I’d have to admit, just like the Space Needle, Seattle’s Great Wheel is touristy. Being local, mrsRandom and I passed that spot so many times in our commute. We always ask each other, should we go ride it? Nah, we live here, that one is for tourists.
Then one day, mrsRandom surprised me on my birthday and took me and alohaJunior there. It was a sunny and close to sunset. The view was breathtaking. The color of the sky turned orange on sunset. The waterfront and Seattle’s skyline as backdrop. Memorable.
When to visit
Definitely, do not visit this area on the weekends! It will be loud, crowded, hard to find parking, and not enjoyable. Don’t go when it rains either, the view might get clouded.
Go on a clear weeknight (like Sunday afternoon). I know, this is tough to accomplish on Seattle’s typical weather. But when the stars are aligned, go!
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Where to park
We found plenty of metered parking underneath the bridge. It’s a short walk to the Wheels. But if you like to walk, you might find more parking in the first avenue, then take the stairs down to waterfront.
You can purchase the ticket online to save time. The tickets can be used any day/time and don’t expire. Ticket is $14 for adults, $9 for kids under 12. Kids under 2 years old is free (so is seniors 65+)
The ride does feel quick. It goes for 20 minutes, multiple rotations. If you like to take pictures, I recommend take all of the pictures in the first round. Then sit back and enjoy the next rounds.
Don’t post to Facebook/Instagram during the ride. You can do this after dinner while still enjoying Seattle’s waterfront.
Where to eat
The iconic Ivars fish and chip stand (not the restaurant) is highly recommended. It’s inexpensive and good. Turn left from the counter to find the indoor eating patio. You can also eat outside and feed the birds (it is actually allowed here), fun attraction for kids and the like (fully disclosure: mrsRandom loves to feed the birds).
In conclusion, Seattle’s Great Wheel is a nice way to view the puget sound from up and close. If you time it right at the sunset, you get to see an amazing views overlooking the ocean, the islands, Seattle waterfront, and the skyline behind you.
I must warn you, it can get pretty romantic. I know a friend who proposed during the ride, and got a yes! So, if you go with someone special, just be warned 😉