Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Seattle - Sky View Observatory




October 24, 2013

Visit Seattle - Sky View Observatory

Click on all photos to enlarge. Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission. 

If you want to see breathtaking views of Seattle, a visit to the recently renovated and expanded Sky View Observatory is a must.

Highlights of Our Visit
Located on the 73rd floor in the Columbia Center, the tallest building in Downtown Seattle, and offering a 360-degree panoramic view, the Sky View Observatory allowed our family to see the beauty of Seattle from almost 1000 feet above sea level (the Columbia Center itself is 76 stories high - 1049 feet above sea level).

Since parking in the building is a bit expensive, we decided to go in the evening after 5pm (when parking is a flat rate of $9.00).  After taking 3 different elevator rides, we ended up on floor 73 and were warmly greeted.  The attendant advised us that same-day re-entry is allowed, and suggested that after we take in the views we should come back when it was darker to see the city lights.

The views from the Sky View Observatory are absolutely amazing. We had stunning views of Downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, Elliott Bay, CenturyLink Field, and more.  We did leave for a little while to grab something to eat (the Sky View Observatory does offer snacks and drinks), and we returned at sunset as some of the lights around the city started to go on.

There are several seats throughout the observatory to sit and relax, but most people, including myself and members of my family, simply stood at the windows snapping photos and enjoying the Seattle splendor. 

Our Experience Visiting with a Special-Needs Child
My oldest son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and although I know kids on the spectrum all behave and react differently in various environments, I always try to share our personal experience when visiting attractions.

Prior to visiting, we described the Sky View Observatory to my son, and since elevators excite him, we made sure to tell him we'd need to take several elevators to get there.

I knew he'd enjoy the views, and once in the Sky View Observatory, he looked around as we pointed out the various sights.  His favorite sight was actually one of the interstates.  The repetitiveness of the cars flowing along the highway brought a sense of calm to him, and he stood at the window watching the cars for quite a long time.

When he started to get anxious, he simply took a break on one of the many seats available, and then he'd watch the cars again.

Fortunately it was not very crowded, and since it's indoors, we did not have to worry about getting rained on (he has sensory issues with rain), so he was able to really enjoy himself at the Sky View Observatory.

Final Thoughts
I think the Sky View Observatory is a hidden gem in Seattle (we were surprised to learn that even friends who have lived there for years have never heard of it before).

Although parking can be expensive, I think the admission prices are quite reasonable, especially since you are able to re-enter later that same day.

I loved that seating is plentiful and that visitors can enjoy the spectacular views in a comfortable setting.

If you're in the Seattle area, be sure to visit the Sky View Observatory for some of the most beautiful views of the city.

Below are more photos from our visit.  Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Sky View Observatory: 701 5th Ave Seattle, Floor 73, Seattle, WA 98104; (206) 386-5564

Open daily 10am-8pm, with the exception of closures for special events and holidays.  For information on admission prices, closures, and parking, click here.

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