First Year Programs

One Bus Away Guide: Ballard

Learn how to use the Seattle Transit system and your U-PASS on a tour of one of Seattle's iconic neighborhoods. Have issues or questions? Call or text us at 206-207-5564.  

The U-PASS is a bus pass plus more. Loaded right onto the Husky Card, the U-PASS provides members with unlimited rides on regional buses, commuter trains, light rail and water taxis as well as full fare coverage on vanpools. 

  • How to get there: Take the 44 bus from NE Pacific St & 15th Ave NE. Get off at 32nd Ave NW & NW Market St. 

  • How to get back: Take the 44 bus from NW Market St & 20th Ave NW. Get off at 15th Ave NE & NE 40th St. 

Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle that's known for its vibrant food scene. With a wide variety of restaurants and cafes serving up delicious cuisine from around the world, Ballard is a foodie's paradise. It is especially known for its seafood, with fresh catches of salmon, halibut, and other fish regularly featured on menus. Ballard also has deep Scandinavian roots. Norwegians and Swedes arrived here in large numbers in the 1890's to work in Ballard's thriving shingle mills and fisheries. The Ballard SeafoodFest and Viking Days are some of Ballard’s biggest events. 

Tour Description: 

  1. Ballard Locks: Built in 1917, the locks allow boats to pass between Puget Sound and Lake Union, by holding them in a secure chamber on Salmon Bay while lowering or raising the water level between the two bodies of water. 
  2. Fish Ladder: The Ballard Locks Fish Ladder is free to visit and was constructed on the south side of the Ballard Locks, to enable salmon safe passage to their spawning grounds upstream, from late spring to early fall.  
  3. National Nordic Museum: Founded in 1979, the National Nordic Museum is the only institution of its size and scale in the United States to present the history and culture of the entire Nordic region (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the regions of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland, and the cultural region of Sápmi) and the legacy of Nordic immigrants to the United States. With TeenTix, teenagers (13-19 years old) can purchase a ticket for just $5! 
  4. Ballard Avenue NW: Shop along Ballard Avenue NW with its trendy boutiques, mid-century furniture stores, and chic home goods. The beautifully preserved, 19th century buildings are complemented by a canopy of green along the charming, tree-lined street.  
  5. Mox Boarding House: A mixed game store and restaurant that will delight any traveler with cozy meals and an extensive library of tabletop games to explore. Feel free to participate in the daily gaming events or bring the atmosphere to your next party with one of our private rooms available for rent. It is a shop of many things! 

More Fun Places to Explore: 

  • Majestic Bay Theater: The Majestic Bay Theater has $6 Tuesdays all day! It built in 1914 in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, was the oldest continuously operating movie theater in the United States prior to its closure in 1997. In 1998, it was renovated and transformed from a bargain single-screen theater to a well-appointed triplex. 

  • Ballard Farmer’s Market: Open since 2000, The Ballard Farmers Market is Seattle's first year-round neighborhood farmers market selling produce exclusively from Washington state farmers. The Market operates along the historic cobblestone stretch of Ballard Avenue NW between Vernon Place and 22nd Avenue. The Market is open every Sunday, rain or shine, from 9 AM – 2 PM.  

  • Ballard ArtWalk: The Ballard ArtWalk is a long-standing tradition fostering and supporting the local artist community in Ballard since 1997. It takes place every second Saturday of the month from 6-9 PM. Dozens of Ballard businesses along Ballard Ave and Market St feature some of Western Washington’s most talented artists and photographers. 

  • Golden Gardens: Golden Gardens is a popular beach with spectacular sunset views and extraordinary views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Golden Gardens offers strolls along a rugged coastline, hikes through forest trails, sunbathing on sandy beaches, fishing from a pier and a boat launch consisting of 300' of shoreline at south end of park. 

Food to Try: 

  • Pestle Rock: A restaurant that features Thai food from the Isan region of the country, which is known for dishes packed with fresh herbs and chili peppers and drenched in lime juice.  

  • Cookies Country Chicken: Fast Casual fried chicken joint serving bone-in, boneless, sandwiches, bowls, and homemade sides. 

  • The Walrus and the Carpenter: The Walrus is a fun, lively, and approachable place that is a restaurant, oyster bar, and fishing pub all in one. 

  • Rachel's Bagels & Burritos: Find perfect chew bagels with a wide variety of toppings as well as great bagel sandwich options.