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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107 (Ballard)
206 783 7059
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As featured in Seattle for free
Ranked #17 of 212 attractions in Seattle
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Type: Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Wharfs/ Piers/ Boardwalks, Bodies of Water
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (locally known as the Ballard Locks) is a waterway system that connects the saltwater of the Puget Sound to the fresh... more » Owner description: The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (locally known as the Ballard Locks) is a waterway system that connects the saltwater of the Puget Sound to the fresh water of the Ship Canal, which sits about 20 feet above sea level.  Boats enter the locks, the gates close and the water rises or falls to the level of the destination waterway.  Watching boats pass through the locks, exploring the 7 acres of botanical gardens and looking for fish on the fish ladder is fun and free entertainment that draws locals and tourists alike. « less
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
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961 reviews from our community

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English first
Newport Beach, California
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
102 attraction reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014 NEW

The cool thing about these locks is that tour boats, motorboats, sailboats, and salmon can all be seen going from freshwater to saltwater. It is surprising to see how fast the elevation of the water changes for the boats (just a matter of a couple of minutes). You can also see the salmon swimming/jumping up stream (summertime)! Very fun experience... More

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Olympia, Washington
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014 NEW

The Chittenden Ballard Locks are free (except for parking), and are a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. You can walk through the gardens, learn the history of the locks at the Visitor's Center, see the salmon in the ladder (summer months), and watch vessels as varied as kayaks and tankers pass through the locks (I've seen both!). Lots... More

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Columbia, South Carolina
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

So much fun to see the salmon ladders in action and learn more about the ecology of the fish, and the locks were fascinating for the budding engineer in our family!

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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
19 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

I took one of the "hop on-hop off" buses out to this area and explored the locks by myself. My husband was at a conference. Very pretty grounds to walk through. Locks themselves were interesting to look at for a brief time...nothing too exciting. Watched some boats go through. Walked down to the salmon ladder....no salmon for me that day.... More

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Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
34 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

This was our first stop in Seattle because someone told us to go to Ballard Locks. I had no idea what it was until we got there. First there is a really pretty park where people were relaxing and then you walked to the actual locks. I thought it was cool to see the salmon and watch the boats move... More

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Prescott, Arizona
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

My family experienced the locks firsthand on an Argosy boat Lock Cruise (great time!). Then the following day we went to the Locks to spend more time seeing the locks in operation. It is very interesting and it is fun to see the variety of boats passing through the locks -- from luxury pleasure boats to barges and tugboats. The... More

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Winston Salem, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

Great free attraction and convenient parking. The salmon has started to run, the park is lovely and what fun to watch the boats go thru the locks.

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Southeastern US
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

The combination of the locks and the salmon ladders is worth seeing. The locks are gigantic and quite the engineering marvel. We watched while over twenty boats, from 16 footer fishing boats to several 36 plus foot yachts at once slowly dropped down with the water. Those locks are huge! The salmon ladders were unbelievable. Hundreds of fish were visible... More

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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
39 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

Locks are always fascinating (visited two in Ontario, Canada)---human ingenuity and engineering controlling nature's forces. Powerful water gushing from the upper waterway downward 20 feet. Wait awhile: A boat slips behind metal gates and is lowered or raised. A small museum/ video is educational about history, engineering and engineer Chittenden. During salmon season,"fish ladders" help fish jump upstream. The scenery... More

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Trois-Rivieres, Canada
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
5 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2014 NEW

The kids love seeing the salmons in the visitors' centre. The adults loved the park. Nice hour spent, rain or shine.

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