Ballard's vintage brick buildings are packed with cafes and ethnic restaurants, pubs, live-music bars and quirky retail stores selling everything from clothing to home furnishings. The street also hosts the Ballard Farmers Market (year-round on Sundays).

Overlooking Salmon Bay, this northwest Seattle neighborhood proudly shows its more than century-old Scandinavian heritage and offbeat modern mood. Once home to lumber and shingle mills, its commercial district developed along Ballard Avenue, a block away from the ship canal that leads to Puget Sound.

Ballard Avenue continues to be a lively, pedestrian-friendly, commercial hub. The vintage brick buildings are packed with cafes and ethnic restaurants, pubs, live-music bars and quirky retail stores selling everything from clothing to home furnishings. The street also hosts the Ballard Farmers Market (year-round on Sundays). Ballard’s busy commercial district also stretches along Northwest Market Street, a bustling stretch of restaurants, cafes and shops.

Shop around

Lucca Great Finds is patterned after stylish Parisian gift shops of the early 20th century. Its dark walls and chandeliers create an evocative setting for handmade papers and greeting cards, jewelry, candles, garden adornments, coffee-table books and more. 5332 Ballard Ave. N.W.; 206-782-7337, luccagreatfinds.com

Second Ascent is packed with outdoors equipment, both used and new, from clothing and gadgets to hiking, backpacking, skiing and cycling gear. 5209 Ballard Ave. N.W.; 206-545-8810, secondascent.com

Re-Soul has been offering stylish shoes, including some imported and handcrafted shoes, for a decade. Check out their bags, wallets, belts, socks and jewelry, too. 5319 Ballard Ave. N.W.; 206-789-7312, resoul.com

Refuel

At Fresh Flours, try the macaroons, infused with green tea, or the black sesame cookies produced in this Japanese-influenced bakery and coffee shop. Its indoor tables fill fast at noon and lines form early. 5313 Ballard Ave. N.W.; 206-706-3338, freshfloursseattle.com

More info:
inballard.com

— Jackie Smith