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“A unique "must see" for Seattle tourists” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107
206 783 7059
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Top Rated
$43*
and up
Seattle Locks Cruise
Ranked #11 of 178 Attractions in Seattle
Type: Wharfs/ Piers/ Boardwalks, Bodies of Water, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Landmarks
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Attraction details
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 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.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Gig Harbor, Washington
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
“A unique "must see" for Seattle tourists”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks is a real mouthful, so to everyone in Seattle, they're known simply as the "Ballard Locks".The locks are at the west end of the ship canal, which separates the residental areas of Magnolia on the south, and Ballard on the north, hence Ballard Locks. But by any name, this set of locks, one very large, one small, are the busiest set of locks in all of America, largely because of the enormous amount of pleasure boat traffic going between the inland lakes and waterways of Seattle -- Lake Union, Portage Bay, Salmon Bay and Lake Washington -- and saltwater Puget Sound. The locks are necessary because of the difference in heights of the Seattle lakes, and the rise and fall of the saltwater tides.

The locks are at the heart of a beautifully landscaped area on the north (Ballard) side of the locks, and on the south side is a well-done, and much visited fish ladder with large windows for viewing. You can walk from one side of the locks to the other, and look down on the boats arriving or leaving, and watch them as the either rise up or go down,depending on which way they're going. Here, in front of the locks, was the infamous "Herschel" and his gang of salmon-eating sea lions, who quickly learned the easiest way to catch a tasty salmon dinner, or lunch, was to jsut hang ou in front of the fish ladder. This went on for years, with Herschel and his buddies doing their best to deplete the excess salmon population, while the hew and cry of what to do raged forth. Herschel has long since gone to sea lion heaven, but the salmon still return, as do the boats by the hundreds and thousands. it's a grat way to spend a few hours of seeing a unique slice of Seattle.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bellingham, Washington
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Great little side trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Hop in the car and drive to the locks. Its fun to watch the boats transfer over, it has other things to see too and you can have lunch in Ballard..

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Great free site, also for children”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

The locks are a site, where boats are raised (or lowered) between two bodies of water, with a ~15 feet difference in height. As someone, who had never seen this before, the site was very interesting and impressive. The added bonus is that you can see Salmon jumping out of the lake waters, which is a very entertaining site. Add that the locks are near a large park and free, and you get a great site.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
18 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Fascinating”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

The gardens are well kept and beautiful, but the real draw is watching the boats rise up and down the locks..weirdly fascinating. If you are lucky, you will see salmon climbing the fish ladder, and probably will see a sea lion looking for a salmon too.

Visited April 2012
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Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Interesting and informative.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

If you have never seen boat locks operated, you will be educated, a nice viewing area for fish ladders and a nice park.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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