When the Space Needle opened in 1962, it was the perfect symbol for that era — and it’s still pretty cool. Its 520-foot-perch isn’t the loftiest in town; that honor goes to the Skyview Observatory atop Seattle’s tallest building, the Columbia Center. Yet the Space Needle remains the symbol of Seattle. It’s hard to imagine any other local landmark even coming close.
Extensive renovations are now underway that should dramatically improve the views, including a glass floor for the rotating restaurant (temporarily closed) below the observation deck (still open). Locals are pretty jaded when it comes to the Space Needle, but we’ll all be checking it out once the renovations are done in 2018.
The Needle is the most prominent attraction at the Seattle Center, where the World’s Fair took place in 1962. Other sites include Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Pacific Science Center, and MoPOP (the Museum of Pop Culture, formerly the Experience Music Project). If you have several days in Seattle, plan to spend one of them in and around Seattle Center. You won’t need to drive anywhere at all — a bonus in this town. The major attractions aren’t cheap, but there are some combo-deals available and many hotels and restaurants nearby.