Ballard and Shilshole Bay
Ballard and nearby Shilshole Bay were the Nordic section of Seattle when immigration from Norway and Sweden peaked from 1890 to 1910. Ballard still retains a trace of its Scandinavian heritage, although with the influx of new condos and other developments the ethnic lines have blurred considerably—the old Scandie’s shop is now an Indian restaurant!
Downtown Ballard still has Norwegian and Swedish flags along Market Street, plus a few remnants of its Nordic past, including Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods (2248 N.W. Market St., 206/783-8288), where you can still swing by to pick up some lutefisk. Ballard’s Syttende Mai Parade takes place on May 17, Norwegian Constitution Day; this is the largest Syttende Mai parade outside Norway.
Across the Ballard Bridge in Salmon Bay is the Fishermen’s Terminal, a bustling marina—largest in the Northwest—packed with some 700 commercial fishing boats. Ask around to buy seafood directly from the fishermen, or head to Wild Salmon Seafood Market (1900 W. Nickerson St., 206/283-3366) on the water’s edge.
West of the Chittenden Locks, Seaview Avenue curves north along the shore past Shilshole Bay with several popular seafood restaurants—most notably Ray’s Boathouse and Anthony’s HomePort—and Seattle’s major pleasure-boat moorage, Shilshole Marina.
ontinue north to the enormously popular Golden Gardens Park, with one of Puget Sound’s best bathing beaches. North beyond this is Carkeek Park (N.W. 110th St.), where you'll find a beautiful picnic area and playground, enjoyable hiking trails, and walks and talks at the Environmental Education Center (206/684-0877). Puget Sound is accessible via a footbridge over the railroad tracks. If the tide’s in, chances are the beach will be out.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition