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Old Ballard


Night life, lots of restaurants, a year round farmers market, and rich in our maritime culture, Ballard offers travelers a complete Seattle experience.

Walk to restaurants, craft cocktail bars, the beach at Golden Gardens, and the Botanical Garden/Ballard Locks. Many of the homes in Ballard are older, small craftsmen or bungalow homes. Some have been replaced with new construction, modern homes and there are many new condos. The area attracts young professionals and is home to people who have lived there for decades who feel they can’t afford to move. If you stay in an Airbnb near Market St. you will be very close to nightlife.

Aerial view of Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Photo Courtesy of Civil Air Patrol)

aerial view: Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Photo Courtesy of Civil Air Patrol)

As you stand on the bridge span at the Locks you can see huge commercial vessels and pleasure boats going through and watch as the water level adjusts between the two bodies of water–fresh and saltwater. There is also a salmon fish ladder. Many cyclists use the locks to make the connection from Magnolia to Ballard for the many bike rides you can take from either neighborhood.

Farmers Market

Every Sunday 10am-3pm, year round rain or shine. Check their website to see which GF vendors attend.


a look at old ballard

Ballard Restaurants

Veraci Pizza-offers a gluten free crust and will cook your pizza on a pan if you don’t want direct contact with the wood fired pizza oven (they cook wheat crusts directly on the oven floor). In addition to the care they take with GF pizzas, their toppings and sauce are top-quality with great flavor. Probably the best pizza in the city. You will want to eat your pizza there, thin crust pizzas are best when consumed immediately. Their dining area is quite small so plan to go during off-peak times.

La Carta de Oaxaca-all corn tortillas are made by hand and everything is made fresh so you should be able to navigate the menu easily. It has been awhile since we asked all the GF questions but we successfully dine here all the time. You may want to call ahead during slow times to clarify their methods because during peak times….they are very busy! Excellent Mexican food from Oaxaca.

Marine Hardware–this is the small plate and cocktail prelude to either Walrus & Carpenter or Staple & Fancy. This is a new Ethan Stowell restaurant with only small plates and craft cocktails. It is also where Ethan is found most these days. We happened to be their first customers for the chef tasting menu with wine pairings and it was spectacular, however, there were some non-GF items that my husband gobbled up. I am sure they can probably accommodate any dietary needs though.

Walrus & Carpenter–we refuse to wait for a table, and there is always a wait, this is the hot spot for oysters in Ballard.

Staple & Fancy–right next door to Walrus but they take reservations. Good consistent food, most of their menu can be made GF and since this is one of Ethan Stowell’s restaurants they will take pains to get it right.

Portage Bay Cafe–has GF pancakes and french toast — top them with seasonal fruit, nuts, maple syrup and whipped cream from their help yourself breakfast bar. They have lots of other egg dishes as well. It’s a short walk to the Ballard Locks which connects our fresh water lakes to Puget Sound (pictured up above in an aerial view).

Skillet Diner–features home cooked meals. They started out as a food truck and have several locations serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with GF marked on the menu.

Blue Moon Burgers–a favorite for my 6′ 9″ son–we have eaten here a lot and enjoyed! Very filling. The one area that is a real stand out: their deep fryer is dedicated GF ! There are lots of options here. I need to try the tots ….they are supposed to be incredible.

Cupcake Royale–has several locations around Seattle. I have heard they have a great GF chocolate cupcake but we have not tried it and I am curious how they avoid cross contamination in such a gluten-full bakery– definitely inquire with them.

Restaurant notation:

Seattle has a lot of “gluten free” people– so restaurants understand the diet to some degree– but to clarify your risk of possible cross contamination you should ask questions because every place seems to have their own definition. We have successfully dined at most of these places without issue, those we haven’t tried are so noted.