on December 19, 2006
The Space Needle is probably the most widely recognized landmark of Seattle. If you're not from the area you probably at least know of the Space Needle.The Needle is a structure erected for the 1962 World's Fair. It's main claim to fame is the observation deck, which gives one the opportunity to view 360 degrees of the Seattle and adjacent areas. Compared to The Empire State Building or Sears Tower, I didn't feel it was quite as impressive. I mean, you're high up, but just not AS high.That said, the view is still beautiful. You'll be able to look out onto Elliot Bay and if the clouds let you, Mount Rainier can be seen. (On my visit I was unable to see the mountain's profile, though it was sunny, there were clouds and fog inland.)It was a cool day, but up high the breeze made it much cooler. Indoors you can get snacks, coffee, tea, and cocoa. (I felt very overpriced, so I saved my $ for later in downtown.)There is a restaurant up there as well, though I didn't eat there. If you do, and if you used the valet parking service, you will get your parking either free or at a discount (I can't remember).Speaking of parking... this area in particular I found difficult to navigate and spent a good thirty minutes trying to find a parking lot that wasn't $10 or more (sometimes per hour). Then, the way the streets were set up I kept ending up where I couldn't turn around and would need to go a mile or more before being able to do so. (Later, a friend in the area heard my story and knew exactly the street/area I was in. Apparently it's widely known to locals that you cannot turn around - NO LEFT TURNS! - for long stretches.)Finally, aggravated and fed up I just used the valet service at the Needle, which was $11 for the day. I was able to leave my car there all day as I toured around the city. So, take this one up if you plan to do more than the Needle.Also, the Needle sits in the same area as the Experience Music Project, which I did not go into. But it's all walking distance.Finally, if you plan on using the monorail that runs by the Needle, I recommend calling the facility ahead of time to see if it's running. My plan was to visit the Needle then hop on the monorail into downtown (like a 2 minute trip). First - it was tough to find. Signs seemed to direct me to the right... turns out you need to go left (I walked around looking for it for like 5 minutes). Once there, it looked dead, but there were no signs up. Turns out it wasn't running, but you'd only know it by asking the one person apparently working there - lurking.
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