If you're planning a trip to Seattle, Washington --- or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, for that matter --- the Seattle Space Needle is an absolute must-visit tourist destination.
The 605-foot tall, 9,550-ton Space Needle is a beloved icon of the region, which is referred to locally as Sea-Tac --- short for Seattle-Tacoma. Remember to bring along a camera when you visit the Space Needle, as there's a observation deck, situated 520 feet off the ground.
It takes precisely 41 seconds to ride the elevator from street level to the observation deck. Once you arrive, you'll enjoy a positively incredible view of the entire region, including downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier, the nearby islands, and the Cascade and Olympic mountains off in the distance.
Notably, you'll want to carefully time your visit to the Space Needle. If possible, avoid visiting on weekends, as there's often a wait. It should be noted that on a windy day, the elevators slow to half speed, so the trip will take twice as long as normal --- about a minute and a half. So if it's windy during your visit to Seattle's Space Needle, then you're more apt to find yourself waiting in line.
Once you're finished taking in the incredible view, you can make your way to the gift shop or dine in the Space Needle Restaurant, which actually rotates! It takes 47 minutes to make a full revolution, so you'll enjoy a 360-degree view while you dine.
Space Needle Top Photo: savannah_sam
Interesting Facts About the Space Needle
When you visit the Space Needle, you'll be visiting a historic landmark --- a title that was earned in April, 1999.
The Space Needle was constructed in anticipation of the 1962 World's Fair and at the time of its completion, the structure was the largest building west of the Mississippi River.
The Space Needle is equipped with 25 separate lightning rods, which protect the structure and its occupants during a thunderstorm. The needle was built to withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour --- that's the strength of a Category 5 hurricane! In fact, the Space Needle actually sways in the wind! It's said to move approximately one inch per every 10 miles per hour of wind speed, making the sway virtually impossible to detect.
But a much more significant sway occurred in 2001, when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Sea-Tac region. It's said that the water actually sloshed out of the Space Needle's toilets during the event! But the Space Needle's designer anticipated this, as the Pacific Northwest is located along the eastern edge of the 'Ring of Fire' --- a ring of earthquake-prone regions that outlines the Pacific tectonic plate. This leaves Seattle --- and the Space Needle --- prone to seismic activity such as earthquakes. Therefore, the Space Needle was built to withstand a 9.1 magnitude earthquake, although much smaller earthquakes have caused damage to the structure.
Space Needle and Cascades Photo: nickrahaim
Tickets start at $11.00 USD.
To get information on hours, directions and other information for your visit (or to view the live Space Needle webcam!), visit www.SpaceNeedle.com.