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Address: 3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107-4213
Phone Number:
07:00 - 21:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 07:00 - 21:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: No

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (locally known as the Ballard Locks) is a...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 2,376 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1395
  • 782
    Very good
  • 128
  • 9
  • 4
What is a Lock?

If you are not sure what a Lock actually is this is going to be the most enjoyable educational experience! A beautiful park with huge old trees and lovely gardens that straddles a... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 11 March 2016
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2,376 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 2,318: English reviews
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2016

If you are not sure what a Lock actually is this is going to be the most enjoyable educational experience! A beautiful park with huge old trees and lovely gardens that straddles a hard working maritime necessity ( for boats and fish) and also a tourist destination, what could be more typically / ironically Seattle. There is something for everyone... More 

1 Thank SueArow
Spokane, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
88 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 March 2016

I had a once in a lifetime chance to see the locks in action twice in one day and it was a great experience, albeit a bit stressful due to my first time piloting a boat into the locks. I would not recommend this for anyone who does not have some boating experience and who does not know their boat... More 

1 Thank Nick E
Auburn, California
Level Contributor
90 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 March 2016

We have visited the Locks several times with our grandchildren. Each time, the experience has been different. The kids enjoy watching the boats travel through the Locks and I especially enjoy the beautiful flowers located throughout the grounds. We always visit the fish center to see which fish are traveling up or downstream to spawn. A highlight for us was... More 

Thank Sally D
Clayton, Missouri
Level Contributor
117 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2016 via mobile

This is a beautiful setting for an amazing experience. The locks are truly magical and memorizing as they move water and boats so easily. Always make it a point to make it here!

Thank DebMey11
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
64 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2016

Love the fish ladder - so entertaining to watch the salmon. The locks are great and watching the engineering of how the water works and lets the boats in and out is fascinating.

Thank roguetraveling
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
102 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 March 2016

While not in the downtown core it is great to see actual salmon running into Lake Washington using the fish ladder on the far side of the locks. Need to be here during the season which roughly runs from May until late September. Another treat is to watch boats of all sizes negotiate the lock system that was put in... More 

1 Thank lsdean
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Level Contributor
53 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 March 2016

My family and I have been visiting the Locks for years...the visit in any weather never fails to inform and entertain. Watching pleasure vessels on the week-end, working vessels and fishing boats in either the large or small lock make their way from Lake Union to Puget Sound or vice versa is an amazing, fun experience. The fish ladder is... More 

1 Thank brice3911
Westport, Connecticut
Level Contributor
176 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 February 2016

Many people including families milling around this public space. Gardens, Salmon Ladder and the astonishing locks. In a short time 3 vessels came thru...2 incoming, 1 outgoing. Small sail boat, Sitka Alaska fishing boat and a very large commercial vessel. Amazing to watch.

Thank Betsy R
Level Contributor
131 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 February 2016 via mobile

I can see the locks from my home and always take guests there. It's fascinating to watch the boats go up and down between Puget Sound and the fresh waterways draining down through Lakes Washington and Union. The fish ladder is a must see during salmon migration season (usually May-September). The grounds on either side are beautiful, with weekend concerts... More 

1 Thank seatravelerSeattle
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 February 2016

We have been here many times during all times of the year and always bring guests because it is great history and it is still operational. We love coming in the winter even on a rainy day when it is not so busy and just seeing what boats are going through the Locks. We stopped in the visitor center to... More 

Thank experienced t

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