Ballard Parking Tip: Street parking is easier to find since meters were installed around the Ballard commercial center. Remember that you can pay for 3 hours from 5 PM in almost all two hour spaces. That allows you to park until 8 PM and after that it's free, so no need to rush back to your car and feed the meter. Be careful about parking in front of crosswalks and fire hydrants; you could be ticketed. Street parking rates are cheap compared to downtown.
Getting to Ballard is worth it! Timing is everything.
Many people walk or bike to Ballard. The best known local secret for pedestrians and bikers is probably the crossing at the Hiram Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks), which connects Ballard to Magnolia, Fishermen's Terminal and the lovely Ship Canal Trail. Give it a shot! It's an awesome route passing the fish ladder, the locks, the botanical garden and ending up in the culinary heart of Seattle.
Ways to reach Ballard:
- Plane. Actually, this would be the most difficult way to reach us. We need to look into it. Boeing Field is the general aviation airport closest to Ballard. Seatac International Airport is a 45 to 60 minute car ride from Ballard at mid-day.
- Helicopter. Possible. Call us and we will be happy to set up a great landing spot for you and invite you to lunch.
- Boat/yacht. No problem. Just around the corner, on the salt water side of the locks, Shilshole Bay Marina offers world-class amenities for boaters and yachters. Shilshole is a 5-7 minute Uber ride from the center of Ballard.
- Foot/bike. Our favorite mode of transportation. Check out our Walking Map. Good for bikers too.
- Public transit. Not great, but available and navigable. Bus from downtown Seattle will drop you right by the Edith Macefield House, a stone's throw from all the action.
- Car. Isn't this how most of us get around? The options are endless from battery operated to chauffeured. Cars are our modern day equivalent of a king's stable. To be green, don't drive around in circles for street parking; head to one of the numerous pay lots or to Swedish Hospital's 400 car garage. It will save you time the short walk will feel great!
Travel Time Estimates from Key Destinations (check your GPS)
- From Ballard Locks: 3-5 minutes
- From Shilshole Bay Marina: 6-8 minutes
- From Woodland Park Zoo: 6-8 minutes
- From Golden Gardens Park: 8-10 minutes
- From Carkeek Park: 11-14 minutes
- From Green Lake: 12-15 minutes
- From University of Washington: 15-20 minutes
- From Northgate: 15-20 minutes
- From the Space Needle: 15-20 minutes
- From South Lake Union: 15-20 minutes
- From Seatac International Airport: 35-60 minutes
- From Redmond: 30-40 minutes
- From Mercer Island: 25-40 minutes
- From North Seattle: 20-30 minutes
- From Everett: 35-50 minutes
- From Bellingham: 1.5 hours
- From Vancouver: 3 hours
- From Portland: 3.5 hours
- Door-to-door from Paris center: 16 hours
- Door-to-door from Shanghai center: 18 hours
Of course, there can be congestion on the way to Ballard, including the possibility of a Pacific Fleet Fishing Boat or tall masted sailboat causing one of the draw bridges to open. However, thanks to the GPS mapping system on your phone from the brilliant minds at Microsoft and Google, surprises are generally avoidable.
We know it's easier and more pleasant to drive here without traffic, but don't let it stop you. Enjoy your voyage in the car, hopefully not alone and with someone you love. You will be transported back in time when you reach Ballard where you will be welcomed warmly by the local business owners and workers. It's worth it!
Did you know that up to 40% of urban traffic congestion is from cars circling the streets for street parking? You can help reduce congestion by driving directly to the 400-car parking garage at Swedish Hospital or using one of the other local pay lots on this map from the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and Seattle Department of Transportation.
For the latest updates from SDOT on Ballard parking, click here.