The Space Needle is a large tower in Seattle, Washington, and is one of the most well known landmarks of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The Space Needle is located in the Seattle Center and stands 605 feet (184 meters) high at its highest point and 138 feet (42 meters) wide. The tower weighs approximately 9,550 tons.
The Needle was built for the World's Fair of 1962, during which time nearly 20,000 people per day visited its elevators. When the landmark was completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River at the time. The World Fair put Seattle on the map and as a result the Space Needle is the most recognizable structures in the entire city. It is truly Seattle's most famous tourist attraction.
The Space Needle is built to last and able to withstand winds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h) and earthquakes up to a 9.5 magnitude. The tower also has 25 lightning rods on its roof to prevent lightning strikes and damage. There is also a safety grid that was installed around the platform in 1974 after two successful suicide attempts. The safety precaution prevents jumpers from parachuting off the platform or plunging to their death.
The Space Needle Observation Deck towers 520 feet above ground and offers panoramic indoor and outdoor viewing of Seattle and the surrounding area. The Observation Deck also features free telescopes, colorful displays filled with Space Needle facts and trivia, and an array of unexpected surprises. There is a gift shop with a rotating Sky City Restaurant at approximately 500 feet in the air.
On a clear day, which Seattle does not get many of; you can see for miles in the distance. Visitors also have the option of a free-guided tour at the top. During the tour the guide will point out Seattle landmarks and explain a bit of history. From the top of the Needle a great view of downtown can be caught, as well as the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands.
At the bottom of the Needle are a few alternative tourist attractions. For kids, there is a mini amusement park. For music lovers, there is the Experience Music Project that serves also as a museum of American Music. The Pacific Science Project is also a great place to learn and have a good time. And for the sci-fi buff, there is the Science Fiction Museum and Hall Of Fame. This building contains interactive exhibits as well as memorabilia. Parking is plentiful at the Space Needle and there is a substantial grassy area at the foot of the tower to picnic in the sun or rest beneath the shady spot of a tree.
The Seattle Space Needle is difficult to miss anywhere you go in the Greater Seattle area. With its easy access and prestige, visitors should not miss this extraordinary structure.