experiences

Where to Find the Best Views of Seattle

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My trip to Seattle last week was charmed — every day was gloriously bright and sunny, the kind of day where the sunshine just seems to sparkle. So on my day off I decided some skyscraper views were in order, but where to go?

There was the obvious choice of the Seattle Space Needle, but it’s expensive and was a bit removed from the other stops on my list.

The Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center was highly recommended, and a bit cheaper at $14.25. I was also told that the Starbucks on the 40th floor was just as good and would only cost the price of a drink (or free if you’re just popping in).

I looked into other places mentioned online and discovered the top floor bar, R. View at the Renaissance Marriott had been closed and converted into a club lounge and Top of the Hilton at the nearby Hilton now only had limited access and even then only til 2PM.

So Sky View Observatory it was! I recommend entering on the 5th Avenue side as coming in from 4th Avenue like I did has you going up several escalators and an elevator just to get to the main lobby to take the main elevator.

Once in the main elevator you go up to the 40th floor, and hang a right, you’ll see the Starbucks immediately, which in my opinion, only has mediocre views. If you want a hint of the Sound and don’t want to pay, it’s a good option, but if you want to see mountains, keep going.

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle 40th floor starbucks view

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle Starbucks 40th floor

Arriving at the Sky View Observatory at around 2:30PM on a Friday, I found it delightfully empty with lots of space and comfortable seating. By the way, they’ll stamp your hand when you get your ticket which allows you in-out privileges all day, perfect if you want to come back to catch the night view.

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle Entrance

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle interior

Anyway, the views from the 73rd floor are truly breathtaking. All the mountains were visible and it was amazing!

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle sound view

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle north view

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle south view

They have historic facts and dates on the back walls and helpful tips for improving your cell phone pictures.

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle photo tips

And even if you don’t have access to the exclusive Columbia Tower Club two floors up (as mentioned in Fifty Shades of Grey apparently) you can still dine with a view. They have a great little cafe with reasonable prices and better looking options than typical concessions.

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle cafe

Even better, they offer a happy hour from 3-6PM, which meant I could sip some bubbly (cava) while looking at Mount Rainier.

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle Happy Hour

Sky View Observatory Columbia Center Seattle cava with view

I was skeptical it would be worth the $14.25, but on such a beautiful day I definitely felt like I got my money’s worth.

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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