Best Neighborhood to Live In

Ballard

According to local legend, back in 1904 when pre-annexation Ballard was the seventh-largest city in the state of Washington and notorious for boozing and gambling, its mayor ordered all city business to cease for a day as a mandatory respite from his citizens' carousing. Obviously, it ain't your great grandpappy Sven's Ballard anymore. And that's a good thing. Mostly. Lament the condo invasion if you like, but the truth is that the new high-density Ballard is the natural evolution of the working-class burg that predated it. There are still beautiful parks and public areas, easy access to downtown, and enough bars that a thirsty person could belly up to a different one every Friday night for a year. But it's also now home to an outstanding farmers market, many of the city's finest restaurants, great music venues and record stores, a good movie theater, boutique shops, and, admittedly, quite a bit of bourgeoisie. And though it's not nearly as blue-collar as it was, you don't have to look too terribly hard to find rowdy dockworkers and boatsmen. You just have to visit the right bar. KEEGAN HAMILTON

 
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