Cupcake Royale's lavender masterpiece
Throughout most of the 20th century, Ballard was a working-class Nordic neighborhood. Mom-and-pop shops lined the main drag, Ballard Avenue, and fishermen and lumberjacks frequented the taverns and eateries. Four miles northwest of downtown Seattle, the area has been getting attention in recent years for its restaurants, boutiques, wine bars, and, of all things, cupcakes. Area code is 206.
- In early spring, the stands at the Sunday Farmers Market overflow with carrots, lettuces, cheeses, and tulips. In May the market expands from its winter location in a parking lot and takes over the 5000 block of Ballard Avenue. 781-6776.
- Cupcake Royale offers 14 types of the little confections—from Lemon Drop to Peppermint Party—generously iced with buttercream frosting. 2052 NW Market St., 782-9557, www.cupcakeroyale.com.
- Kavu carries locally designed outdoor clothing made from hemp, bamboo, recycled plastic bottles, and other uncommon materials. 5423 Ballard Ave. NW, 783-0060, www.kavu.com.
- In a cozy space with redbrick walls, Portalis Wine Shop and Bar stocks more than 600 bottles and serves wines by the glass along with light fare. 5205 Ballard Ave. NW, 783-2007, www.portaliswines.com.
- The Nordic Heritage Museum commemorates Ballard’s immigrant history with artifacts such as hand-painted Norwegian beer bowls, an embroidered Icelandic saddle-cloth, and a Swedish wood carving of a woman threatening her husband with a rolling pin. 3014 NW 67th St., 789-5707, www.nordicmuseum.org.
- When Ballard’s 100-year-old library building was vacated and fell into disrepair, restaurateurs Jerry and Susan Brahm turned it into Carnegie’s. Now the circulation desk has become a bar and the reading alcoves serve as dining rooms where guests feast on the likes of coq au vin, duck confit, and French onion soup. 2026 NW Market St., 789-6643, www.carnegiesrestaurant.com.
- End a perfect day in Ballard at the 88-acre Golden Gardens Park, one of the city’s most beautiful sunset spots thanks to unobstructed views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. 8498 Seaview Place NW, 684-4075, www.seattle.gov/parks.
Photography by John Clark
This article was first published in March 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.