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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.