As New York has the Empire State Building and Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Seattle has the Space Needle. Built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the futuristic tower has been hovering over the expanding skyline like an inquisitive UFO ever since. On clear days, the observation deck yields panoramic views of the entire city, Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges—and if you’re lucky, Mount Rainier, which lies 100 miles southeast of the city. The neat interactive kiosks provide factoids about the city and allow you to zoom in on different parts of the view—if you can’t get tickets to a Seattle Mariners game, try zooming in on the opening pitch from here.
Tip: Though it seems like a good deal (you don’t pay admission if you dine), skip SkyCity Restaurant—it’s grossly overpriced and the food is mediocre. If you really want to eat in the rotating eatery, opt for brunch, which is the best of the three meals offered.
Admission: $16 adults; $14 seniors; $8 children.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.