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Neighborhood Highlight: Ballard, Green Lake & Fremont

Exploring Seattle’s Ballard, Green Lake & Fremont Neighborhoods


The close proximity to downtown Seattle and local tech hubs makes Ballard an extremely convenient place to call home New businesses and housing construction are booming to accommodate the growth Ballard is experiencing.

Sidewalks are bustling with people walking their pets, window shopping and meeting up with others for a meal. Ballard Avenue, a nationally registered historic district, hales back to the area’s blue collar roots. Ballard’s Market Street, on the other hand, is the neighborhood’s modern business district.

Ballard houses a vibrant working waterfront. Fisherman’s Terminal is home base for the North Pacific Fishing Fleet. The terminal also offers a collection of delicious dining options and is a great place to purchase the freshest seafood. The Ballard locks, officially named the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, enable boat traffic to move from freshwater Lake Union to the salt water of Puget Sound—a 26-foot grade change.


Sometimes referred to as “The People’s Republic of Fremont” or “The Artists’ Republic of Fremont,” and at one time a center of the counterculture, Fremont has become somewhat gentrified in recent years.

The neighborhood is home to the Fremont Troll, an 18-foot-tall concrete sculpture of a troll crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand, created in 1990 and situated under the north end of the Aurora Bridge that was renamed Troll Avenue N.

In addition, signs throughout Fremont give advice such as: “set your watch back five minutes,” “set your watch forward five minutes,” and “throw your watch away.”

Since the early 1970s some Fremont residents have been referring to their neighborhood as “The Center of the Universe” (which also appears on a large “Welcome” sign).

Green Lake

The Green Lake neighborhood is centrally triangulated between the Phinney Ridge, Greenwood, and Wallingford neighborhoods. Green Lake, the namesake lake of the neighborhood, is a freshwater lake located within Green Lake Park.

Related reading: Seattle’s Gas Works Park Along Wallingford’s Lake Union Shores

Home buyers will find an extensive variety of housing types in the Green Lake area. Since 1995, the neighborhood has undergone significant redevelopment. Many houses have been completely remodeled and enlarged, often with the addition of a second floor.

Nearby Woodland Park Zoo

You could easily spend an entire day at this world-class zoo! Award-winning exhibits include the outdoor orangutan habitat at the Trail of Vines, with its boardwalk that makes visitors feel as if they’re at treetop level, and the standout Northern Trail, with its awe-inspiring underwater view of a pair of grizzly bears.

The zoo has many educational programs offered throughout the day, including animal contact experiences, feedings, and zoo baby viewings.

Related reading: Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo: This Is How We Zoo

Zoomazium is an all-season play space that offers children a place to explore nature by crawling through a cave, climbing a fig tree, discovering a bird’s nest, listening to stories, doing arts and crafts, and watching live animal demos, videos, and theatre performances.

Another kid favorite, the Habitat Discovery Loop, is a naturalistic playground that features a giant spider web for climbing, a cave to run through, a bronze winter wren nest big enough for kids to sit inside, and more, set among a stream and native trees.

At the Zoo Overnight Adventure, groups spend the night at the zoo, talk to zookeepers, have hands-on animal encounters, and enjoy snacks and breakfast.

Greater Ballard Activities

  • Golden Gardens: waterfront park with beach, playground, grassy area, public restrooms and walking trail.
  • Salmon Bay Park: children’s play area that includes sand play pit, zip line swing, monkey bars and toddler play area. Grassy knolls, public restrooms, picnic areas.
  • Sunset Hill Park: small park, best view in Seattle! Watch the sun set over the Olympics and Puget Sound. Sit on a bench and drink in the view.
  • Ballard Commons Park: contains a splash pad for summer water play, skate park and green spaces.
  • Bergen Place: in the heart of Ballard’s business district. Close proximity to coffee cafes and restaurants where you can grab lunch to go and enjoy it  at Bergen Place.

Green Lake Park

Come to Green Lake park on a sunny spring afternoon and you’ll see a solid ring of humanity circling the lake by foot, bicycle, stroller, skates and whatever else can be devised. With 324 acres to roam, this is one of Seattle’s most-visited and most-loved parks.

The obvious attraction is the 2.8 mile foot path around the lake. A smooth path with two lanes – one for foot and stroller traffic, one for faster traffic – makes for a nice walk or run. There is also a 3.2 mile path around the outer edge of the park.

The children’s playground is a popular gathering place and can get very crowded on sunny days. A large sandpit dominates this space, and digging toys and a sand play bench. Look for woodpeckers, bald eagles, great blue herons, and ducks while you are there.

Seattle Parks & Recreation

Our natural climate allows for year-round outdoor recreation, while our proximity to the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges and the waters of the Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean offers a plethora of opportunity for walking, hiking, running, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, water sports, boating, and anything else you can dream of.

As such, our local parks are redesigned for a variety of recreation, and combine our natural landscape with local fascination. The Burke-Gilman Trail runs 27-miles through Seattle, Lake Shore, and the Eastern Railway corridor.

Additionally, the Washington Park Arboretum and Seattle Japanese Gardens are a beautiful addition to the Union Bay border. Fostered by the University of Washington’s botany department, the gardens consist of spectacular plants, intersecting form with natural beauty.

Check out a full list of parks at the City of Seattle website: www.Seattle.Gov.

Greater Ballard, Map & Location

The Ballard-Green Lake area includes the neighborhoods of Fremont, Wallingford, Phinney Ridge, Crown Hill, Sunset Hill, Greenwood, and Licton Springs.

Shilshole Bay on Puget Sound is the body of water to its west.

This community is located north of Magnolia and Queen Anne (separated by the Ship Canal and Montlake Cut), west of I-5, and south of Northgate and Bitter Lake.

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