What to Know
Sunday, Dec. 31
Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica Pier
Nearly 90-foot numbers will appear on the ride's side during the final 60 seconds of New Year's Eve
Are you a dedicated stayer-upper when New Year's Eve confettis back around? (It never "rolls" back around, please note, as that's far too prosaic for the occasion.)
Then you have likely experienced a particular last-minute panic, the urgency that occurs when you're not near a television set that's counting down to midnight. "What time is it?" people frantically ask, and you all search for a friend with a wristwatch, or a phone, in order to make sure you 10, 9, 8, 7... in precise fashion to the new year.
Seconds do matter, of course, when the old year is at the door, grabbing its hat and coat.
But an urgent search for the exact time won't be an issue if you're standing somewhere within the vicinity of the Pacific Wheel. The famous Ferris wheel, which holds colossal court at Santa Monica Pier, will be doing something a bit fresh and snazzy for 2018: Counting down the final 60 seconds on the side of the wheel.
Well, that countdown will officially happen in 2017, in the old year's final moments. And if you're curious as to how high numbers appearing in LED lights on the side of the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel will be, here's how high: They'll shimmer at just under 90 feet tall.
That's each number. Nearly 90 feet. Whoa.
Thus quickly scrambling to find a phone, or a wristwatch, or some other time-telling device won't be necessary when what might be the planet's biggest and briefest clock is right in front of you.
As mentioned, this is the inaugural New Year's Eve countdown for the wheel, which shimmers nightly courtesy of 174,000 LED lights (lights that were recently installed during a full-scale upgrade in 2016).
After the 60-second countdown concludes at midnight, "Happy New Year" will appear on the side of the Pacific Wheel as well as "2018." And, yes, the requisite confetti and other symbols of the holiday will glow, too, to the delight of onlookers.
Onlookers who don't necessarily have to be there, in person, at Pacific Park. There's a watch-at-home cam, so tune in if you're still up and seeking a huge-of-scale countdown.
Once "2018" appears on the side of the Pacific Wheel, well, there's no excuse for any of us to forget what year it is while filling out paperwork in the weeks ahead. If the iconic attraction knows what year it is, we can remember, too.
And definitely after seeing "2018" glimmer at some 90 feet high and 130 feet over the Pacific Ocean.