Lauren Max
The Seattle Great Wheel

"Pier 57 owner Hal Griffith has allegedly dreamed of building a Ferris wheel on the Seattle waterfront for years," Seattle magazine reported last week. The allegation is true, The Stranger has confirmed: Griffith has attempted to bring a big ol' wheel of fun to our harbor a couple of times, including in the late '80s at Waterfront Park, which didn't go through because it was public property. Now Griffith has made his dream into reality, building the Seattle Great Wheel on his own damn pier. It was manufactured by Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas; it stands on eight elegant long legs, each attached with 22 very large bolts. (The pier's wooden piles were replaced with steel, lest you fret about the chance of collapse.) The Wheel is silent when stopped and purrs almost inaudibly when in motion; it gleams white, for added loveliness when the sky is blue. It has 42 enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas, each seating six people; smaller parties may be put in together (new friends! Possibly from Wichita!) or may luck out and travel in the sky with just themselves, the better for making out. (Those intent on doing so have the option of the VIP car, which has leather seats, heating and cooling cup holders, and a glass floor.) While the Wheel is definitely great, it is not the greatest sizewise, nor does that honor go to the larger London Eye; it is the Singapore Flyer, opened in 2008, that is the world's biggest, standing more than three times as high as our new wheel. (Which is just too high, really—for what, exactly, is Singapore trying to compensate? Also, it clearly should've been called the Singapore Sling.) The service details remain to be sorted, but the Wheel has acquired a liquor license, making Hal Griffith both a canny capitalist and a civic hero. Soon you may toast his vision while riding his dream. (The Seattle Great Wheel, 1301 Alaskan Way, Pier 57, www.theseattlegreatwheel.com, $13/$8.50 kids 11 and under, VIP $25 per person per half hour) BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Water Taxi

Taking a Washington State Ferry is indisputably great, but do you know about the also-indisputably-great King County Water Taxi? It's all the summer seafaring fun, just on a smaller boat, for less money, and quicker. It goes from Pier 50 on the waterfront to Seacrest Dock in West Seattle (and the dock will soon house a branch of Marination Station, which will make all this extra-super-great). It's $4 each way ($3.50 with ORCA Card), and there's a free shuttle up to the Junction, but you really should bring your bike (no extra charge!) and ride up and down Alki, feeling the sun and breathing the air. (A second route goes to Vashon Island for just a dollar more. Bargain!) (www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/watertaxi) BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Baby Otters

Back in January, Seattle Aquarium's 10-year-old otter Aniak gave birth to a fuzzy, adorable ball of waterproofed hair named Sekiu. She's the cutest fucking thing in the world, but she's growing up so fast! Though she barely looks like a baby anymore, Sekiu still has the hyperactive puppy attitude—always playing with toys, sneaking up on and scaring her mom, and splashing around for the onlookers. Go visit her now! Worth noting: If you can't make it down to the aquarium, you can still watch the little otter family do all their ottery things via the otter cam at www.seattleaquarium.org/otter-cams. Otters! (Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, www.seattleaquarium.org, daily 9:30 am–5 pm, $19.95/$13.95 ages 4–12) MEGAN SELING

Waterfront Eating

The only really good eating to be done on Seattle's waterfront is at Elliott's Oyster House—especially at their outdoor seating, which is directly on the pier. All that sparkly Sound! You will need sunglasses. (If it's too pricey for you, try happy hour and/or the brand-new, cheaper Elliott's Seafood Cafe.) Beyond that, the old-school goodness (thought not greatness) of fish and chips from the Ivar's stand is undeniable. For a truly excellent lunch, venture a little ways up to Lecosho on the Harbor Steps (best tuna melt ever) or Il Corvo on the Pike Street Hillclimb (best pasta in the city). Now I am hungry. (www.elliottsoysterhouse.com, www.ivars.com, www.lecosho.com, www.ilcorvopasta.com) BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Olympic Sculpture Park

It's easy to forget about Seattle Art Museum's outdoor sculpture park the other months, but in summer, it's an unfailingly splendiferous collage of trains, mountains, skyscrapers, beach, grove, native plants, and modernist art. There is no place quite like it; it frames the experience of being and seeing in Seattle as much as it presents the sculptures themselves, from Richard Serra's fleet of steel ghost ships to Alexander Calder's red mascot Eagle. Don't miss views of pretty much every other city icon, too, Space Needle and Seattle P-I globe included. Go for a broad, deep take on the category of "landscape art," or just to stroll in the sun. (2901 Western Ave, www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/osp, free) JEN GRAVES