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Nothing is more characteristic of the Seattle skyline than the view of the futuristic Space Needle. This ‘UFO on stilts’ has been keeping watch over the city since 1962 and is an international icon. Take the lift to the top and enjoy 360-degree views of the ‘Emerald City’.
Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Space Needle in Seattle is a relic from a World’s Fair and in this case the Expo held in 1962. Inspired by the theme of the ‘21st century’, Edward E. Carlson, the initiator of the World’s Fair in Seattle, sketched on a napkin a futuristic tower with a balloon shape. His design was revised numerous times and architect John Graham ultimately converted the balloon model into a flying disc.
“Ironically enough, the first manager of the Space Needle was afraid of heights”
The Space Needle was built in record time. It took only 400 days to complete its construction and the tower was finished 4 months before the official opening of the World’s Fair. Although the needle is now white it was originally orange, or ‘galaxy gold’ as the colour is also called. The Space Needle is part of the Seattle Center, a park full of attractions built for the World’s Fair. The monorail is also a remnant from the expo and connects downtown Seattle to the Seattle Center. It is still the easiest way to get to the famous Space Needle.
A high-speed lift takes visitors to the 160-metre-high observation deck where the 360-degree views of the city are quite fantastic, from the snowy top of Mount Rainier to the downtown skyscrapers and glistening water of Puget Sound. Various interactive screens provide information on the surroundings, including a video display where you can watch how light falls on the skyline at any time of day.
For a spectacular brunch, lunch or romantic dinner, the SkyCity restaurant is the place to be. You don’t have to choose which table has the best view because the restaurant rotates slowly, so you can enjoy one fantastic view after another while eating – though it may take a minute to find your table again after a visit to the restroom. Good to know: SkyCity diners do not have to pay the admission fee for the observation deck.