Ballard’s not all beer, fish, and Nordic nostalgia: The historic neighborhood on Salmon Bay also happens to be one of Seattle’s best shopping districts. Several of the city's standout boutiques, jewelry shops, and vintage furniture purveyors make their home here.
So do a modern Scandinavian design store, a shop stocked with Rainier beer nostalgia gear, and a Filson outpost inspired by its fishing village predecessors. Old habits die hard, after all.
One of Ballard’s best gift shops—a windowed storefront stocked with Hydro Flasks, art prints, and actually cool PNW paraphernalia—also houses one of the city’s best options for framing on a budget. In addition to a wall of custom options, Annie’s carries a solid selection of much cheaper prefab frames that they’ll gladly break down into custom sizes.
The store formerly known as Second Ascent still hawks gently used goods as it’s done since 1996, but the new selection of camping gear takes center stage with apparel and a shoe and boot section staffed by experts. Rentals are also available, and the rock climbing selection is among the best in the city. —Allison Williams
Making sustainable, local accessories available to the masses is a business tenet so central to this local jeweler that its front window reads “Affordable.” Beyond it you’ll find minimalist layering necklaces, bright and graphic cellulose acetate earrings, and curated gifts from designers that share Baleen’s ethos.
Tracking down truly old-school finds requires a bit of a dig through the store's frequently modern offerings (don’t be fooled by the convincingly midcentury Article chairs). The payoff is well worth it for eclectic finds, like parlor games and secretary desks.
The Monsters, Inc. door warehouse exists—and those doors are yours for the taking, along with vintage bathroom sinks, record shelves from the old Bop Street, and other unique salvaged goods.
Some shops wind up in basements. Ballyhoo, with its $220 wolverine skulls, resident two-headed taxidermied calf, and spooky vintage art, seems destined for its underground spot on Ballard Ave NW.
A broad range of jewelry styles and prices—from $7 sterling silver cartilage hoops to a $6,250 diamond-covered chain link necklace, most of them designed by owner MK Byrne—come together in a long-empty, light-filled corner building that totally deserved this kind of spot. Snakes, religious imagery, and gemstones form a cool, lightly occult theme.
Handmade goods and one-of-a-kind house-dyed garments inspired by nature mean this ultra-petite Market Street shop carries far more than its weight in inventory (including some especially precious baby clothing).
Earnestly wish modern childhood looked a little more like it did when you were a kid? This shop pretty well sticks to the classics: jump ropes, wooden hairdresser kits, Little Golden books, a whole zoo of plushies. All in a petite boutique that enraptures kids without overwhelming parents.
Organizing a shop around an ethos rather than an aesthetic—Fair Trade certified companies meet social and sustainability standards throughout their supply chain—makes for an eclectic mix. What do slogan tees, candles, glass art, and chocolate have in common? You can feel good about purchasing them.
It’s fitting for a Seattle fixture that’s lasted well over a century to have a retail location in one of Ballard’s longest-standing buildings (one that housed a saloon, then, reportedly, a speakeasy). The jack-of-all-trades outdoor outfitter stays true to the neighborhood’s fishing village roots with maritime-inspired design and Ballard products you can’t find in the flagship.
A wall of gorgeous vintage cowboy boots as far as the eye can see may incite an “I have a feeling we’re not in Ballard anymore” moment—but a huge display of old-school band tees and a selection of new bohemian fashions make for a shopping experience that’s western, grunge, and distinctly Seattle.
Those looking for a universally beloved gift seek out candles. Those looking for a universally beloved gift that feels deeply personal seek out one of Good and Well Supply Co.’s huge stock of place-inspired candles. Love Lake Chelan? The San Juan Islands? Rainier, Badlands, or Bryce Canyon National Park? There’s a cleverly scented, gorgeously illustrated, locally made candle for that.
Owner Jill Anderson’s Wild West nostalgia gave her boutique its name (and its decorative wagon wheels). But Anderson’s lifelong obsession with fashion design gave Horseshoe its style, from Prairie Underground’s locally made threads to Los Angeles–based Rails’s casually chic pieces (including a button-up embroidered with cactuses—the theme’s not all for show).
Ballardite Barry Barr built KAVU on the Seattle tradition of recreation-driven functionality: a Tevas-inspired hat designed to stay firmly in place through rough winds and waters, a sturdy canvas bag that won’t flop around on a hike. The resulting business, headquartered in Ballard with a storefront here, too, emphasizes fun limited-run prints that appeal to the outdoorsy and the outdoorsy-looking alike.
Lucca specializes in house-printed, vintage-inspired greeting cards, but that doesn’t stop them from carrying pleasant surprises—laugh-out-loud coffee table books, beautifully packaged skincare—in every corner of their Ballard storefront. Great finds indeed.
Avoid the emotional trauma of finding your high school crewneck at a vintage shop: The Ballard sibling of the U District’s Lucky Vintage primarily stocks dressier vintage items: ’80s blazers, ’50s house dresses, and pieces that are seriously ready for prom. Buying through Instagram DM is easy—Lucky Dry Goods posts new pieces with measurements daily—but visit its cozy brick-and-mortar for an enthralling search without the potential overwhelm of racks on racks.
Seattle’s known for its sartorial practicality, and Market Street leans right in with a selection of running shoes (Hoka One One, On), sandals (Chaco, Teva), and fashion footwear that still prioritizes function.
This is where those who proudly march to the beat of their own drum find their favorite things, from witchy cross-stitch kits to tongue-in-cheek Star Wars memorabilia.
Board game shops can tend toward the esoteric—a dream for enthusiasts, a bit overwhelming for folks who stumble in looking for a party game. Mox’s clearly organized selection and bevy of welcoming employees preclude any awkwardness. Add in the allure of a cozy, lightly themed restaurant and cocktail bar and you’ve got destination shopping for nerds and novices alike.
It’s a fitting name for a boutique that brings a much-needed dose of color to a city of blues and grays. But don’t mistake playfulness for trend-chasing. From Girlfriend Collective’s brightest leggings to trippy Paloma Wool prints (to the jewel-tone French press you’ll fantasize about using while wearing it all), Prism makes the case for statement pieces that cut through the gloom.
Twenty years into its Ballard tenure, this shoe store has reimagined itself as a one-stop shop for home goods (think vintage glassware and cute bubble vases), stationery, and clothing that’s as fun and colorful as Re-Soul’s house line of elevated everyday footwear.
Located on Market Street, Ballard’s Secret Garden has books of all types for all ages. But, as you might surmise from a shop that shares its name with a 1911 children’s novel, the specialty here is on kids books. —Stefan Milne
The best boutiques make you want to live the life they’re selling. Spend a few minutes here and you may soon find yourself at a hillside picnic in a dreamy For Love and Lemons maxi dress (or at least with an armful of earthy candles).
Since the longtime Bop Street Records closed, Ballard’s main drags have only one record store. Luckily, it’s one of the best in the city. At Sonic Boom you’ll find a big catalogue—both deep and ranging—along with excellent in-store concerts. —SM
Tucked away on a Ballard side street since 2002, Todd Werny’s shop is a fixture disguised as a discovery. Modern pieces—Herman Miller credenzas, Steelcase desks—frequently get a mod or Memphis-style makeover, refinished with bright colors that recall Werny’s time making postmodern jewelry. “Yes, running a vintage business is an art, and taste does matter, but I am a junk dealer,” he says, “tried and true.” Open by appointment only.
With a landlord like the National Nordic Museum, expect Scandinavian treasures aplenty, though owner and longtime local Shane Bastian welcomes any vintage furniture with a story worth telling in the shop he serendipitously opened just down the street from his house (less serendipitously, in February 2020). An open workshop in the back invites sneak peeks and conversation.
Our go-to shop for Seattle souvenirs, Rainier beer nostalgia, and other on-trend products made in and for the Pacific Northwest.
This expertly understated corner boutique carries fashion of the same ilk: Flowy dresses, Citizens of Humanity jeans, and minimalist metallic bags amount to an unfussy style that’s stylish all the same.
A satellite location of Capitol Hill’s Twice Sold Tales, this Ballard shop boasts plenty of rare and used books, as well as one resident cat. —SM
Word to the discerning Seattle shopper who suspects they’ve discovered it all: An inventory of exclusively local goods, from art prints to glassware, does not a tourist shop make.
Woodland Mod doesn’t need to fly a Norwegian flag to pay tribute to the neighborhood’s roots. High-quality home goods at this bright, minimalist, and Nordic pine–filled shop skew distinctly Scandinavian.