The Space Needle is the attraction most synonymous with the city of Seattle, Washington. The Space Needle is located in an area of downtown Seattle known as the Seattle Center, and was built primarily to entice visitors to the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. At its onset, it was largely popular, boasting over two million visitors during the World Fair alone! The needle was a collaborative effort drawn together by renowned Seattle businessman Edward Carlson, who desired a futuristic landmark design, and with the assistance of his associate, architect John Graham, the space-ship idea emerged. Victor Steinbrueck was the primary architect of the needle, and built it to withstand tremendous earthquakes by designing it to double the city’s standards. Until 2000, there were two restauraunts located at the top of the Space Needle (at approximately 500 feet), however they were closed in order to construct a fully-rotating restaurant called Sky City, at a slightly lower elevation. Despite its tremendous height, to the contrary of popular belief, the Space Needle is not the tallest structure in Seattle, however when it was built it was tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.
The Space Needle, while somewhat expense (approximately $20 per adult to enter) and deemed by some people as “overrated”, I found to be well worth the money, as I always associated it with Seattle and felt that I needed to visit it while I was there just to say that I had done it. The lines, in comparison to other major landmarks (i.e. the Eiffel Tower), are short, and I only had to wait in line for approximately 5 minutes (although there was a slightly longer wait going back down the needle). There aren’t any steps to go up the needle, as far as I am aware, but it is powered by a (very) fast elevator that takes just a few seconds to get to the top deck of the needle. There are two decks, the top one (which has two parts, an enclosed area where there are tables and information about the Space Needle and its history) and the level with the 360 degree rotating restaurant (Sky City), where you’re able to eat a gourmet meal, with a tremendous view (however, it is expensive, and I personally feel that it’s overrated).
The top deck of the Space Needle boasts a tremendous view, in which one is able to see most (if not all) of the city of Seattle, and the layout of the surrounding islands. Since I have a slight fear of heights, I stayed in the enclosed portion of the deck for a lot of the time (though I did walk outside for a little while), and was still afforded with a great view of the city. On the top deck, there is a Starbucks coffee shop which offers relatively reasonable prices, and we were able to buy some coffee and rolls and sit down and just look out at the surrounding city, which was quite relaxing. On a side note, for those with overactive bladder problems, make sure that you use the bathroom before you go up to the decks, there are a few bathrooms but there are usually long lines to use them.
After staying on the top deck for a while, we decided to venture down to the Sky City restaurant to take a look (I had eaten there in the past, however the people with me had never seen the view), as the restaurant is constantly revolving which was quite unique, in my opinion. Once we looked out of the restaurant, we made our way to the elevator line in order to go back down to ground-level. As there is only one elevator to use, and it has a limited capacity, we had to wait in line for approximately 15 minutes to go down to groundlevel, which wasn’t too bad for such a highly-visited attraction.
When you return to groundlevel, there is an “official” souvenir shop, and there are other souvenir shops in the buildings surrounding. The official souvenir shop, much to my surprise, offered affordable prices, so we purchased our Space Needle souvenirs there. All in all, I was quite impressed with the Space Needle, and felt as if I certainly got my money’s worth. I recommend the next time that you’re in Seattle, that you visit the needle, and take in the wonderful view from the decks, enjoy!