A Million Cool Things Everyone should Know about Ballard.
- Ballard was established in 1889 as a mill town on the water. Within 15 years, it was one of the biggest mill towns in America. Today, this Seattle neighborhood retains a small town feel, but with an increasingly urban flair. Ballard adjoins water on two sides (fresh and salt) encompassing 4 square miles. In light traffic conditions, it takes 15 minutes to drive from the Space Needle to Ballard.
- As one astute EAT Ballard fan noted, "Seattle ate Ballard" when it was annexed in 1907 with 17,000 residents. Today, Ballard has an estimated 44,000 residents and growing.
- The Hiram Chittenden Locks turned 100 years old in 2017, one of Seattle's top tourist destinations and a local favorite. The "Ballard Locks", as they are known locally, connect fresh and salt waters, holding back the flood of an enormous water basin (Lake Union, Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish). The fish ladder at the locks provides access for large runs of salmon returning to their native streams along with a front-row seat for the people of Seattle and visitors to watch them and the sea lions who prey on them.
- The drawbridges around Ballard are reputed as some of the world's busiest because of boat traffic (commercial and leisure) transiting between the fresh and salt waters connected by the Ballard Locks. The average time for a drawbridge to open and close is about 4 minutes and quite a sight. The drawbridges do not open between 7-9 AM or between 4-6 PM on weekdays. The bridges are opened and closed by the bridge tender who communicates with vessels from a high perch with a prime view.
- Seattle is the de facto home port of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet. Boats like Northwestern, made famous by the Deadliest Catch TV Series, moor in Ballard while in port.
- Ballard's European settlers came from the Scandinavian countries, specifically Norway. Their influence and contribution to the community remains steadfast, represented by community treasures such as the Leif Eriksson Lodge and Nordic Heritage Museum.
- Ballard is a great place to eat. Don't let us get started on that. The estimated density of cafes, bakeries, restaurants and bars in Ballard is double or triple most US cities. Ballard's culinary community is comprised predominantly of locally owned and independently operated businesses. There are few national chains and franchises.
- There is a big, beautiful public pier located a stone's throw from the center of Old Ballard. This is fresh water above the locks. This pier by the boarded-up Yankee Diner extends into Salmon Bay and offers unrivaled views on Ballard's maritime activity. This is a terrific place to walk. Short-term mooring is usually available, but boaters are advised to bring or lock valuables. All the food action is just a block away with ample parking at Yankee Diner lot.
- Ballard has its own neighborhood skate park just two blocks away from the Historic District.
- Ballard Farmers Market is the #1 farmers market in Washington, by sales, and it was the first neighborhood farmers market in Seattle to be open year-round.
- Jacques Cousteau's famous research ship, Calypso, was built in Ballard.
- Ballard is a photographer's dream for Seattle maritime, industrial, food, historical, architectural subjects and sidewalk action shots.
- The Ballard Historical Society has a terrific walking map of Ballard that you can print out and follow. It highlights and explains all the most historical buildings and sites in Ballard.
- Locally owned and operated Majestic Bay Theatres will make you go Wow! The triplex in the heart of Ballard is a monument to modern elegance and a tribute to the community.
Have a look! How does Ballard stack up with other great 'B' towns in terms of population and area?
Ballard: 44,000 people / 5 square miles
Bainbridge Island: 23,000 / 65
Bangor: 32,000 / 34
Bothell: 35,000 / 12
Bremerton: 39,000 / 32
Bozeman: 40,000 / 20
Burlington: 42,000 / 16
Burien: 49,000 / 13
Bergen op Zoom: 66,000 / 35
Bend: 81,000 / 32
Bellingham: 82,000 / 31
Boulder: 100,000 / 25
Burbank: 104,000 / 52
Billings: 110,000 / 41
Berne: 126,000 / 20
Bellevue: 133,000 / 36
Brussels: 177,000 / 62
Baton Rouge: 227,000 / 80
Buffalo: 258,000 / 52
Bergen: 265,000 / 180
Bristol: 428,000 / 42
Boston: 645,000 / 90
Seattle: 652,000 / 83
Brisbane: 1,000,000 / 527
Barcelona: 1,600,000 / 40
Budapest: 1,700,000 / 200
Brooklyn: 2,600,000 / 97
Buenos Aires: 2,700,000 / 79
Berlin: 3,500,000 / 344
Bangalore: 4,000,000 / 286
Bangkok: 6,355,000 / 606
Beijing: 11,500,000 / 6,487
Bombay: 14,300,000 / 233