Seattle Great Wheel

cruise ships docked in Seattle

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships in Seattle

All summer long Alaska-bound cruise ships come and go through the Port of Seattle.  For passengers with a bit of time before or after a cruise, Seattle’s waterfront area offers quite a variety of things to do.

Seattle seascape

Seattle waterfront with the Great Wheel in the distance

Walking along the Seattle waterfront, the Great Wheel ferris wheel, one of Seattle’s newest attractions, is not hard to find.  Rising high above pretty much everything else on the waterfront, just walk in the right direction and there it is on pier 57.  Pier 57 also hosts Miner’s Landing, which has shops, food, and an arcade with an indoor carousel.  For reference, cruise ships load mainly at pier 91, and sometimes at pier 66.

Seattle ferries

Seattle Ferries cross Puget Sound to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island

The Seattle Aquarium is on pier 59, and the Seattle ferries at piers 50 and 52.  Pier 67 hosts the over-water Edgewater Hotel, and at Pier 69 people catch the Victoria Clipper for visits to Canada’s Victoria B.C. on Vancouver Island.

Seattle ferris wheel

looking up at the great wheel

Pier 70 is where MTV’s The Real World Seattle filmed in 1998.  Pier 86 is currently a public fishing pier.  Some piers remain in commercial use and some no longer exist, but many piers hold shops, restaurants, and other tourist attractions.

riding Seattle's waterfront ferris wheel

Seattle through the Great Wheel

On a random visit to Seattle with my aunt and sister, we took a ride on the great wheel.  There’s quite a lot to see as you rise above the pier.  You can see the tall buildings of downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, the nearby container port and many other waterfront piers.  The view changes by the second depending on which direction you look and where you are on the wheel.

waterfront piers

Pier view from the Great Wheel

Ferries and harbor cruise ships cruise in and out of view, as well as any other boats in the area.  Some days you can see cruise ships at the dock.   Whatever else might be in the area at the time changes as things come and go.

pier 66 Seattle

tall ship at the dock

We happened to see a tall ship at nearby pier 66.  From the wheel we could see people walking about on the deck of the ship.  Figuring we had nothing to lose we walked over there after our ride ended.  At first it looked as if we would not get in as a fence blocked the entrance to the pier, marked with a sign that said not to pass through the gate.  A sailor stood nearby so my sister asked if people could tour the ship, and he said yes, and for free.  My favorite price.

sailing ship from Mexico

on board the tall ship “Cuauhtemoc”

The ship belonged to the Mexican navy, a training ship for them.  Curiously, one of the many flags it had flying was from Washington State University.  We did not find anyone on board who spoke English well enough to ask them about it.  We did find out after rephrasing the question in several different ways that it had stopped in Seattle for just a few days so we lucked out getting to see the ship.  It just goes to show you never know what unexpected things you might happen across in your travels. Curiously enough I came across this very same ship in Honolulu a couple years later.

that's a lot of sails

plaque on the tall ship shows what it looks like with the sails up

copyright My Cruise Stories 2015

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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12 Responses to Seattle Great Wheel

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    I’ve enjoyed my three trips to Seattle, and now … something new with a great view!

  2. Portions of the waterfront are under construction, others are open again this summer! Ivars, yum.

  3. I’ve never been to Seattle, but it looks so picturesque. That’s so cool that you, a cruise ship blogger, got to tour the deck of that tall ship. I was compelled to Google that ship. It was launched in 1982. Looking at it, I would have thought that it first set sail in 1812. It’s nice to know that if I ever make it out to Seattle, there’s so much more to do than visit the Archie McPhee store.

    • That ship definitely looked a lot older. Interesting how one thing leads to another – if we hadn’t gone on the great wheel we never would have even known to go see if we could tour the ship. I had to Google the Archie McPhee store because I’ve never heard of it. If you like odd things and ever make it to Seattle, take a look through Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, which is on the waterfront. It’s sort of like a museum of oddities as well as a store. There’s also the Freemont Troll – under a bridge of course. That’s not on the waterfront though, but neither is Archie McPhee.

      • You’ve never heard of Archie McPhee! I used to get their catalogue. When my niece was little, I used to get her gag gifts from them. Angel Snot scored quite a hit with Sweet Pea. I can still hear my sister barking, “Don’t get that on the rug!” Thanks for the recommendations should I ever head your way.

  4. Paige says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle. It seems like there is a lot of fun stuff to do there. Thanks for sharing!

  5. chris says:

    I haven’t been down to the waterfront in a while. The Seattle Aquarium is one of the best I have been to and if You have time the whole waterfront is filled with stuff to see and do. Have to make time for lunch at Ivars though. It’s a great place for a clam chowder bread bowl and of course have to have some fries as much for the seagulls to eat as for yourself.

    • Last time I went to Ivars with Justin we discovered a bunch of young seagulls in the water below the railing where the older greedy ones hang out so we made sure to throw them some food too.

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