Space Needle of the Future
Sixty years ago, Seattle World’s Fair organizer Edward Carlson dined in the rotating restaurant of a Stuttgart TV tower while visiting Germany. Impressed, he doodled its design on a place mat and brought the idea back to Puget Sound. Thus, the Space Needle was born. Construction wrapped in only 400 days, and the tower opened just in time for the fair’s kickoff.
The World’s Fair ended but the Needle remained, its silhouette defining the city’s skyline, with few changes, for decades. Then in 2009 a team of architects began designing upgrades. “We spent almost 10 years planning because every aspect was so precise,” says Karen Olson, Space Needle chief marketing officer. Now, after the $100 million renovation, the tower incorporates 176 tons of glass. On the observation deck, steel walls have given way to floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, cable fencing has been replaced by glass panels. One level down, a revolving glass floor lets patrons see the street 500 feet below. “Now it looks sleek and modern,” says Olson. “And we have the most thrilling view in town.” —Mary Frances Hind
Chihuly's Garden and Glass
Over the years, Dale Chihuly, a native of Tacoma, Washington, has pushed glassmaking to extremes of shape and scale. The Mille Fiori (Thousand Flower) room features radiant stalks that twist their way toward the ceiling. Nearby, golden starfish and purple urchins seem to drift in a blue kelp forest. Puget Sound sunlight (if you’re lucky) adds beauty to a 100-foot vine of orange, yellow, and red blossoms that trail along the roof of a barn-size glasshouse.
In a garden outside, fuchsias and dogwoods mingle with surreal glass sculptures, including The Sun, an exuberant burst of red and yellow flames. There’s even a café decorated with vintage radios and accordions.—Chris Woolston
If incredible machines make your heart soar, spend a day at the Museum of Flight, where you can gape at the remarkable aircraft and spacecraft on display, including the supersonic Concorde; a replica of the Fokker Dr.I, a famous World War I fighter plane; and an Apollo command module.
For an unparalleled panorama of the Seattle's skyline, head to Kerry Park in the historic Queen Anne neighborhood, named for its iconic hill. This small green patch packs a big punch on clear days, when snowcapped Mount Rainier comes into view.
Nearby Places to Explore
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