The city of Seattle is known to be a coastal seaport city. It is located between Puget Sound which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean to the west and Lake Washington to the east. The city itself consists of a hilly terrain. The hilliest areas include Capitol Hill, First Hill and Beacon Hill. Let’s not forget to mention one of the most prominent features in Seattle, Mount Rainer.

Now that you’ve been reminded of the lay of the land. It’s time to experience it. I’ve come up with three locations to give you the best views of Seattle.

 Smith Tower Chinese Room & Observation Deck

Let’s start with Seattle’s oldest skyscraper. The 42-story tower was built in 1914 long before the Space Needle arrived in 1962. Back then, the Smith Tower was not only the fourth-tallest building in the world, but for 50 years, the tallest on the west coast. So what’s so special about this view? First off, it offers a 360 degree view of the entire city. You can admire the beautiful skyline as well as the Space Needle. You can also see the Seahawks stadium and watch the ferries come and go. If you’re really lucky, on a sunny day you can get a spectacular view of Mount Rainer.

smith tower

Columbia Center Observation Deck: The Sky View Observatory

The 73rd floor of Columbia Center has a lot to offer. It extended its panoramic view from 270 degrees to a full 360 in 2013. This deck features displays at each vantage point telling the story of the city and the region. You can admire the views of the Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainer, Mount Baker, the Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay and of course, the Space Needle. The Columbia Center was built in 1985 and was formerly known as the Bank of America Tower and Columbia-Seafirst Center. With its strong architectural structure, it can withstand earthquakes and hurricane force winds, making it one of the strongest and safest buildings in the Pacific Northwest.



columbia center

Space Needle

Next is the dominant icon of Seattle. The 605-foot structure was completed in 1961. It was inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany. The Needle can withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour. You can enjoy the view from the observation deck or SkyCity restaurant which has a 14-foot ring that rotates!

Here are some fun facts:

  • There are 848 steps from the bottom to the top of the Observation Deck.
  • During the construction, it took 467 cement trucks less than 12 hours to fill the foundation hole.
  • On a hot day, the Needle expands about once inch.
  • There are 25 lightning rods on the roof of the Needle to withstand lightning strikes.

Space Needle

So there you have it. I gave you three locations that will give you the best view of Seattle. If you are visiting the Emerald City, I highly suggest experiencing at least one of these fascinating views. And if you are a long-time resident who hasn’t been to these venues, it’s time to see what your city has to offer!