Is $eattle $pace Needle Worth The Moola?

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?

Screen shot – Space Needle admission rates

Answer: That depends.

Regular General Admission is $37.50 per person. Valet parking at the base of the Needle is extra, depending on how long you stay ($26 for three hours).

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.

Space Needle’s revolving glass floor.

Some Questions

To determine whether or not that kind of moola is worth it, here are some questions you might want to consider:

  1. Is this trip for a special occasion?
  2. 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.)
  3. How much time do you have?
View from the top

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:

  1. Space Needle
  2. Seattle Aquarium
  3. Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
  4. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) or Woodland Park Zoo
  5. 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

Ready to ‘experience the wow’ at the Seattle Space Needle!

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?


60th in the sky!

In fact, the Space Needle wasn’t the highlight of our one-day trip to Seattle. That title goes to the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. For more on that, see my post: Count On It.

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:

Have you ever been to the Space Needle? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?

6 Responses

  1. Heidi

    I love this post! So informative and well organized. I want to visit Seattle and this is very helpful.

  2. Melanie

    I have been to Seattle in the last couple of years and did a lot of the tourist stuff. Since I am afraid of heights, while my husband and kids went up in the needle, I chose the Chihuly glass garden. We had bought the pass. They all loved their experience and I loved mine. I agree it’s a lot of money, but for them I would say it was a memory they will always have together and the pictures are pretty amazing.

  3. Margaret

    Thank you so much for this detailed information. I especially appreciate you sharing the good and not so good in regards to the cost and what you get for the visit. It is something I would like to do… Just because, but if in Seattle will definitely try to get the$99 pass that lets you see 5 ( I think) landmarks!

    • HikerBabe

      If you have the time, the CityPass is the best deal in town.