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Space Needle

400 Broad St., Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s landmark Space Needle, one of the most distinctive icons in the Pacific Northwest, rises 605 feet (184 meters) above the city. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and was the tallest structure in the Western United States at the time of its construction. The tower features a rotating lounge and an observation deck at 520 feet (158 meters) with 360-degree panoramic views over the Seattle skyline and its surrounding mountains.

The Space Needle is a must for first-time visitors to Seattle. A high-speed elevator brings you to the flying saucer–esque top, where you can enjoy stunning views of the city, with Elliott Bay and Puget Sound in the background. On clear days, it’s easy to spot the Olympic and Cascade Mountains (including Mount Rainier) in the distance.

Standalone Space Needle tours aren’t common, but a visit to this Seattle staple is included on many Seattle sightseeing tours, many of which also include Pike Place Market. For a real treat, reserve a table at the Loupe Lounge to enjoy cocktails and contemporary dishes on a revolving glass floor.

  • Book Space Needle tickets in advance to avoid waiting in long ticket lines.

  • At the observation deck, check out the interpretive displays, which identify more than 60 activities in the Seattle area.

  • Expect to have your bag searched before you’ll be allowed in.

  • The Space Needle is wheelchair accessible.

The Space Needle is located in the Seattle Center, a cultural and entertainment park at the base of the Queen Anne neighborhood, just northwest of downtown Seattle. Other attractions at the complex include Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), the Pacific Science Center, and the Seattle Children’s Museum. You can get to the Space Needle by bus or monorail, and the site offers valet parking and limited general parking. While street parking in the area can be hard to come by, there are a couple of parking complexes a short walk away.

The Space Needle is open year-round and daily, but opening hours vary depending on day of week and season, so be sure to check in advance. The sight is most crowded on weekends and around sunset, when visitors are afforded prime lighting for the panoramic skyline views. The skies tend to be clearest during spring and summer.

The 1974 children’s book Wheedle on the Needle tells the tale of a large furry creature called the Wheedle. Bothered by the whistling of workers first settling the city of Seattle, the grumpy Wheedle moved to Mt. Rainier to escape the noise. Eventually, the Wheedle gathered clouds in a large sack, returned to Seattle, climbed up the Space Needle, and threw them into the sky to make it rain.

The Wheedle has since become a Seattle fixture, even acting as the mascot to the Seattle SuperSonics NBA team before they moved to Oklahoma City.

Tickets to the Seattle Space Needle start at roughly US$35 per person, though they can be slightly more expensive during peak hours. Children and seniors receive discounted entry, and several packages grant access to the Needle and other Seattle attractions. The Seattle CityPASS also grants entry to the attraction.

Yes. To visit the Seattle Space Needle, you must reserve your entry for a specific date and time. Reserving tickets online before your visit will ensure a smooth experience. If you don’t have time to book online, try the on-site kiosk or self-service ticket machines.

Wait times for the Space Needle vary greatly depending on the weather and time of year. Since tickets are sold in 15-minute time slots, booking in advance will minimize your wait time. However, if you’re buying tickets on-site during the high season, you may need to wait more than an hour.

Yes, it’s worth going to the top of the Seattle Space Needle. Arguably the city’s most recognizable landmark, it offers 360-degree views overlooking the city and mountains beyond, with the best vistas on sunny days. The Space Needle also has a rotating restaurant for those looking to extend the experience.

For a relaxed experience, the best time to visit the Seattle Space Needle is in the morning, right when it opens. However, sunset or after-dark viewings are also popular and offer a new way to see the city. Whenever you go, time your visit for clear weather.

It’s worth spending at least 45 minutes to 1 hour at the Seattle Space Needle. Double the time if you decide to extend the experience with a meal at the rotating restaurant. If you haven’t prebooked tickets, plan for up to 1 hour of additional waiting time to see the landmark.


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