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Ballard Locks

by Info Only- INFOSITE Nonrefundable No booking or credit card fees
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At the Ballard Locks, you can see the inner workings of Seattle’s defining feature—water. Watch the ships being lowered from fresh to salt water on their way to Puget Sound, walk underground to see salmon migrating along the fish ladder, and stroll along a botanical garden and expertly manicured lawns.

Heading west along Ballard’s Market Street, you can walk straight up to the locks, separated from the neighborhood by a strip of parkland and piers. Opened in 1917, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks have become the busiest shipping locks in the United States and one of Seattle’s top attractions, connecting the fresh waters of Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay to the salt water of Puget Sound.

Spend some time in the Visitor Center, where you can find displays explaining the mechanics of the locks, learn why they were built, and gain the historical context behind their construction. From there, walk to the locks themselves and see vessels large and small as they sail in, get tethered together, and then descend more than 20 feet (6 m) to sea level when the draining valve is opened.

Afterward, cross a network of walkways and follow a ramp below ground, where you can look directly into the water and see salmon and steelhead working their way up the locks' fish ladder to spawn. On your way back, make sure to stop and smell the roses—literally—in the Carl S. English, Jr., Botanical Garden. Take a seat and relax among the 1,500 plant varieties in the 7-acre garden before heading back.

At the Ballard Locks, you can see the inner workings of Seattle’s defining feature—water. Watch the ships being lowered from fresh to salt water on their way to Puget Sound, walk underground to see salmon migrating along the fish ladder, and stroll along a botanical garden and expertly manicured lawns.

Heading west along Ballard’s Market Street, you can walk straight up to the locks, separated from the neighborhood by a strip of parkland and piers. Opened in 1917, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks have become the busiest shipping locks in the United States and one of Seattle’s top attractions, connecting the fresh waters of Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay to the salt water of Puget Sound.

Spend some time in the Visitor Center, where you can find displays explaining the mechanics of the locks, learn why they were built, and gain the historical context behind their construction. From there, walk to the locks themselves and see vessels large and small as they sail in, get tethered together, and then descend more than 20 feet (6 m) to sea level when the draining valve is opened.

Afterward, cross a network of walkways and follow a ramp below ground, where you can look directly into the water and see salmon and steelhead working their way up the locks' fish ladder to spawn. On your way back, make sure to stop and smell the roses—literally—in the Carl S. English, Jr., Botanical Garden. Take a seat and relax among the 1,500 plant varieties in the 7-acre garden before heading back.

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Ballard Locks

Activity Location

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

3015 NW 54th St

Seattle 98107


Highlights

  • Stunning east-west view of the Lake Washington Ship Canal

  • Boats being lowered through the locks into Puget Sound

  • Chance to see steelhead & salmon migrating upstream

  • 1,500 plant varieties in a pristine botanical garden

  • Historical exhibits & explanations in the Visitor Center