Seattle has a skyline unlike any other city. What in particular makes it so exceptional, you ask? We’re surrounded by several mountain ranges that peak up around our beautiful buildings for the perfect blend of technology and nature. And, as Amazon has made a home for itself in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, the skyline will only continue to change!
If you’re looking for the best way to get a view of the city we call home, you’re in luck. Read below for some history of Seattle’s most iconic buildings and the many unique ways to see them:
Soar above Seattle at new heights when you take a sea plane flight with Kenmore Air. Their special “Seattle Scenic Seaplane Tour” takes a route over the city that points out specific landmarks. You’ll fly north of Seattle over the University of Washington all the way down to our magnificent sports stadiums, seeing everything in-between. Plus, taking off and landing in water? Pretty cool!
See Seattle’s unique buildings from all angles when you take a Duck Tour. As we make our way through the city’s streets, you’ll see many of the iconic edifices mentioned in this blog post up close. Then, we’ll make our way out on Lake Union where you’ll get a full snapshot of the skyline and its most recognizable buildings looming over the water. It’s an unbeatable view!
If you see pictures of Seattle from 1962 you’ll notice the Space Needle right away as it stands taller than many other buildings. While the needle might have many tall neighbors today, it still gives you an incredible view of Seattle’s continuing construction. An elevator will whisk you up to the observation deck for a 360-degree view, and one floor below you can even look DOWN through the glass floor! Bonus: as you look below, keep an eye out for our Seattle Center Ride the Ducks location across from the MoPOP!
Perched at the top of the Columbia Tower sits the Pacific Northwest’s tallest public observatory, Skyview Observatory. This is another iconic Seattle landmark where you can get a beautiful 360-degree view of the city and the landscape beyond. Point out sights to your friends and see which of you can spot the most- on clear days you’ll even see Mt. Rainer! Fun fact: there’s a Starbucks on the 40th floor of the building for those needing a pick-me-up. (Check out our Sea to Sky package for groups that includes a visit to Skyview!)
The Smith Tower was the tallest skyscraper in Seattle until the Space Needle came around. Built in 1914, you’ll notice a lot of details in the building are still true to their time. The elevator that takes you up to the bar or observatory is still manned by an operator who powers it for you! This is a memorable way to see the city and get a glimpse of the tower’s glamorous past.
Not only is it fun to take the ferry for a day trip, but you’ll get the advantage of seeing the waterfront and skyline on Elliott Bay. As you pull away from Colman Dock, you’ll see stunning piers with landmarks like the Seattle Great Wheel and Seattle Aquarium. Slowly more recognizable buildings will rise above with a few of the Cascade Mountains peeking up from the back. The deck of these ships is a great place for a selfie with an awesome background!
Sitting on Queen Anne Hill, Kerry Park remains one of the most romantic places to get city views at sunset. You’ll see gorgeous mansions and buildings as you make your way to the park down West Highland Drive. Then you’ll notice the biggest highlight of this view: due to the angle, Mt. Rainier appears as PART of the skyline to the right of most of the buildings. It’s a fantastic view for photographers trying to get a classic skyline shot.