Has Ballard finally found equilibrium? - Originally inhabited only by the Shilshole Indians, in the 20th century, Ballard was overrun by Scandinavians and their beards. Seeking a neighborhood where flannel apparel and facial hair were lauded, not lamented, by the turn of the 21st century, Ballard was becoming the most popular neighborhood with the hipsters. But soon developers realized what record labels have known for years; hipsters have deep pockets. The 2000's saw the completion of several dozen condominium and retail construction projects within blocks of downtown Ballard. Elderly Swedes and Norwegians could no longer afford ever-skyrocketing lutefisk taxes and the hippest of the hipsters moved to Georgetown and South Park, leaving only 3rd and 4th generation Norse-people and the modestly-hip.  

Get a bike - Ballard has so many great shops, restaurants, bars, boutiques, theaters, live-music venues, coffee shops,  etc., that it would be pointless to even try to pick favorites (okay, Hattie's Hat, Shelter Lounge, Sunset Tavern, Ray's Boathouse). But if you plan on spending much time exploring all that Ballard has to offer, bring a bicycle. Ballard is second only to Capitol Hill for Seattle neighborhoods when it comes to the difficulty of finding parking. On a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, forget about it. Fortunately, nearly everything worthwhile to do in Ballard is either located on NW Market Street, or within 5 blocks of Market to the south. 

Hardly "affordable" but coming under control? - For at least 10 years straight, from the late 90's to the late 2000's, the median price of homes in Ballard appreciated at a double digit pace. But as young money in Seattle began increasingly investigating more affordable areas in which to settle, neighborhoods like Greenwood, Phinney Ridge, Maple Leaf, and West Seattle have taken some of the pressure and population growth off of Ballard. And with the entire city becoming more densely populated every year, the hassle of fighting cross-town traffic to reach I-5 or Highway 99, from Ballard becomes increasingly problematic for Ballard residents who work in other parts of the region. Even 15th Ave. W, which connects Ballard directly to downtown Seattle can become a parking lot during rush hour. (Get a bike!). Even so, Ballard remains one of Seattle's hottest neighborhoods and home prices, although no longer appreciating annually in the double digits, are still high. The average price of single family homes in Ballard in the last year was $481,000. And many of those properties were town homes. Eliminate town homes and the average price of a house in Ballard exceeds $500,000. Not even condos are cheap in Ballard, with the average condo sales price at $288,000. 

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