Seattle Area Adventure: Play and Eat in Ballard

The hot, steamy temperatures had us retreating to the water a couple of weeks ago.  As long as it stays 80 degrees (F) or less, we don’t get too bent out of shape, but above that, we’re afraid we might melt away.  Bear with us if you are from locales where temperatures above 85 degrees (F) is the norm.  In our defense, air conditioning is not a normal addition to most homes and businesses here in Western Washington.

Not only does it feel 20 degrees cooler on the shore, but the freezing water is the perfect thing for a little relief.  Just dipping my toes into Lake Washington or the Puget Sound makes the discomfort of a hot day seem like a distant memory.

Ballard is one of our favorite neighborhoods to venture off to in our city. In Northwest Seattle, it’s situated close to the Puget Sound and offers so many great shopping, restaurant, parks and outdoor activity opportunities.  And even though it’s losing some of it’s gritty charm of earlier years, it still holds that small town feel.  A feeling that probably remains because Ballard was once off on it’s own before being annexed to Seattle in 1907.

To keep with our dining al fresco tradition of the summer, we opted for a classic spot that we had yet to visit with Bergen (23 months), and stopped off at Paseo.  Surprisingly the line and wait for sandwiches wasn’t too terribly long, and we were on our way in about 10  minutes with thoughts of Caribbean goodness dancing around in our heads.

Given the weather conditions, the crowds we faced when arriving at Golden Gardens Park were expected, but we certainly were not expecting to find our choice of picnic spots.  We even managed to score a spot in the shade, where we got down to work on our sandwiches.  Slaed and I both ended up getting Paseo’s most popular sandwich, the Caribbean Roast.

Paseo's Caribbean Roast: Ballard, WA |

The crispy baguette roll is piled with tender pork shoulder, which is then topped with their aioli sauce, cilantro, pickled jalapenos, lettuce, and caramelized onions.   In retrospect, I wish we would have coordinated our orders, and gone with two different sandwiches for a little variety, but regardless the three of us were more than satisfied. We were also a mess.

Picnic at Seattle's Golden Gardens Park |

After devouring every last bit of our sandwiches, it was time for Bergen to let loose.  He did so first at the nautical themed playground honoring Ballard’s Scandinavian roots.  The pirate play didn’t last too long though as we parents got way too hot standing around in the open space with the sun beating down on us.

Golden Gardens Playground: Ballard, WA |

We were ready to move on to the main event, and made our way over to the beach.  With a quick wardrobe change, Bergen was ready to go, and proceeded to walk up and down the shore in search of perfect rocks (or just handfuls of sand) to throw into the water as well as spots that might be good for a little dip.  The cold water shocked him for sure, but didn’t stop him.  I personally couldn’t believe how beautifully clear the water was on this particular day, and loved seeing all the sailboats in the distance.

Beach walking: Golden Gardens Park |

Water Play: Golden Gardens Park, Seattle |

Golden Gardens Park: Seattle, WA |

I wish we could have set up camp and stayed the day as many of our fellow beach-goers seemed to be doing, but our time was up.

Info to Know: 

  • Golden Gardens Park is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA:
    • 8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, WA 98117
    • Hours: 6am-11:30pm
  • Off-leash dog area, wetlands, a short loop trail, and some (steep) forested trails are also part of the park. Picnic sites can be reserved.
  • Concessions (hot dogs, pretzels, ice cream, etc.) are available from a small stand.
  • Parking is free and abundant.
  • You’ll find Paseos (where we got our tasty sandwiches) on right-hand side of the street on the way to the park:
    • 6226 Seaview Ave NW
    • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-9pm
    • Cash Only
    • Paseos also has a location in the nearby Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.

Where do you and your family love to head when the weather turns unbearably hot?

Golden Gardens Park: Seattle, WA |

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One thought on “Seattle Area Adventure: Play and Eat in Ballard

  1. Pingback: Toddler’s Best Outing: A Morning at the Ballard Locks | Wild Tales of...

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