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Ballard named one of country’s best neighborhoods

Posted by Geeky Swedes on May 28th, 2009

This is no surprise to us, but Men’s Journal names Ballard one of America’s best neighborhoods in the West. They write,

“Despite a decade of buzz, Ballard still feels unspoiled. The same dive bars host the same music; the tasty ex-brothel pizza joint still has tables open. And it’s still got plenty of adventure: 16,000 square feet of climbing at Stone Gardens, and Olympic or Mount Baker national forest, each less than 70 miles away.”

The Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco, Reno, NV and Portland’s Mount Tabor district are a few of the other areas to be named. (Thanks Kady!)

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36 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 boardbrown // May 28, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Jeez, I can't believe they mentioned that silly pizza joint as an asset. “Still has tables open”? Yeah, there's a reason for that…

  • 2 buzzy // May 28, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    What were the dates for the reserch on this article? Ballard still unchanged???

  • 3 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Isn't that pizza place leaving soon, anyway?
    I love Ballard, though, and am happy to see it's still loved by outsiders too. There's still no Seattle neighborhood I'd rather live in.

  • 4 Queso // May 28, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    “Unchanged”. Really? Who wrote this article?

    I moved from Ballard 3 years ago and whenever I head back down to Ballard, I see a new building. And the Denny's is gone. And everywhere you turn there is a new condo complex that really doesn't need to be there because nobody can afford a $750,000 studio condo anymore.

    And the ex-brothel pizza joint? It's tiny and overpriced for what you get. They only thing they have going for them is the awesome cookie dessert. Which is easy to make at home with cookie dough, ice cream, and a cast iron skillet.

  • 5 gooner // May 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    the second i read reno, the article lost all credibility

  • 6 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Okay, so it's not 'Unchanged.' Can you name a Seattle neighborhood that is?
    I think the writer was saying many of the places still here have been here forever. I can name a few if you'd like, but if you live here I shouldn't need to.
    And as much as I hate the ugly condos that popped up like zits at a D&D game, they have also popped up in Greenwood, Magnolia, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill…..

  • 7 azbat5 // May 28, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Ugh, Reno? Seriously? I was born and raised there and have a real love/hate relationship with it. There's hardly anything good about Reno except for real seasons (freezing winters and hot summers) and the easy drives to places like Lake Tahoe or Pyramid Lake for skiing, hiking, or boating. Now that it's summer time, I'm really missing Tahoe. You'll also never find any kind of good food or neighborhoods like we do in Seattle. If I remember correctly, a couple of years ago a Reno poll rated Round Table Pizza as their favorite pizza. ROUND FREAKIN' TABLE! That should tell you what Reno's like. As much as I love my hometown, if I had to move back after living in Seattle for 6 years, I'd freak out.

  • 8 Queso // May 28, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    True, Trix, they have. But Ballard has changed dramatically over the last year or so. So unless this reporter has been to Ballard twice in the last year, then it is not “unchanged”.

    Even “unspoiled” is pushing it. The vibe in Ballard has definitely changed since I lived there just a few years ago, before all of the condos started going up. I'm just glad that the India Bistro is still going strong. I love that place.

    Greenwood, Queen Anne and Capitol Hill don't seem to have changed as much as Ballard in recent years. I don't know about Magnolia because I haven't hung out there very much.

  • 9 jules // May 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    hogwash i say

  • 10 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Greenwood has had so much new development it's now sinking. My mom's street alone has two new buildings in construction and one newly constructed.
    My point was that Ballard is not alone in being a changed place, yet it's still better than living in Greenwood. IMHO.

  • 11 Queso // May 28, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Ha! Yeah, I'm aware of the sinking problem. I used to live on 87th and Greenwood (in the Towers on Greenwood) back in the day. That roundabout on 87th and 1st is just ridiculous. It seems to have gotten a bit better since they put in the reservoir right behind the new condo complex that Mud Bay Grainery is moving to. The water subsidance caused by the building of the Towers helped create that sinking roundabout.

    Quite frankly, I'd rather live in Greenwood than where I live now. I absolutely adored Greenwood when I lived there, which wasn't very long ago.


  • 12 Edog // May 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Does anyone in Ballard subscribe to Men's journal? Sure its better than Maxim, but that’s not high praise, not that I'm damning them with faint praise.

    Anyhow, I always thought being concerned with how a national publication rates “ranks your whatever” was an east cost daughters of the american revolution stepford sort of concern.

  • 13 kim // May 28, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    what do men know?

  • 14 Belly // May 28, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I blame the patriarchy.

  • 15 Edog // May 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Yes me too, had this appeared in Cosmo it would be much more interesting. But I don't think Ballard would make their list as I'm sure there are better areas for oversexed underworked housewives.

  • 16 Greenwood for Locals // May 28, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Greenwood is really the best neighborhood. Ballard = Fremont

  • 17 anna // May 28, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Where/what is the ex-brothel pizza joint?

  • 18 prudy // May 28, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I think the writer was intimating that the 'soul' of the neighborhood has not changed, aka, even with all the buzz, etc. Ballard is still a lot of what it used to be – i agree with that.


  • 19 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    I will admit Greenwood is actually improving a little. There used to be no place to go for a beer that wasn't scary. Now they've got Naked City and Pillager's Pub. There used to be no place to go for a decent espresso. Now they've got Wayward and Neptune.
    Just waiting to see what happens to that McDonald's spot.
    But the streets themselves aren't as pretty as the ones here. I walk the side streets and main streets (not having a car) and it's a more pleasant experience than I had when I lived in Greenwood. Or even now when I visit my mom. Not as nice. IMHO.

  • 20 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    On Ballard Ave. Before Hattie's Hat. Smells like pizza. Red, brothel-esqe decor. Sorry, don't remember the name of the place.

  • 21 lyl // May 28, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    lived here over 30 years. Hasn't changed? Ha!! Way better back when

  • 22 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Madame K's! That's it.

  • 23 Ballard_Sucks_Now // May 29, 2009 at 2:58 am

    Oh, great, just what we need. This is the kiss of death.

    Once every moron with a magazine to sell started naming Seattle as one of the 10 best places to live/work/find-a-soulmate, the city's big decline started. The idiots who read and believe such things all came, and things went downhil fast. Now they'll all be heading for your block. Things can only get worse now.

  • 24 chermoni // May 29, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I was also born and raised there. Well, in Sparks and Stead but close enough to anyone that hasn't lived there. Every time I have to go back to visit family I'm reminded what a dump it is. Unlike you, I don't have a love/hate relationship, I just have a hate relationship. I'd much rather stay here where a body of water is only a mile away, in two directions. I've always loved Seattle and Ballard is my home.

  • 25 angelatini // May 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    No, Madame K's is going to stay after all. I can't remember when, but MyBallard wrote about it a while back.

  • 26 sawii // May 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    A Boise 'hood got more details in the article than Ballard? That's just as lame as Reno. What does the Journal think men are looking for?

  • 27 Hans // May 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Capitol Hill hasn't changed as much as Ballard?? I would have to strongly disagree there. Ballard's a quaint fishing village compared to the condo/belltown/douche invasion that's happening on The Hill. I moved to Ballard 1.5 years ago from The Hill (so I guess that makes me part of the problem), and I can tell you it's WAY better off.

  • 28 Archibald // May 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I'm all for more people moving here. So long as they aren't as whiny as you.

  • 29 ethel // May 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I still think of the India Bistro as “that new Indian place where whaddyacallit's used to be.”

  • 30 boardbrown // May 30, 2009 at 4:11 am

    A place to live with their Klan brethren?

  • 31 boardbrown // May 30, 2009 at 4:12 am

    It's a Ballard myth.

  • 32 boardbrown // May 30, 2009 at 4:15 am

    that women think we're stupid, and we don't care

  • 33 Ballardmom // May 31, 2009 at 2:26 am

    I agree. I moved to Ballard from Capitol Hill 9 years ago and when I go back to our little neighborhood off 15th Ave East I don't recognize anything. Most of the businesses have been replaced by something else and good lord – Broadway it totally different than it was. I don't know where anything is there anymore. It even looks completely different. Don't even get me started on how wildly different it is from 20 years ago. Of course Ballard is a lot different from when we moved here just 9 years ago too. Saying something is “unchanged and unspoiled” is just the way you're supposed to write to make your article sound appealing. These are the same people who think Reno, NV is wonderful. And where is the DogPatch neighborhood in San Francisco??? I guess that is new since I was last there 15 years ago.

  • 34 Ballard_Sucks_Now // Jun 1, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Spoken as a true newcomer fleeing LA or some other dystopia.

    I blow you a kiss, short-timer.

  • 35 Frank // Jun 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    “whenever I head back down to Ballard, I see a new building. And the Denny's is gone.”

    So I'm thinking about moving to Ballard in a couple weeks. But there's one thing that gives me pause: why is everyone so obsessed with a Denny's that got torn down? Seriously, these forums are just filling with people complaining about the new condos and how they're somehow displacing elements of “real Ballard”, and by far the most commonly cited example is this Denny's that is not longer around. I mean, is it just one weird guy who keeps making these postings? Or do people in Ballard actually think that no neighborhood is complete without a Denny's?

  • 36 Ballard_is_still_OK_with_me // Jun 17, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    There's a special place in our country for xenophobes like “Ballard_Sucks_Now” and it's called Texas.

    Seriously, I read it in a magazine article called “Top 10 Places for People Who Don't Like Outsiders and Have an Inexplicable Hatred of Los Angeles and the People Who may or may not be from There.”

    As for Seattle, love it or leave it, guy.

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