Visiting the Seattle Space Needle: What You Need to Know

This icon of the Seattle skyline is the perfect opportunity for a bird’s-eye view.
Vacation in Washington State
Vacation in Washington State

When you think of Seattle, chances are an image of the Space Needle comes to mind. This landmark has made an indelible impression on the city’s skyline since being constructed for the World’s Fair in 1962. With its flying-saucer shape that architect John Graham designed based off hotel executive Edward E. Carlson’s original idea, the futuristic tower draws more than one million visitors each year. Even if you only have a short time to spend in Seattle, be sure to count yourself among the many who make their way to the top.

What You’ll See

How tall is the Space Needle? It stands at 605 feet, while the observation deck is 520 feet up. Reach this spectacular 360-degree vantage point by taking a 41-second elevator ride. While there’s an indoor viewing area, step outside to take in the breathtaking sights of the surrounding city: ferries crossing Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, the evergreen-covered Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and looming, snow-capped Mount Rainier—the tallest peak in Washington.

Spot other notable Seattle attractions, including the shining metal facade and unique shape of the Central Library downtown or the 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel on the waterfront just to the southeast.

Sky-High Dining

For an epic dining experience, book a table at the revolving SkyCity Restaurant, situated 500 feet above the ground. The site of countless proposals, weddings and celebrations, the Space Needle’s restaurant is also perfect for those simply looking to enjoy a memorable meal.

The entire restaurant makes one full rotation every 47 minutes, but you’ll hardly even notice—except for the change in scenery—as you feast on the bounty of Pacific Northwest cuisine, including wild-caught seafood and local produce. Choose from lunch Monday through Thursday, brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday or dinner seven nights a week.

Planning Your Trip

A visit to SkyCity Restaurant includes free admission to the observation deck, otherwise general admission ranges from $11-$18, depending on age. It’s best to purchase tickets online in advance, where you can buy a timed ticket with a reserved launch time. The observation deck is open 365 days a year, from 8am to midnight, and there’s even an option for a pass that allows two visits in 24 hours, so you can experience both day and nighttime views.

How to Get There

If you choose to drive to the Space Needle, there are parking lots in the area, as well as the option for valet. You can also hop on the monorail, which departs from Westlake Center downtown and brings you to the base of the needle at Seattle Center in just two minutes.

Other Area Activities

Seattle Center’s 74-acre campus and surrounding area is home to a plethora of outdoor, cultural and entertainment attractions. After your skyward journey at the Space Needle, explore the EMP Museum for innovative exhibits about contemporary popular culture, splash in the spouting waters of the International Fountain and indulge your curiosity at the Pacific Science Center. Nearby, the Chihuly Garden and Glass features the stunning blown-glass works of local artist Dale Chihuly, while KeyArena’s proximity affords the chance to catch a concert or sporting event.

Discover more places and attractions to visit in metro Seattle.

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