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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107-4213
+1 206-780-2500
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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.
  • Excellent59%
  • Very good34%
  • Average5%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“salmon ladder” (285 reviews)
“watch the boats” (155 reviews)
“salt water” (111 reviews)
Closed Now
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Hours Today: 07:00 - 21:00
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107-4213
+1 206-780-2500
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Reviews (2,461)
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541 - 550 of 2,461 reviews

Reviewed 24 May 2016

We stumbled upon this place and it was very cool to see the boats coming in, tying up and the water coming in to raise them on to continue going forward. The locks are impressive and we got lucky and saw some seals swimming! Nice...More

Thank Kaci M
Reviewed 24 May 2016

Definitely one of the places I return to when I go to Seattle ~ there is a beautiful park nearby, too. We were with friends and family to see this but I imagine one can take a bus ~ near Ballard Neighborhood that has lots...More

Thank kimnoreen
Reviewed 23 May 2016

This isn't the Panama Canal but it is a pair of working locks. It is fun to simply get up close and watch the boats going through. The workers are friendly and happy to answer questions. There is a also a small museum (free) with...More

Thank yogimax
Reviewed 21 May 2016

This is both an engineering feet and a beautiful park. There are a number of things to do in the area. Watch the ships go from salt water to fresh water in a boat elevator. During the spawning season watch the salmon go up the...More

Thank David D
Reviewed 21 May 2016

Great to go when the weather is great or also to see the salmon running the ladder! Been going here at least once a year as long as I can remember.

Thank Tim98166
Reviewed 21 May 2016

I read good reviews for this and took a cab from the Space Needle (about a 20-30 minutes from there) to Ballard for the 3 o'clock tour. There is a beautiful garden to walk through and many restaurant choices nearby. We were able to hear...More

1  Thank profmom_12
Reviewed 20 May 2016

The locks were really interesting, especially since you can see them working "up close and personal". AND if it's the right time of year, you can see the salmon in the fish ladders!

Thank lloydw477
Reviewed 20 May 2016

This is always a fun treat when you are in this part of Seattle. The locks are very interesting and there is plenty of room for the children to run. Go to the museum and don't miss all the botanical garden plants. The valve house...More

1  Thank Eventing D
Reviewed 19 May 2016 via mobile

This place is so cool! So much history there! They do free tours which is really cool! It's cool because you are taken down to the locks and we got to see them open and close several times! They also have a fish ladder, which...More

Thank Tara P
Reviewed 18 May 2016

The Locks are my favorite place in Seattle. It's actually very cool and fascinating to see the boats making the transfer from lake to sea and the engineering involved in lowering the water. There is also a salmon ladder and viewing windows on the property....More

Thank Kim M
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Nearby Attractions
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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
ger w
HI I hope to visit from the UK next September and would like to know when the salmon runs take place.Any information would be great. Ger
11 May 2017|
Answer Show all 8 answers
Response from Brodethedog | Property representative |
Check out the website and social media links at bottom of site for detailed information. There is a Questions tab which will answer most everything. The salmon season is short, from June through Sept. There is a YouTube... More
Jeff C: Sorry you didn't enjoy your visit. Seeing Salmon can be iffy, even during peak season, they may have been waiting for high tide to move into the viewing room. Maybe you expected a circus act that performs on schedule?
11 September 2016|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from SeaTraveller2015 | Reviewed this property |
What's the question? Jeff C."s response to Pamela M was rather snotty. Whatever the question or comments made by Pamela M., Jeff C. owed her more respect than his comment suggested. Jeff...you don't know everything about... More
Karen W
I am planning a visit to the locks on a Friday. Is there a better/best time of day to see the happenings with boats and fish?
28 August 2016|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from Brodethedog | Property representative |
Mid day to late for pleasure boat traffic. Salmon at high tide, you'll have to check tide tables. Commercial boats, pretty much pot luck... Recommend tours