Thanks to all for the suggestions. We ended up "price line"ing a hotel in northgate - figured a short cab ride wouldn't hurt. :) I can't remember all the places we hit, but here are (most?) of them:
The Old Peculiar
A couple others
We had THE BEST time! Can't wait to do it again!
Yea like the previous poster said I'm pretty sure there's only one hotel in Ballard (http://hotelballard.com/). I live right by this and have never been but it looks quite nice. Kind of a classic European vibe. Location is PERFECT if you're doing a Ballard crawl, literally in the middle of it all. Since it is in the middle of it all it's on kind of a buys street, esp. on the weekends. So keep that in mind. I can't comment on the rude owner though. Keep in mind that some rooms have a shared bathroom.
Probably the next closest option is a place in Fremont (http://hotelhotel.co/hotel_hotel_hostel) If you're not familiar w/ the area it's the neighboring neighborhood. You could drive to Ballard in probably 3 minutes and if you wanted walk in about 25. Plus Fremont has some pretty cool things as well. Now it is a hostel but it's only a year old and looks to be quite nice. Seems more minimal than Hotel Ballard, but the price reflects that esp. if you want to go full on hostel and stay in a bed for about $26/night. More expensive rooms are private and do have their own bathrooms though. I hope you love visiting Ballard as much as I love living here!
If you (Mystique) is considering Fremont, then another option < 10 mins drive (more like 5 for me) from Fremont is Hotel Deca, a funky tower that is different from the rest and proud of it:
Located just east of I-5 in the UW District.
And their restaurant, The District Lounge, surprised us on several occasions with the food quality. And the jazz is great.
And if you're not adverse to public transportation, the #44 bus stops right by the Deca and will take you straight through Wallingford and onto Ballard. You could take the bus to the far end, drink and shop your way up the street, and then cab it back to the Deca?
I've been to the Deca several times and I think it's quite nice.
What are your needs for a hotel? Do you need lots of comfort and service? Or are you willing to rough it? Do you want a conventional hotel? B&B?
Have fun. If you're in Ballard on a Sunday, don't miss the Farmers Market.
I've never stayed at Hotel Ballard either but I had a nasty run in with the owner right before they opened. We were having brunch across the street at Bastille and wandered over to check it out. They were getting ready for on open house later in the afternoon and the door was open with some workers milling about. We went in to ask some questions, pricing, etc. and were looking around when the owner came in from outside bellowing about how we were trespassing etc. etc. We explained we just wanted to support his business and wanted some additional information and he continued to scream at us, telling us we were disrespectful, etc. I would avoid the place if possible.