The Lights of Seattle’s Great Wheel

Seattle's Great Wheel, candy canes during holidays

Seattle’s Great Wheel, candy canes during holidays

Seattle’s Great Wheel greets residents and visitors every night in a dazzling salute. There are 500,000 LED lights embellishing this ferris wheel, adorning the skyline for miles.


Perched on the shoreline at Pier 57, it stands 175 feet (53.3 m) high, and extends 40 feet (12.2 m) over the waters of Elliott Bay.


The Seattle Great Wheel

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

The ferris wheel is open for riding year round and in all weather, click here.


There is one man who lights up the Wheel:  Gerry Hall. He is in charge of the lights, including repairing broken ones (they repel down the ferris wheel).


While his job title is General Manager, and light displays were not originally under the job description, he took an interest in the lights and started programming designs as a hobby. He creates the mesmerizing light design from his laptop in his living room.


Seattle and the Puget Sound

Seattle and the Puget Sound

The displays have become more sophisticated and elaborate over the four years since the Wheel was constructed, with flashing, swirling, and even messages. There are holiday themes, like the candy canes pictured here, and other Seattle-based themes.


Home football light shows are a big hit, including a recent time-lapsed spelling of S-e-a-h-a-w-k-s, proud Seattle’s National Football League team. Just last week I was watching a Seahawks game when they showed the Great Wheel radiating blue and green (team colors) with a flashing football spinning in the center.


More images here.


He receives requests of all kinds, and in a recent interview said that “gender reveals” are a current favorite. Couples expecting a baby who do not know the gender yet, stand in view of the Wheel. Their doctor or friend find out the gender, call it in to Mr. Hall, and pink or blue flashes up for the expecting couple.

Image result for seattle great wheel ferris wheel images

Photo: Geoff Vlcek, Courtesy My Modern Met

I once arrived in Seattle by boat at night, having come from Victoria. Glowing purple lights adorned the entire Wheel, bejeweling the waters below.


It was a passionate greeting saying, “Welcome to this spirited city.”


Photo credit: Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified.


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47 thoughts on “The Lights of Seattle’s Great Wheel

    • What a great grandmother you are SWI, I am sure it was a huge thrill for them. I want to take a ride on the Wheel next time I visit there, but hearing about it going higher than the historic buildings gives me a good idea. Many thanks, my friend~~

    • Dearest Nan, you flatter me. Thanks so much. I think it’s cool that he just made this into a hobby and has gotten better and better at it, and yes, brought wonder and joy to so many. Many thanks–and aloha soon!

    • We all know they have some dark skies in Seattle, so I too think it’s a great way to brighten up their skyline. Always a delight to hear from you, pc. You have a wonderful week too, my friend~~

    • Me, too, HJ. The fun thing about this one is you can enjoy it without riding it, see it day or night. Always a delight to have you visit, HJ. I hope your week is going well.

  1. We saw the wheel when we flew into Seattle on our way to California. Unfortunately it wasn’t lit up but still lovely to see from the air.
    I feel very old when I say that in my day gender reveals came in the delivery room. To the best of my recollection there was no Ferris wheel present. 🙂

    • It is lovely to see from the air, I always look for it. As you are a nurse, I can see why a ferris wheel doesn’t quite click for a gender reveal, and I agree with you. My best wishes for a sweet week. 🙂

    • This comment made me titter with joy, Kirt. I know how familiar you are with the Seattle area, and I really appreciate your kind words. I enjoy Seattle a lot, it’s a fun city to write about. And I, too, love it that we were watching the same football game!!

  2. Another lovely post revealing what marvelous fun our Pacific cities can be.

    The gender reveal cracked me up, reminding me of a story a nurse once told us while my late husband was in the hospital. Apparently the technician who did the sonogram for a couple pronounced a boy, commenting on the size of his ‘private equipment’. Turns out a girl was born and it was a different appendage the husband had been bragging over!!!

    Happy weekend to you and yours.

  3. The Seattle wheel looks so beautiful, and sounds like Gerry does his very best to take care of it, one of his big loves of his life 🙂 Love that it lights up every night – it is a great sight from your photos and I bet even more so in real life. And visitors must like to see it too. Here in Melbourne (Australia), we also have a similar big wheel. Unfortunately it doesn’t light up as much as Seattle’s, and you city gives us something to look up to and take a leaf out of a book from 🙂

    • Thanks so very much, Iris. There are many stunning scenes in Seattle, natural and man-made, but the Seattle Wheel is definitely one of my favorites. Bright, cheerful, and always a surprise. My best wishes to you, too, for a happy holiday season.

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