Rising majestically above the hustle and bustle of Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, the Space Needle is one of the West Coast’s most recognizable landmarks. And when you board one of its glass elevators and soar up to the observation tower, you’ll be treated to sweeping city views. Here are a few tips to help you have an unforgettable experience at this iconic Seattle landmark.
About The Space Needle
Standing at 605 feet tall, the Space Needle has been a must-see attraction since it opened at the 1962 World’s Fair as a symbol of innovation and the future. In 2017, the futuristic structure unveiled a newly renovated, fresh look complete with a glass floor on the observation deck and glass benches tilting outward, providing a unique and thrilling experience for visitors brave enough to sit on them. The exterior of the Space Needle now features glass barriers and glass walls, delivering unobstructed 360-degree views of the city and Puget Sound from the observation deck.
1. Tickets And Visiting Information
When visiting the Space Needle, there are a variety of ticket options to choose from, depending on your preferences and budget. You can buy general admission timed-entry tickets, day/night passes, and combo tickets to visit other Seattle attractions. One of my favorite options is the Seattle CityPASS, a combo ticket with admission to the Seattle Aquarium, the Museum of Pop Culture, and more. Whatever ticket option you choose, I recommend purchasing them in advance to spend more time sightseeing and less time waiting in line.
2. Visiting At Night
Visiting the Space Needle during the day is great, but have you ever experienced its magic at night? As the Sun sets and the city lights up, the Space Needle transforms into a stunning beacon that is the crown jewel of the Seattle skyline. One of my favorite things to do in Seattle at night is head up to the Space Needle about an hour before sunset, grab a drink at The Loupe Lounge, and watch nightfall in the Emerald City.
3. What To Bring
It’s no secret that Seattle is known for its rain. Because you can never predict the weather, bringing a lightweight rain jacket that you can easily stow in a backpack or shoulder bag is a good idea. And although you’ll be whisked to the top at a smooth 10 miles per hour (a 41-second elevator ride), there is still a lot of walking involved when you visit the Space Needle and nearby attractions. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
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4. What To See
Offering 360-degree views of Seattle, the observation deck is the main attraction of the Space Needle. From it, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the bustling Westlake Center, the picturesque Lake Union, and the quaint neighborhood of West Seattle. And on a clear day, you can even see Mount Rainier in the distance.
If you’re feeling brave, check out the rotating glass floor. Located on the lower level of the observation deck, it’s exactly what it sounds like — a section of the floor that rotates as you walk on it. This thrilling experience will make you feel like you’re walking on air as the transparent floor slowly turns above stunning views of the city below.
5. Best Time To Visit
For the best views, visit the Space Needle on a clear day. This may seem obvious, but with Seattle’s reputation for rainy weather, it’s worth noting. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see for miles and all that sunshine will help you take fantastic photos. For a truly unique experience, plan your visit around sunset. There’s nothing quite like taking in breathtaking views while the sky transforms into a tapestry of oranges, pinks, and purples.
The Space Needle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle, so it can get pretty crowded, especially on a beautiful sunny day. Expect larger crowds on weekends and during the summer months. Visiting during the week or in the off-season can be a great way to beat the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience.
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6. Things To Do
Once you’ve marveled at the impressive panoramic views from the observation deck, there are several other exciting things to do near the Space Needle. First is Chihuly Garden and Glass showcasing the colorful and imaginative glasswork of Dale Chihuly. His glass sculptures fill gallery rooms with natural light and bring additional beauty to the gardens at the base of the Space Needle. One of my favorite pieces at Chihuly Garden and Glass is the Persian ceiling. Look up and observe an impressive collection of glass sculptures affixed to the ceiling as they create a kaleidoscope of colors on the walls and floor of the white room.
Also nearby is the Museum of Pop Culture, celebrating everything from music to movies to science fiction. This unique, immersive experience includes exhibits dedicated to local musical legends like Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, plus the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. And don’t forget to pop into “The Sky Church” — a room with one of the largest indoor LED screens in the world — where you can sit back and enjoy music videos and performances on a grand scale.
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A visit to the Space Needle offers a historical and architectural experience, breathtaking panoramic views, and exciting nearby attractions. As you plan your trip, remember to take into account the city’s weather, time of day, and other factors to make the most of your experience. With its iconic silhouette and awe-inspiring views, the Space Needle is indeed the crown jewel of the Emerald City and an unmissable part of any Seattle itinerary.