Seattle Great Wheel – Best View Of Seattle A Hot Air Balloon Ride

The Seattle Great Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel on Pier 57 on the Seattle waterfront! It is one of the largest in North America and provides amazing views of Puget Sound, downtown, Elliott Bay, and West Seattle. This article will explore what it’s like to ride at The View from The Top and also share tips for the best view in all of Seattle… flying on a hot air balloon in front of Mt. Rainier.

Seattle Great Wheel
Seattle Great Wheel At Night

Visiting The Seattle Great Wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel was constructed in 2012 and is the first of its kind on the west coast. The wheel has 42 climate-controlled gondolas, which can hold up to 8 passengers each. Riders are able to enjoy a beautiful view of Seattle and Puget Sound as they take a 15-minute ride around the wheel. 

The construction of the Seattle Great Wheel was funded, in part, by a $300,000 grant from philanthropists Paul Allen and his sister Jody Allen. The wheel is one of many tourist attractions on Pier 57 that have popped up along Seattle’s waterfront to attract more visitors.

The Great Wheel is 174′ tall and has a diameter of 187′. At the highest point, riders are at an elevation of 197′ above ground. It’s a smooth ride. Visitors can take in views from The Great Wheel’s Observation Deck or they can ride one of two enclosed Ferris wheel cars that have 360° domed glass panels for a more private experience. We always suggest tourists get a private gondola ride.

Hot air balloon rides

Hot Air Balloon Ride to 5k Feet With Amazing Seattle Views

For a higher 360-degree epic view of Seattle and the Puget Sound, you’ll want to book a luxury balloon ride with Seattle Ballooning. The hot air balloons fly to almost 5000 feet and offer unbelievable views of the Seattle area. Flights are right around an hour and happen at sunrise and sunset daily from May – Sept. Flights start at $295 per person and include a delicious glass of champagne. Book your flight here

Hot air balloon rides
Hot air balloon rides in Seattle

Great Wheel Dinning Experience

One of the most unique dining experiences is having a private dinner in one of the glass cabins on the Wheel. The Seattle Great Wheel private dining experience includes food from The Fisherman’s Restaurant. It’s no Tom Douglas, but It’s a pretty neat view while drinking your red wine and nibbling on your 4-course meal. The dinner on the Wheel is a pre-set menu built for parties of 4. The only downside is there aren’t any substitutions.

Food on Ferris wheel
Food on Ferris wheel

Great Wheel Light Show

You can see the Great Wheel light up is kind of cool. It’s free to look at! There are more than 500,000 LED bulbs and are memorizing! Light shows are different based on holidays and during sports games. You can also be super cool and get a custom light show. We have no idea what it costs, but you can learn more by chatting with their office staff at Pier 57 Miners Landing 1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101

Early Morning Balloon Glow

An amazing light show is seeing a hot air balloon inflate in the dark pre-dawn. The fire illuminates the fabric and makes it glow. It’s really cool.

Balloon glowing
Hot air balloon glowing before taking off in Seattle

The perfect date is doing both. Do a morning flight with Seattle Ballooning followed by an evening dinner on the Great Wheel on Pier 57. Folks often have a bunch of additional questions about The Great Wheel. We’ll do our best to answer them all for you!

How long is the Seattle Great Wheel Ride?

The wait time varies based on the size of your group and if you’re loading for specific gondolas. If there are a lot people in Summer, it could take up to 20 minutes before boarding! But during Winter when not as many groups come around, 10-15 minutes is more common. What’s even better? Every turn means three full revolutions worth of fun – so although some times may be a bit longer than usual (10-15 mins), that just gives us an excuse to enjoy another round while we’re waiting!

How much are tickets to go on the Seattle Great Wheel?

You can get your Great Wheel tickets at one of the kiosks, online, or in person! The prices for the Great Wheel are as follows: Youth cost (3-11) $9; Adults cost (12+) $14; Seniors 65+ cost 12$. VIP rides start at 50 dollars.

What are the Seattle Great Wheel LED light shows?

We have colorful light show displays that usually run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from pm-10pm.

Seattle Great Wheel Celebrating special events?

If you are getting married, have a special event, or want to do a baby gender reveal, it’s a pretty good option

What’s Included in the Great Wheel Private Dining?

The Great Wheel Private Dining features food from The Fishermans’s Restaurant and Bar. It’s pretty tasty.  We like fish and chips

What is the pre-set dinner experience on the Great Wheel?

Being that’s it a pre-set dinner, there will be no substitutions or modifications accommodated.

Getting digital downloads of your Great Wheel Ride?

You can access your digital download by entering the 5-digit code on your photo booth paper receipt; or by enter the 10-digit code found above the QR barcode on the photo ticket you were handed after you took your pictures.

How do I download pictures from the Great Wheel Ride?

When your images appear, move the cursor over the picture and click on the download icon.

What precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of your guests?

Every patron is required to wear a mask while on site, as well as practice responsible 6 ft social distancing separation.

What is the Odd Cabin Load Policy?

The odd cabins will be loaded the first ride, sanitized after the group exits, and even cabins loaded the second ride.

How many revolutions can you ride on the Great Wheel?

But as always, every ride is three full revolutions of the wheel.

Can we group up to 6 people per cabin?

Yes. 4 or 6 persons per cabin is fine.

Hot Air Balloon Pilot Eliav C.
About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it’s not considered work.

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