Space Needle renovations offer a whole new way to see Seattle


Seattle’s most iconic landmark got its start as a flying saucer sketch on a napkin.

It took 400 days to build the Space Needle, which officially opened to the public on April 21, 1962 for the space age-themed Century 21 Exposition World’s Fair. Since then, nearly 60 million people have visited the building – among the most recognizable in the world.

While most Seattleites and visitors are already familiar with the tower’s curving, wasp-waisted silhouette, many might not recognize the interior, especially after undergoing a $100 million renovation.

Here are some new features and experiences to keep an eye out for during your visit:

Float above it all

Visitors enjoy the glass Skyriser benches on the Space Needle observation deck — Photo courtesy of Space Needle

Repeat visitors to the Space Needle might notice that the views have gotten significantly better – so much better, in fact, that the experience can be a bit unnerving. The original pony walls and security caging on the outdoor observation level are gone, replaced with open-air glass walls that tilt out toward the city.

When visitors sit on one of the 24 glass benches, called Skyrisers, gravity pulls them toward the glass walls, giving the feeling that you’re floating with nothing but a 2.5-inch pane of glass between you and the ground 520 feet below.

Definitely look down

Glass floors on the 500-foot level offer never-before-seen views of the Space NeedleGlass floors on the 500-foot level offer never-before-seen views of the Space Needle — Photo courtesy of Space Needle

The 500-foot level that used to be a revolving restaurant is now The Loupe, an observation space with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and the world’s first and only revolving glass floor.

The Space Needle has always offered stellar views of Seattle, but with the introduction of this 37-ton glass surface, visitors now enjoy downward views of the Space Needle itself, as well as the mechanics that help take The Loupe on a full rotation each 45 minutes.

Do it for the ‘gram

Space Needle visitors take a Skyhigh Selfie with Seattle far belowSpace Needle visitors take a Skyhigh Selfie with Seattle far below — Photo courtesy of Space Needle

The new Space Needle comes with two new (and free) Instagram-worthy photo ops. Skyhigh Selfie cameras mounted around the top of the observation deck will snap your photo in front of the Seattle skyline with the push of a button in the Space Needle app.

The Zoomie camera, mounted a quarter-mile away on another building, captures a video zooming in on you on the deck of the Space Needle.

Take a (virtual) leap

While you can’t actually bungee jump off the Space Needle, you can experience the thrill virtually, thanks to a new photo-realistic VR experience on the first floor. Intrepid guests don a virtual reality headset for a computer-generated ride up to the very tip top of the building.

Once you take the leap, enjoy 360-degree views of the building and the surrounding city as you fall and bounce back up. The Space Needle app even records your jump and delivers an animation of the experience right to your phone that can be downloaded or shared on social media.

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