What Is the Space Needle and Why Is It a Must See for Seattle Visitors?


What is the Space Needle and why it’s a must see for Seattle vistiors? The Space Needle continues to draw both residents and tourists of the city of Seattle each year, primarily for its expansive view of the city. However, how many people actually know what the Space Needle is and the history behind this impressive piece of architecture? Finding out a little of the history of the attraction may bring to light why many people enjoy Seattle each year.


Many people have been able to enjoy Seattle via the Space Needle when it opened in April of 1962. The tower, standing at 605 feet, was completed in just one year’s time. The construction of the Space Needle was one of the most ambitious projects in the country of the time. At the time, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River and completed with no loss of life in record time.

20 years after its completion, the Space Needle got its first set of major renovations equaling the original cost of construction. Ten years after this, the site first hosted its fireworks celebration on New Year’s Day and made the Space Needle an annual favorite for both locals and travelers from around the world who want to ring in the New Year with a spectacle.

However, the tower received an even grander makeover in the year 2000 with a $20 million renovation. Both the SpaceBase retail store and Pavilion Level were rebuilt. Exterior lighting was also added to the Space Needle, the SkyBeam or Legacy Light was added and the Observation Deck was revamped. However, one of the most heralded changes occurred at the tower’s famous revolving restaurant. It was officially renamed SkyCity along with its redesign.

Current Attractions

One of the first things to come to mind when people think of the Seattle Space Needle is its famous revolving restaurant. SkyCity Restaurant makes a complete circular turn so that patrons enjoy a full view of the city. In addition to a brunch, lunch, dinner and kids’ menu, SkyCity also features the Celebration Club to keep members aware of special promotions and other news about the Space Needle.

Many people also enjoy Seattle through the Observation Deck that allows them to see an incredible array of wonders such as the Puget Sound. Mt. Rainier is also visible in addition to the many skyscrapers that also color the Seattle Skyline. Those who want to see the wonders of the Cascade Mountains can also enjoy the expanse of the mountain range. Even the everyday rhythm of the city takes a different tone from the deck.

There are also a number of events that take place over the course of the year visitors may enjoy. Many enjoy Seattle through the fireworks on the Fourth of July that can be even more dazzling from the Space Needle. Patrons can even attend private events for a number of occasions. Banquets, parties, holiday celebrations and many other kinds of events are frequently held at the SkyLine level reserved for private events and banquets.

Another way to enjoy Seattle via the Space Needle is to enjoy the building itself. The building has a unique design with an hourglass shape. Even those who do not study architecture in any way will be impressed with the unique structure of the building even before they head inside.

Seattle Packages

Some people go beyond the Space Needle in order to enjoy Seattle to its greatest extent. In fact, one of the ways to maximize on the Space Needle experience is to get a package deal to see other sites along with it. In fact, many people say that it is only necessary to stay on the Observation Deck for about an hour in order to get the full effect.

After that, many visitors will go the adjacent Chihuly Garden and Glass, a nice departure from the contemporary and futuristic feel of the Space Needle. The lush outdoor garden and interior galleries provide a serene escape in addition to the centerpiece of Chihuly, the Glasshouse. Those who want to enjoy Seattle in a different way can visit both the Space Needle and Chihuly for a full day of fun.

Tips on Traveling to and Around While in Seattle

Located between Lake Washington and Puget Sound with mountain ranges to the west and east, the city of Seattle boasts of temperate climate with wet winters and warm, sunny summers. The city has an elaborate transport network that includes air transport, water transport, railway system and road transport. It is probably important to note that most visitors arrive by plane at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to drive from the airport to town by car or 35 minutes using the Link Light Rail. International visitors from English-speaking countries can drive themselves around the city because Seattle recognizes their foreign driving licenses. However, travelers from nonEnglish speaking countries should consider getting an international driver’s permit (IDP). Read on for some more great tips on traveling to and around while in Seattle.

Getting around Seattle’s Streets

Finding your way around a new city can be challenging. However, Seattle has a simple street system that you can easily master. Roads running in an east-west direction take the name “Streets” while those running in a north-south direction take the name “Avenues”. Finally, any road that curves or runs diagonal to other roads takes the name “Boulevard” or “Road”. Take note that roads around the central business district do not necessarily follow this system. Make sure you have a street map with you when driving or walking around to enjoy Seattle.


Seattle has a wide range of hotels that cater to different categories of visitor, from budget hotels to 5-star accommodations. The average hotel charges between $130 and $200 for a room per night and some hotels offer a few extras such as free parking, free Wi-Fi, and meal vouchers.


From Asian cuisine to gourmet coffee and virtually everything in between, Seattle has it all. If you love Chinese food, you should visit the Yeas Wok, Jade Garden, Chiangs Gourmet, Szechuan Chef, or the Bamboo Garden restaurants. Other restaurants popular with visitors include Serafina, Flying Fish, Tamarind Tree, Kallaloo, Annapurna café, and Brasa. In addition, most hotels where visitors stay also offer various treats.

Sights and Attractions

One of the most popular Seattle attractions is the Space Needle. The iconic building has a rotating deck that gives visitors 360-degree breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas. In addition, the space needle has a restaurant that rotates 360 degrees while visitors feast on sumptuous meals and enjoy Seattle views. Another great attraction is the Seattle Great Wheel, which stands at an impressive 175 feet tall. It has 42 fully enclosed gondolas that can accommodate eight people comfortably and is open all year round.

If you love the great outdoors, consider taking part in the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic that covers 202 miles in length. The event takes place on the second or third weekend in July and usually takes two days to complete. For film buffs, the Seattle international Film Festival (SIFF) is an event worth attending. SIFF runs for about three weeks and draws more than 100,000 attendees every year in May/June.


If you would like to enjoy Seattle art in more quiet surroundings, visit the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington and feast your eyes on a collection of more than 20,000 objects. Another museum that you cannot afford to ignore is the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), which has three facilities, the Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle Waterfront, the main museum in downtown Seattle, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM). Some of the art pieces you can see at the SAM include “Hammering Man”, Mark Tobey’s “Electric Night” as well as paintings by Armand Guillaumin, Luca Giordano, Luca Di Tomme, Emanuel De Witte, and Camille Pissarro. Other museums in Seattle include Frye Art Museum, Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

To experience Seattle fully, you should sample some of the city’s finer attractions including museums, restaurants, and festivals such as the SIFF. Additionally, you should engage in some fun activities within the city, for example, take a bike tour through the San Juan Islands and other parts of Washington. Finally, you should visit the Pike Place Market where you can get seafood, flowers, dairy products, arts and crafts, as well as ready to eat food.