Seattle neighborhood rundown | Recreation

One of the best things about living in Seattle is the variety of places to explore. Each suburb of Seattle is unique and has something for everyone to enjoy. Two of my absolute favorite places to go in Seattle are Ballard and Fremont.


Ballard sign

I may be partial to Ballard because my aunt used to live there when I was a child, but even now it is my first choice for a venture outside of the U District. It is a fabulous place to go for a couple hours. You can go to grab a bite to eat or just to walk around, and it’s super easy to get to. The 44 bus goes directly into Ballard, and can be taken straight from the corner of 45th Street and the Ave.

Ballard boasts a variety of restaurants such as Stoneburner, Pestle Rock, and Gracia, but my absolute favorite is Hattie’s Hat. The restaurant itself has a spunky atmosphere, featuring a disco ball and multiple televisions. The food is also phenomenal; it’s a great place to grab brunch with friends on the weekends.

Hot Cakes Ballard

Ballard is also a hot spot for dessert. On the same block sits Salt & Straw ice cream and Hot Cakes, a Seattle classic that features molten lava cakes, warm cookies, ice cream, and other seasonal desserts.

Ballard also has a ton of stores. Two of my favorites are Sonic Boom Records and Ballard Consignment, but there are also a variety of gift shops, cafes, and clothing stores. They still have a Buffalo Exchange, so if you want to thrift shop outside of the U District, it’s a great location to do so. They also have a Joann if you’re feeling crafty and want to snag some supplies.

One of my more niche interests is looking at cool houses and architecture, and Ballard is full of them. Maybe it’s the architecture dropout and HGTV lover in me, but I absolutely love to look at the different streets and neighborhoods.

On top of the downtown area, other activities include the Sunday Farmers Market, the Edith Macefield House that is surrounded by a shopping mall just like in the movie “Up,” or the Ballard Locks. If you have a free weekend, I highly recommend hopping on the bus and checking out Ballard.


Fremont sign

Fremont is a good place to grab dinner or a drink, but it also has a few incredibly unique things that are worth checking out before you graduate. To get there, you can take either the 31 or 32 bus from a variety of locations on 45th Street, one of which being the spot near the Ave where you can catch the 44 bus. If you want to head there from Ballard, you can also take the 40 bus.

Slightly off of the main downtown is the Theo Chocolate Factory, which offers tours of the factory as well as a small gift store. It is only $12 for an adult ticket, and before COVID-19, visitors could sample a variety of their chocolate flavors on the tour.

Theo Chocolate Fremont

Near the chocolate factory is the Fremont Canal and the Dinosaur Topiary. If you’re a plant lover like I am, you must check out the Indoor Sun Shoppe. The Peace Love and Happiness Club, which has rare and collectible plants, can also be found in Fremont, located a bit further up the street.

Fremont is also the home of the Fremont Troll, sculpted by Steve Badanes in 1989. The Troll sits under the Aurora Bridge, and has been featured in movies such as “10 Things I Hate About You.”

If schoolwork is dragging you down and you need a study break, both Fremont and Ballard are fabulous places to go. Who knows, you may even find your new favorite store, restaurant, or cafe there.

Reach writer Taylor Bruce at [email protected] Twitter: @Tay1or_marie9

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