5349 Ballard Ave. NW, Ballard
Every display here is stunning and exquisite, whether it's an array of antique rings set on an origami-like book, or pendants, set out on cut paper. It's all an extension of Curtis Steiner's imagination, who collects beautiful pieces and makes them as well. His own impossibly dainty jewelry is mixed in with what he sources. The whole shop will make you want to hold your breath.
No Bones Beach Club
5410 17th Ave. NW, Ballard
You’d never guess that a tiki-themed restaurant that plays surf movies and serves vegan food exists in Seattle, but it sure does. Don’t miss the Northwest Nachos (cashew queso, black beans, corn salsa), plus fried avocado tacos and tempeh kabobs, which are marinated in coconut milk, turmeric, and ginger. Predictably, the cocktails are kind of a thing—and every single one, from Mai Tais to Coconut Mojitos, are potent but delicious.
The Palm Room
5336 Ballard Ave. NW, Ballard
This plant design studio goes well beyond your average succulent—although you're sure to find some of your favorites here, as well as stumble upon new varieties. Curated by owner Brandon Peterson, the shop has a just-right amount of options ranging from terrariums to kokedama (the moss balls) to larger indoor tropical plants. The Palm Room also carries a good edit of pots and less common plant vessels.
Golden Gardens Park
8498 Seaview Pl. NW, Ballard
Golden Gardens Park is one of those rare outdoor places that's enjoyable regardless of the weather (which is a huge boon in rainy Seattle). On warm days, swim off the dock or go fishing on the pier—if it's cold, bundle up for a walk along the coastline or set up a bonfire in one of the pits. The views of the Olympic Mountains from across the Puget Sounds are some of Seattle's most iconic, so this is also a popular place to get married.
Lucca Great Finds
5332 Ballard Ave. NW, Ballard
Lucca is packed from floor to chandelier-filled ceiling with an undeniably reliable assortment of giftables for any and all occasions: Astier de Villatte candles, piles of stationery both vintage-looking and modern, clean beauty favorites from Herbivore Essentials, and the kind of out-there, one-of-a-kind curios that make perfect presents for tough-to-shop-for friends.
5208 Ballard Ave. NW, Ballard
Like so many Seattle mainstays, this little-bit-of-everything shop marches to the beat of its own drum. There’s clothing from obscure international labels, beautiful—and a little bit quirky—home goods, jewelry, gifts, and a generous assortment from Seattle-made fragrance line, Blackbird. It’s also the kind of shop where there’s plenty for dudes to rifle through (skater tees, hats, records, and Pendleton everything).
1108 N.W. 52nd St., Ballard
Stoup Brewing has all the aesthetics that have come to define the Northwest's explosion of microbreweries: Aluminum siding, big, garage-style doors, twinkle lights, and tons of both indoor and outdoor seating. Here, in particular, we've found the service to be friendly, and the purveyors to be utterly passionate about their craft—two of the three owners were scientists in their past lives, and admittedly bring a geeky, detail-oriented zeal to every brew. There are almost always food trucks outside, though you're welcome to order delivery if, for some reason, there's a gap in service.
Percy’s & Co.
5233 Ballard Ave. NW, Ballard
This restaurant-slash-bar in Ballard is the brainchild of owners Jeff Ofelt—formerly of Bimbo's, Cha Cha Lounge, King's Hardware—and Wade Weigel, of Rudy's and Seattle’s Ace Hotel. Chef Dave Lamping, known for his work at restaurants Bastille and Smith, curated their menu of small plates, so whether you’re in for a cocktail or a bite, this is a great spot to grab a seat outside—if you’ve caught a lucky break from the Emerald City’s infamous drizzle. Locals love Percy’s for brunch, as well.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
4743 Ballard Ave. NW, Ballard
The seafood here is fantastic, and that's not a well-kept secret. So go early as The Walrus and the Carpenter doesn't take reservations. (There are other spots along Ballard Avenue, and even in the same building to grab a drink and/or an app while you wait—including sister restaurant, Barnacle.) The plates here are somewhat small and best shared tapas-style. Don't miss the extensive oyster list.
1415 N.W. 70th St., Ballard
This pizza spot is the brainchild of husband-wife team, Brandon Pettit, a former New Yorker with a passion for NY-style dough, and Molly Wizenberg of the popular food blog, Orangette, and author of the book, Delancey, which tells the story of the restaurant's Seattle opening. Their awesome pies (margherita, crimini mushroom with mozzarella and thyme, hot salami) are served out of a wood-fired oven, in a minimalist, small space set with wood tables and drop-ceiling light fixtures. While the pizza here takes its inspiration from New York, many of the ingredients—from the veggies to the flour, cream, honey, and ginger beer—are locally sourced.