If you could see one thing in Seattle, go to that one place that shows you everything, suggests the brochure of the most popular structure of the city. Now, if you look at the skyline of the city of Seattle in Washington State, you will see that there is one building that stands out like nothing else — The Space Needle.
After chancing upon several photographs of this structure, and reading about the design of this structure, I’d been looking forward to seeing this specimen of engineering excellence (It is said, it handle winds up to 200 mph and brave severe lightening and even made to brave an earthquake up to the magnitude of 9.1, considering it is on the US west coast).
We had Space Needle on the top of our list of Things-to-do-in-Seattle. Now if you know these parts well, you also know that it lies in a part of the United States that is wet for most of the year. So we had to keep looking at the local weather forecasts and looking out for a sunny day that only plays cameos even in Spring. That found, we booked our tickets online (this is advised) and made a dash for Space Needle as soon as we got to Emerald city.
|Space Needle standing 605 ft tall.|
I hear this place get over a million visitors a year. Here’s why:
|A view of the city of Seattle and Elliot Bay, WA|
|Seattle from 520 ft.|
|Lake Union and more of Seattle.|
Now, these spectacular 360 degree views can also be taken in after sun down, when Emerald City turns into a sparkling city. We visited in May when the days had already gotten longer and that meant that the sun doesn’t set until around 8:30 in the evening. Having visited this observation tower before noon, we went about ticking some other points on the to-do lit. Later, after we were done with all that we had planned for the day, we were back at Space Needle before dark and that meant waiting in a longer line, even though we had already picked up tickets for our second visit to this landmark.
It also meant we had to wait for the long day to meet the night. In spite of the wait, we were up on the observation deck before dark. While we waited for night to take over the scene, we picked up some Starbucks coffee and some chips, found a table and sat down to watch the show of the sky turning from orange to grey and then a deep blue and the city lights slowly coming on till it felt like we were looking down at Seattle from a plane that was awaiting permission to land.
It was a totally different scene at night: bright lights ornamenting the tall buildings of Seattle, the boats of Union Lake, the clearly cut-out waterfront area that overlooks Elliot Bay and Puget Sound and the Seattle Wheel are just some of them. Up there at night, I could even see the lights of cars zipping down Interstate 5 (I-5); at first, I thought it was a train rushing by.
My night-time photos from the Space Needle are not the best. Most of them ended up with some glares from the Sky Cafe as there was no escaping the glass exterior of the Observation Desk.
After-dark sights from the Space Needle
- I recommend buying tickets online. You can pick a time that suits you. If you’d like to see Seattle from Space Needle during the day and after dark, you could take the day/night pass or combine your Space Needle visit with Chihuly Garden of Glass, just next door. If you are doing the latter you won’t have to bother about parking while you visit the second attraction. Btw, there’s valet parking also. (Click here for tickets and types of tickets.)
- Sunny days are best days for views from Space Needle. If you’d like to see night views and city lights, you might want to make bookings for night viewing as well. If you are into photography, I’m sure even rainy and cloudy days –which this place has no dearth of — will give you lots of photo opportunities.
- Attention, Mommies and daddies – Strollers are not allowed into the sky deck. But the baby car seats can be carried to the top. You can leave your strollers in the stroller-parking area, close to ground level.
- When we visited, my baby-number-2 was just a few months old. I carried her around in a baby carrier. Wearing her on me made it easy to walk around the Sky deck and take in the 360-degree views. (Hubby offered to take over when I decided to go get some pictures of the view.)
- Wheelchairs are allowed inside.
- You might want to take some warm clothing, it can get cold up there.
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