Seattle >Arts & Entertainment > Hiram M. Chittenden Locks / Ballard Locks
3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810747.666706 -122.398068
Neighborhoods: Ballard, Adams
Built in the early 1900's to aid in the transport of lumber the locks now help with the transition between waterways of over 65,000 boats from the tiniest of kayaks to boats up to nealy 800 feet in length. There is a park adjacent to the locks that's a fine place for a picnic while you watch the parade of boats transition. Also don't miss the underwater fish ladder viewing area where you can watch salmon run each June, July, September and October.
Free educational center and guided tours are a plus.
Beautiful place, very memorable to me. Fell in love with the most amazing woman there. Will never forget my first visit to the locks. Especially the underwater viewing area.
Great spot to relax – I've never been to the locks on the weekend so I'm not sure how crowded they get, but during a weekday this place is great. I love to go down and watch the boats and the birds. Its got a great calm feeling about it. The surrounding area is pretty and well maintained, good for a walk on a sunny afternoon. Seeing the locks in action always takes me back to middle school science class and I enjoy that everytime. Check it out!
Fun to see in action – I recently went there with my parents and we enjoyed watching the locks open/close, fill/empty and see the seagulls in action, eating. Be prepared for the stench when you walk over from the locks to the salmon ladder. We did see salmon in one ladder, but never saw one switch from one ladder to the next. The free visitor's center has a small amount of interesting exhibits (the hands-on ones all seemed broken), a small gift shop, and a short film.They offer free, guided tours, but we did not take one. If you park on the Ballard side of the locks you have to walk partially through the Botanical Gardens/park to get to the locks. The park was not crowded and it would be a good spot to have a picnic.
Visit the Locks! – I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical before I went...it just sounded like some dumb locks that salmon jump...but it is worth the trip. It is a lot more interesting than what I thought. The visiting center is nice...and the area is beautiful. It's definately worth the trip..especially if you are a tourist.
A short drive from downtown, this water-bound spectacle is a great place to get the feel for Seattle's maritime life. – The Experience
Pass a sunny day watching boats of all shapes and sizes come into the locks separating Puget Sound from the fresh waters of Salmon Bay. Those seeking relaxation anchor themselves to blankets and lawn chairs, while the adventurous head to the fish ladder. This underwater viewing gallery makes it possible to view salmon navigating their way back to their spawning grounds. Occasionally, a clever sea lion will hang out, waiting for his next meal.
For the historically-minded, the locks' official name is the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and they were built in 1911 so that coal and timber could be easily transported by boat.
Want to relax? – Bring a picnic and dont forget to stop by the visitors center and the rose garden. You might just see someone famous going through the locks. Plan to spend hours here, you will be amazed at how fast the time goes by.
Great for Visitors and Locals alike – I have lived near the locks all my life, and have always been fasinated with it. It is so much fun to just go and spend a relaxing day there watching boat traffic and the fish go through the latter, and the occassional train rolling over the nearby trainbridge. Discovery Park (Magnolia Side) and Golden Gardens Beach (Ballard Side) are very close as well. Hit up all of these places to make your day perfect.
More Than Meets The Eye – This is a great, inexpensive way to spend an afternoon. Take a break and stop in The Lockspot Cafe for great food and service at good prices. Make sure check out the fish ladder with underwater viewing windows and watch the salmon migrate. Drive less than a mile past the locks and you are at beautiful Golden Gardens State Park and Shilshole Marina.
Visitor Sanctuary – My parents live in Florida + come to visit about once a year. This is the one place they refuse to miss every time they come. Make sure to go when the salmon are running, they are the best part of the trip.
Boring – I have never managed to enjoy the Ballard Locks, except when kayaking once through them.
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