Columbia Center Sky View Observatory
I’m always on a quest to find the best views of Seattle. I’ve put miles on my car, climbed hills, and even hopped on a boat to snap photos of the city’s skyline. There’s one place in the Emerald City that offers a view like no other — the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory.
For those of you not familiar with the area, Columbia Center is the tallest building in Seattle. It stands nearly 1,000-feet in the heart of downtown (701 5th Ave. — it’s pretty hard to miss). Near the tip-top of the skyscraper on the 73rd floor, you’ll find the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory (there are 76 floors in all). At 902-feet, the observation deck is the highest public viewing point west of the Mississippi River (nearly 300-feet higher than Seattle’s iconic Space Needle).
NOTE: It’s a little bit of a maze to find the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory. After entering the building on 5th Avenue, look for the elevators labeled 37-76. Take that elevator to the Sky Lobby on the 40th floor. After that, you need to find the elevators marked 66-76. Obviously, press the 73 button, and then you’re finally there.
After a pair of ear-popping elevator rides to the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory, you’ll find yourself with a 360-degree panoramic view of Seattle. To the north, you’ll see the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, Lake Union, and Mount Baker. To the south, there’s Mount Rainier, CenturyLink Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders), Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners), and the Port of Seattle. To the east, you’ll spot Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains, and Bellevue. To the west, there’s the Puget Sound, Seattle waterfront (including The Great Wheel), and the Olympic Mountains.
To help you get a better understanding of what you’re looking at, the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory has plenty of fun displays. Not only do they include maps, but there’s also tons of information about the Seattle area. You might think only tourists would take something away from those displays, but there were several times Tove and I were sharing interesting tidbits that we found with each other.
The Columbia Center Sky View Observatory is open every day (with the exception of private parties and holidays) from 10am-8pm. You need to buy tickets to enjoy the view. It’s $12.50 for adults, $9 for kids 6-12, and free for children 5-and-under. Seniors (55+), students, and military with ID can all get in for $9. You can purchase tickets online or in person on the 73rd floor.
Since it’s open ten hours a day, the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory offers an awesome glimpse of Seattle at day and night. On our first visit the other day, Tove and I checked out the observation deck at night. It was truly incredible to see the Emerald City dressed in lights. We haven’t been to the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory during the day, but judging from the pictures we’ve seen from our friends, it looks like an amazing experience. We can’t wait to go back and admire the city during the day!
Have you visited the Columbia Center Sky View Observatory? How was your experience? What was your favorite view? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more cool things to see and do in and around the Emerald City!