The Space Needle (400 Broad St., 206/443-2111 or 800/937-9582, www.spaceneedle.com, 9 a.m.11 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 9 a.m.–midnight Fri.–Sat., $16 adults, $14 for seniors, $8 for ages 4–113, free for younger kids) is one of Seattle’s trademarks, a 605-foot tower topped by a flying saucer viewing deck and restaurant.
Elevators levitate you to the top, where you can walk out on the observation deck for a 360-degree view of downtown Seattle, of planes flying by, and of the Cascades, Mt. Rainier, and the Olympics on a clear day. On a rainy day you may be able to make out downtown. Detailed signboards describe the buildings and other surrounding features.
The Space Needle is privately owned and highly commercialized, but the spectacular view makes you forget the make-a-buck setting. If you have restaurant reservations, the ride is free.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition