Explore Ballard Part II

Explore Ballard Part II, Seattle, Washington (A)

This is part 2 of the Explore Ballard Guide. We explore historic downtown Ballard which is full of unique shops, nightlife and eating establishments. We list only the most unique and well established places but there is always something new. If you are here on a Sunday Ballard Avenue hosts a great farmers market. All local hand crafted, foods, meats, jerky, honey and high end local arts and crafts. The tour ends at the Nordic Hertiage Museum.
How it works: The full article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the sights featured in this article. The app's navigation functions guide you from one sight to the next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Explore Ballard Part II
Guide Location: USA » Seattle
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 6.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: Mary Tsolak
Author Bio: My name is Mary I do not live in Ballard but my sister does and I have been coming there and walking the dog with them since the 1980s. Doing this guide was great fun we all learned alot and had a chance to meet and chat with some of the business owners that we might not have had taken the time to talk with.
Author Website: http://maryswanderings.net
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Vulcan Knife Works
  • Clover Toys
  • Hotel Ballard
  • Hatties Hat
  • Tractor
  • The Walrus and the Carpenter
  • Dutch Bike Cafe
  • Second Ascent
  • Bergen Place
  • Bop Street Records
  • Classic Consignment
  • Java Bean
  • Tall Grass Bakery
  • Nordic Hertiage Museum
Vulcan Knife Works

1) Vulcan Knife Works

Yes Virginia there are still down to earth craftsmen around. Did you want a knife or even a sword made? This shop does not look like an attraction from the outside and you are not yet to the more historic old Ballard center but this place is worth a look. They do sharpening repairs and refurbishing of knife blades, axes and even swords ith 30 years of experince now at the master craftsman level. The owner Paul Inman learned from the late William F. Moran Jr., world-renowned bladesmith known as "the father of modern Damascus knife.” His partner has been mentoring with him 10 years and his wife is a leather craftsman who designs sheaths for their work. There is a blade on the wall that goes back to 1600's Syria also others from various places, including two-handed great swords, Japanese Katana blades, a Three Musketeer-like rapier sword blade, Bowie knives, and daggers. Their workshop is on-site. Any blade can be brought in for sharpening and repair even those from a thrift shop can become the best knife in the house here. Also if you have something that is a bit of an heirloom that you want to learn more about they may be able to help.
Clover Toys

2) Clover Toys

This store is a great stop for kids of all ages. It belongs to Sarah Furstenberg who opened the shop in 2004. Before opening this store she had worked in a toy store in California and also was a graphics and textile designer. The prices here are reasonable. The toys are educational and fun everything from dress-ups to science kits. There are lots of US and European made items. She pays close attention to what items she selects for the shop making sure they are safe and non-toxic. Store Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Hotel Ballard

3) Hotel Ballard

This two-story building is an example of the Second Empire Baroque style. The outside facade is of concrete veneer and was treated to give the appearance of smooth-dressed stone. Orignally built in 1902 the building was originally commissioned by the American Scandinavian Bank. The American Scandinavian Bank was housed here and was the center of a local scandal when it closed in the late 1920s. It was then converted into a hotel. The hotel was renovated in 2011 by the owners of the Atheltic Club prior to that it was the Starlight hotel which was a bit rundown (or according to some a notorious flophouse). This is the only hotel in the Ballard neighborhood.
Hatties Hat

4) Hatties Hat

Here you are at Ballards oldest and most historic bar. The bar inside was either hand carved in France and shipped around Cape Horn or made by Chicago’s Brunswick Company, but anyway it has been here since 1904. The name of the establishment has changed from The Old Home, to Malmen’s (thats what the tiles say in the entryway) and finally to Hattie’s Hat. There is full menu of food and happy hour twice a day. Hours- Mon – Fri: 3PM – 2AM Sat & Sun: 9AM – 2AM Happy Hour Everyday: 3 – 7PM & 10PM – 12AM Full Menu Dinner Service: 5PM – 10pm Late Night Menu: 10pm- Midnight (1am Fri/Sat) Brunch: 9AM – 3PM Sat & Sun

5) Tractor

The Tractor is an iconic Seattle establishment. You know you are there when you find the dusty looking storefront with the funky old toy tractors in the window. This is a unique music venue. Every night they present a different music genre. It has been several years since I have been to a show here but having a peek around inside nothing has changed. There is a bar. Checking their calendar I found rockabilly, hillbilly bop, early country, NW funk/rock bands, jazz combos, and a folk opera? They even have square dancing every other Monday night. If you are walking by in the day you can check the shows and purchase tickets or show up 30 minutes before showtime. – 21 and older only Box Office/Business Hours: *Mon-Fri 12:00pm-4:00pm - ring bell on bar for help *Also open in the evening on nights with shows, beginning 30 minutes before listed showtime *The Tractor charges a $1 per ticket service fee on all advance tickets
The Walrus and the Carpenter

6) The Walrus and the Carpenter

OYSTERS! anyone? This hard to find place prints out a new menu daily. They buy oysters from all around the pacific northwest. On the day we visited there were 9 different varieties of oyster on the menu from various locations in Washington and British Columbia! They also offer unique versions of other seafoods, imported wines and beers. Also unique meat dishes if someone in your party just does not like seafood. This place is well hidden behind the Dutch Bike Cafe only a small sign shaped like a cloud hanging from the entryway. Look for the old "Hardware" painted on the brick building. Go through the long hallway after the entrance and turn left and there you are. The name comes from: A poem, which is recited by Tweedledum and Tweedledee to Alice in the classic tale. Walking upon a beach one night when both sun and moon are visible, the Walrus and Carpenter come upon an offshore bed of oysters, four of whom they invite to join them; to the disapproval of the eldest oyster, many more follow them. After walking along the beach, the two main characters are revealed to be predatory and eat all of the oysters. Hours Daily: 4PM – Close Happy Hours: Sunday – Thursday 4 to 6PM No reservations
Dutch Bike Cafe

7) Dutch Bike Cafe

This is in the same old Hardware building as the Walrus and the Carpenter, you can have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while you wait for them to repair your bike. Dutch Bike Co. Seattle are importers and retailers of the best European city bicycles and acessories. If you do not have a bike you can still come in for a drink or ice cream, oh and if you are tired of walking you can rent one of 3 styles of European city bikes here. Cafe is open 7AM-7PM Bike shop 11AM-&PM
Second Ascent

8) Second Ascent

This place is one of a kind, they sell used and new high quality outdoor gear. They also buy alot of line closeouts and samples so it is possible to find something truly unique here for much better pricing than in the chains. They have a full service bike shop and outdoor equipment rentals. If you are or with an outdoor enthusiast you might have trouble getting them out of there to continue with your walk.
Bergen Place

9) Bergen Place

This small plaza is home to Artist Jenn Lee Dixon's "Witness Trees" and a community information kiosk. Bergen Place was named for Bergen, Norway, one of Seattle's International Sister Cities. Bergen Place Park was developed utilizing Forward Thrust funds and dedicated by King Olaf of Norway in 1975. You can read about the Nordic history of the area at the Kiosk.
Bop Street Records

10) Bop Street Records

In this location since 1984. If you are looking for vintage vinyl this is the place. From the outside it looks small but they have over ½ million records inside. The building extends back twice as far as the neighboring buildings. Ceiling to floor shelves with sliding ladders, filled with vintage vinyl, both LPs and 45s. Several commercials and film scenes have been done here. The owner Dave Voorhees has been in this business for 38 years, 28 of them in this location. This spot is a favorite with celebrities, musicians and actors. This place is also a favorite with the Antiques roadshow people and even the Wall Street Journal voted it one of the best 5 music stores in the US. If you get a chance to talk with the owner you might learn something of local history, his father was instrumental in getting the lands around Fort Lawton to become Discovery Park. Hours: Tue-Wed 12 pm - 8 pm Thu-Sat 12 pm - 10 pm Sun 12 pm - 5 pm
Classic Consignment

11) Classic Consignment

This consignment store has been at this location in Ballard for over 18 years. Frank and Ethel Dubbs are the owners and their friendly dogs Frisco and Belle are always there to greet you. Please do not give them any snacks they get enough to eat. You can even bring your well behaved dog in. Our dog Darby was a little nervous at first because he never gets to come in but after a few friendly sniffs with the resident dogs he laid down by the door and let us browse. The 6000+ square foot store has an ever changing eclectic mix of used clothing, jewelery and furnishings, you are sure to find some treasures here especially if you are looking to have the 1950-60s decor which is very fashionable in Seattle these days. Hours: MON-FRI 10:00am-7:00pm, SAT 10:00am-6:00pm, SUN 11:00am-6:00pm
Java Bean

12) Java Bean

This is your best coffee stop if you want. It was voted the best in Ballard 4 times in a row. There are only 2 locations for the Java Bean although they have been around since 1989. Always organic, fair trade and shade grown coffees at a reasonable price. This is a neighborhood magnet for the locals since it is a bit off the path for people doing a walk around Ballard. There are bike racks and water outside usually for the dog walkers. Nice cosy place to sit and enjoy a cup of java. Hours: Monday - Friday: 6am - 8pm Saturday & Sunday: 7am - 8pm
Tall Grass Bakery

13) Tall Grass Bakery

This bakery always has cut up samples of the best variety of the day on the counter for you to try. There is not any seating here but they do a great variety of bread, scones, granola mostly for local eateries but you can walk in and buy the best of the best here. They use all organic ingredients here. The Tall Grass Bakery began in 1998 as a small operation participating in farmer's markets and CSA programs. In 2000, the bakery moved to the current production and retail location in Ballard. HOURS / EVERYDAY 9:00 AM TO 7:00 PM
Nordic Hertiage Museum

14) Nordic Hertiage Museum

The museum was founded in 1980 to honor the legacy of immigrants from the 5 Nordic countries, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway. It houses textiles, tools, photographs and other treasures brought from the old country. The 1st floor tells the story of immigrants coming from the the nineteenth-century Scandinavian countryside to America. The 2nd floor presents the immigrants contributions to the logging and fishing industries in the Pacific Northwest. The Folk Art Galleries display treasured and useful items the immigrants brought with them, including folk costumes, textiles, tools, and furniture. Besides the regular displays there are rotating traveling exhibitions also of ceramics, paintings, textiles etc. If you live in the area or will be staying a while they offer courses in many Nordic Crafts. If you have kids with you there is a nice small park with a great playground on the other side of the parking area. Museum Hours 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday Closed on Mondays, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Admission Prices Adults $6 Seniors and college students $5 Children over 5 years $4 Children under 5 years free If you are tired from the long walk it is possible to walk one block to 32nd street and take the number 17 bus back to the Locks. If you walk back there are a few places to stop, an ice cream shop, a coffee shop with a cafe, local food mart that carries organics, a fun vintage video store/rental place and at the very end a burger place with totem poles & both indoor outdoor seating. We hope you enjoyed your trek about Ballard!

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