A wonderful adventure surrounds the Space Needle

ByShannon J. Cortes

Oct 25, 2021
to play

We recently spent 10 days in Edmonds, just north of Seattle, Washington. We had planned a multi-day tour of the Seattle area, but (with lots of clouds and rain) we only had one sunny day.

If you’re visiting this beautiful part of the West Coast, use at least a clear day at the Seattle Center, offering 74 acres of art, entertainment, and education offerings, originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair. .

Here’s what you can easily fit into a day of highly sensory experience.

The Space Needle, built for the fair, rises to 605 feet and has an observation deck 520 feet high. Its revolving restaurant and bar offer spectacular views of the downtown skyline, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker and the islands that dot Puget Sound.

Around the base of the Space Needle are several world-class destinations, including:

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)

With its roots in rock and roll, it serves as an entrance museum with innovative galleries such as Sound Lab, Sky Church (a concert hall with the world’s largest LED screen and high-tech lighting and sound) and a huge collection of over 100,000 historical artifacts comprising approximately 75% of all music produced in the Northwest over the past 100 years. MoPop is housed in a fluid 140,000 square foot building designed by Frank O. Gehry – the building itself is spectacular!

Exhibits include heroes and villains, Disney costume art, a new exhibit features over 70 original pieces including wizarding capes, military uniform tiaras, ball gowns and glass slippers. These visual delights help explore the vision and craftsmanship used to create costumes worn by some of entertainment’s biggest stars.

Sci-Fi Worlds offers an intergalactic exhibit taking you into the storytelling found in sci-fi hits such as “War of the Worlds” from HG Wells to “Star Trek” or “Blade Runner” to “Men in Black” “. Young adults find this exhibit fascinating as they learn about new alien civilizations, embark on a space adventure, and research alternate universes.

A new exhibition opened on October 16, Contact High; a visual history of hip-hop, which explores photography from the late 1970s to the present day, documenting the musical revolution and its influence on race relations, politics, culture and fashion. MoPOP is open Thursday through Tuesday, closed Wednesday.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Imagine a life-size glass forest with a ghostly blue and pink light shining from the trunks. Or a Sealife tower, 4.5 meters high, exuding iridescent primary colors imitating the seabed and Puget Sound. Transform into another gallery and step under the Persian ceiling, with hanging Persian glass artwork in kaleidoscopic red, orange, ruby, and yellow. Enter the greenhouse and discover, floating 30 feet above, a 120-foot-long art installation of a colorful palette with yellow, orange, brown and amber glass – framing the Space Needle which rises to 605 feet above. above the head.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass experience includes eight galleries, a central greenhouse, and a lush outdoor garden. After spending about an hour and a half in the interior galleries, our senses swimming in color and vibrancy, we took a break outside and watched three of Chihuly’s contemporaries work together to blow a delicate pink glass vase on a milky white base.

Dale Chihuly, born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, has become world famous with works of art on display in more than 200 museums around the world. It’s on display at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, and one of his works hangs in the lobby of the San Joaquin County Administration Building in downtown Stockton.

Stroll through the outdoor garden to admire the major installations that dominate a landscape containing daylilies, dogwoods, camellias and a variety of trees to add to the crystal and icicle towers and the installation of reeds on logs . In the center, supported by the Space Needle, is the Giant Sun, bursting with orange and yellow.

More Seattle sites

The Seattle Monorail, terminating at the Space Needle, connects visitors to downtown and places such as the Pike Street Market.

For gorgeous 200-degree views and a free photoshoot, walk up Queen Anne Hill in the late afternoon to Kerry Park for views of Puget Sound, Elliott Bay and the bustling waterfront, the Space Needle and the downtown skyline and Mount Rainier in majestic splendor to the south, bathed in an alpenglow just before sunset.

For dinner, head to the top of Queen Anne Hill, where you’ll find eclectic restaurants such as Grappa, Orrapin Thai Cuisine, Ikiike Sushi Bar, How to Cook a Wolf (upscale Italian, with tapas and small plates) and, just a block away, the Hilltop Ale house. They anchor a fascinating historic district with creative boutiques, merchants, and an old Seattle vibe.

For other Seattle highlights nearby, head to the Seattle Ferris Wheel, a giant 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel located at the end of Pier 57 on Elliott Bay. It’s a great tourist draw and offers great views of the Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay from its revolving gondolas.

For a more unique experience, head south to Pier 50 and take a ferry from Washington State across the bay to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton; the round trip offers wonderful scenery, a true “Seattlite experience” and a great harbor tour as part of the ferry ride. Between Piers 50 and 57 live two good waterfront restaurants, Ivar’s Acre of Clams and Elliott’s Oyster House, two good choices for fine seafood.

For more information, Chihuly garden and glass, chihulygardenandglass.com; Museum of Pop Culture, mopop.org; Visit Seattle, visitseattle.org. As always, check your destination for current COVID-19 requirements, such as King County, Washington.

Contact Tim at [email protected]; have a good trip to the west!