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The Space Needle ~ First on the List
One of the first places we wanted to see in Seattle was the "Space Needle", of course. When I think of Seattle, the Space Needle immediately comes to mind and as it has been the symbol of Seattle since opening for the 1962 World's Fair.
Riding the elevator up to the top might just make you a little weak in the knees if heights bother you. But it is worth a little angst to experience the Space Needle. Topping out at 605 ft. tall, the Space Needle offers probably the best place from which to view the city and surrounding suburbs; and the views seem to go on forever! Just like the Empire State Building, there are permanently placed binoculars located every few feet to take advantage of the view up close or at least a little closer.
The Observation Deck is located at 520 feet and houses its own snack bars and small gift shop area. We had a small snack and drink before we went back down because we just didn't want to leave yet -- we just wanted to soak up as much of the view as possible. The famous, revolving "Sky City" restaurant is slightly lower at 500 feet and is the portion of the Space Needle that looks somewhat like a flying saucer!
On the ground floor you will be overwhelmed by an incredibly large, but thoughtful and well-stocked gift shop with anything you can possibly imagine having to do with the Space Needle ~ postcards, framed art, books, bookmarks, clothes, cards, toys, and really just too much to mention. I thought there were actually some very tasteful souvenirs here.
NOTE: For antique memorabilia of the Space Needle and the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, have a look in the antique stores in Pioneer Square!!
Adult Admission: $13.00; Youth: $6.00 (2004 prices)
The monorail leaving from the Westlake Center would bring you right to the Space Needle, BUT when we were there in 2004, and again in July, 2006, the monorail was still not operational due to a previous fire.
NOTE: I actually have some photos of the Space Needle from the water side but can't locate them at the moment!
If Seattle has one bona-fide sight it is surely the Space Needle. Back in 1962 when it was built for the World's Fair it must have been pretty....well, spacey. Now, it is more hokey but that's okay. It has this B movie aura that is somehow perfect for the nerdy, caffeine-infused culture that is Seattle. Standing at 605 feet there are certainly taller towers in the world and even taller buildings in Seattle but its solitary location and odd shape make it easily the first thing you see when arriving in town. You can take an elevator to the top (well, not quite the top but up to the observation deck at 520 feet) for $16 or shell out $21 for the privilege of going up during the day and that same night. There's also a restaurant 20 feet lower for those that just can't get enough of the place. My guess is the food is overpriced and not all that great but hey, it must have a nice view. My only problem with this view is the iconic Space Needle is nowhere to be seen . That's because you are in it. For the classic shot of Seattle, head up to Kerry Park where you can see the entire Seattle skyline including the Space Needle. If you are lucky you can see Mount Rainier looming in the background. The combination of Rainier and the Needle IS Seattle. Man's quest to better nature, failed again.
- Historical Travel
View From The Top Of The City...
The Space Needle is the most famous symbol of Seattle. It was built for the 1962 World's Fair and was literally finished the day before the Fair opened.
The architecture of the Space Needle was a compromise of two designs - one of a giant balloon tethered to the ground and the other of a concept of a flying saucer. The end result is not a very pretty building.
The Space Needle is 605 feet high and 138 feet wide at its widest point and weighs 9,550 tons. It was built to withstand winds of 200 mph and earthquakes up to 9.5 magnitude. It also has 25 lightning rods on the roof the prevent lightning damage.
The Space Needle has an observation deck at 520 feet, and a gift shop with the rotating SkyCity restaurant at 500 feet. From the top you can see the downtown skyline as well as the surrounding mountains and islands.
Elevators to the observation deck travel at 10 mph and the trip to the top takes 43 seconds. On windy days elevators are slowed to 5 mph.
This is a very popular attraction in Seattle and the wait for an elevator can be an hour long, but it's definintely a must see in Seattle. Hopefully you can make the trip when the sky is not too cloudy!
You can buy your tickets online to avoid the lines. Check website for details.
Sunday – Thursday 10:00am – 9:00pm
Friday – Saturday 9:30am – 10:00pm
Adult (ages 14-64): $16.00
Youth (ages 4-13): $9.00
Child (age 3 & under): Free
Senior (ages 65+): $14.00
Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this writing.
Signature Landmark Can Not be Missed
I hate to be cliché but in this case it's going to be tough. If you go to Seattle you must go to the Space Needle. At 605 feet tall the tower is a presence practically anywhere you go. As a matter of fact, we soon realized that it was nearly impossible to get lost in Seattle once you've figured out where the Space Needle was located. Just take a look up and around and soon you were reoriented. The city struck me as very manageable. It seemed relatively straight forward to get from one area to another although traffic warnings on the many bridges and freeways were common during rush hour commutes.
But the real attraction of the Space Needle, of course, is the view from the top. The observation deck provides fantastic views of the entire area from either inside behind the glass or from the exterior promenade. On the inside, at strategic locations, information stations are located with photographs coinciding with the views beyond which identify prime points of interest. Oh yes...there's also a Starbuck's Coffee at this level (it is Seattle after all). At the top there is a full service rotating restaurant which we did not try.
The Space Needle
Never..Never leave Seattle without stopping by at the Space Needle! Up top is the spectacular view of Seattle city. going to the top is not too bad. ( $10) if you just want to go straight to the observatory deck and its free if you plan to dine in! (prices arent that bad either it ranges from $30- $40 per person or depends on what you order). The space needle rotates and usually takes atleast an hour for a full rotation.There are professional photographers to take your photos. Copies can be redeem on the ground floor for $15/piece (5x6 ). If you'd like to save money ask your server to take your pictures and they will gladly do it for you. After the fabulous dinner/ lunch why not head off to safeco field and watch the mariners ballgame. :)
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
look carefully, it rotates...
the Space Needle is a strange building... it was built for the 1962 World's Fair and at the time, was the tallest building in the western united states.. .. it is over 600 feet tall which isn't very tall but it is far enough away from the rest of the buildings in seattle to offer a 360 degree view of all of seattle as well as the surrounding mountains, islands, lakes, and the Puget Sound... you can take an elevator to the top for $15 or for $19 you can take the elevator twice in 24 hours (once in the day; once at night).. it really is worth the view during the day and night because seattle is absolutely gorgeous at night and the mountains are breathtaking during the day.. or if you have money to burn, you can eat at the SkyCity restaurant located at the top of the Needle and watch the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains.. don't worry about requesting a table facing west because the whole restaurant and observation deck rotates a complete 360 degrees every 47 minutes.. you wont even notice you are moving unless you look away for a few minutes and look back to see a slightly different view than you did before..
if you happen to visit the space needle while it is snowing, you'll be suprised to find that when coming back down, the elevator descends faster than snow falls so it looks like the snow is falling up... and don't believe the pictures you see, the space needle is actually hundreds of feet shorter than the taller buildings nearby
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
You Needled Me...
A trip to Seattle wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Space Needle. While you can go to the restaurant or the gift shop, the obvious thing to do is to go to the observation deck for a 360 degree view of the area.
As of March 2010,A trip to the observation deck costs $17 for an adult, $9 for children 4-13 years of age, and $15 for seniors. Annual passes and various other combinations are available -- check the website for details. And speaking of the website, you can order your tickets online. Make your purchases, receive a confirmation number, and either receive tickets in the mail or pick up the tickets at the Space Needle ticket booth.
The observation deck is open daily from 9AM - Midnight. Occasionally, the deck is closed for a private function -- check the website for details.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Here you'll find the Space Needle and Experience Music Project but it's really an amusement park. The Space Needle is known and recognizable all over the world. It was actually build in 1961 for the 1962 Worlds Fair. It's worth seeing up close but if you take in the beautiful Seattle cityscape, you can't miss seeing the Space Needle at a distance.
So much to do at Seattle Center but it is a tourist trap.
- Theme Park Trips
A view from the Dinner Table
Many others have given the specifics of the Space Needle, so I'll skip that and just tell you my experience.
Since I was taking a class from 8:15 to 3:15, I had only the late afternoon and weekend in which to squeeze all the sightseeing I wanted to do.
Since I also was by myself, I had to figure out a place to eat that was interesting. I discovered that when you eat dinner at the Space Needle, your elevator ride is included in the price, plus you don't have to stand in line for a ticket. So I did that.
My dinner, including tea to drink, dessert and tip was $37.05. At the time, the elevator ride was $6.00 so my dinner was really only $31.05. It was a good dinner, and I enjoyed the view. I did this again in 2011 with Bob.
I found the following information on their website amusing:
* Plans to build a stork's nest atop the Needle were canceled when it was learned that storks could not live in Seattle's climate and would migrate to warmer climates.
* The city of Fife, Washington offered $1 million to move the Space Needle to its downtown.
* During the fair, private planes that flew near the Needle were reported to the authorities only if they were so close their wing numbers could be read.
* There have been six parachute jumps from the Needle; two were unauthorized and the other four were part of a promotion.
* As an April Fool's joke a local television station aired a phony report that the Space Needle had fallen over. Emergency phone lines were swamped with calls. The Space Needle received more than 700 calls, even though there was a flashing alert during the entire report telling the audience that it was a joke. One Spokane man even jumped in his car and began driving to Seattle because his daughter worked at the Space Needle.
* The Space Needle moved 312 feet SW in June 1987. The move was only on paper, however. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began a 10-year project of re-mapping the earth by satellite. Major structures, such as the Space Needle, were used as landmarks.
Go up in That Thing
Every city has its big-tall-thing-you-must-go-up.
They always cost too much.
They always involve standing in long lines.
They always try to sell you overpriced souvenirs you will hate once you get home.
The Space Needle is no exception.
Built for the 1962 World's Fair, this landmark is nonetheless Seattle's most-recognized icon and so The Husband said what the h*ll - we can say we did it. Fortunately, we're early risers so made the queue at the opening hour and only stood around long enough to be mildly annoyed. An elevator with a chatty operator takes you up 520 feet to an observation deck with 360 degree panoramas of city and bay. You look around. Take some pictures. Mission accomplished.
So, there's a snack bar on the O.D, a very expensive restaurant on a different level, and a tchotchke shop at the base so blindfold the kids before you exit the elevator. Tickets for the big people are $17 a pop, less for smaller people and seniors. You can also get the $22 combo ticket that lets you stand in line not once but twice - once during the day and once again that evening. The view? Yes it's very nice but there's another place that's even better and FREE so watch for it farther along my tip list.
I would put this on the back burner on a rainy or very hazy day.
The Needle is located on the southeast side of an area called Seattle Center. Other attractions here are an IMAX theater, Seattle Children's Museum, Children's Theater, Experience Music Project, monorail and a bunch of other stuff. See the Needle website for info on that, and Seattle Center website for the skinny on the general area.
- Family Travel
This place is really neat!! Although at the time I couldn't afford to go to the top, just walking around the grounds are nice enough!! There is a restaurant up top, but it is kind of fancy and pretty expensive from what I have been told.
- Road Trip
- Study Abroad
This 600 foot high tower was built in 1962. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest building in the United States west of the Mississippi River. The top of the Space Needle houses an observation deck. An elevator will rapidly take you to the top after what might be a long wait below. The observation deck offers panoramic views of the city. We ascended the Space Needle on a clear night and were treated to fantastic views of Seattle.
Drinks and snacks are available at the observation deck. A restaurant is situated just below the deck. This restaurant will fill up so reservations are highly recommended.
The admission price for the observation deck is about $15. This makes the Space Needle a bit of a tourist trap. However, it is worth visiting at least once on a clear day or night to see the views. A rather large gift shop is located in the base of the tower.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
The Space Needle has to be Seattle’s most recognizable monument. It is in every Seattle city skyline you ever see. It is real Jetson like and makes for a great landmark. It’s located a short distance from the downtown core. You can catch the mono-rail there very quickly but on the day of my visit I walked with arasnosliw and got to explore Belltown as well enroute, so I enjoyed that.
With the Go Seattle Card I had the admission to the Space Needle was free but it is normally $10 or $12 USD for an adult. When you get up there are some great views of Elliot Bay for sure, the downtown skyscrapers and Lake Union. I always like how they provide a little bit of interpretation telling you what you are looking at, otherwise it just all looks like buildings.
If you haven’t been up there before I think you should go but I tend to agree as well that I wouldn’t need to go up there every time I got to Seattle. The grounds around the Space Needle comprising the Seattle Center are probably more interesting with tones of things to do on this site.
A Tower to Explore
The Space Needle is a great way to see Seattle. Take a day and explore the area and be sure to buy a ticket to the top.
$13 for adults $11 for Seniors $6 for kids 4 and up. Under 3 is free.
The photo oportunity you get from the top is worth the price.
- Family Travel
The Famous Space Needle!
If you want the best view of the city and the sound, I would recommend taking a trip to see the World Famous Space Needle.
Some Space Needle Trivia, courtesy of the Vancouver English Centre:
Fortunately, you can take a comfortable elevator ride to the top of the Seattle Space Needle. Those who prefer to walk, however, can look forward to 832 steps, from the basement to the restaurant.
The top of the Seattle Space Needle is 605 feet above the ground.
The center of gravity for the Space Needle is 5 feet above the ground.
The Seattle Space Needle was originally constructed at a cost of US$4,000,000. An expansion project in 2000, however, cost US$21,000,000.
The Seattle Space Needle sways 1 inch for every 10mph of wind.
On a hot day, the Space Needle expands about one inch.
The Seattle Space Needle was the second rotating restaurant in the world. The first was the Mauna Loa shopping mall in Hawaii. There are now hundreds of rotating restaurants around the world.
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