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WebsiteTake me there
While the Space Needle no longer has its 1962 title of tallest building west of the Mississippi, its retro-futuristic "flying saucer" façade still holds court over Seattle. A 41-second elevator ride takes you 520 feet up to the indoor/outdoor observation deck, which offers 360-degree views of the downtown skyline, Elliott Bay, the Olympic and Cascade ranges, and Mount Rainier. There's also the revolving SkyCity Restaurant, and at ground level, the SpaceBase gift shop.
How to get to the Space Needle
From I-5, take the Mercer St./Seattle Center exit and turn left onto 5th Ave N, then right onto Broad Street. There's self-parking in nearby garages, and valet parking is offered for a fee. A monorail from downtown (5th Ave. & Pine St.) travels direct to the Space Needle.
Best and worst time to go to the Space Needle
While a sunny, clear day offers you a better view of the mammoth Mount Rainier, the Seattle skyline after dark can be just as captivating. Be sure to book your tickets and select a Launch Time in advance online to avoid the general admission line. Otherwise, a weekday morning is the best time to go to avoid long waits and crowded elevators.
Admission to the Space Needle
Tickets are approximately $20, but there's a discount for buying online in advance. Dining at the upscale SkyCity Restaurant includes free admission to the observation deck.
Must see/do at the Space Needle
The interactive kiosks on the observation deck are as good as a guided tour. Don't forget to take a photo in front of the green screen on the ground level before boarding the elevator — you'll be able to access that image on the kiosk and have it emailed to you for free.
Other places to visit near the Space Needle
The Needle is adjacent to a day's worth of activities in the Seattle Center, including the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, the Experience Music Project, and the Pacific Science Center.
Insider tip for visitors to the Space Needle
Seattle's climate can be tricky, and any weather condition on the ground is amplified at 500 feet in the sky. If it's a slightly breezy day, bring a jacket, because it'll be much windier on the observation deck. The same goes for fog — try to wait until it clears for better visibility.
Author's bio: Amy Cassell is a Seattle-based writer and editor. She loves words, travel, music, and naps.