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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
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Seattle Locks Cruise
Ranked #10 of 440 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 older children, Activities for young children
Winston-Salem, NC
Level Contributor
252 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

We were not expecting much on arrival to the locks. We were so wrong. The tour of the locks and salmon ladder was fascinating, the botanical gardens are beautiful, the views are spectacular, the concerts are a happy bonus, and it is all free! Wonderful...and worth return visits.

Visited August 2013
Thank NCtravelerWS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,425 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
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English first
East Lansing
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Childhood favorite now a favorite with the next generation”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

My great grandma lived in the Lock Vista Apartments right across the road from "the locks." She took my sister and me there every time we stayed with her. (She went every day on her own.) When my daughter and I visited Seattle from Michigan, I always bribed my daughter, nephew, and niece to visit "The Locks" by first taking them to Archie McPhees. (Make sure to visit Archies for FUN!) They whined and moaned. But last year, they said, "That was really fun!" A year later, we saw immense numbers of salmon in the underground windows view of the fish ladder. Then, outside, we saw the salmon jumping as they approached the fish ladder -- and a sly sea lion (sadly) feeding on them. The natural way ...

Visited July 2013
Thank CircGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
71 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“If you've never seen locks”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Watching the locks work is fascinating as is watching salmon jump upstream.....good for all ages.....and free!!!

Visited August 2013
Thank rawpl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Venice, Florida
Level Contributor
189 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Great place to visit except for the parking”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

I dropped the reveiw of the Locks due to the absence of sufficient parking in the area. Unless you arrive early and manage to procur a parking spot you could spend too much time just driving looking for one.
The actual locks and the surrounding area are great. The old buildings are in great shape as are the grounds. They have implanted brass salmon in the sidewalk to guide you to the salmon ladders, which is a very nice touch. We took our grandson there for the day and we had a really fun time. Not only watching the locks cycle through the boats but also the salmon ladders. The viewing area below the water line was a highlight for him.
The bathrooms were clean.
One side note is when you are finished touring teh locks and if you have some extra time walk to the north about a block to the Red Mil, for some great food. Parking there is at a premium also.

Visited August 2013
Thank RickHLihue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A fun, free adventure”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

We had a great time watching the locks operate and the salmon travel up the ladder. And free is always good!

Visited August 2013
Thank John J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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