Where to find the best views in Seattle


Whether you arrive in Seattle by airplane, highway or boat, stunning views of the skyline against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains will no doubt make you want to snap a few pics. Instead of trying to catch a decent shot on the move, plan an outing to locations where you can capture the city’s best views (or just sit back and enjoy them).

Aerial view of Seattle buildings
Looking at Downtown Seattle from the Columbia Center Lookout

A Seattle icon: the Space Needle
Rocket 520 feet up for a panoramic perspective from the Observation Deck at the Seattle Space Needle, the city’s go-to spot to catch a view. The price of your ticket buys more than an elevator ride to the top. It’s also your passport to free interactive experiences. Perfectly positioned cameras capture pics of you along with the view at stations on the ground floor and O Deck—you can download them for free at kiosks or online.

Night and day: Kerry Park
Bring your tripod to Kerry Park for low-light shooting at day’s end. Watch Mount Rainier turn a dusky pink as daylight fades, providing a dramatic backdrop to the city skyline and space needle. As the night lights come up, capture vivid scenes of ferries drifting across your viewfinder with the city blazing in the background. Kerry Park is also an ideal place to watch a storm roll in or have a picnic to savor the view on a warm, clear day.

The view from Capitol Hill: Volunteer Park Water Tower
Put on your comfy hiking shoes and trek up 107 steps to the top of Volunteer Park Water Tower for 360-degree views of the city. Nestled on the highest point of Capitol Hill, the tower gives views of the city skyline, Puget Sound, Lake Washington and Queen Anne Hill. When you descend, visit the Victorian-style Conservatory to see exotic plants or stop into the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Rise above it all: Skyview Observatory
Climb on up to the Skyview Observatory, the tallest public viewing area in the Northwest. The observatory sits on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, giving you a view from 902 feet above ground level. You’ll be looking down on the Space Needle from your lofty viewpoint nearly 300 feet above the famous icon. Drink in the view—and a local draft beer—at the Sky View Cafe.

A revolutionary view: Seattle Great Wheel
While it’s only 175 feet tall, Seattle’s Great Wheel is sure to give you one of the most dramatic views of the city. You’ll be cozy rain or shine in a fully enclosed gondola that holds up to eight people. Gaze up at the city skyline or out over Elliott Bay as you make three full revolutions of the giant wheel. For an extra memorable experience, buy a ticket for the VIP gondola. Recline in a leather bucket seat and listen to music on your private sound system as you enjoy the extra perspective through a glass bottom floor.