An icon recognized worldwide, the Seattle Space Needle is the number one tourist attraction in the Northwest United States attracting over one million visitors annually. Of course, we were amongst those on our last visit.
And the 360º views from the top seem endless, capped by Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges. At the right time of day, even the downtown buildings seem to glow.
With both indoor and outdoor viewing options at the top, the Seattle Space Needle really is a must-see for every visitor to the Emerald City (a moniker attached to Seattle due to the surrounding green hills).
And there is now an even more exciting option. The Loupe Lounge boasts the world’s first and only revolving glass floor cocktail experience. Imagine being seated with your feet resting on a glass floor offering ever-changing views of what’s 500 feet (152 meters) below.
Seattle Space Needle fun fact #1
The original ‘SkyCity Restaurant’ was the world’s second revolving restaurant. It closed in September 2017, and after major multi-million dollar renovations, The new Loupe Lounge opened on April 9, 2021.
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A bit of Seattle Space Needle history
Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair – the Century 21 Exposition, it was considered a space-age wonder at the time. And fitting for the event whose theme was “The Age of Space.”
At a cost of $4.5 million dollars, the Space Needle was built in just 400 days and was ready in time for the fair. At the time it was built, it was state of the art and the tallest structure west of the Mississippi.
Seattle Space Needle fun fact #2
Over 2.3 million people visited the Space Needle during the World’s Fair. Since that time, nearly 60 million people have visited
Views from the top of the Seattle Space Needle
It takes only 41 seconds from the ground to the observation deck located at 520 feet. The tower’s top sits at just 605 feet.
We got lucky with the weather and Mt Rainer was visible in the distance. This isn’t always the case, despite this being one of the most classic shots used to promote the views.
At the top of this page is my shot of the snow-capped Mount Rainier in the distance.
With 360º viewing, there are plenty of other great views as we tower over the city of Seattle. Here are two more of my favorites.
Seattle Space Needle fun fact #3
Two of the elevators travel at 10 mph. This is the same speed in which a raindrop falls to earth. In contrast, snow falls much slower, at only 3 mph.
As a result, If you are in an elevator during a snowstorm, it appears to be snowing upwards.
Indoor and outdoor viewing
The two smaller images are from our last visit, before the multimillion-dollar renovations. The first is from the indoor portion of the observation area. It also featured a bar/eating area, gift shop, bathrooms, and guided signage highlighting key landmarks in each of the views. The second smaller shot is the former outdoor observation area featuring several free-to-use Swarovski telescopes.
The larger shot is from after the renovations and includes the tilting glass benches that lean out over the city. Called Skyriser, it’s on the Space Needle’s observation level.
When to head up the Seattle Space Needle
Day or night, that is the question. With options to head to the top from 10am until 9pm on weekdays or 10pm on the weekends, the choice is really yours. We opted to head up the tower about an hour before sunset. As a result, we got a bit of both day and evening.
However, if you are going to be in Seattle for a few days, the Seattle Pass may be your best deal. It saves you up to 44% on entrances to the city’s top five attractions and includes two trips up to the top of the Space Needle (within 24 hours of each other), so you can easily go day and night.
Seattle Space Needle fun fact #4
The Committee Hoping for Extra-Terrestrial Encounters to Save the Earth (CHEESE) claim possession of plans from the 1962 World’s Fair that show the Space Needle was constructed to send transmissions to advanced beings in other solar systems.
The Loupe Lounge
Offering cocktails and light snacks, it’s the views that bring people to this revolving lounge.
Designed like reinforced concrete, the structurally safe glass floor is made with 10 layers of glass and lots of built-in safety features.
Bookings allow visitors up to two hours at their table, which is four full revolutions, as it takes 30 minutes to make a complete turn. You can book here.
Opened in 2021, it is now a 21+ experience. This video will give you an idea of what it’s like.
Seattle Space Needle fun fact #5
While the glass offers clear and unobstructed views to the ground from the inside, it appears opaque from the ground.
Getting to the Space Needle on the Monorail
Depending on where you are staying, getting to the Space Needle can be part of the fun.
Also built in the then modern “George Jetson” style, the Seattle Center Monorail has remained in operation since it opened for the World’s Fair in 1962.
It has only two stops, running for one mile between 5th Avenue and Pine Street to the Space Needle complex. It is the first full-scale commercial monorail system built in the USA.
What you need to know before visiting the Space Needle
- The Space Needle is open every day from 10am closing at 9pm on Monday-Thursday, and at 10pm on Friday to Sunday.
- Tickets can be purchased for the Space Needle alone, as a combination with Chihuly Glass, or as part of Seattle CityPASS.
- Seattle CityPASS ticket holders can enter twice within 24 hours to see the sights both day and night. If you are in Seattle for a few days, the pass is a great deal. And it was easy to use.
- The best time to visit is before 11am or after 7pm when it is generally less crowded.
- Be sure to stop for your free photo before getting into the elevator.
- There is a bar on the observation deck offering wine, beer, juice, bar snacks, and some sweets.
Or if you are visiting for more than two days:
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Disclaimer: A guest of the Seattle Space Needle, I was also provided with a Seattle CityPASS. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.