Seattle’s Space Needle is a Northwest icon. Towering over Puget Sound like an urban giant over metropolitan mice, the 605-foot tall structure reigns supreme over the Seattle cityscape. On a clear day, the Space Needle offers jaw-dropping views of the Cascades and Olympic Mountain Ranges, Mount Rainier, and Puget Sound. It’s a world-famous landmark and one of the most photographed structures in the world.
But is it worth the cost of admission?
Answer: That depends.
Yes, the views are breathtaking on a clear day. (But really? How often is it clear in Seattle?) No, you don’t have to use the valet parking. But other parking lots are blocks away. And the cost is about the same.
So you’re basically looking at about $100 for two people to visit the Space Needle. Take pictures. Oo and ah. Look through the world’s only revolving glass floor.
To determine whether or not that kind of moola is worth it, here are some questions you might want to consider:
- Is this trip for a special occasion?
- Is this your once in a lifetime chance to visit Seattle, or will you be back? (If you’re a local, don’t bother. There are lots of other cool places to visit that cost a whole lot less. More on that in a min.)
- How much time do you have?
Regarding Question #1:
If you’re marking a special occasion – say, a marriage proposal, a 50th birthday or a silver wedding anniversary – the Space Needle will doubtless make your special day even more memorable. If not, there are plenty of other worthwhile attractions in the area that cost a whole lot less. (See below.)
Regarding Question #2:
If you’ve never been to the Space Needle and this is your first and likely only trip to Seattle, then you probably oughtta pop in, if for no other reason than to say you’ve been there. Take enough pictures to last a lifetime!
Likewise, if you only have one day in Seattle and have never been to the Space Needle, then you’ll probably want to cough it up and buy some tickets.
Regarding Question #3
If you have a few days to roam the region, forget the single admission thing. As long as you have the time, your best bet is to purchase a Seattle City Pass. You can visit five Seattle area destinations for $99 per person with the pass, including:
CityPASS Admission Includes:
- Space Needle
- Seattle Aquarium
- Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
- Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) or Woodland Park Zoo
- Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Center
Here’s the catch:
You can easily spend a half or a full day at any one of these attractions. So buying a City Pass for a one-day whirlwind visit to Seattle doesn’t make a lot of sense. You don’t save much because you won’t have time to visit much.
If you have the time, however, and don’t want to shell out an arm and a leg for regular admission to multiple Seattle attractions, the CityPass is definitely the way to go.
The Bottom Line
We did the Space Needle thing last November for my 60th birthday. We’d never been. Was it cool? Yep. Was the revolving glass floor awesome? Sure. Was it worth $100 for the 60 minutes we were there – or about $100/hour?
Yes, the Space Needle is a world-famous Northwest icon. And if you don’t mind paying through the nose to experience it, go for it. Otherwise, skip it. Cuz frankly, there are a whole lot better ways to drop $100 around Seattle.
Still Cool But Way More Affordable Options to the Space Needle:
- A ferry ride across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island and the Bloedel Reserve
- A day at the Woodland Park Zoo
- The Rhododendron Botanical Gardens in Federal Way
- The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field
Have you ever been to the Space Needle? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?