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Is Seattle’s Space Needle Worth Visiting with Kids?

Is Seattle’s Space Needle Worth Visiting with Kids?

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Are you planning a Seattle family vacation but unsure if the Seattle Space Needle is kid-friendly? As a local Seattle mom, I’ll share my experience visiting the Space Needle with kids!
This guide to visiting the Space Needle with kids was written by Seattle family travel expert Marcie Cheung. It contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life, but the Space Needle never gets old. Whenever we drive past it, I feel proud of my city. So, when my 6-year-old asked if we could go up to the top of the Space Needle, I was thrilled.

We hadn’t visited there since the renovation with the revolving glass floor. So we decided to play hooky from school on a sunny Friday to check it out!

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Is Seattle's Space Needle Worth Visiting with Kids?

Brief History of the Space Needle and the 1962 World’s Fair

The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington, by the Space Needle Corporation. The fair was an opportunity to showcase the city’s growth and development, and the Space Needle was intended to be the event’s centerpiece.

My mom grew up in Seattle with her family, and they remember all the hoopla surrounding the Space Needle and the 1962 World’s Fair, which they attended.

It was designed by architects Edward E. Carlson and John Graham Jr. and was inspired by the Futurist movement and the design of a flying saucer.

The tower was an instant hit, attracting thousands of visitors and becoming one of Seattle’s most recognizable landmarks.

The Space Needle was originally built as a temporary structure, but its popularity led to its permanent installation and continued use as an observation tower and tourist attraction.

How to Get to the Space Needle

The Space Needle is located at Seattle Center, and there are a few ways to get there.

Driving/Parking

Since we are Seattle locals, we usually drive and find parking near Seattle Center (which can be tricky and expensive).

Street parking is the cheapest, and sometimes, you can find spots on the backside of Seattle Center near the Seattle Children’s Theatre.

The easiest parking is at the Seattle Center 5th Ave N Garage. However, the cost of parking there varies greatly depending on what is going on at Seattle Center.

Seattle Center Monorail

If you have some flexibility in your schedule or you’re planning on visiting downtown Seattle, I highly recommend taking the Seattle Monorail.

The Seattle Center Monorail station is just steps from the Space Needle.
The Seattle Center Monorail station is just steps from the Space Needle. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

It’s a quick ride (less than 3 minutes), and it only goes between Seattle Center and Westlake Center (near Pike Place Market). Check out my Seattle Monorail tips for families!

Bus

You can always take the bus to Seattle Center. It has frequent stops and goes all over the city.

Rideshares

If you want to take an Uber or Lyft, there’s a convenient circular driveway right in front of the Space Needle where you can get dropped off.

How to Get Space Needle Tickets

When you arrive at the Space Needle, there are ticket kiosks where you can purchase timed tickets. You can also combine a timed ticket with the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.

We bought Space Needle tickets at the kiosks.
We bought Space Needle tickets at the kiosks. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We purchased our tickets at the kiosk for the next timed ticket slot only 5 minutes later.

You can also purchase your tickets beforehand to avoid the hassle of buying them on-site.

What to Expect at the Space Needle with Kids

When You Arrive

Once you have your tickets, you’ll head into the line to enter the Space Needle. There is stroller parking off to the side.

There are tons of cool hands-on exhibits on the ramp of the Space Needle.
There are tons of cool hands-on exhibits on the ramp. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

You’ll go through security and slowly walk up a long ramp with tons of cool exhibits about the 1962 World’s Fair and how the Space Needle was built.

We only stood in line for about 15 minutes on our most recent trip. However, we’ve spent nearly an hour in line on previous trips.

Photo Op

Everyone gets a free digital photo as part of their Space Needle timed ticket. It’s with a green screen and you can choose your background later.

Image of a mom and son with a backdrop of Seattle
I’m not sure why our photo has the grey splotches.

They will scan the QR code on your ticket, and you can choose your background later. There are a ton of cute backdrops to choose from.

Elevator Ride

After the photo spot, you’ll enter another line to enter the elevator. There are actually two lines, so jump in the shortest one.

Try to give your child a window view on the elevator of the Space Needle.
Try to give your child a window view on the elevator! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The elevator ride itself is a wonderful experience! It’s pretty quick, and there’s just enough time for your guide to give a quick “elevator pitch” about what makes the Space Needle so awesome.

Observation Deck

You’ll get off the elevator at the Observation Deck level. There’s an indoor area with food and drink options and some seating.

But you’ll want to go outside to walk around and take in the gorgeous panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay, and downtown Seattle.

There are a bunch of glass benches where you can sit for photos.

My 6-year-old was a bit nervous to actually sit down on the benches because they are angled, and he thought he might slide backward.

Photo Selife Spots

There are also a few selfie spots set up with kiosks where you can scan your QR code, and a camera will take a photo of you. We’ve done similar things in NYC.

This is one of the Skyhigh Selfie kiosk at the Space Needle.
This is one of the Skyhigh Selfie kiosks. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We tried this twice, but I don’t think the photos actually took because they weren’t in my account when I logged in. Other visitors were saying that they didn’t know whether or not their photos worked, either.

Book a Family Photo Shoot

Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND guarantee that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.

Revolving Glass Floor

After thoroughly enjoying the Observation Deck, you’ll head down a winding staircase to the Revolving Glass Floor level. The staircase might be tricky for toddlers and preschoolers, so make sure to hold their hands.

The revolving glass floor in the Space Needle is perfect for photos!
The revolving glass floor is perfect for photos! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

When you get there, a sign explains that the floor is moving, and you’ll carefully step onto the revolving glass floor.

It moves very slowly (so slowly that some tourists next to us weren’t sure IF we were moving). I personally think this is one of the best indoor activities in Seattle for families!

The Space Needle's glass floor is pretty cool!
The glass floor is pretty cool! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Most people sit or lie down to take photos on the glass floor. My son was nervous about standing on the glass floor, and it took some coaxing to realize it was safe. I only mention it because other kids might have the same worry.

Space Needle Food Options

Loupe Lounge

For those who remember the old revolving Sky City restaurant at the Space Needle, this is like a mini version. It only serves cocktails/wine and small bites, but you’ll still enjoy the rotating view of Seattle.

This is on the Revolving Glass Floor level, and it’s only for people 21 and older. So, it makes a great date night spot if someone can watch your kids. But it’s not somewhere to eat with kids.

Image of a cafe at the Space Needle
You can grab snacks and drinks. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Atmos Café

When visiting the Space Needle with kids, you’ll probably end up stopping at the Atmos Cafe. It’s on the Observation Level, and it has Pinkabella Cupcakes and Whidbey Island Ice Cream for kids and an espresso bar, beer, and wine for the grown-ups.

We grabbed an apple juice here, and I think it was $6, so be prepared.

Atmos Wine Bar

Another option on the Observation Level is the Atmos Wine Bar. It has beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, and grab-and-go snacks.

Seattle Center Gift Shop

Of course, like any tourist attraction, the exit was through the gift shop. I find that a bit irritating when I’m traveling, as my family tends to linger in the gift shop.

Image of a giant LEGO Space Needle
The Space Needle Gift Shop is worth a look. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

However, this gift shop is one of my favorites. Not only is it enormous (it takes up the whole base of the Space Needle.) But it offers locally-made items with a Pacific Northwest flair.

I was really impressed with the children’s section. There were tons of children’s books, toys, and clothing that didn’t scream “souvenirs.” I will probably swing by next time I’m at Seattle Center just to shop for gifts.

6 Tips for Seattle Space Needle with Kids

Park Your Stroller

There is handy stroller parking to the left of the Will Call booth. Take your valuables with you, just in case.

Be Prepared for a Long Wait

In the past, we’ve spent about 45 minutes in line to get our photo taken before waiting another 5-10 minutes to get on the elevator.

Tour groups may also cut in front of you, slowing the line. Videos on the iPhone may be your saving grace.

Scoot Kids to the Front of the Elevator

Normally, I’m not a fan of giving kids special treatment. But this glass elevator has a pretty cool view.

It’s a short elevator ride, and little kids can really only see if they go right up against the glass.

Skip the Photo Kiosks

We made the mistake of waiting in line to choose our photo backdrop and get it emailed to ourselves. The kiosks were painfully slow and frustrating.

My photos never actually got emailed to me. Thankfully, I was able to log in with my photo ticket number to get them. It’s MUCH faster to do it on your phone or computer vs. the kiosk.

Bring Your Lunch

There are lots of bar tables and chairs that overlook the observation deck. This is a great opportunity to relax and enjoy lunch with a view! You can also get limited food there.

Visit the Gift Shop

Like most tourist attractions, the elevator lets you off inside the gift shop. Normally, I find that annoying.

However, the gift shop here has a wide selection of high-quality Seattle items for kids. They also sell souvenir penny and wax Space Needle machines.

Image of a boy next to a digital photo wall at the Space Needle
It’s fun to see everyone’s photos! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Seattle Center Space Needle FAQs

What is the Space Needle?

The Seattle Space Needle is a landmark tower located in Seattle, Washington. It was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair and is now a popular tourist attraction that offers stunning views of the city, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains.

How tall is the Seattle Space Needle?

The Seattle Space Needle is 605 feet tall, including its observation deck and antenna.

How do I get to the Seattle Space Needle?

The Seattle Space Needle is located in the heart of Seattle and is easily accessible by car, bus, and light rail. There is also a paid parking lot available for visitors.

How much does it cost to visit the Space Needle?

The cost of admission to the Seattle Space Needle varies depending on the time of year and the type of ticket you purchase. Prices range from $22 to $36 for adults and $16 to $30 for children.

What is the best time to visit the Seattle Space Needle?

The best time to visit the Seattle Space Needle depends on your personal preferences and the weather. However, it is generally recommended to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds and to take advantage of the best lighting conditions for photography.

Is the Space Needle wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Space Needle is wheelchair accessible. The tower has elevators equipped with accessibility features, including braille buttons and audio announcements. Ramps and wheelchair-accessible restrooms are also available. Visitors with mobility impairments are welcome to visit the Space Needle and enjoy the stunning views from the observation deck.

Do kids need tickets?

Kids under five years old are free. Kids 5 years old and older do need a ticket.

What can I see from the Seattle Space Needle?

Visitors can enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the city, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains from the Seattle Space Needle. On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction.

Is the Space Needle Part of the CityPASS?

Yes, and it’s a great way to save money! First, purchase CityPASS online for immediate, paperless delivery to your mobile device. Next, use the Space Needle Ticket Exchange module to make your timed entry reservation. Finally, bring your CityPASS and timed-entry ticket to Space Needle for admission.

Visiting the Space Needle with Kids Wrap-Up

Visiting the Space Needle with kids is an exciting and unforgettable experience that offers stunning views of downtown Seattle and the Seattle skyline.

The outdoor deck is the perfect place for families to take in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and the glass floor provides a unique and thrilling perspective for kids.

Whether you are a local or a tourist, the Space Needle is a must-see attraction that offers a memorable and educational experience for families of all ages.

So make sure to add it to your list of things to do in Seattle and enjoy the breathtaking views from the top of this iconic tower.

Looking for more Seattle travel resources? Check out the best things to do in Seattle with kids, my 3-day Seattle itinerary, where to stay in Seattle for families, and the best weekend getaways from Seattle!

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    CourtneyLynne

    Monday 5th of June 2017

    Omg how fun!!! I have driven by the space needle before in a road trip, but never got to go inside!!! Must have been one fun experience

    Katriza

    Sunday 4th of June 2017

    I hear so many great things about this! I can't wait to take my kids there someday! It's definitely on our bucket list :)

    Kristin

    Sunday 4th of June 2017

    Ohhh what fun! I've been wanting to plan a family trip to Seattle and we'll have to stop at the Space Needle!

    Brittany

    Sunday 4th of June 2017

    I used to live a few hours from there. I've been so many times on my own, but I've never taken my kids. I think they would have a lot of fun I just have so many little ones ha!

    Rachel

    Sunday 4th of June 2017

    I love Seattle. We took our daughter there when she was 15 months old and while she didn't get it, it was a fun family experience for us.

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