Spread across 74 acres (30 hectares) in the heart of the city, Seattle Center was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and today houses many of the city’s top attractions. This is where you’ll find the Space Needle, International Fountain, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture, and Seattle Children’s Museum.
So much is happening in Seattle Center that it would be almost impossible to miss on a trip to the city. Just about every Seattle sightseeing tour stops at the iconic Space Needle (once the tallest building west of the Mississippi), along with other notable attractions and features such as Pike Place Market, Elliott Bay, and Pioneer Square. Admission to many Seattle Center attractions—the Space Needle and Pacific Science Center among them—is included with the Seattle CityPass.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Seattle Center is a must-visit for all first-time visitors.
- Pick out what you want to see before you go; there’s a ton to do here, and some attractions are far apart.
- Most facilities within Seattle Center are wheelchair accessible.
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the center.
How to Get There
Located in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood, just north of Belltown, the Seattle Center is easily accessible by public transportation: 15 different metro bus routes lead here, and the Seattle Center Monorail runs from downtown. For drivers, there are three nearby parking garages.
When to Get There
There’s not really a bad time to visit Seattle Center, though it’s a good idea to visit both during the day and after dark to get a comprehensive feel for this hub of activity. Over Labor Day weekend, the Seattle Center hosts the huge and internationally popular Bumbershoot festival, featuring thousands of performers and artists. There’s almost always something going on at Seattle Center, so check the event calendar before your trip.
Seattle Space Needle
The Space Needle easily ranks as Seattle’s most famous landmark and the most visited attraction within Seattle Center. While it’s visible from throughout the city, you haven’t really seen this landmark until you’ve visited the observation deck 520 feet (158 meters) above Emerald City. From the top, the 360-degree view takes in the Elliott Bay waterfront, the lights of downtown, and even majestic Mount Rainier in the background.