High up on the walkability chart, Fremont — the self-declared center of the universe — still hosts the annual Summer Solstice Parade, where you can watch naked bike riders and debate the appropriateness of the statue of Lenin. The heart of Seattle Scandinavian pride, and once just a sleepy fishing port, Ballard is now the neighborhood to be in for young professionals and middle-aged bohemians. Fremont is funky and Ballard is booming!
Northwest Seattle has so much to eat, it’s hard to decide if you want to try something new or return to an old favorite spot. Fremont offers renowned restaurants like The Whale Wins and Joule, located just down the street from a branch of Montreal-style, Jewish-Canadian owned Eltana Wood-Fired Bagels on Stone Way. You can get a decent pastrami sandwich at Roxy’s Diner, and for a sweet treat try the
free samples at Theo Chocolate Factory. Ballard now has multiple Mexican restaurants, including La Carta De Oaxaca. For a
European flavor, stroll down Ballard Avenue for upscale French food and a fancy drink at Bastille or proper Italian at San Fermo. For less fuss, head to Giddy Up Burgers, where your kids can sit and eat on a saddle. No Bones Beach Club offers excellent vegan fare and summery cocktails in a tiki bar setting.
Bars and breweries abound in Ballard, the most hopping place for local beer lovers. A nod to “old” Seattle, the Red Door tavern opened in Fremont as an early craft beer bar in 1988. Fremont Brewing has an urban beer garden with family-made artisan brews — and it claims to be “kid, dog, cat, ferret, rabbit, bird, and iguana-friendly,” so bring the whole gang.
Just across the Fremont Bridge (under which lives the famous Troll) is the neighborhood of Queen Anne, where you’ll find some of Seattle’s most epic hills and the innovative Kavana Cooperative. Kavana offers a variety of Jewish learning and practice along with a Hebrew immersion preschool program. A study of the Jewish community in 2014 found huge growth in the northwest quadrant of the city, and Chabad, for one, has taken notice, with new houses in Phinney Ridge and Queen Anne that offer Shabbat and holiday services and classes. Looking for more movement in your spiritual practice? There are nearly as many yoga studios as cafés in the Northwest. Visit CorePower for hot yoga, and then grab an iced Americano at Bauhaus.
Fremont and Ballard are peak Seattle at their Sunday Markets. You’ll find gorgeous fresh produce and flowers, food trucks, kombucha on tap, street musicians, and homemade locavore hemp seed flax granola for only $28.50 per pound. Jokes aside, the local artisans and food purveyors present a beautiful bounty of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer year-round, rain or shine. With chic boutiques and vintage stores, Ballard is a hipster shopping paradise. For some very regional culture, check out the newly renovated Nordic Museum before a walk to the classic Ballard Locks, where Lake Union meets Puget Sound. If this is all too new, head over to Archie McPhee’s, where you can get a “Free Ballard” T-shirt, which recalls the days when Ballard was an independent city before it was annexed by Seattle in 1907.
Located right on Puget Sound and Lake Union, respectively, Ballard and Fremont offer fabulous opportunities to get out on the water. Grab a kayak at the Northwest Outdoor Center and row past Google, or rent a stand-up paddleboard from Surf Ballard and peruse Shilshole Bay or paddle up to Golden Gardens.