For Round Two of my Seattle Series, we are going to Ballard. I was trying to think of all the places I love to go, and I kept coming up with bars. I love a good cocktail, but I really don’t want this series to turn into where to find the best happy hour.

Ballard is a fourteen dollar cab ride north from downtown Seattle, depending on where you are when you get in the cab. I remember my first experiences there, being very lost and turned around, wondering what all the hype was about. The “small town within a big city” used to be/still kind of is a Scandinavian fishing village, and there is evidence of this everywhere. One bar in particular, called the Ballard Smoke Shop, is extremely old and somewhat of a dive even though it sits two doors down from another favorite fancy of mine called BalMar. I swear to all that is good and holy, the Smoke Shop smells like pea soup all the time, and they serve the strongest drinks with a hint of old time sass. All unironically.

Perhaps my favorite two things about Ballard aren’t the bars, but the views. I wish I had my own photos here to share, but I can’t seem to locate them anywhere, so I will resort to Google images. First up, the Ballard Locks.

These photos are kind of small, but you get the general idea. A boat comes in one side, either from the ocean or going to the ocean, and they raise or lower the water level depending on the direction the boat needs to go. I must have drowned in another life, because the thought of drowning and deep water really scare me, but I find the Locks fascinating nontheless. To watch the water levels rise and fall, in such a short span of time, and then see the boats toot off in their chosen direction is really really cool. The grounds leading up to the water are also quite pretty, with a little visitors center on site so you can learn all the history of the area. If you choose to cross the pedestrian bridges in the middle, and go over the dam, you’ll notice where the fish ladder observatory is down below.

Honestly, my boyfriend and I spent a good couple of hours here, and really enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t even go on the nicest day, and it was still awesome. Highly recommended.

Next up is Golden Gardens, and I have a lot less to say about it, even though it’s awesome too.

This was the best photo I could find to illustrate my main point: It’s a BEACH. Fifteen minutes from DOWNTOWN.

One of the main points I try to make to people about Seattle is how easily accessible everything is. I can have my festivals, people and energy in the city, but I can also be in the middle of some amazing park or sitting on the beach within a fifteen or twenty minute drive. Golden Gardens is extremely gorgeous, with an awesome view, and the only downside is that it fills up quickly. Still, it’s a beach in the Pacific Northwest, and I wouldn’t expect any less.

At any time of the day or year, you can find something fun to do or someplace fun to be in Ballard. It’s not just for hipsters and their organic city gardens anymore:)

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