Seattle Great Wheel

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If you are in Seattle, or planning to visit the city, you must include the Seattle Great Wheel into your itinerary. The Seattle Great Wheel lit up Pier 57 and modified the Seattle waterfront forever. With completely heated or air conditioned gondolas and wonderful views, this Ferris wheel is a magnificent appeal to dazzle out-of-town guests, and enjoyable for locals, too.

The Seattle Great Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay in Seattle, Washington. It was the highest Ferris wheel on the West Coast of the United States when it opened on June 29th of 2012; it is 175 feet (53.3 m) tall and weighs 170,000 pounds.

Take a trip on the picturesque Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57 and see Seattle as you have never seen before. Each can gondola can accommodate 8 people and offers an incredible journey that illuminates the night sky.

Seattle was the third North American city to offer this kind of design wheel, following the Niagara SkyWheel at Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls and Canada, which is also 175 feet high, with the SkyWheel of South Carolina being taller, and the SkyWheel of the Myrtle Beach, which is 187 feet high. The Seattle Wheel is the only one among the three that was constructed over water.

For one reason, the Seattle Great Wheel is one of the city's best sights. It has some stunning views. Of course, you can go to the Space Needle top, but this giant Ferris wheel is nestled on the fresh water so that everyone who likes water views has a distinct advantage.

The climate - controlled gondolas of the wheel offer protection from the elements, regardless of the season. The Ferris wheel provides great family activities for kids of all ages and the gondolas can transport up to eight passengers at the same time.

Although it is one of the most popular attractions in town and produces long lines especially on weekends and holidays, 300 people can still board this famous wheel quickly enough, even on the busiest of days. Make sure to bring a camera with you to capture the incomparable views of downtown Seattle and west of Bainbridge Island.

The wheel has a spectacular lighting show for sports or holidays and is equipped with thousands of LED lights. The lights can do a wide range of things, which includes whirling, flowing and other patterns, or even celebrating the team colors of the Seahawks, Mariners or other local teams. The wheel is always lit at night, even though there is no special light show.

However, it's no thrill, even on the VIP gondola with glass base, which contains leather seats and a chance for skipping sometimes a long line. Go to the dimmed city scene in sunset for the most picturesque view over Puget Sound and back and watch the light go on at night — naturally, green and blue when the Seahawks play.

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About the Ride

In the beginning, the ride is very slow because there are 42 new riders loaded in the gondola and during that time you will have the chance to take a really good view. Whenever everyone is on board, the total ride on the Seattle Great Wheel will last about 20 minutes, depending on the length of the boarding process. Even though it doesn't sound a bit long, it is the perfect time to savor the moment with your love ones in the gondola and take perfect selfies or groufies. And if you have your little ones with you, pretty much likely they will be antsy by the end of those 20-minutes ride, and be ready to bust free as well, no matter how stunning the scene is.

Here are some few things to keep in mind before riding the Seattle Great Wheel:

1.      Depending on time of day that you plan to visit and of course the size of your car, parking can be difficult. There are limited parking spaces in the street during summer. Garages are available, but they are mostly decades old and can be used only for cars less than 6 feet.

2.      Bring your sweater. For sure you are not like Elsa, that can’t be bothered by cold, right? Because the air-conditioning of these pods is stronger than any currently offered in Seattle.

3.      42 gondolas can accommodate 6 people each. If your group has less than six people, then you are likely to ride along the gondola with strangers.

4.      Purchase tickets online in advance, or you could go there early to buy ticket at the window. In contrast to other attractions like the London Eye or the Pacific Science Center’s King Tut exhibit, Seattle Great Wheel tickets are not time windows specific.

5.      The gondolas do not have a ton of space, so need to pack light to avoid inconvenience.

6.      You can bring a stroller and park it at the end of a staircase and leave some of your not - too - precious items on it while enjoying the ride.

7.      Food and drinks are prohibited in the gondolas, so you have to leave the snacks and juice at home.

8.      There is no overhead cover for guests in the queue if the weather gets bad or if it starts raining. Just bring a small umbrella and sunglasses.

9.      Adults and children over age 12 are $13. Children ages 4-12 are $8.50, and kids under four years of age ride for free. They also offer Senior and military discounts with valid identification.

10. Lastly, do not forget to bring your camera, you’ll sure love taking amazing pictures and selfies with the spectacular view.

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The Seattle Great Wheel offers some of the best city panoramic views, and the wheel will be open until 12 midnight during Fridays to Saturday, so it's not too late to celebrate Valentine's Day with your special someone. Not only will you get a cabin for two, but also a champagne toast and a free picture on your photo booth will be provided to the couple to make your night really magically memorable.

Sabrina Nalo