Visiting the Space Needle seems like a really touristy thing to do in Seattle, and maybe it is, but we really enjoyed this downtown adventure. It only took about 90 minutes, but it was like nothing we’d every really done before. This was one of our favorite Seattle adventures, and our boys still talk about going to the top of the Space Needle.
When we visited, they encouraged advanced tickets, but you can buy tickets when you arrive. They have a few different ticket options, including one that combines your ticket with other downtown icons like Chihuly Gardens, which features glass art. We didn’t have time for an extra adventure, but you can also look into the Seattle City pass. It has the Space Needle, the Aquarium, and lots of other spots, so if you are going to be around for a full day or more, it might be worth it.
The tour begins with a small Space Needle museum. We enjoyed learning the history of the tower and seeing photos of it as it was built. Many people cruised right through this section without spending any time at all. We spent around 10-15 enjoying the unguided tour. There are a few hands-on things for children, too.
Next, we got on an elevator with a glass front. We could see out over the city of Seattle as it shot upward at 10 miles per hour to the top. Then we shakily walked out on the viewing deck. You can spend as much time as you like on the deck of the Space Needle. Large glass panes look out over the city, and though many people stay back away from the edge, others press right up against the glass. There are also see-through benches to sit on and enjoy the 360 degree view.
There are photo opportunities in a few places up top. These are nice because they are part of your paid admission, so you can take a picture and have it sent to you when you leave. The first spot is right before the elevator, you take a group photo with a green screen and choose your background. The second photo opportunities are around the loop called “sky-high selfies.” Scan your ticket and the camera takes a selfie for you.
We walked the full loop around the top of the needle, getting braver as we went. To the south, Mount Rainier dominated the skyline. Away to the northeast, we saw the North Cascades, and across the Sound to the west, we could see the peaks of Olympic National Park. It really was a unique, and “worth it” view.
We didn’t know that we weren’t done yet. From the upper deck, you walk downstairs to the Loupe. A loupe is a small magnifying glass that jewelers squint into their eye to look at stones. This Loupe is a glass floor that allows you to look straight down between your feet at the ground below. Again, we walked with much trepidation, but got braver as we learned to trust the glass. Not only is the floor glass, but it moves. It very slowly rotates around the Space Needle. So you can walk or ride around this level. One of the best parts of this tour was watching our kids get braver, but we also enjoyed watching other people work on their fears, too.
The elevator to the bottom lets you out in the gift shop. It’s rather large, and our favorite item was a stuffed Space Needle! (No, we didn’t buy one). But we did enjoy our trip to the Space Needle. You can call it touristy, but we enjoyed the tour! For more details on the Space Needle, visit their website.
The area around the Space Needle is full of other adventures. The Seattle Center is home to the Museum of Pop Culture, The Chiluly Gardens, the Pacific Science Center, Monorail Station, and tons more. We had a few minutes before our visit to the Space Needle and enjoyed the Artists at Play playground area. There is an amazing playground and the Space Needle is in the background, which makes it even more fun. So if you have time, make sure to walk over and check it out. For other adventures in Seattle, check out our Things to do in Seattle post.