photo credit to Scott Beale/Laughing Squid
Check out the Space Needle
The Space Needle is the symbol of Seattle. Located at the Seattle Center, it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The Space Needle was finished in less than one year in April 1962 at a cost of $4.5 million. The Space Needle is 605 feet high and weighs 9,550 tons.
When it was completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River taking the title from the Smith Tower across town. The Space Needle is now dwarfed by other structures along the Seattle skyline. However, views of the Space Needle are maintained thanks to a city ordinance that preserves sightlines from various points in the city.
The Space Needle features an observation deck at 520 feet, a rotating restaurant at 500 feet, and a gift shop at the base. The restaurant is perfectly balanced so that it rotates with the help of just one tiny 1.5 hp electric motor.
From the top of the Needle, one can see the Downtown Seattle skyline, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands, and the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, including Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.
Here’s what you’ll see:
The Space Needle is the most iconic of all of Seattle’s landmarks. You can’t come to Seattle without at least seeing the Needle.
See the Space Needle up close by going to the Seattle Center and walking around the base. You can also go into the SpaceBase gift shop to buy your tickets to the top and browse the various Seattle trinkets and Space Needle memorabilia while you are waiting for the elevator. If you have a long wait, you can go to the International Fountain right next to Key Arena for one of the best views of the Space Needle. It’s a quick walk and it offers great sightlines for pictures.
Take the 43 second ride to the top of the Space Needle while the elevator operator gives you the quickest tour that Seattle has to offer. When you get to the observation deck, you will enjoy impressive views of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, Lake Union, the Cascade Mountains, Lake Washington and the surrounding cities. Take your time to savor the views because you can spend as long as you want at the top.
If you want the best experience at the Space Needle, have lunch or dinner at the SkyCity restaurant. While it does not cost you anything to ride the elevator to the restaurant, you will pay for your meal. The SkyCity restaurant rotates 360 degrees about once every hour, and every table has a view. After you finish eating, walk up the stairs to the Observation Deck and spend some more time enjoying the views.
The best view of the Space Needle (and for that matter the rest of the Seattle skyline) is actually not at the Seattle Center – it’s at Kerry Park. The view from Kerry Park was made famous by the Frasier TV show. Kerry park is situated on Queen Anne Hill, just 6 very steep blocks north of the Seattle Center up Queen Anne Avenue. This view is an excellent photo opportunity day or night.