The Best of Ballard (and Big News!)

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Some big things have been going on over here and I’m ready to let you in on something I’ve been keeping quiet about for a little while: I’m moving to Chicago! I could not be more excited for this new chapter, but that said, I have loved every minute of my three years living in Seattle. Ballard, the neighborhood with the attitude of an island and a beauty all its own, will always have a special place in my heart. So before I hit the road (follow along on Insta stories next week!), I wanted to share five of my favorite things in Ballard and some of my favorite buildings that I’ve photographed along the way.

  1. Golden Gardens. There is nothing like a trip out to Golden Gardens at the end of a long workday or on a weekend morning. It’s only about six miles from city center but it feels like another world. Golden Gardens is a favorite run destination of mine (those stairs though!), as well as a great picnic spot. In the winter, pack your rain boots and you can walk in the shallows no matter the temperature.
  2. Ballard Locks. There is always something happening at the Ballard Locks. Between the salmon, the heron rookery, the summer concerts and events, and the boats themselves, the Locks will never disappoint. This year is particularly exciting, as the Locks are celebrating their centennial!
  3. Ballard Bridge. There’s nothing that feels more Seattle than crossing the Ballard Bridge. Sunsets, sunrises, crew teams, and fishing boats. Want another vantage point? My visiting family and I loved Argosy’s Ballard Locks cruise so much, we did it twice!
  4. Food. I haven’t tried restaurant that I didn’t like in Ballard. And, well, some of the restaurants I liked so much that I just keep going back. Of course Delancy can’t be beat (by luck I had read Molly’s first book long before coming to Seattle, and knew my apartment had to be in a good spot when I realized Delancy was in walking distance). The Hi Life is in a historic fire station and serves local food to boot. Hot Cakes is the best dessert place you may ever visit, and Biscuit & Bean (formerly Morsel)… that is definitely my most-visited spot (take your biscuit sandwich to Golden Gardens, or on the ferry. You can’t go wrong). And don’t forget about the year-round Ballard Farmer’s Market. In the winter I’d make the trip just for a cup of hot ginger brew.
  5. History. Sometimes history is mistaken for something stagnant and bookish. But history, and historic preservation, are really all about people. And it’s the people that make a place. Ballard has a great Scandinavian fishing village history and you can still see it all over the place if you keep your eyes open (Bill Nye generation Ballardites, this one’s for you)! Most exciting is the brand new Nordic Heritage Museum, currently under construction just down the street from the Ballard Locks. And, if you’re in Ballard in May, the Syttende Mai Parade is not to be missed (complete with dozens of unicycling children–a Seattle phenomenon, though maybe just Ballard!).

Ballard is where I sat down and started this blog. It was an excuse to explore, to photograph, and to write. I have loved getting to know and documenting this city. I will miss Ballard, but am excited to turn a new page. I hope you will continue to follow along as I begin to explore Chicago!

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23 thoughts on “The Best of Ballard (and Big News!)

  1. My boyfriend lives in Seattle and I’ll be moving there sometime next year- next trip we have to visit Ballard!! Seattle has so many gorgeous hidden pockets. Chicago is pretty beautiful, too, though- some of the architecture is beautiful. Good luck with your move!!

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    1. Oh awesome! You must definitely visit Ballard (Golden Gardens + the Locks!). And you’re right about Chicago! I’m especially excited about the architecture! (Unashamed FLW fan 🙂 )

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  2. (From Michael, who posted on a MCM Wells Fargo Bank in Yakima…)
    Hi Susie. Congrats on your move to the architectural feast that is Chicago! I’m from the Chicago area and it’s where I developed my appreciation of architecture, old and new. What a treat. And bummer! One less advocate for architectural sanity in Seattle… Congrats again!

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    1. This is definitely Ballard in a nutshell! Wow. But so familiar. There is such a good support system for old Ballard, I hope the neighborhood can keep its history and charm despite Seattle’s crazy growth rate.

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  3. I hadn’t been posting and visiting WP for a while . . . for reasons, and am now making up some time. Love the photos! Really enjoy all your posts. So, I’m curious as to why the move? Maybe you don’t want to say here.

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    1. Thanks, Vicki! I made the move for a combination of job and family reasons. I loved Seattle but I am really enjoying getting to know Chicago–there’s so much history and architecture here to explore!

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