Volunteer Park is loaded with fun activities and incredible history, but nothing is a bigger draw to me than the Volunteer Park Water Tower. More than 100-years-old, the Volunteer Park Water Tower provides a little bit of exercise and a fun view of Seattle that you can’t find anywhere else.

Built in 1906, the Volunteer Park Water Tower is located in the southeast corner of Volunteer Park. It’s pretty hard to miss. The tower stands more than 75-feet tall, and since it sits on top of Capitol Hill, the tower actually reaches an overall elevation of 520-feet, making it the highest point on Capitol Hill.

Volunteer Park Water Tower

Here’s the best part: you can climb the 107 stairs to the top and soak in 360-degree view of Seattle. At the top of the tower, there are several open windows for you to look through. There are bars and grating on all the windows, but unless you’re trying to take pictures, it doesn’t stop you from enjoying the view. There are also several high trees in the area, but you can still see downtown Seattle, the Space Needle (which reaches a maximum elevation of 725-feet — just 205-feet higher than the Volunteer Park Water Tower), Puget Sound, Bellevue and much more.

A lot of people don’t realize you can walk to the top of the Volunteer Park Water Tower. My mom has lived in Seattle for more than 25 years, and she was surprised when I recently took her to the observation deck. Many folks who do know about the tower say it’s their favorite view of Seattle.

Volunteer Park Water Tower View

Since Volunteer Park is open daily from 6am-11pm, you can take in the view from the top of the tower day or night. Plus, it’s absolutely free. It just takes a little work to get to the top.

Believe it or not, the Volunteer Park Water Tower is also popular for rock climbers. Since the tower is made of uneven brick, it allows them to grab a hold and either climb to the top or traverse along the base. I’m not really sure about the legality of it all, but to each their own.

Volunteer Park Water Tower

NOTE: I’m not encouraging or suggesting you climb, traverse, or rappel from the tower, I’m simply mentioning that people do it.

I’m always on the prowl for the best views of Seattle, and the water tower provides another fun option to check out. It’s a great place for a little exercise (whether you’re climbing stairs or the outside of the tower) and you definitely can’t beat the price (again, it’s FREE).

Have you ever taken in the view of Seattle from the Volunteer Park Water Tower? What did you think of the experience? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more cool places to check out around the Emerald City and beyond.


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window looking out to seattle