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Space Needle

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published January 13th 2013
Back into the future with a view
[ADVERT]Some consider it kitschy, others admire its grace. One thing is sure: Space Needle is Seattle's most emblematic landmark. Overlooking the city from over 600 feet, it represents one of the top tourist attractions in Seattle, but also a point of interest for the locals' entertainment. Perched on its top, Skycity restaurant, is a great venue for a romantic dinner and the Swarovsky Telescopes and the recently added SkyQ, are a delight for visitors of all ages.

The Landmark's History

Space Needle Seattle
Erected on the occasion of 1962 Seattle's World Fair, the Space Needle has an interesting history. The initial idea was to build a tower that would embody the theme of the World Fair's edition – the 21st Century. This explains the tower's futuristic appearance.

Actually, the landmark's final design was a compromise between different visions. One of the architects working on the project (Edward E. Carlson) had initially designed a lollypop shaped structure inspired by the German Stuttgart Tower. Carlson's sketch was amended by John Graham Jr., who considered the flying saucer motif would be more appropriate. Consequently, Victor Steinbrueck came with the idea of an hourglass shaped tower that solved several engineering issues related to the building's weigh center and stability.

These were not the only changes Seattle's Space Needle knew along the years. Initially, the tower was orange. Later on, it turned white, and last year as a 50th anniversary gift, it returned to the original "galaxy gold" tone. A big flame could be seen years ago on top of the building, but it was shut down for environmental reasons.

Skycity Restaurant

The tower's 500 feet high storey is now home to a panoramic restaurant specializing in Pacific Northwest cuisine. It was opened in the year 2000. Beforehand, the floor was shared by two other restaurants (Space Needle and Emerald Suite). Although the food is rather decent and Skycity Restaurant cannot be described as a tourist trap, its main attraction lies in the views visitors get over the city while having their meal. Moreover, the whole place rotates 360 degrees in about three quarters of an hour.
View from Space Needle
View from Space Needle - Wikipedia/M.O.Stevens

Observation Deck

If you are a scenic views lover, you can visit the Observation Deck located on the upper floor, 20 feet above the restaurant. The Observation Deck has two areas. If it's not really windy (as Seattle can be during the cold season), you can admire the city's skyline and its surroundings from the outdoor observation area. This is a great spot for panoramic shots over the mountains. The indoors observation is enclosed by glass windows. Located a few feet above the outdoors one, provides unhindered views over the city.

However, the most recent and exciting attraction at the Observation Deck is SkyQ – a platform of 5 digital kiosks that provide visitors with a realistic hands-on sightseeing experience. Another thing you should try while visiting the Space Needle is spying on Seattle's residents. You can use the Swarovski Telescopes, adjust the lenses, and set your objectives on an area of your choice.
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Why? Get a panoramic view over Seattle
When: All year round
Where: 400, Broad Street, Seattle, WA 98109
Cost: $19 a regular ticket
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