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“Really cool”

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
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Seattle Locks Cruise
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Private Tour: Seattle Highlights
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Pre-Cruise Seattle Sightseeing Tour
Ranked #10 of 448 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 5 Contributor
89 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Really cool”
Reviewed September 9, 2013

The locks are really cool and are especially a good thing to do if you are worried about the cost of things. We saw kayakers and a few boats go through the locks. We didn't see any salmon jumping, but we could still see them in the water. The exhibit was well done. You can spend any amount of time that you want, which is good.

Visited August 2013
Thank skichick3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,525 reviews from our community

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English first
Richmond, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2013

The locks are neat and they are free. They are a little out of the way if you're doing the downtown tourist thing, but they were described as being a quintessential Seattle experience so we had to go. I've seen locks before and have a general idea of how they operate so I could have done the whole thing in about 20-30 minutes. We skipped the botanical garden as it didn't seem like much was blooming in September.
We did see an Argosy tour boat go through the locks. That looked like it would have been a fun way to experience the locks since you would actually go through them rather than just watching.

Visited September 2013
Thank jlrva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sf Bay Area
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Entertaining -- but don't expect to see the Salmon jumping (Transport note too)”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

I went to see the Salmon, but was amazed at how interesting it was to watch the boats go through. Watching the water rise or fall with the boats inside the lock was really fun.
The salmon have an option of going underneath the ladders instead of jumping. We saw lots of them in the underwater viewing station, and there is apparently a small tunnel they can swim through but the current is ferocious. We spent awhile watching them accelerate to try to get inside the tunnel -- only two succeeded while I watched.
We took a cab from the downtown area -- I was really surprised a lot of the drivers weren't familiar with the place. I had to punch in the info into the driver's cell phone. I was a little worried when he dropped us on the west side of the locks, as it looks sparse, but that;s actually the side with the salmon ladder and there is a walkway that connects both sides so you can easily walk across. on the east/north side is the locks where the boats pass through and a small park.
We walked from there to Ray's Boathouse for yummy food and drinks (maybe a 20-30 minute walk, quite easy) and then walked back towards the lock's and east back towards the city where there were a number of cute bars and restaurants.

The walk felt very safe (we were two women) and there were plenty of pedestrians, cyclists, and joggers out and about.

Visited July 2013
Thank kat130
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Hidden gem”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

Found this at the last minute and it was great. Not great big ships but a ton of private boats going all at once.

Visited September 2013
Thank Cody2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Historical and active locks system”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

Great to visit! Dodge the throngs of tourists trying to catch a photo of a salmon, and just head into the middle for views of boats moving up and down into the lake system, salmon heading up the salmon run, or just watching traffic go by. A definite must-see if you're in the Ballard area of Seattle.

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

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