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“Nice setting, interesting to watch”

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
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Seattle Locks Cruise
Ranked #10 of 439 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
Level Contributor
65 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Nice setting, interesting to watch”
Reviewed April 15, 2013

I've gone through the locks in a boat, and it is way more relaxing to watch from shore. The lock attendants try to make it easy for the boaters and have a great attitude about their job and the folks watching.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank docdux
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,421 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
130 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Interesting, but only if boats and salmon are around.”
Reviewed April 14, 2013

We knew we were early in the year for the fish ladder, but there weren't any boats in the locks until just as we were about to leave. That made it worthwhile. Best for busy summer days.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank Knansea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eagle River, Alaska
Level Contributor
324 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“Terrific time”
Reviewed April 13, 2013

Ballard is a nice little town, and this is definitely a great place to spend some time. The only cost is the parking, if you park in a pay lot. There is a little museum that explains what the locks do, and the history of them. Then out to the nitty gritty, watching the boats drop down, and sail out. This is a great area, walking paths, lots of birds, beautiful landscaping. I was going to go to the area where the fish are, but it was more interesting watching the birds. Blue herons, cormorants, kingfishers, and geese come here to graze. The cormorants were basically pigging out on the little fish. Fun to watch!

Visited April 2013
1 Thank Terry T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
183 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“See how it happens”
Reviewed April 13, 2013

If you've never seen locks in action, this is the place to see it. The Locks connect Puget Sound & the ship canal, which leads to Lake Washington. The boats come in, the water is either lowered or raised, and the boats head out. You can see fish going up the ladder in season through glass windows alongside the ladder. Look out for the pesky sea lions that eat the salmon as it tries to head to the lake and rivers to spawn. A great learning day for kids and adults alike.

Visited March 2013
Thank MONichols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyle, Washington
Level Contributor
42 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fishermans Terminal and the Locks are Amazing”
Reviewed April 11, 2013

Be sure to see both sides of the Locks..... the Ballard side and also the Magnolia side...... the fish latter and viewing areas are great and the garden pathways are just beautiful!~!

Visited March 2013
Thank mcadamialover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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