egg Coloring Party. This event will take place on Ray’s covered patio, starting at 11:30 a.m. Children will have access to dyeing kits and hard-boiled eggs to make unique creations. Ray’s full menu will also be available during this event. Families will be asked to provide $10 donations to Mary’s Place, a center that empowers homeless women, children, and families, as the cost of entry.


Ballard Loft Celebrates 10 Years in Ballard

Flyer for Ballard Loft 10 Year Anniversary

Ballard Loft celebrates their 10 year anniversary this Thursday and Friday!

Event Details: 

It’s been an entire DECADE! 10 Years since we opened our fine establishment for business. Providing Old Ballard with a fun, action-packed sports & late night entertainment venue with quality pub food.

Come help celebrate THURSDAY and FRIDAY January 11th & 12th as we did the first Friday we were open in 2008 with…

  • $4 PICKLED PONY’S! (if you don’t know, you don’t get)

21+ after 9pm

For more information, visit the Facebook Event Page or Ballard Loft’s website.

Four Party Venues In Ballard To Book Your Holiday Party

November is here, and that means holiday party season is right around the corner. While it may seem too soon to be decking the halls and putting up holiday lights, rentable venues and party spaces are already starting to fill up in December. If you are looking for a private party room in Seattle, a Ballard music venue, or simply a fun place to host your holiday party, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few Ballard venues for rent to book this holiday season.

For Elegant and Classy Dining Events: Hotel Ballard’s Olympic Rooftop Pavilion

Hotel Ballard, in the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, is an ideal location for gatherings of all kinds. This space has over 1,300 square feet of event space equipped with seating for up to 100 guests, an outdoor fireplace, antique chandeliers and more. Boasting elegant views of the mountains and water, the view from atop Hotel Ballard is hard to beat. Hotel Ballard also offers discounted rates for groups who reserve their event space if you have out of towners coming to Ballard for the holidays.

For Birthday Parties, Sporting Events, and Casual Get-Togethers: Ballard Loft

For a casual event space with great food and beer, Ballard Loft is the place to be. The Loft allows parties to reserve everything from eight person tables for the big game, to large areas within their space for groups of 20 or more. Party hosts can purchase advanced drink tickets for their guests and pre-order a number of menu items. You can also reserve their flat screen TV for sporting events, video premieres, theme parties and more.

For an evening near the ocean with a sunset view: Ray’s Boathouse

If your are looking for secluded charm and an ocean view for your holiday event, Ray’s Boathouse is the place for you. Events with Ray’s Boathouse include professional event planning staff, top notch servers, audiovisual equipment and more. Their menu of tasty seafood and other local flavors makes Ray’s a great choice for holiday parties of all kinds.

For an event catered to wine lovers: ESR Cellar

If you’re hosting a party for wine lovers, look no further than ESR Cellar for your venue. This space includes a tasting and dining space for up to 18 people and a custom food and drink menu for each party. A unique location for any kind of party, ESR is a great option this holiday season.

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Ballard Events: Things to Do in August

There are lots of fun events in our neighborhood through the month of August! Check out some of the highlights…

Sundays in August: Ballard Farmers’ Market
10am – 3pm | 22nd Avenue NW & NW Market Street
We’re very lucky to have one of the best farmers markets in the city, and we’re even luckier that it’s a year round thing! The Ballard Farmers’ Market is on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., with fresh produce, food carts and booths, and locally sourced or made goods for sale.

Mondays in August: SUP Races
6pm – 9pm | Ballard Elks Beach
Head to Ballard Elks Beach on Monday nights through September 16th for the weekly Monday Night SUP Races on Shilshole Bay! This race is open for most paddling skill levels, you just need to be comfortable paddling in small to medium sized waves. If you don’t have a paddleboard, rentals are available for $30/person. REgistration for the race is just $5/person, and all proceeds benefit the Elks Scholarship Fund.

August 11: “The Secret Life of Pets” Movies at the Marina
5pm – 11pm | Shilshole Bay Marina
Enjoy a free outdoor movie and free popcorn with the family at the Shilshole Bay Marina’s monthly Movies at the Marina event! In August, the movie is “The Secret Life of Pets”. Coney Island Avenue Woodfired Pizza is the food truck of the night, and the Seattle Humane Society’s MaxMobile will be attending as well. The movie night is August 11th, starting at 5 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and snacks to enjoy this fun, free event!

August 17: Ballard Night Out
6pm – 9pm | Ballard Neighborhood
Get out in the community to check out arts and culture in the monthly Ballard Night Out. On the third Thursday of the month (August 17th), pick up a map and choose your venue. Most places will have something special to offer Night Out participants, from interactive jewelry making to complimentary ice cream with your art purchase.

August 19: Ballard Burrito Fest
11am – 6pm | Ballard Commons Park
Burrito lovers throughout Ballard (and the rest of the city), listen up! The Ballard Burrito Fest is nearly here, on August 19th. The best restaurants and food trucks in the city will compete for your vote for the best burrito. There will be lots and lots of burrito offerings, of course, plus a beer garden, activities for the kids, and lots more fun.

August 19 & 20: Viking Days
10am – 5pm | Nordic Heritage Museum
Ballard has a distinct Nordic history, and we celebrate it throughout the year in a variety of ways. One of them is Viking Days, which is coming up on August 19th and 20th. There will be a craft beer garden, grilling, a salmon bake, Swedish pancake breakfast, food offerings from all five Scandinavian countries, live entertainment, hands-on activities, and more!

Community Spotlight: Captain Keith Robbins of Spot Tail Salmon Guide

Captain Keith Robbins has been casting his reel in the Puget Sound for his entire life. A commercial boat captain for three decades and owner of fishing tour boat company Spot Tail Salmon Guide, few people know the Puget Sound as well as Captain Keith. We talked to the local fishing boat owner to get some insight on what life is like as a captain in Seattle. Here’s what he had to say:

How did you become a fishing boat captain?

I’m a lifelong fisherman and I turned my favorite hobby into a career. When I was a kid, my mom used to drop me off at the dock in the morning and pick me up at the end of the day, (back when you could do that kind of thing). All I know is the only reason I’ve ever worked any job is to support my fishing habit. I’ve spent last three decades building a career around sharing my favorite thing to do with guests from all over. We offer year round trips for fishermen and women of all experience levels.

What’s the largest fish ever caught on your boat?

A four and a half foot sturgeon was the largest fish, and the largest salmon was 35 pounds and nine ounces.

What other types of wildlife do you see on the Puget Sound?

The most memorable animals are always the Orcas (although I haven’t seen any since yesterday). Humpback whales are more rare but we do occasionally see them. We have  seen deer swimming in the Sound from time to time, and those are always interesting to see too.

What’s something crazy or surprising that’s happened on one of your fishing trips?

I once had the old catcher for the Mariners, Dan Wilson, on my boat. His son hooked a King Salmon (his third for the day), but got tired and let go of the rod and it fell in the water. Right after his son dropped the line, Dan hooked a fish. When Dan brought his line up, he had also hooked his son’s line, so I grabbed it and started to pull it in. I realized there was a fish on that line, and one on his son’s line as well.  I grabbed the butt of the rod and reeled it a few cranks to make sure the salmon was still on. Then, I handed it back to Dan’s son, which had his rod AND the fish he hooked. That was when I realized Dan was a really good “catcher.”

What makes Spot Tail Salmon Guide different from other fishing trip companies?

We specialize in mooching. Mooching is a local fishing method where you will hold the rod, feel the bite, and set the hook yourself. Where trolling is a laid back and stationary, mooching is an active experience where you work the bait at different depths. We also offer saltwater salmon fishing, bottom fishing, and sightseeing tours.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love taking new anglers out on the sound and helping them make their first catch.  I’m lucky to spend my days on the water helping people enjoy their vacations and celebrate memorable occasions. From the sites of the sound to the best technique, I try to share all of my favorite things about fishing with every guest who boards my boat.

To learn more about Captain Keith and his crew of Spot Tail Salmon Guides, visit their website. To keep up to date with the latest neighborhood news, join the Ballard Community Facebook Group!

Images courtesy of Spot Tail Salmon Guide.


A Look at The Ballard Locks After 100 Years

Last Sunday, July 9th, the city turned out to celebrate the Ballard Locks’ 100th anniversary with a boat parade. This facility, officially called the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, has been an essential part of Seattle’s infrastructure, in addition to playing a key part in our city’s modern development.

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and Lake Washington Ship Canal were formally opened in July 1917, named after a U.S. Army Major who served as the Seattle District Engineer for the Corps from April 1906 until September 1908. They were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, designed to be a commercial navigation route that would preserve salmon habitats and migration routes and also prevent further displacement of Native American people in the area.

By opening the local waterways to maritime commerce, the Locks played a key part of making Seattle the major port city it has become. “The waterway provided a route for boats to bring cargo to and from the region, from oil and steel to hats and coats, and to push and pull tons of logs into Lake Washington from logging camps around Puget Sound. And many new maritime businesses also opened on the shores of Lake Union and Salmon Bay, including boatbuilders, sawmills and William Boeing’s first seaplane factory,” a Seattle Magazine article reported.

The Ballard Locks have two locks of different sizes, a spillway to facilitate water level control, and a fish ladder to support fish migration, primarily salmon. Its grounds include a visitors center and the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens.

Today, the locks serve three primary purposes:

  1. Maintain the fresh water level of Lake Union and Lake Washington at 20-22 feet above sea level.
  2. Prevent saltwater intrusion (sea water mixing with fresh water) from Puget Sound into the lakes.
  3. Safely and efficiently transport boats between the two different water levels.

According to the locks website, the Ballard Locks transports more than 40,000 vessels each year, making them the busiest locks in the entire U.S. Both commercial and recreational vessels can navigate through the locks 24 hours each day (except during maintenance). In addition to boats and ships, the Locks support a significant salmon migration totalling more than 100,000 salmon each season. The site is a National Historic Site (added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978) as well as a local icon, which attracts more than 1.3 million visitors each year. Passage through the Locks, visitor entry and guided tours, and even summer concerts on the grounds are all free of charge.

Perhaps most importantly, the Ballard Locks is essential infrastructure whose activity provides $1.2 billion to the economy each year and supports thousands of jobs.

However, this critical facility is in need of significant repairs due to age. The Corps of Engineers is working on the major repairs to ancient machinery, closure systems and more. But the necessary upgrades to the visitor education facilities needs public support. Click here to find out how you can help!

Featured photo source:

10 Places to Wine, Dine and Celebrate in Ballard and Beyond This Summer

Summer in Seattle is in full swing, and that means warmer weather and 16-hour days are upon us. When the sun is shining and weather is warm, most Seattleites make the most of it by spending as much time outdoors as possible. If you fall in that category and outdoor dining is your calling, our city also has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor restaurants, rooftop venues, and more. If you’re trying to maximize your time spend outside this summer with some great places to celebrate, here are some places to try.

Bars and Breweries

Seattle has enough bars and breweries to keep you busy for a while. Some quality establishments to put in your summer dining bucket list include:

Peddler Brewing Company

This bike-friendly microbrewery and tasting room is a real treat in the summer. With a spacious outdoor seating area in the heart of Ballard equipped with eleven beers on tap and rotational cider, corn hole and other games, and permanent food trucks in their beer garden, it’s hard to beat a summer evening spent at Peddler Brewing Company.

Kings Hardware

Kings Hardware is a great Ballard hub for food and drinks. Their extensive menu features a variety of dining options, signature cocktails, and a variety of beer on tap. Their garden-like  outdoor seating area is a fun place to spend lunch, happy hour, or cocktail area.

Fremont Brewing Company

Slightly outside of Ballard but worth the extra ten minutes, Fremont Brewing Company is home to one of Seattle’s favorite outdoor beer gardens. This brewery features a wide variety of signature and rotating beers on tap that will suit beer lovers of all kinds.

Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

If you’re looking for a great place in Greenwood for a beer and a meal, Naked City is the place to be. With a robust menu of food and snacks and dozens of beers on tap, this place is hard to beat. Their outdoor Walrus Beer Garden is a great place to spend an afternoon happy hour in the Greenwood sunshine. They also have a new location on Camano Island!


Ballard and surrounding neighborhoods have no shortage of great restaurants as well. Some fun places to try include:

Ballard Loft

If burgers, beer, and creative appetizers are your calling, Ballard Loft is the place for you. This casual establishment in the heart of Ballard is perfect for lunch, drinks, dinner, or all of the above.

El Camion

If you’re looking for quality and large quantities of Mexican food at a great price, you can’t beat El Camion. With their restaurant in Ballard and several food trucks throughout the city, this place offers tasty food and pleasant outdoor seating area. Don’t miss their summertime sangria!



If you’re looking for a great menu and a bit of a higher end dining experience, Bastille is your place. This restaurant features a great array of French and Mediterranean fusion from farm to table. You’ll come for the food and stay for the rooftop garden!

Parties and Private Venues

If you’re planning a party this summer or scoping out locations for big events next year, some great places to celebrate include:

Olympic Rooftop Pavilion

The Olympic Rooftop Pavilion is hard to beat for summertime parties and events. With seating for up to 100 guests and a great view of our city, this is a great spot for parties, weddings, and celebrations of all kinds. They also offer deals with Seattle’s Hotel Ballard if you have guests coming from out of town for your celebration.

Frolik Kitchen and Cocktails

Frolik Kitchen and Cocktails is a great place to celebrate occasions of all time. This trendy venue is great for an evening out on the town and private parties alike.

Woodinville Lavender Gardens

About 30 minutes out of Seattle but well worth the drive, Woodinville Lavender Gardens can be reserved for weddings, parties and more. This rustic venue is a beautiful backdrop for celebrations large and small.

Beautiful Broadview Home

Beautiful Broadview Home

Beautiful Broadview Home

This home for sale is available for the first time in Llandover by the Sound. It rests on 3.3 acres and has incredible westerly views Of Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, Islands, and Sunsets. It is a mid-century modern home built of solid concrete with wrap around view terraces and huge walls of glass. Outside there is a lovely pond, stream, and woods on magical property.  There is also an incredible 40x 60 foot concrete building that could easily house10 cars, with crane and 22ft ceilings.  There is a trail leading to the beach and the adjacent. 1.5 acre lot is also currently listed for sale.