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“Very interesting!”

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
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Seattle Locks Cruise
Ranked #10 of 443 things to do in Seattle
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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
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Level Contributor
42 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Very interesting!”
Reviewed July 18, 2012

We were lucky enough to watch two boats pass through the locks. The employees were very friendly and the grounds were beautiful.

Thank Taji B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,457 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
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  • German first
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English first
Level Contributor
90 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Fish Ladder”
Reviewed July 18, 2012

Watching the activity that goes on in a lake between fresh and salt water is something everyone who enjoys science will enjoy. Walk across the lock architecture and see the fish swim in the strong current, watch as the boaters wait for the water levels to adjust as they go on their way. Then walk around the peaceful botanic garden for a very nice excursion.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank mh999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
26 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Wrong Season...”
Reviewed July 17, 2012

It was a beautiful day. But I think we visited in the wrong season. It's better to visit when the baby salmon are leaving. We spotted some salmon swimming upstream in the viewing portal downstairs.

Otherwise watching the boats come in and out of the locks was interesting. There was a guide that talked about what happens for those unfamiliar with the lock system.

It's free. But parking is a bit of a pain on a nice day. There's a small lot in the front, and then it's neighborhood street parking in really tight spots where 2 ways streets become 1 lane streets with cars parked on both sides.

Visited July 2012
Thank charles l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakeland, TN
Level Contributor
179 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Best Thing We Did In Seattle”
Reviewed July 16, 2012

We enjoyed watching the boats go through the locks and seeing the Samon going through the dam.

Visited June 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
37 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Fascinating and addictive.”
Reviewed July 16, 2012

It is great (at least, we think so) to just watch the locks empty and fill, moving vessels through. All the different types of craft, and the moving water, people watching, occasional bird spotting--it is mesmerizing. Then, find a spot for clam strips to make the day complete.

Visited September 2011
Thank c g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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