An aerial shot of Lake Union. Then, we are taken below the decks of a tugboat to meet the married, middle-aged couple who owns it. In the next 90 minutes, they are going to engage in some slapstick bickering. That’s how Seattle was first brought to the big screen in the 1933 movie “Tugboat Annie”.
It’s not really a masterpiece, but ever since, the Rainy Town has been an endless inspiration for filmmakers. And we all know why: From paradise to prison, thriving metropolis to the loneliest place on earth, Seattle possesses a cinematic persona that touches upon all walks of life. Even while weaving our own stories in this city, we walk alongside fictional characters (even real ones, too, if we are lucky).
So, if you are planning a trip to this gem of the Pacific Northwest and would like to relive some classic scenes from “Sleepless in Seattle”, “10 Things I Hate About You”, or “Captain Fantastic”, make sure you go through our list of 9 best views in Seattle! Not only are they unmissable icons for movie buffs, but they are also a window into the city’s timeless appeal.
Best Views In Seattle – Kerry Park
Are you a fan of Grey’s Anatomy? Well, you probably are familiar with the intro, which features a marvelous sight of the Space Needle towering perfectly in front of the cityscape.
Here’s a fun fact for you: The shot was taken from Kerry Park!
Nestled in a quiet neighborhood of North Queen Anne, the park might be smaller than you think. However, it boasts some pretty big vistas. Despite being the city’s tallest building in the 1960s, the Space Needle is now dwarfed by other structures, and only in Kerry Park can you have the perfect angle to admire all of its charms.
Here’s a pro tip from Enjoyfuntrip: After trying to take photos of the skyline view from the park, I realized that it would be best to shoot with a zoom lens. That way, you can capture the Space Needle more clearly. This also means you must stand a bit further back, which is advantageous when Kerry Park is crowded.
If you are lucky enough to visit the park on a crystal-clear day, you can see Mount Rainier in the background. Still, the view is spectacular even when the sky is overcast. That’s even more quintessential Seattle, isn’t it?
Gas Works Park
Unlike Kerry – the tranquil park at the corner of the city, Gas Work Park truly stands out for its uniqueness. Formerly home to a coal gasification plant, the facility served as Seattle’s power supplier for over five decades. As the plant was shut down, it was eventually reconstructed into a free public park.
Today, visitors can still see the ruins of the plant. That makes it one of the most intriguing landmarks in town and, arguably, in the whole King County. The ruins’ industrial aesthetic creates a great contrast with the surrounding green space.
That rugged beauty is indeed captivating, but people really flock here to get the best Seattle viewpoint. What makes the view from Gas Works Park so special, you ask? It opens up the entire downtown cityscape in a horizontal fashion! The tranquility of Lake Union, as well as the rolling green hills of the park, contributes to the scenery as well.
The panorama is awe-inspiring at any time of the day. Nonetheless, hiking up to the top of the hills and looking out at the break of dawn will be well worth your time. The early start might get you grumpy at first, but watching the sun rise over Lake Union can cure this morning blues. Don’t forget to bring a blanket, some snacks, and a thermos of coffee so you can snuggle up with your significant other as the city wakes up.
Best Views In Seattle – Space Needle
Constructed in the 1960s as part of the World’s Fair project, the Space Needle boasts a whopping 605 feet tall. It was the tallest skyscraper in the city until the Columbia Center took the crowd in 1985.
Space Needle, Seattle
Now before you frown, I know this is a cliché suggestion. It is overly touristy and, to many people, the Space Needle no longer holds its place as the city’s symbol. So why should you pay an arm and a leg for a ticket when there are many high-rises with breathtaking views in the city?
Well, hear me out: The Space Needle is so famous for a reason. While we can’t compare it to the Columbia Center, Rainier Square Tower, or even the Safeco Plaza in size, the futuristic building still stands out thanks to its unique design. You can see skyscrapers anywhere in the U.S, but there is only one Space Needle.
Beyond that, this modern wonder promises you the best sightseeing experience. Since its construction in 1962, Space Needle’s observation deck has undergone numerous renovations. The nearest one took place in 2018, which added an upper level with open-air glass walls.
They also added “The Loupe” – a new rotating glass floor. Most people would come here during the day, but for me, the view becomes all the more enchanting when sparkling city lights illuminate the skyline.
To spice things up, take your loved one to The Loupe for a cocktail experience like nothing else. Admire the magical city view beneath your feet as you enjoy showstopping mixology and tastes of the Pacific Northwest. That’s an unforgettable memory you can only get in Seattle!
Space Needle’s modern design will capture the heart of cyberpunk and sci-fi movie fans. But what if you are a nostalgic soul who longs for the timeless charm of historic buildings?
Smith Tower, Seattle’s very first skyscraper, was the brainchild of gun manufacturing heir Burns Smith. Built in 1914, it once stood as West Mississippi’s tallest structure. Its beauty comes from the swanky 1920s vibe, the vintage detail, and the historical exhibits. Most of all, the building takes pride in having one of the best views in Seattle.
Smith Tower, Seattle
To get to the top floor, visitors will go up one of the birdcage elevators (like the one in “Four Rooms”, you know, with several grates). I love how these charming details are preserved over the years – they contribute to the building’s historical allure.
After getting off, you can see a lobby area leading to an open-air observation deck. Though Smith Tower is no longer Seattle’s tallest building, the 360-degree view is still my favorite. Due to its location, you can look straight to the waterfront from here. That’s super cool, especially when the Alaska cruise ship is parking at the dock.
As you take in the vista, you can sip on some fantastic cocktails at the built-in bar. According to many wanderlusts on TripAdvisors, the Smith Tower is the most spectacular spot for catching the sunset. If you want to see the golden hour cast beautiful hues upon the city, you know where to go!
Best Views In Seattle – Seattle Great Wheel
At first glance, the Great Wheel did seem like a tourist trap for me. Since I couldn’t resist a Ferris wheel, however, I went ahead and hopped on it. And it didn’t let me down!
Located at the heart of the Seattle waterfront at Pier 57, the Great Wheel is among the world’s tallest Ferris wheels. In fact, it used to be the tallest one on the west coast until being surpassed by Las Vegas High Roller.
While you ride this giant wheel, you will enjoy a bird-eye view of the city and its surrounding areas. This includes the downtown skyline, Puget Sound, the waterfront, and, of course, the Olympic Mountains.
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, a mesmerizing light show will be on display. The Great Wheel is covered in more than 500,000 LED lights, all sparkling in full colors. It’s a miracle to behold, especially when you see the sight from some of the other viewpoints on this list.
The Sky(line) Is Not The Limit
Perhaps you have noticed, but the incredible viewpoints I listed above all give you sights of the city’s skyline. Indeed, with majestic mountains, expanses of water, splendid skyscrapers, and cranes building, the Emerald Town’s skyline certainly makes for one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world.
However, it’s not the only thing worth seeing here. There are some more spectacular views that you can only witness in Seattle.
Seattle Central Library
During my trips, one of the things I look forward to is discovering incredible libraries and bookstores along the way. My favorites include Pondok Pekak Library in Bali, Piccolomini Library in Siena, and the Central Library in Seattle.
I’m not sure what’s your idea of a public library (if you are lucky enough to have one in your city). Nonetheless, Seattle’s downtown public library, located at 1000 4th Avenue, will forever change the way you think about a modern space dedicated to providing free information and knowledge.
What sets this library apart is the awe-inspiring glass and steel construction, reminding us of a futuristic diamond. During the day, rays of sunlight shoot through the irregular angles of the hive-like structure, creating an enchanting view. For this innovative design, the building has been recognized with multiple architectural awards.
The facility is simply enormous, with a total capacity of over 1 million books and access to 400 public computers. Its Yelp page is like a collection of sappy love letters. Also, the wifi is free.
Tacoma International Airport
Thanks to the view I get at Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac), flying in and out of Seattle have always been a pleasant experience.
You can find some interesting stores, restaurants, and galleries here, but I enjoy the Atrium most. As you exit the terminal, you will find yourself in a spacious chamber, ceiling hovering somewhere out of sight. One whole wall is made out of a glass and metal network, displaying a direct view of Alaska Airline planes arriving and departing. Right before the massive window wall is a dozen of wooden chairs.
With time to kill before a flight, there’s no better place to be than here.
Museum Of Pop Culture
Architectural genius Frank O.Gehry used more than 21,000 stainless-steel shingles to build his mind-blowing masterpiece, namely the Museum of Pop Culture. From a distance, from above, even through a cloudy glass of a window, this is an amazing sight to witness.
But perhaps the best way to experience this work of art is to stand close to its surface and gaze at your twisted reflection in the shimmering glow of the blue, chrome, gold, purple, and silver shingles. When does architecture turn into a magic mirror? When you find yourself staring at MoPOP!
Let The City Set You Free!
It’s always raining in Seattle, people say. The Emerald City might not be blessed with good weather, but still, it has been the muse of many songs, the star of stage and screen for decades.
The beauty of Seattle comes from the fact that it’s a thriving metropolis with endless opportunities. In the capital of the Pacific Northwest, people can experiment with their lives, change, grow, and make magic happen. Just come to one of the best views in Seattle and take in the epic skyline, you will feel like the star of your own story. It’s the place where you can live your dreams, and you will love it for that.