More than lutefisk in Nordic-inspired Ballard

Located just off the waters of Puget Sound, the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard was historically a hub for salmon, clams and lumber. Once the third largest city in Washington State, Ballard was incorporated into Seattle city limits to the chagrin of its many residents, some of which still tout "Free Ballard" bumper stickers on their Volvo station wagons and Subaru Outbacks. Today, the beachfront neighborhood is still tinged with a Scandinavian vibe, stylish boutiques and sidewalk cafes.

Homebuyers looking for real estate in Seattle, WA, will find a lovely mix of modern and historical homes in the Ballard neighborhood. Homes range from the mid $200,000 to upwards of a million for modern luxury. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service cited by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the median house sale price in Seattle increased by 10.4 percent from April to May to $425,000. Although this price is higher than the national average, this price increase shows the market is on an upswing in the area.

Since last year, Seattle’s housing market continues to look promising. Sales of houses and condos in the city are up 13 percent since last year, which gives experts the optimism that the housing market outlook will stay bright and spread to surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs.

Home to many 20- to 30-somethings, Ballard's rapid growth is partly due to its numerous locations for fresh food. The highly popular Sunday farmers market features food tents and fresh produce that line the streets. Best of all, Seattle's mild climate makes this a year-round offering. A great accompaniment to any find at the farmer's market is a loaf from the Ballard location of the Great Harvest Bread Company, which offers locals freshly-baked bread made from freshly-ground grains sourced from a Montana-based family farm.

One of the best places to enjoy fresh produce is Golden Gardens Park. The 87-acre beach-side park overlooks the Olympic Mountains, allows visitors to gather round fire pits and features a walking path that is the perfect spot for families or individuals to take a leisurely afternoon walk, as well as hikes through the surrounding forested hillside.

From artistically-detailed condo buildings to modern single family homes, Ballard welcomes new sophistication but maintains history in many different ways. For instance, the neighborhood recently added new sidewalk mosaics, in addition to the ones installed in the 1990s to pay homage to the town’s history.

Along the tree-lined streets, metal plaques and historical stories keep residents and visitors aware of how the city it used to be. With nostalgia brings a sense of community in Ballard. The area was once flourished with Scandinavian immigrants, and the neighborhood’s museum now serves as a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. 

“The street names are a tribute to the names of several streets when Ballard was a separate municipality, before Seattle gobbled up its neighboring city to the north in 1907,” said Rob Mattson of the Ballard District Council.