Visiting the Hiram M. Chittenden locks—or the Ballard Locks, as everyone calls them—has been one of my family’s favorite activities for years. During salmon season, you can see thousands of fish swimming through the fish ladder, but the rest of the year, it’s gloriously entertaining to watch the boats transfer from one water level to the next. It’s like Ballard’s very own miniature Panama Canal. Stop for lunch at the Lockspot Café right outside when you’re done, and then stroll the beautiful botanical gardens right in the park!
Much of Seattle’s charm comes from its integration of industry into the landscape and lifestyle. Centennial Park on Elliot Bay seems to simultaneously remove itself from the city hustle while embracing it at the same time, and there’s a ton to see while you’re there. Grain elevators, shipping barges, a 400-foot fishing pier, and a beautiful rose garden are just the beginning of it. It’s a wonderfully calming place to spend a sunny afternoon!
Marina strolls are what Seattle dreams are made of, and there’s no better place to do it than at Fisherman’s Terminal. There’s always something worth watching going on—it’s the home base of the North Pacific fishing company. There’s also delicious food and an amazing fish market for when you’re hungry now and later. Seattle is such a fascinating city in the way it functions, and spending some time at Fisherman’s Terminal gives a perfect at-a-glance look at why.
Kerry Park is a small but lovable viewpoint in the beautiful and lively Queen Anne neighborhood. Sit on the wall or a blanket on the grass and watch the sunset over the Space Needle and Mount Rainier. I love it because there are usually only one or two other people around since the park is so small! You can’t take a bad photo from this spot.
Lake Union is a huge hub for sea planes, house boats, sailing and more. It’s one of my favorite places in all of Seattle, and it’s beautiful from every side. Grab a kayak from Moss Bay on the south side and go for a morning paddle before daytime water traffic picks up. A gorgeous view of Gas Works and the skyline awaits!
Olympic Sculpture Park
Opened in 2007, the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park is a newer local experience, but a lovely one nonetheless. Open all day every day, rain or shine, it’s a blast to walk through and see pieces that were built 30 and 40 years ago, or even in the past few years. My favorites: Louise Bourgeois’ creepy eyeball benches, Mark Di Suvero’s 1965 “Bunyon’s Chess,” and pictured here, “The Eagle” by Alexander Calder. Grab a coffee at Cherry Street on 1st and Clay before your walkthrough.