Check out the Space Needle

The Space Needle is a major landmark and a 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 that had held that title since 1914, but the Space Needle is now dwarfed by other structures along the Seattle skyline.

The Space Needle features an observation deck at 520 feet, and a gift shop with a rotating restaurant at 500 feet. The restaurant was perfectly balanced so that it could rotate with the help of one tiny 1.5 hp electric motor.

From the top of the Needle, one can see not only the Downtown Seattle skyline, but also the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands.

Visitors can reach the top of the Space Needle via elevators that travel at 10 mph. On windy days, the elevators are slowed down to a speed of 5 mph.

Here's what you'll see:

The Space Needle is probably the most iconic of all of Seattle's landmarks. You cannot come to Seattle without at least seeing the Needle. There are really 3 ways you can experience the Space Needle:


Free – If you want to experience the Space Needle for free, there are 2 ways that you can see it.

View from the base of the Space Needle


Go to the Seattle Center and walk around the base. This is a great way to see the Needle up close. Try walking right up to the base of the Needle and just looking straight up - it's a dizzying view! You can also go into the SpaceBase gift shop and browse the various Seattle trinkets and Space Needle memorabilia. For pictures, one of the best views of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center can be seen from the International Fountain right next to Key Arena - just a short walk across the Seattle Center.

View of the Space Needle from Kerry Park


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. Kerry park is situated on Queen Anne Hill, just 6 very steep blocks from the Seattle Center up Queen Anne Avenue. This view is the best of the Seattle skyline and it's completely free. An excellent photo opportunity day or night.


View of downtown Seattle from the Space Needle


Moderate Price – If you want to experience the Space Needle for a moderate price, you can pay to go to the Observation Deck. The charge for adults is $18, but if you are only going to be in Seattle once, it's worth it. When you get to the top, you will have a great view of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, Lake Union, the Cascade Mountains, Lake Washington and the surrounding cities. You can spend as long as you want at the top.


Inside the Space Needle restaurant

Expensive – If you really want to spend time at the top of the Needle and you want the best experience, have lunch or dinner at the SkyCity restaurant at the top of the Needle. While it does not cost you anything to ride the elevator to the restaurant, you will make up for it when you pay for your food and drinks. The SkyCity restaurant rotates 360 degrees about once every hour, and every table has a view. After you finish eating, you can also go up to the Observation Deck which is one floor above the restaurant for free.