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A Tourist’s Guide to Seattle’s Sky View Observatory

March 13, 2024 By CityPASS

When people think of noteworthy buildings in Seattle, their minds often conjure up images of the Space Needle, but did you know that downtown Seattle's Columbia Center is actually the tallest building in the city — and in the whole Pacific Northwest? The Sky View Observatory is close to the top of the Columbia Center, a public observatory boasting some of the city's most amazing views.

If you're planning a trip to Washington State, visiting the Sky View Observatory in Seattle is an absolute must. Enjoy this guide to the Sky View Observatory and learn how to save on all of Seattle's must-see attractions with CityPASS® tickets.

What To Expect at the Sky View Observatory

The Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center is an attraction that allows visitors to take in the spectacular view from the 73rd floor of Seattle's tallest skyscraper.

Below is a list of what you can expect from your Sky View Observatory experience.

Stunning 360-Degree Views

The Sky View Observatory is located near the top of the Columbia Center, roughly 900 feet above the ground. When you arrive at the Columbia Center, you can take an elevator to the 73rd floor, where you will be greeted with a 360-degree panoramic view of all that Seattle, Puget Sound, and Lake Washington have to offer.

From the Observatory, you'll be treated to views of:

  • The Space Needle and other noteworthy attractions around the city
  • Bellevue, Washington
  • Mt. Baker
  • Mt. Rainier
  • Elliott Bay
  • The Cascade mountain range
  • The Olympic mountain range

Sky View Cafe and Bar

Featuring local food and beverages, including specialty cocktails, salads, flatbread, and more, the Sky View Cafe and Bar is the perfect place to grab a drink and a quick bite while taking in the beautiful views.

Seattle is known for having an excellent food and wine scene, and the Sky View Cafe and Bar is unparalleled in terms of ambiance. Plan to give yourself enough time to relax and enjoy the view with a glass of local wine.

Note: Be sure to arrive in time to enjoy a meal or casual drink, as the Sky View Cafe and Bar stops service half an hour before the Observatory closes to the public.

Special Events

Whether you're looking to host a family reunion or you're planning a secret proposal, you can host any number of special events at the Sky View Observatory. The Observatory accommodates numerous types of group and private events and is the perfect setting for your next special occasion in Seattle.

Can't Miss Attractions To See From Sky View Observatory

Whether you're a first-time visitor to Seattle or grew up in the area, visiting destinations like the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier is probably on your bucket list. But nothing compares to the view of these favorite Washington attractions from the soaring heights of the Sky View Observatory.

Space Needle and Downtown Seattle

Topping out roughly 300 feet below the Columbia Center is the Space Needle, which you can get a bird's-eye-view of during your visit to the Observatory.

Take in the view of the city's most interesting-looking skyscraper and other favorite spots in downtown Seattle including Pike Place Market and the Seattle Great Wheel.

Lake Washington and Lake Bellevue

One of Seattle's most attractive features is the seamless transition between buildings, trees, mountains, and water. A true outdoor lover's paradise, Seattle is set amongst a striking backdrop of some of nature's most incredible displays.

Enjoy the water features visible from the Sky View Observatory, including Lake Washington and Lake Bellevue. Lake Washington is the second-largest lake in the state and serves as the natural barrier between Seattle and nearby Bellevue. Lake Bellevue lies just beyond this, and when observed from above, it looks like Lake Washington's younger sibling.

Elliott Bay

On the opposite side of the building, you can look west and see spectacular Elliott Bay, which separates the city from smaller Northwestern Washington regions like Bainbridge Island and Port Townsend.

The view beyond Elliott Bay has fewer city lights than the eastern view and focuses on an expansive view of the water and the less populated land beyond.

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier is Washington's crown jewel, with roughly two million people visiting the national park annually. Mt. Rainier is an active volcano that surpasses 14,000 feet, towering over the surrounding region.

Mt. Rainier is unquestionably one of the most astounding views you'll see from the Sky View Observatory.

When Is the Best Time To Visit the Sky View Observatory?

Although the Observatory's hours change frequently based on private events and more, if you find yourself in Seattle on a clear evening, this is by far the best time to visit the Sky View Observatory.

Plan to arrive at the Observatory just before sunset if you want to make the most of your visit and watch as the sun goes down and sets Seattle and the surrounding area aglow.

Although spring and summer offer some of the best weather for exploring Seattle, a visit in early to mid-fall boasts spectacular color, and you can view the changing leaves from the Observatory.

Save on Your Trip to Seattle's Sky View Observatory With CityPASS® Tickets

If you're ready to plan a visit, you can find the best deals on Sky View Observatory and other top Seattle attractions with C3® tickets by CityPASS®. C3® tickets can save you up to on admission tickets to your favorite three Seattle attractions.

Seattle's Sky View Observatory features some of the region's best views, but C3® ticket holders can also enjoy a ride on an Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, a visit to the Woodland Park Zoo, a trip to the Seattle Aquarium, and more.

Lodging in Seattle

To get the most out of your stay in Seattle, we recommend finding lodging near Seattle's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Header Image Courtesy of Sky View Observatory

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