Ballard #34 on best Seattle neighborhood list

Seattle Magazine has published its updated list of the best Seattle neighborhoods, and it wasn’t kind to Ballard, ranking it #34. Sunset Hill did better, scoring #24 on the list, and Crown Hill/Olympic Manor/Blue Ridge was ranked #32. So which neighborhood scored the highest honor? Queen Anne, followed by View Ridge, Alki/Admiral, Phinney Ridge and Magnolia. The criteria included home prices, crime rates, WASL tests, commute time and park acreage.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

73 thoughts to “Ballard #34 on best Seattle neighborhood list”

  1. It makes sense if you think about it. Ballard was Seattle's blue collar dumping ground for decades…the “white ghetto” as I've heard it called. Why would we expect 5 years of spit shining to do the trick? Frankly, I think we're lucky to make it to 34.

  2. one of my clients gave me this magazine once (to show me a house design)
    I found it to be a complete joke

    the magazine caters to the Q.A. crowd–all superficial ways to keep up with the Joneses. no real substance whatsoever.

    I might put this magazine in about the top 50 for local publications. maybe

  3. I wonder about some of the criteria, especially commute time. What do they define as a commute? Is it to downtown or the east side? That makes a BIG difference on where you live. Home prices is another example. High home prices are nice if you already live in the area but hurts those seeking to move to an area.

    Personally, we chose to move to Ballard/Crown Hill because we wanted to live in a neighborhood where we wouldn't have to get in a car every time we needed something and also being near multiple parks for our kids. WASL tests mean nothing to us since there's no way I'd send my kids to Seattle's public high schools, at least not in their current state. I do hope that by the time my kids reach that age our nation will have pulled our head out of our ass and realized that education – especially science and math – are important if we want to remain a prosperous country. Right now it seems we're more focused on telling kids how special they are, keeping them out of school for half the year and letting them graduate regardless of their actual comprehension of math, English, history and science.

  4. I remember when we bought our house in 2003 that Sunset Hill was rated #1 by one of these magazines. We joked because we were on the “shady” side of Sunset Hill.

  5. We moved to Ballard because we couldn't afford to live on Queen Anne or Capitol Hill nine years ago. I quickly grew to like my blue collar neighborhood that folks moved to because they couldn't afford to live in the “cool neighborhoods”. It makes me sad that now we couldn't afford to move to Ballard anymore. We are outpriced in our own neighborhood. I'm glad we were only #34 in that list. Look what happened to Seattle in the early 90's when all that hype was going around about it. We got a lot of obnoxious people moving here.

  6. I think we all know how good OUR neighborhood is. I'm proud and appreciative to live in such a great place. This is one of those deals where you have to be careful what you wish for. What does it really mean to be in the top 10 on this list? Do we want to be in the top 10 of this list? I don't think we need a top 10 ranking to feel good about ourselves and our community.

  7. I agree w/ all you're comments. 34 out of 110 is a pretty good spot to be in. When you do the math, we're “better” than 75% of the city, and there's an additional 25% that looks down on us. It sounds about right to me.

  8. i don't care one bit about this ranking, but it sure seems dumb to use house prices as a criteria. house prices tend to be reflective of the better and more desirable places to live, just based on supply and demand for the region. not always true, but for the most part. so using that for your ranking is quite redundant.

    it is like trying to define a word by using a variation of that same word in the definition

  9. This is really surprising. Whenever I tell any of my friends or family I live in Ballard, they're always very intrigued and excited for me. I love this neighborhood, and it seems that everyone else does, too. I'm surprised we weren't even in the top 20!

  10. North Beach made the list at #11, which is considered part of Ballard, so as a weighted average the area did ok given the criteria they used.

  11. View Ridge. Laurelhurst. North Beach. Broadmoor.

    Yep, “Best” == “Richest” for this magazine. Those neighborhoods are all on my short list of Places I Have No Reason to Go.

  12. I thought Seattle magazine was just for tourists anyway.
    Ya know all the places at the top are all places I can't afford to live in and wouldn't want to anyway. Ballard does have some of the better planned bus routing (think of how much complaining I would do about transportation if I lived on QA!) and I can also simply walk to good bars and shops. The perfect neighborhood.

  13. Ballard is #34 out of 60. The other 50 are suburban neighborhoods that are ranked separately. In fact, if you read the article is says that if the #1 “in-city” neighborhood , Queen Anne, were ranked in the suburban list, it would be #35. So they are saying Ballard is in the bottom half of the worse of the two rankings.

  14. I wonder what boundaries Seattle Magazine used for their rankings. Did they include Lower Queen Anne (a.k.a. Uptown) as part of the Queen Anne ranking? Lower Queen Anne is much sketchier with higher crime than Upper Queen Anne. It would be nice if they included a map of what they considered to be Seattle's neighborhoods.

  15. I've always thought Ballard was a cool neighborhood and chose it for that. The affordability all those years ago was a bonus.

  16. they actually define all of their criteria:

    “Commute time in minutes under optimal conditions (off-peak hours, no accidents)” [personal note: the favorite criteria of anyone i know who tries to justify living on the east side to me.]
    Downtown is defined as Pike Place Market
    Redmond is Microsoft Campus
    Source: Mapquest

    Crime: Serious felonies like murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault & burglary. Does not include less serious felonies or misdemeanors such as prostitution and drug possession.

    Neighborhood boundaries are from big stick.

  17. I dunno… I think that a neighborhood like Northgate/Licton Springs (#13 on their list) with a “serious” crime rate of 82 per 1000 people is a much worse neighborhood that Sunset Hill (35/1000). Regardless of house price (I lived up there once…)

    So if that is the criteria they are using, then they can keep their rankings to themselves.

  18. Your exclusionary attitude is obnoxious. Shame on you.

    I would rather have new people with money move here and drive out the low-ballers who do nothing to improve the neighborhood.

  19. But if you're a fan of mid-century design like me, View Ridge is Seattle's holy grail. I'd give my left foot to own a house there.

  20. I agree with everyone who thinks this ranking is absolutely meaningless. Reminds me of some kind of high ranking Smokin' Pete's BBQ got in some magazine a while ago. Totally meaningless.

  21. A lot of people who move here from out of state use rankings like this, and end up finding their first rental on Queen Anne. Sure, it's cute on top, but getting up that hill and around it is always a nightmare! I hate when I realize I've met/befriended one of these transplants and it means I have to go visit them on QA some day. And this is coming from a 20-year Seattle resident. I still have to googlemap my route through that damn 'hood because my brain refuses to make space for it.

  22. I *loved* living in QA, and found it pretty easy to get around – I drove A LOT less there than I do living in Ballard.

    However, I can't afford to live there, now that I'm not willing to live in < 300 sq feet. : (

  23. Anyone want to move to Kent? Montlake Terrace? DesMoines? Burien? didn't think so. Matters of fact everyone who I know that lives in those same “top areas” wishes they lived in Ballard. Is this list the most retarded list I have ever seen? Yes. How even Shoreline can be in the top ten is pretty amazing…. but those others Shocking. Either this ranking system was developed by someone who doesn't have a clue or it's someone who actually is from Ballard and they don't want anyone else to move here.

  24. This is really laughable, as most of these stupid ranking lists are, especially the part about the views of Elliott Bay from Sunset Hill!! Maybe if we bulldozed Magnolia! Actually, I did have a peek-a-boo view of Elliott Bay down Mary Ave from my old house in Crown Hill/Whittier Heights. The “Lesser Ballardite” in me appreciates the below average rating, and the Sunset Hiller in me will take my (quickly diminishing) view of Shilshole Bay and let QA, Magnolia, Downtown and West Seattle/Alki enjoy Elliott Bay.

  25. I thought most of Seattle didn't even know North Beach existed. I suspect certain real estate folk to be contributing considerably to the metrics of this poll.

  26. “It's a lot easier to say you live by the Book than to actually do it.

    Can you do it?”

    Tell me I'm not the only one who has seen that movie…

  27. After glancing at their pdf of the rankings, a couple things stand out…
    1. No consideration for walk score so they make the whole thing very suburban-car centric even calculating commutes by car, not bus or rail.
    2. Anyone else notice that out of all 50 suburban neighborhoods, only Vashon didn't have a drop in median home value? (Vashon +1%)

  28. This is the case where data doesn't match with reality. Northgate a better neighborhood than Ballard? No. My business used to have its office in Northgate, and that place is a dump.

    We've since moved to Fremont, which is head and shoulders above Northgate and almost as great as Ballard.

    “Affordability, return on investment, good schools, parks, crime rates and commute” do not a great neighborhood make.

    Instead, try: “parking, walkability, history, culture, vibe, charm.”

  29. Instead, try: “parking, walkability, history, culture, vibe, charm.”

    The suburbs can only compete on one of your criteria…parking.

  30. Over all there isn't a lot of work in Ballard, and it's really a lousy place to commute too and from. I think that Ballard has a lot of completion with neighborhoods that are on Mass transits systems. I have friends that live in Edmunds and can commute to downtown fast then I can from Ballard via the Sounder. I know that people are trying to make Ballard become an area like Belltown, (which used to be a dump) but Belltown is in walking distance of many jobs. Ballard has the trendy places to eat, and a little bit of local entertainment venues, but very little office space.

    Meh. I am still deeply saddened that we lost the bowling lanes and Denny's. I think that plus the tons of new bland condo's really just add to the lack of personality in Ballard these days. While I don't care for LA fitness at least the Ballard Blocks and old Path buildings have personality. The QFC building and NoMa on 24th are the most boring and ugly buildings that could have been built. I prefer the buildings like the Canal Street Station that have made and effort to try and blend.

  31. Wow… actually… I just looked at the whole list and I don't see really any logic behind it. Ballard is still 8 slots above Fremont (#40) and Downtown is rated 3 slots bellow Southpark?!? It's a pretty stupid list.

  32. Northgate can only compete with 'parking.' I used to work out there and it has no walkability, little history, junkie culture, a dull vibe, and all the charm of the loud drunk at the end of the bar.

  33. Yeah, they finally put a stop light at the transit center. Still no sidewalk anywhere but there's a lighted crossing now at one of the biggest Metro transit centers in the city. Oh, so backwards.

  34. Having moved here from Iowa a few months ago I have to say that Seattle is simply amazing! Ballard is especially beautiful, from the thoughtfully landscaped yards, to the quaint-yet-cool vibe of Ballard Ave, to the gorgeous views around Shilshole Bay, and the super-friendly farmers market. I live in Fremont (which is a wonderful place to call home now) but biking over to Ballard for a beer at one of the many restaurants or bars there is a treat. Having lived in Arizona, San Diego and Oregon I have to say that Seattle is top-notch! Even the rain this spring was tolerable and beautiful in its own way.

  35. I no longer live in Ballard. I rented for years, but when it came time buy of course we couldn't afford Ballard. So what'd we do?

    White Center, baby!

    I'm actually surprised to see White Center anywhere except the bottom 2… I figured these folks would just dump WC and South Park at the bottom. Especially since I know how the folks from QA and surrounding areas are terrified to venture that way.

    I now just get to visit Ballard and Fremont during work hours, which is fine by me. My quite little piece of WC is perfect for the hubby and I. Tons of families, so it'll be great once we start growing ours.

  36. Don't allow me to mislead you – it isn't a QUALITY FILM. That said, I have seen it about a zillion times. It's one of my favorite movies.

    *Hides head in shame*

  37. Nope – it's when the nun picks them up when they are hitchhiking to Hollywood to stop 'Bluntman and Chronic' from being made.

  38. I moved to Ballard when it was affordable ( in the early 80's), because I liked the self-contained aspect. Schools, hospital, restaurants,theatre,book stores…

    Ballard ( and surrounding Fremont & Phinney Ridge neighborhoods) , have virtually everything we need.

    I liked it more than Wallingford and Bryant Assumption ( the other neighborhoods we shopped), because of proximity to salt beach & to light industry which makes a neighborhood more interesting.

    I think the parks should be expanded, I don't like established buildings being torn down to put up condos when the ones across the street are sitting empty and amenities like green space and schools aren't able to keep up with increased demand.

    However, I am thrilled that with the latest tax assessment, our property has decreased almost $100K in value. (It was over valued previously)

  39. We live in the High Point/Gatewood area of West Seattle and go to White Center pretty frequently. Taquerias Guaymas, Full Tilt Ice Cream, a few great pho places, the Salvadoran Bakery….it's worth a visit if you've never been. And yes, one of the more affordable 'hoods in King County.

  40. i didn't read it that way. she said that they couldn't afford QA or CH. i was in the same situation when i moved here too from elsewhere. i guess she can answer her question if she chooses to. unless you're one in the same person…..

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