Hotel at a Glance: Ballard Inn
The Ballard Inn dates back to 1902, when it was commissioned by the American-Scandinavian Bank; in the late 1920s, it was converted to a hotel. The 16-room Louis XIV-style inn retains its historical roots today, with quilted headboards, gold-leaf French provincial dressers, and elegant chandeliers. It’s nestled in the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, which boasts an impressive history of its own—settled in the 1860s, this traditional Scandinavian enclave has a quiet, family-friendly vibe, and hosts Nordic-themed festivals throughout the year.
- In-room amenities: flat-screen TVs, WiFi, and goose-down comforters; some rooms have private baths
- Attention foodies: The hotel is within walking distance of some of the city’s most popular restaurants, including seafood spots, waterfront coffee shops, and a legendary fried-chicken eatery called Hi-Life.
- Access to a 50,000-square foot health club is included with your stay.
- Peace and quiet: The hotel only accepts guests 18 and older in order to maintain a tranquil environment.
- Pack a personal fan and cell phone: There is no A/C and there are no telephones in the guest rooms.
Seattle’s Ballard District: Historic Scandinavian Fishing Town with Trendy Waterfront Dining
Scandinavian immigrants began settling in the Puget Sound area as far back as 1860. Many of them set down roots in the Ballard neighborhood, a quiet spot located on Salmon Bay just northwest of downtown Seattle. Ballard has since turned into a trendy neighborhood with numerous foodie-approved restaurants and a solid live music scene.
But you can still see remnants of its past. The Nordic Heritage Museum showcases the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in contemporary art exhibits, folk costume galleries, and musical performances, and movie screenings. After a visit to the museum, sample kringle, a Danish pretzel pastry filled with almond paste and raisins, at one of the Scandinavian bakeries along Market Street. You can also take a walking tour past art-deco buildings and landscaped parks.