Specialty Shops and the Majestic in Ballard

Ballard, one of Seattle’s most historic neighborhoods once known to be the center of the Scandinavian seafaring community, is still filled with a blend of the old with the new and everywhere in between. The city of Ballard was founded by European settlers way back in 1853 and before that, inhabited by the Shilshole Tribe that lived off of the abundant salmon and clam supply. Today, the Skandinavian roots are still alive in places such as the the Nordic Heritage Museum, the annual community celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day and the local Viking Bank, to name a few. Being the 7th largest city in Washington state by 1900, Ballard formally became a part of the city of Seattle in 1907. Walking into the doors of the decades old Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods, it will feel a bit like walking back in time. Patrons wait for the house prepared pickled herring, smoked fishes, cookies, and other European delights as they have for over 30 years.
The refrigerated cases are filled with such a variety of seafood and delicious looking treats, and you can smell the smoked fishes as you walk inside.
Venture on down the street and you will find a lot of foot traffic with everything from the Secret Garden, a crowded little bookstore that just celebrated 30 years of keeping Ballard attentive with reading about everything from children’s to travel and history.
Saunter on down the road and fascinate your kids with the latest in fashion at Mon Petit Shoe Shop, a children’s shoe and apparel shop that carries the most adorable items in children’s clothing that I have seen all in one place! Slow down and relax in your very own local yoga studio at Shakti Vinyasa Yoga. I have never seen such a serene and calming studio! And talk about gift shops. The La Tienda Folk Art Gallery was filled with intruguing artistic and historic gifts, perfect spot for that hard to find special and unique present.
Quality medical care is just around the corner at the Swedish Medical Center Ballard, where I actually had the privilege of experiencing the birth of my friend’s baby in the nice birthing suites many years ago. And just a bit down the way, Second Ascent for new and used bicycles and outdoor recreational gear continues to keep us supplied with the tools we need to stay in sound physical shape after gorging in all of the delicious eateries.
If you have time for a movie, don’t miss the Majestic Bay Theater, one of the only independently run cinemas in the city with the most comfortable seats you will find anywhere. Teahouses and coffee shops are also so abundant that they seem to bring the people out and hold them together in this friendly and close-knit neighborhood. Once a Ballard fan, always a Ballard fan. Once you come, you may never even want to leave!


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