Seattle Space Needle and Monorail – 1962 with a View!

Neek sez about the Seattle Space Needle:

The Seattle Space Needle was built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair also known as Century 21.

It was an idea that the world’s fair chairman, Edward E. Carlson conceived of when he was sketching on a napkin while dining at the Stuttgart Tower in Germany.

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He planned for a tower with a restaurant on the top and it was architect, John Graham who proposed that the restaurant rotate to provide a view of the entire Seattle landscape to its diners.

The needle is approximately 500 feet at the revolving SkyCity restaurant and 520 feet at the observation deck.  Going up the elevator can be a little nerve-wracking if you have a problem with heights. Once at the top, you can get a marvelous view of Puget Sound with the Cascade and Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Even though it is not the tallest tower west of the Mississippi anymore, it still holds the charm and ever rosy depiction of a hopeful future.

Lex sez about the Seattle Space Needle:

It was an early morning departure from Oregon heading to Seattle and that was a smart move: traffic at 9am on a weekday in Seattle is a snail’s pace!  Fortunately, Neek was able to weave her way around the gridlock to arrive at the Seattle Space Needle before that place got too crowded.  The valet parking was really the best price deal for close parking and gave us a few hours to explore.

What a remarkable sight to take in!  Not just for the 605 foot height, but the architecture reminded me so much of The Jetsons, it feels both futuristic and totally retro.  We walked into the Space Needle up a ramp filled with tons of trivia about the building of this iconic structure, which opened in 1962.  Then we got on the elevator, which was exciting to look out the window as we rose.  Once we got to the Observation Deck, I could see why some people get really excited about the place.

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On a clear day, the panoramic view is hard to equal anywhere, and Neek and I were extremely fortunate to be there when there was not a cloud in sight!  Fantastic views of downtown Seattle and Puget Sound, but I thought it was really wonderful to see so much of the surrounding natural beauty, including Mount Rainier.  At times it got kind of scary; seeing a trompe l’oeil painting of a giant spider on the roof of a building reminded me of just how high I was.  If you’ve ever seen the movie The Parallax View, you know it’s quite a drop!

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Neek sez about the Seattle Monorail:

This monorail looks different from the monorail at Disneyland in California but it was built by the same company, Alweg.

We didn’t get a chance to ride it but it looked pretty fun.  I liked how it traveled so quietly.  Maybe one day, we’ll get one in Los Angeles.  But according to what Lex tells me, we did have a chance for one once but it didn’t work out.  I’ll still enjoy the one at Disneyland for now.

Lex sez about the Seattle Monorail:

Once we got down from the Observation Deck, we walked over to take a look at the Seattle Center Monorail.  We didn’t take a ride on it, but as a southern Californian it was fascinating to see a monorail outside of Disneyland.  Interestingly enough, both Seattle’s monorail and Disneyland’s are courtesy of the same company, Alweg.  After that, we got some mementos from the Space Needle gift shop (I got a really nifty shot glass!) and headed out to find lunch.

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