Everyone knows about the Space Needle. Tourists flock to it while the Columbia Center sits not even 1.5 miles away waving it's arms like the middle child at a pool party, yelling, "Hey! Look at me mom, I can do a back flip." But, alas, Mom only looks at the prize youngest who can do a cannonball.
The Space Needle stands at 605 feet and costs $22 to visit. The Columbia Center sits at nearly 1,000 feet and costs $14.75 to visit. Obviously you have to factor in the fame of the Space Needle, I mean it is a souvenir from our first moon landing (no, it isn't), and it is located in the beautiful Seattle Center park, which offers a lot of other great things to do. However, if you have already been or would like the city views for a bit less money, we recommend you wander downtown to the Columbia Center, the tallest building in Seattle, and check out their Sky View Observatory.
Once you make your way to the top (it requires switching a few elevators, but everything is sign posted clearly) pay the doorman and then soak in views of Seattle in all directions. As locals we stayed for over an hour finding our favorite landmarks from above and watching our tiny city function from 73 stories up.
In addition to the views, the observatory walls are covered in fun facts about the city. We loved learning about the floating bridges that connect us with the Eastside (520 Bridge is the longest floating bridge in the world. WHOA!) and seeing the various structures around Seattle that rank as tallest in the city.
A Few Insider Tips:
- There is a mall-sized food court on the first 3 floors of the Columbia Center. If you are hungry when you visit, go check out the offerings downstairs, there is something for everyone.
- While we definitely recommend the Sky View Observatory, there is a Starbucks located on the 40th floor of the Columbia Center that you can visit for free (don't be a peasant, buy a coffee at least) and still see some spectacular views of the city!
- The Sky Deck Observatory has a small cafe where you can buy light food and drinks from. The beer and wine are all local, so if you want to sample some PNW beverages this is a great place to grab a drink to enjoy!