Indulge in retail therapy in Seattle's most dynamic neighborhood

Instead of fighting your way downtown to fill up your holiday goody bag, treat yourself (as well as the lucky ones on your gift list) to a day in Ballard. That’s right, Ballard.

The once working-class, Nordic neighborhood, best known by some as the place to spy salmon swimming through the Ballard Locks, offers unexpectedly chic shopping in a community that feels wonderfully removed from the rest of the city.

We’ve canvassed the neighborhood for you, mapping out a trail of trendy boutiques, most of which are concentrated on Ballard Avenue Northwest and Market Street. Both streets are home to designer-and artist-based businesses where you can buy everything from buttery-leather slides to quirky handmade greeting cards and tastefully alluring lingerie.

Stock up on one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, then treat yourself to a pedicure, and cupcakes and coffee. Because let’s face it: Giving may be its own reward, but holiday shopping’s a lot more fun when there’s something in it for you.


Cugini Cafe. Ballard Avenue’s local espresso shop. 5306 Ballard; 206/784-2576.

Cupcake Royale. Get a buttercream-frosted cupcake ($2). 2052 N.W. Market St.; 206/782-9557.

Habitude at the Locks. Book a manicure, pedicure, or express facial at this earthy salon and spa. 2801 N.W. Market; 206/782-2898.

Portalis Wine Shop & Wine Bar. Fresh market cheeses and “small bites” items accompany wines by the glass. Closed Mon. 5310 Ballard; 206/783-2007.

Volterra. High-style weekend brunch, or dinner daily. 5411 Ballard; 206/789-5100.

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