She is a unique building that has amazed visitors to Seattle since her construction. The Space Needle is easily the most famous landmark in Seattle. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it has served as one of the crown jewels of the city for decades. Visitors come to the Space Needle from all over the world for a chance to enjoy the view of the city 605 feet up. I always make an effort to take out-of-town friends to this wonderful location so that they can check it off their list of places to see. What is it about the Space Needle that makes it such a great place to check out when visiting Seattle?
What to See?
Your first stop is the ticket office upon arrival. There are two ways to get to the top of the Needle. The first is where you pay to go up ($21 for adults; $18 for seniors 65 and up; and $12 for children aged 4 and up). The other option is to make reservations at the Sky City Restaurant which includes the trip up with your meal.
No matter which way you get yourself to the observation deck, get yourself there. The stunning views from the observation deck are wonderful. The outside deck is completely safe and allows you to get a 360 degree look at Seattle. My personal favorite photo is the one where you are able to position yourself just right so that Mt. Rainier is in the backdrop of the picture. There’s isn’t a lot to do at the top besides enjoy the view and drink coffee if you desire. After you return to the bottom there’s a well-stocked gift shop that has a plethora of Seattle souvenirs to pick from. Be advised that you can purchase many of the non-Seattle Center specific items for a lot less if you go to one of the nearby gift shops.
What to Eat?
The Sky City Restaurant is a delicious experience worth trying at least one. Enjoy the view while the restaurant makes a slow 360 degree rotation on the hour. This is a fine dining establishment that is a little pricy but worth every cent. Your meal starts with freshly baked bread that smells so good. The menu has a wide variety of item choices ranging from steak to seafood. My personal favorite is the delectable lamb burger and fries that goes for $15 (a very good price for lunch at Sky City!). As mentioned before, your fee to go to the top of the Space Needle is waived if you decide to eat at the restaurant. As the restaurant has a $20 per person rule you don’t’ save any money but at least you have a 4-star meal included in your adventure.
For groups that don’t want to easily blow their budget on food (it’s easy to spend $30 per person after ordering drinks and sides) there are nearby options. The Space Needle is located on the Seattle Center premises and is relatively close to a low-cost food court.
What’s the Cultural Value?
The Space Needle is a stark reminder of the beginnings of globalization during the mid-20th century.. Although other buildings in Seattle were built for the World’s Fair, only the Space Needle has achieved the status of being a symbol of Seattleite pride. Seattle without the Space Needle would be like New York without the Statue of Liberty. There is nothing like going to the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve and watching the fireworks display being set off on the rooftop.
Recommended Place to Stay
There aren’t any hotels right by the Seattle Center so you’ll need to be resourceful and head downtown. I would recommend staying at the downtown Sheraton. The rooms are excellent and the hotel is nearby a station for the monorail system that connects downtown with the Seattle Center. The trip via the monorail only takes 10 minutes and is worth using to avoid the traffic between the hotel and your destination.
How Is the Overall Rating?
No trip to Seattle is complete with a trip to the Seattle Center. I have always loved taking people here and with the refurbishing they did a few years ago, the place has never looked better. The experience is best when you eat at Sky City without a doubt. If you take away the restaurant portion of your journey, the Space Needle has a nice view but that’s about it. Because of that I give the Space Needle 4.5/5 stars.