Officially known as the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, the Ballard Locks is the most popular tourist attraction in Seattle. Constructed in 1917, Ballard Locks connects the waters of Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay to the waters of Puget Sound. The Ballard canal allows recreational vessels to travel to the main dock and warehouses of Seattle's water harbor. While cruising across the Ballard Locks, you can take in the spectacular views and experience the transition from fresh to salt water. Boats as large as 760 feet in length and as small as a kayak can travel through the locks. Here are the popular tourist attractions and the things that you can do while cruising the Ballard Locks area:
- Visit Ballard Farmer's Market: Established in 1999, Ballard Farmer's Market is held year-round, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nearly 200 local farmers, food vendors and restaurant owners come here to enable visitors an authentic Seattle experience. This Farmer's Market is Seattle favorite for locals as well.
- Seattle Fish Ladder in Ballard: Seattle Fish Ladder is a subterranean room which is lined on one side with large windows for allowing visitors to watch fish swim upstream to spawn. The room is like a big aquarium where you can see fish swimming against fast moving water. Some of the salmon species that you can watch here include Sockeye salmon, Coho salmon, and Chinook.
- Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden: This botanical garden is located on the grounds of the Ballard Locks. It is open to the public daily, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Garden features more than 500 species and 1,500 varieties of plants from around the world. You will find fan palms, Mexican pines, rhododendrons, oaks, a fine display of roses, and a special section of lilies here.
- Ballard Breweries and Taprooms: With 10 breweries located in just five square miles, Ballard has become a tourist destination for beer. Some of the local beer and spirit producers that you might like to visit include Bad Jimmy's Brewing Co., Hale's Ales & Brew Pub, Reuben's Brews & Tasting Room, Peddler Brewing Company, Domanico Cellars, Fremont Brewing, Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, Captive Spirits Distilling, The Barking Dog Alehouse, and Populuxe Brewing to name a few.
- Parks near Ballard Locks: Located in Ballard on Puget Sound, Golden Gardens Beach Park is situated just 2 miles away from Ballard Locks. This park features two wetlands, a restored northern beach, a rugged coastline, hiking trails, sandy beaches, fishing pier and children's play areas. Apart from providing stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains, this park is perfect for fishing, kayaking, picnicking, camping, and hiking. Woodland Park Zoo is just 10 minutes away from Ballard Locks. The Park receives millions of visitors every year. It features 300 animal species, 35 endangered animal species, 7,000 trees, and 1,000+ plant species.
- Dining Options near Ballard Locks: Most of the restaurants, bars, bakeries, and cafes can be reached easily on foot from the Ballard Locks. Visit Olaf's, which has been voted Seattle's #1 neighborhood pub in 2015, to enjoy beer, burgers, sports and pinball. For comfort food & craft cocktails, check out the Sexton restaurant. Other dining options include Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Bramling Cross, Royal Drummer Cafe, Ray's Boathouse & Cafe, Porkchop & Co, and Staple & Fancy Mercantile to name a few.
- Festivals in Ballard: The Moisture Festival is the world's largest comedy festival, held every year for four weeks of spring in Seattle. It features performance by comedians, burlesque dancers, musicians, jugglers, tap dancers, and more. The Ballard SeafoodFest is a two day event where food vendors pack the streets, selling all types of seafood such as oysters, crab cakes, chowder, fish sandwiches and tacos and tons of salmon. The Ballard Jazz Festival is held in the month of May every year. This four day event features over 100 international, national, regional, & local Jazz musicians.
Ballard Locks is a photographer's dream, family's best vacation spot, and an explorer's perfect place. See the very best that Ballard Locks has to offer aboard a private boat charter and add several other well known destinations of Seattle including Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Puget Sound to your itinerary. To learn more about how you can explore Seattle destinations including Ballard Locks on board your own private crewed charter, simply call or email us and we will assist with the rest.