One Foot in Front of the Other

If you’re walked around Seattle, you’ve probably spotted the work of prolific muralist Ryan Henry Ward, aka Henry. 

He started painting the walls of his childhood home at the age of 3, won art competitions, self-published greeting cards throughout his childhood, and went on to nurture his love of art by focusing on writing, art and storytelling in college. 

Ward started his mural collection in the Fremont and Ballard areas, and to date, he’s painted more than 2,800 canvases and 500 murals, many of which contain signature characters like Sasquatches, rabbits and other whimsical, slightly psychedelic woodland creatures. Many pieces pay homage to the businesses they accompany.

To discover seven of Henry’s murals in Ballard (with one mural in Interbay), follow this roughly 5-mile mural walk.

A Henry mural walking tour of Ballard and Interbay

Round-trip distance: 5 miles

Owl and friends, 501 N.W. 42nd St.

Start on 42nd Street to find this mural on the east side of Leary Way, right where Fremont turns into Ballard. 

The main detail of this mural, painted on a garage door, is an owl in flight, surrounded by fish swimming among mushrooms and florals. Every time you look at this mural, you’ll probably notice a new character.

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Coffee for two, 4351 Eighth Ave. N.W.

Continue a little more than a quarter-mile northwest along Leary Way. Turn left to arrive at a coffee hut, where you’ll be greeted by a Sasquatch and buffalo enjoying coffee next to half a Volkswagen at Mighty Mugs, a locally owned drive-thru coffee stand. 

While visiting with Henry’s friends, grab a cup of coffee or a small treat, or take advantage of one of the daily specials: Mondays mean free extra shots for your coffee, Fridays bring $1 off for food, and Sunday customers get an extra $5 free if they buy a $20 gift card.

Sutter Fox, 920 N.W. Leary Way

Keep heading up Leary until you arrive at Sutter Home and Hearth, when the road curves left toward Ballard. 

In keeping with the theme of the nearby business, you’ll see three rabbits sitting near a fireplace, patiently waiting for a fox to cook up a carrot for them on a Big Green Egg, a ceramic grill and charcoal smoker that, in the mural, provides warmth and sustenance to the creatures. The Sutter shop owners said the grill helped inspire the mural. 

Rapunzel llama, 1464 N.W. 49th St.

Continue about a half-mile on Leary Way until you approach the Ballard Bridge, then turn right on 15th Street. 

Stop on 49th Street, where you’ll find this mural featuring a llama that has flowing golden locks reminiscent of Rapunzel (a character you won’t find in other murals on this walk), plus a pair of scissors and hairbrush that presumably helps the llama keep its hairdo in check.

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Flamingos and friends, 5305 15th Ave. N.W.

Return to 15th Avenue Northwest and continue about a quarter-mile headed northbound. You’ll need to use a crosswalk to cross busy 15th to arrive at the red Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers building. 

The mural design stretches all the way around the building and includes characters like Henry’s signature Sasquatch, plus a pair of flamingos, a gnome, a squirrel and more. Some of the windows have been incorporated into the designs, like with the whale and Sasquatch, which will have their eyes on you as you make your way around the building.

Sasquatch, 1744 N.W. Market St.

Continue on 15th Street until you reach the main drag of Market Street, where you’ll turn left. 

After 0.2 miles (and crossing to the north side of the street), you’ll arrive at a smaller Sasquatch mural between Cookie’s Country Chicken and Sip and Ship. This Sasquatch is holding a small bird, a staple in many Henry murals, with a swirling sky and purple mountains in the background.

The Henry gallery, 3457 15th Ave. W.

Now for the long stretch: If you’re looking for a bonus mural, a one-way distance of 1.5 miles away, head back to Market Street, then turn right to backtrack south on 15th Avenue. 

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On either side of 15th you can access the Ballard Bridge, but stick to the west side of the road for this route. The bridge affords gorgeous views at sunset; after admiring (or trying to spot) the Olympics to the west, keep walking until you arrive at the former carwash next to Java Jazz, a drive-thru coffee shop known for its Mayan mochas. 

In the stalls on the premises, you’ll find 14 portraits of Henry’s trademark Sasquatches side by side, each with their own color background.

Once you’re done admiring the art, the way back is easy: Take 15th Avenue back across the Ballard Bridge for a total of 1.4 miles, turn right on Ballard Way, then turn right on Leary. You’ll arrive back at your starting point after just half a mile.

Now that you’ve seen some of Henry’s famous Seattle characters up close, you’ll likely recognize his work if you see it around town and beyond. Keep your eyes peeled for those Sasquatches accompanied by tiny birds, squirrels and rabbits next time you’re exploring the city.