The Space Needle – Overlooking Seattle
We took a weekend trip to Seattle to attend a baseball game with The 7 Line Army, a traveling fanbase of the New York Mets. While in new cities, we like to explore as much as possible when it’s not game time. For this weekend’s adventure, we knew the first place we wanted to venture to, the Seattle Space Needle. We love to visit a city’s observation deck overlooking a new (to us) destination.
The Space Needle
Inspired by a broadcast tower in Stuttgart, Germany, Seattle hotel executive Edward E. Carlson came up with the original idea for the Space Needle. A chief organizer of the 1962 World’s Fair, Carlson had the idea for a structure for the fair that would become a permanent structure and symbol for the city.
At last, a final design was reached after multiple changes just 18 months before the World’s Fair.
The structure sits on a plot of land that was sold to investors in 1961 for $75,000.
Built by the Howard S Wright Construction company, the Space Needle sits on a foundation that is 30’ deep and 120’ across with the center of gravity just 5’ above ground. Construction of the tower was completed in 8 months.
On the first day of the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle officially opened. Among those in attendance were Elvis Presley, Prince Phillip of Great Britain, Bobby Kennedy, Bob Hope, Chubby Checker, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Walt Disney.
Find out more information about the Space Needle including hours, food and beverage options and more from their website.
The Years Following the World’s Fair
In the coming years, the Space Needle was used as a radio broadcast booth and even acquired its own mascot- the Wheedle. The Wheedle later became mascot for Seattle’s NBA basketball team, the SuperSonics. In 1982, the 100’ SkyLine level was added to the tower. It has hosted weddings, receptions, and other events with amazing city views. Sneedle, another mascot was introduced in 1997 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the tower.
The Space Needle was named an official city landmark in 1999.
“The Space Needle marks a point in history of the City of Seattle and represents American aspirations towards technological prowess. [It] embodies in its form and construction the era’s belief in commerce, technology and progress.”Landmarks Preservation Board
Accessing the Space Needle
General admission costs per person are as follows:
- Regular (ages 13-64) $35
- Senior (ages 65+) $30
- Youth (ages 5-12) $26
There are other pricing options for groups, or if you want to combine experiences with other attractions in Seattle like Chihuly Garden and Glass. You can find more information about that on the ticketing site.
Because it was a weekend and a beautiful summer day, we did have about an hour wait until entry. We entertained ourselves chatting with the friends who were with us, so it passed by. I would assume weekdays and colder/wetter weather result in a much smaller wait time, perhaps less of a great experience at the top though.
Views Views Views
With 360° views you get a spectacular glimpse of the city from above.
Looking South East you’ll see Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier (I believe) in the background.
The Puget Sound is to the West of the Space Needle.
Looking directly North and below the Space Needle you’ll see Memorial Stadium, an open air stadium honoring WWII Veterans. This location hosts school athletic events, concerts, and a variety of other events.
The curved buildings near the bottom of the screen are the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, located North East of the tower. Beyond that is Lake Union, surrounded on either side by the East Queen Anne and East Lake neighborhoods.
A fun feature was the interactive map located on the inside of the observation deck area. You can enter in the city you’re from and see where most visitors to the Space Needle have traveled there from.
See all of our travels!
As I’ve said before, we love a good observation deck. It gives such a different perspective of a new city we are traveling in. I think it was a worthy way to spend an afternoon.
If you find yourself in Seattle, check out the Space Needle for the birds’ eye view of the city!