Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)
- Type: Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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These locks — operated by the Army Corps of Engineers — are one of Seattle's top tourist attractions. The locks allow boats to pass between Puget Sound and the Lake Washington ship canal, offering a live demonstration of Seattle's maritime lifestyle. After you've watched a couple barges pass by, head to the south side of the locks where fish ladders help salmon migrate during the summer months; if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a sea lion looking for a quick bite to eat. The fish can be seen up close from special viewing windows. The Chittenden Locks are also home to the Carl English Botanical Gardens, which feature a variety of unique plants and beautiful views.
Many visitors suggest bringing a picnic lunch to set up and enjoy the view. "This is fun for the whole family. It is fascinating to watch boats go through the locks especially in high season when they squeeze tons of boats in," according to one TripAdvisor user.
The locks are available to visit daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and are located in northwest Seattle's Ballard district. There is no entry fee for any of the attractions here. For more information, check out the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks website.
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