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Visiting Seattle's Space Needle

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

The Space Needle at dusk.

The Space Needle at dusk.

When visiting Seattle and the great Pacific Northwest, it’s hard not to notice the Space Needle. Completed in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the Space Needle rises 605 feet above Seattle. When it was completed back in 1962, not only was it the tallest structure in Seattle but also the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

Today, as the Space Needle celebrates its 58th birthday, it remains one of Seattle’s most visited landmarks with over one million visitors every year. If you happen to be in Seattle on a clear, beautiful day, the views from the observation deck of the Space Needle are simply amazing.

Looking up at the Space Needle

Looking up at the Space Needle

Visiting the Space Needle is fairly simple as it’s hard to miss. It’s located in the Seattle Center which is just north of downtown.

Seattle has a monorail that runs from the downtown area to the Seattle Center and they leave every ten minutes so this might be an option if you’re downtown and want to get to the Space Needle without walking. The Seattle Center makes for a great destination as it is home to the Pacific Science Center, the Experience Music Project, the Children’s Museum, and the Key Arena as well as the Space Needle.

The gang in front of the Space Needle on a glorious summer day.

The gang in front of the Space Needle on a glorious summer day.

What You'll See

The Space Needle has a 360-degree observation deck which is the destination for most visitors. The building also houses a retail store on the ground level and the SkyCity Restaurant which sits above the observation deck.

To get to the observation deck visitors can ride one of two high-speed elevators that will take you to the top in a mere 43 seconds. The elevator ride itself is quite a trip as it rides on the outside of the building giving passengers a great view as they climb the tower.

Upon exiting the elevator visitors can go outside onto the observation deck for what is undoubtedly one of the finest views anywhere. On a clear day, you will be able to see Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the Olympic Peninsula, the Cascade Mountains and all of the city of Seattle. From this vantage point, you can watch the seaplanes as they take off and land in the waters of Lake Washington or watch the ferry’s as they depart Seattle and head out into Puget Sound. The view really is spectacular so take your time as you traverse all the way around the deck looking at the numerous points of interest.

Looking toward the Olympic Peninsula across Puget Sound.

Looking toward the Olympic Peninsula across Puget Sound.

Seattle and Mount Rainier

View from the Space Needle

View from the Space Needle

When to Go

The Space Needle is open 365 days a year so you can visit at any time. Their hours vary depending on the day but for the most part, they open between 11 am and noon in the morning and don’t close until 5 - 8 pm in the evening.

While I have always gone during the day I think it would be great to visit at night or during sunset to get a really dramatic view. Whenever you do visit just make sure that you are going on a clear day so you can take in the beautiful views. June through September is the driest time of year in Seattle with little rain on average, so pick a nice clear day and head to the Space Needle. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and your camera.

The Space Needle from Lake Washington.

The Space Needle from Lake Washington.

Fees and Deals

Entry fees to ride up the Space Needle can be a little pricey. Adults range from $27 (WA resident) to $35, seniors cost $30, and kids ages 5 through 12 cost $26. Children under the age of 5 are free. If you happen to be a member of AAA you can get a discount on your tickets so be sure to bring your card along. A day/night ticket is also available which can be used twice in a 24-hour period. Visitors who want to see the views during the day and at night may want to look into this.

Probably the best deal is to purchase a CityPass ticket, which costs $99 for adults and $79 for kids. This pass gets you into five of the top attractions in the Seattle area for one reasonable price. The CityPass ticket includes entry to 5 of the following: Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, the Chihuly Garden and Glass, Museum of Pop Culture, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, and a Harbor Cruise.

Pacific Science Center

At the Pacific Science Center

At the Pacific Science Center

Enjoy your visit to the Space Needle and the Seattle area. It’s a beautiful part of the country that many people don’t consider visiting due to its rainy reputation. We’ve been to the Seattle area four or five times over the last 20 years always during July or August and the weather has always been spectacular with comfortable temperatures and no humidity. Enjoy your visit to the Great Pacific Northwest.

Interesting Facts About the Space Needle

  • While the very top of the Spaces Needle is at 605 feet the observation deck is at 520 feet, still very high.
  • The SkyCity Restaurant located just above the observation deck is actually a revolving restaurant and moves 360 degrees so you can take in all the sights while you’re eating.
  • The Space Needle was built to withstand wind speeds up to 200 miles per hour.
  • The Space Needle was constructed to withstand an earthquake up to a magnitude of 9.1.
  • There have been a total of six parachute jumps off of the Space Needle. Two of these resulted in the jumper being arrested as they were not authorized. The other four were part of various promotions and were authorized.
  • Three people have committed suicide off of the Space Needle all coming in the 1970s before a safety grid was installed.
  • The Space Needle has 25 lightning rods in case of a lightning strike.
  • More than 50 million people have visited the Space Needle since its opening in 1962
  • On April 21st, 2012 the Space Needle celebrated its 50th birthday.
  • The Space Needle is attached to its foundation with 30 foot long bolts, wow! There are 72 of them in all holding it to the foundation.
Seattle Space Needle from the Chihuly Garden and Glass

Seattle Space Needle from the Chihuly Garden and Glass

Ride the Elevator to the Top of the Space Needle

Questions & Answers

Question: Should I take a coat when visiting the Seattle Space Needle?

Answer: You can go to the outside part of the observation deck, so depending on the weather, you can certainly bring a coat.

© 2012 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 04, 2013:

Thanks again Tiffany. Glad you enjoyed it.

Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on March 03, 2013:

thanks for this hub...love the pics! blessings!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 12, 2012:

Thanks Greg. Enjoy Seattle, it's a great city with so much to do. Enjoy the view.

Gregory S Williams from California on May 12, 2012:

Well done and thanks - heading there with my daughter in a couple of weeks, so I appreciate the specifics!


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 12, 2012:

Hey Bill. Thanks for reading. Figured while I was on the topic of Washington State I might as well keep going with it. Have a great day out at mount Rainier.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 12, 2012:

You must have really loved your visit here; you write more about the area I live in than I do. So glad you enjoyed your visit to our corner of the world. I'm heading up to Mt. Rainier today for some snowshoeing...one of the benefits of living here. Great hub!

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