Where to Run in Seattle: Ballard Locks and Back

IMG_7855I think my running days are over, but I can walk the same routes I used to run. So you can follow my path on a stroll, jog, or combination of the two. Or, you can even bus a good portion of it. Today, Phillip the pampered prince of a Shih Tzu and I set off down the hill toward Ballard. Destination: the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

Roundtrip is about five miles. When I used to run, I took the first quarter mile as a walking warm up, largely because it’s a pretty good downhill and I don’t run hills. Turn right off of our front porch and follow the sidewalk down to 3rd Ave NW. Cross 3rd and you have your choice of going the rest of the way to the Locks along commercial Market Street or on any of the numbered side streets through the residential part of Ballard.

At 6th Ave NW and Market, you’ll hit a pocket of commerce – Veraci Pizza, Brimmer & Heeltap, a Laundromat, and Slate Coffee. Next are a few blocks of houses until almost the mile mark at 14th, where the real commercial part of Ballard begins. I suggest scoping out the options on your way to the Locks and then taking a break somewhere on the way back. After crossing 24th Ave NW, start looking for Firehouse Coffee (no worries about being too far from caffeine in Seattle). Keep going. After 28th, look for Kiss Café on the left and think about crossing the street, as the Locks are on the south side. Take the slight bend in the road that becomes 54th and the entrance to the Locks is just beyond the Lockspot Café.

Here, you’ve gone just about 2.5 miles. It’s your choice how much time you spend at the Locks and lovely park there. I’ve written about it before so won’t go into detail, but it’s one of my favorite places to recommend to guests because it is quintessential Seattle: water, boats, gardens, and salmon swimming upstream.

When you’re ready to head back, you have a plethora of choices for refreshment, browsing, or maybe catching the #44 bus to get you at least to the bottom of the hill at 6th Ave. Back in the day, I ended my actual run at 6th and cooled off (if you can call it that) by trudging up the hill for that final quarter mile. You might arrive damp, but you will have gotten some good exercise, maybe quaffed a tasty beverage, and/or refueled with a bite or two along the way.

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