Mid-Century Modern design was all the rage in 1962. The Space Needle was built for the World Fair. The fair was comprised of structures and exhibits that showcased science, technology, art, fashion, and the world of tomorrow. To celebrate the half century mark, the owners of the Space Needle painted the top galaxy gold, just like it looked during the 1962 World Fair.
After the fair, the Space Needle remained, of course, along with the other buildings. The area is called Seattle Center and is the home of the Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project (a recent addition), International Fountain, and the brand new Chihuly Garden and Glass, featuring work by local glass artist Dale Chihuly. It’s also where the monorail departs from.
Just peeking at the Seattle Center site, shows an enormous number of events. In addition to walking the grounds and taking in the art and architecture, on any given day, you’re bound to find music events and cultural celebrations.
When I first came to Seattle I was disappointed that the Space Needle wasn’t taller. The CN Tower in my hometown of Toronto is over twice its height. But after living here since the needle was 38 years old, I realize that size doesn’t matter. The character, the history, and what the needle represents is what’s important.
Even though the Needle isn’t the tallest building in Seattle, it appears that way from Highland Park in Queen Anne. That’s where I took these pictures. From this vantage point, the needle is in the foreground and the city is behind it. Downtown Seattle is almost a mile away from the Seattle Center.
If you’re in Seattle, check out the park–it’s just a strip of land, but has fabulous views. Then, head over to the Needle. Instead of paying (and waiting) to go to the observation deck, I recommend going straight up to Sky City, the revolving restaurant at the top of the Needle. You won’t need to pay for an elevator ticket and you can bypass the lines. Once there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and Puget Sound while you eat.
Happy birthday Space Needle!