Across the bay: See the Seattle Great (Ferris) Wheel light show?

Just got an e-mail tip that the Seattle Great Wheel – aka the Seattle ferris wheel – that’s been drawing so much attention across the bay was testing its full-color light show tonight. Our “tipster” didn’t have a camera handy but, searching Twitter and YouTube, we found this clip that someone posted. Vertical video, but wow! The wheel is scheduled to open June 28th, if you hadn’t yet heard.

ADDED MONDAY MORNING:Mz Cher,” who published the YouTube video, notes in a YT comment that she had posted Instagram photos, too. Here’s one:

Just last Thursday, when City Council President Sally Clark was speaking to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, she was asked “Where did the (Seattle Great Wheel) come from?” since for some, its appearance was something of a surprise, with little advance publicity. Clark’s answer was not extensive, but as noted in comments here last night, the project did get city approval last November – here’s the written decision (which briefly mentions the prospective lights, though not as in “multi-colored display,” on page 10).

ADDED MONDAY AFTERNOON: KING 5 seems to have found some video from their tower cam – see it here.

63 Replies to "Across the bay: See the Seattle Great (Ferris) Wheel light show?"

  • Cory June 17, 2012 (10:15 pm)

    Oh boy, Seattle’s nighttime skyline is suddenly a circus. If they plan to leave that light show running, it will be visual pollution at its finest — like a slice of Vegas just plopped down on the waterfront.

  • Pdieter June 17, 2012 (11:12 pm)

    somebody didn’t get the “less is more” memo

  • Diane June 17, 2012 (11:16 pm)

    had no idea this would be lit up with multiple colors; not sure I like it; will have to go see in person
    how in the world did they get a pass on that from city council? how ironic, after all the negative reaction to some little ole neon signs to identify buildings downtown (which I am in favor); now there’s an enormous neon multi-colored wheel?
    I love how the stadium arch is lit up, usually one color at a time; right now it’s teal; sometimes purple
    one color at a time on the wheel would be great; agree, it may look more like a circus with rainbow of colors
    but do we even get a vote?

  • Diane June 17, 2012 (11:52 pm)

    great minds think alike; thanks for the link

  • JanS June 18, 2012 (12:02 am)

    they couldn’t just use classy white lights? It has to be a light show?

  • Brontosaurus June 18, 2012 (1:03 am)

    I’m embarrassed to say…I love it :-)

  • Homesick June 18, 2012 (1:56 am)

    The light show makes me wish we couldn’t see it from the house. White lights would be so much better…

  • Rumbles June 18, 2012 (4:46 am)

    Really? How bad can it be from West Seattle? Give it time people, think of the children!

  • John June 18, 2012 (5:32 am)

    Gaudy lights. But beyond the lights, how did this thing get built in the first place? Who built it and how did they get permission to do so? I never even heard about it until the wheel was already up.

  • CB June 18, 2012 (5:41 am)


  • jedifarfy June 18, 2012 (6:58 am)

    I think it’s pretty and cheerful. The tourists will love it.

  • NW Momma June 18, 2012 (7:20 am)


  • Jtk June 18, 2012 (7:23 am)

    Extremely out of place… This isn’t Coney Island.. or Santa Monica Pier…. Good LORD… White lights would have been nice… classy… but this just screams… Tacky!….

  • RobertSeattle June 18, 2012 (7:28 am)

    Friends don’t let friends post veritical videos.

  • Dave June 18, 2012 (7:30 am)

    I like the static lighting they had on last week, simple ‘blue’ cabs and spoke lighting…looked attractive. The ‘light show’ is…interesting. Maybe for some special occasion, but I agree, less is more on something that big. Otherwise you end up with tacky, which isn’t JUST an American thing, go look what the French did with the Eiffel Tower.

  • Jiggers June 18, 2012 (8:01 am)

    Its alright, but I fear we’ll have more potheads sitting aound there smoking weed and tripping out on those lights now….lol

  • Brian M. June 18, 2012 (8:28 am)

    For what it’s worth, they appear to be using LED lighting. That style of lighting is bright when you look directly at it, but it has the advantage of not significantly “bleeding” into its surrounding environment.

    • WSB June 18, 2012 (8:48 am)

      Brian – That’s what is noted in the DPD decision I linked earlier in this comment thread. (Didn’t say anything about multi-color, though …)

  • Dano June 18, 2012 (8:49 am)

    … I think it’s wonderful….. Seeing something built in Seattle that is cheerful whimsical, and ties generations together. I bet this delightful addition to our waterfront will become as beloved as some of our other landmarks that started out with some sour controversy (Space Needle, Safeco field, Seattle Public library… Just to name a few)

    I welcome something happy, colorful, and fun!

  • Miranda June 18, 2012 (8:59 am)

    “Las Seattle” Lie: “…with more than 25 simulations and the wheel is visible but unobtrusive at most locations.”

    Born in the USA, where the applicant does their own research and the public believes them, over and over!!!

    Pharmaceutical companies do their own research all the time. Millions of unnecessary deaths haven’t changed this.

  • eyeThink June 18, 2012 (9:04 am)

    How dare the city try something new. New is always bad!!! Get off my lawn!!!

  • Miranda June 18, 2012 (9:22 am)

    We love it…except for the lights.

  • 2 Much Whine June 18, 2012 (9:25 am)

    Is that a porno reflected in the window?

    • WSB June 18, 2012 (9:33 am)

      One person e-mailed to ask that. I looked multiple times and that’s not what it looked like to me (or else I wouldn’t have embedded this) …

  • nichole June 18, 2012 (9:35 am)

    thats bound to cause a seizure!

  • rw June 18, 2012 (9:54 am)

    Drawing attention to the waterfront and hinting that it might be an inviting and entertaining place to visit. What a horrible concept. Makes you wonder what city officials in London were thinking,allowing their even bigger wheel,the London Eye, to be built on The Thames within close proximity to their House of Parliament and Big Ben.

  • Fire June 18, 2012 (9:58 am)

    I wonder how many complainers actually have a view of the bay from where they live. I can see the forever flashing giant sign from the strip club by the stadiums every time I look out half the windows in my house. This ferris wheel lighting is a welcome distraction from that. Not to mention that a ferris wheel on the waterfront is awesome either way.

  • datamuse June 18, 2012 (10:10 am)

    Wow, some people will complain about anything.
    It’s a Ferris Wheel, people, not the Shanghai skyline.

  • JesseJB June 18, 2012 (10:14 am)

    Happy things make me mad and sad!

    Jeez people, “lighten” up.

  • Dave June 18, 2012 (10:32 am)

    The London Eye is nice, I’ve been on it twice now. But it isn’t a sparkly light show.

    I say go ahead and try the light show…IF it causes issues it can be turned off or scaled back. It is interesting. :)

  • datamuse June 18, 2012 (10:41 am)

    I love the London Eye! Does the Seattle one have those pods to ride in like the London Eye does?

  • Julia June 18, 2012 (10:48 am)

    Love it! But maybe I wouldn’t if it was outside my window.

    • WSB June 18, 2012 (11:16 am)

      We just got a note saying the Puget Sound Business Journal had a recent story with yet more background on the Seattle Great Wheel. Can’t find it so far (and it may be subscribers-only) but did interestingly find an article about the proposed wheel from OCTOBER 2010. Not that waterfront news is our focus, but I definitely don’t recall hearing about it that long ago – yet here’s the PSBJ story:

  • westseattledood June 18, 2012 (12:05 pm)

    It would be truly gawdy if it strobes or blinks a lot. We don’t want that tacky advertising trick regardless of whether colored or white, I would hope!

    Also, I think the current orange wart in the sky (aka Space Needle) is perhaps equally offensive to my delicate aesthetic sensibilities. Can you get that changed to a different, less-contrasty color? Thanks.

  • Chris June 18, 2012 (12:18 pm)

    what a tacky joke

  • Diane June 18, 2012 (12:28 pm)

    I’ve seen talks about proposed ferris wheel on Pier 57 for long time; thought it got put on hold because the Seattle Center also proposed a ferris wheel in conjunction with anniversary of world’s fair, but scrapped last year

    “The company projected that the wheel would attract a half-million visitors per year with each adult paying up to $15 per ride. The ride was supposed to run through October 2012.

    At least one person wasn’t disappointed about the news. Hal Griffith, owner of Pier 57, had announced in October that he planned to operate a giant observation wheel on the Seattle waterfront. Griffith hadn’t heard about the setback for the other wheel, but understood the difficulty in obtaining permits and operating safely.”

  • Diane June 18, 2012 (12:34 pm)

    and the earlier story re competition between Seattle Center and Pier 57 Ferris Wheels
    Seattle Center plans giant Ferris wheel; Pier 57 planner upset

  • santa June 18, 2012 (12:36 pm)


    guess a lot of the commenters’ here don’t like the West Seattle Lights Christmas display either…

    which is only 5 months away!!!!

    YIPEE :-)

    • WSB June 18, 2012 (12:49 pm)

      But it’s not visible for miles around. Though if you could jack the house up a couple stories, it could be!!!!

  • steve June 18, 2012 (12:57 pm)

    I love it. It’s fun and colorful, what’s wrong with that? I also happen to love the orange space needle too.

  • Miranda June 18, 2012 (1:48 pm)

    WSB, It IS in plain sight, north High Point, from my neighbors’ and my homes, our driveway on up. Classy white lights was what all our people were envisioning for the day-to-day. For a few “Christmas months” why not add color, Santa? Would everyone be happy if they kept changing the display?
    By the way, a lot of people don’t know that orange was the original Space Needle color. Just pulled a splinter out of my thumb, no joke, and I really wish our conversations could be nicer.

  • Wat? June 18, 2012 (1:59 pm)

    Though at the proposed $12-15 for a ride, not sure how long the ride is going to be packed. You can see a movie and possibly get popcorn for that cost…

  • Alki Resident June 18, 2012 (2:18 pm)

    2muchwhine,I thought the same thing about the tv .
    Also,for the prices they’re asking per person,with a family of six like mine,we won’t be able to afford to all go at once. I hope they reconsider pricing so more people and families can enjoy our own attractions.

  • Kelly June 18, 2012 (2:25 pm)

    It’s more “laser light show” than I expected, but it still reminds me of the lively Seattle waterfront of my childhood and I’ve been overjoyed to see it go up (great view from the Water Taxi). Can’t wait to take a ride. Maybe, just like the movies, we’ll smuggle in our own popcorn.

  • jc June 18, 2012 (3:01 pm)

    What?! No one beat me to calling it the Elliott Bay Eye(sore)? :)

  • dawsonct June 18, 2012 (4:31 pm)

    Dear Seattle,
    Please don’t change from the way you were when I moved here, you were absolutely 100% perfect then (I guess?), with no reason to ever evolve or progress.

    BTW, this is going to require a few tens of thousands of y’all get the hell out of here. Please start packing. Thank you.

    Fer gawds sakes people, MOST of W. Seattle that actually HAS a full-time view of the thing, doesn’t even see it from the side, but bitchin’ and moanin’ about everything is what we do best over here, isn’t it?
    Please don’t tear down my grey, city-view obscuring waterfront viaduct down, and WHO had the audacity to allow something whimsical and colorful to be built down there!?

    Maybe they should just change the light display to various shades of beige and grey-blue, so as not to offend the “natives.”

  • Carol Abodeely June 18, 2012 (5:19 pm)

    Assuming Seattle really needed a Ferris Wheel on the waterfront, the soft white lights at each gondola were pleasant and complimentary (as is the rounded shape in front of the stadiums) to the skyline. This week however, there was an explosion of multicolored and moving lights which was atrocious! The first comment here is “visual pollution at its finest” – I couldn’t agree more. Certainly far worse than company logos on high rises. Who ok’d this? Are you reading these comments Mr. Griffith?

  • gina June 18, 2012 (5:56 pm)

    Reminds me of seeing the Fun Forest at night from I-5.

  • datamuse June 18, 2012 (7:07 pm)

    Just out of curiosity, how do y’all feel about the multicolored lights that Salty’s leaves up year round?

  • KD June 18, 2012 (9:35 pm)

    Carol; it’s McGinn,’Mayor McGinn to you. (!)

  • jsw June 19, 2012 (6:19 am)

    it’s like TV programs…

    if you don’t like it…

    don’t watch it…

    but don’t ruin it for those of us who do like a little “fun and color” in our lives…

    just because we’re “old”, doesn’t mean you can’t be childlike and have some “wide-eyed” fun…

    lighten up people…life is too short!!

  • BlairJ June 19, 2012 (12:09 pm)

    If I were dining on the waterfront and weren’t expecting that sight, I might seriously question the mushrooms in my meal.

  • westseattledood June 19, 2012 (12:32 pm)

    i was kidding. As in being facetious. Won’t try that again without an explanatory emoticon again, i guess.

  • dawsonct June 19, 2012 (4:37 pm)

    Good point, datamuse. MAYBE, if the Salty’s lights didn’t look like they were haphazardly thrown into the trees it would be okay. I guess in a way, they serve as warning for the (overly)cheesy food you will find inside.
    Funny how Salty’s decor is ignored, but a barely visible wheel across the bay is enough to get some people’s panties in a knot.
    Kind of reminds me of the “no neon signs on California!” and the “no chain retailers/restaurants EVER, oh, and when does that new Trader Joe’s open up?” crowd.

  • JJ June 19, 2012 (8:28 pm)

    This is the most ridiculous eyesore along a waterfront that already had raised ticky-tackiness to a new level. It’s a blight on Seattle’s front door. Whoever allowed this monstrosity to pass through the planning process should be ashamed of themselves. What a cow town.

  • belleviewer June 19, 2012 (9:47 pm)

    I appreciate the Puyallup fair and Las Vegas Casinos just as much as the next guy — but this is ridiculous. It doesn’t belong in the Seattle skyline.

  • Destination360 June 21, 2012 (3:48 pm)

    Mixed feelings about this one. Good for tourists and the waterfront economy but bad for our natural skyline.

  • anette June 22, 2012 (9:25 am)

    i’m w/ d360. i checked out the owner Hal Griffith and he seems to be on the up and up just trying to attract people to the waterfront particularly w/ the massive amounts of ongoing construction taking place. On the other hand, its going to take some time getting used to the look of it. idk.

  • Jo June 23, 2012 (12:53 pm)

    I love it. Beautiful.

  • Mandy July 4, 2012 (10:03 am)

    Does the wheel take wheelchairs? If not how did this get overlooked?

  • Christine Clarke July 4, 2012 (10:30 pm)

    All you haters. Are you insane? It makes no noise. It makes the waterfront even more interesting. Lighten up west Seattle. Are all of you grumpy old people? I am a senior too.

  • BGJ July 7, 2012 (12:04 pm)

    LOVE IT!

Sorry, comment time is over.