ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top Things to see at the Seattle Center

Updated on July 29, 2016
The Seattle Center
The Seattle Center

Exploring the Seattle Center

The Seattle Center is the former site of Century 21, the futuristic themed 1962 Seattle World's Fair. It was designed by the fair's planners to leave the city of Seattle with a legacy of an events and sports center. In the years since the world's fair there have been renovations and updates to the Seattle Center and new attractions added. Most visitors to Seattle come to the Seattle Center to see the Space Needle, but there are several other attractions including the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Children's Museum, Key Arena, the Center House, the EMP/SciFi Museum, the new Chihuly Garden and Glass and numerous festivals and events.

The beautiful landscaped grounds with flowers, trees, sculptures and a large grassy area near the International Fountain are great places to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city on a sunny day. I recently spent a day exploring the Seattle Center to see what's new and to compare how things have changed since 1962.

All photos by the author, Vicki Green

Map of Seattle

Location of the Seattle Center on a Map of Seattle
Location of the Seattle Center on a Map of Seattle

Where is the Seattle Center?

As is seen on the above photo that I took of a sign on the grounds, the Seattle Center is located about a mile northwest from the main downtown area of Seattle as seen on this map. It is easy to find using the Space Needle as a visual landmark from virtually anywhere in the city. From Westlake Center you can either take the Seattle Center Monorail or enjoy the flat walk following the elevated monorail track along 5th Avenue.


The Seattle Center Monorail

The Seattle Monorail at Westlake Center
The Seattle Monorail at Westlake Center

Why Does Seattle Have a Monorail?

The Seattle Monorail was built to transport people from the main Seattle business district to the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Over 50 years later, it is still a fun, fast way to get from Westlake Center to the Seattle Center.

The Space Needle at the Seattle Center

The Space Needle - Seattle, WA
The Space Needle - Seattle, WA

Tips for Visiting the Space Needle

What draws most visitors to the Seattle Center is the Space Needle. On a clear day the view from the top is fantastic. To get the best bargain, I recommend making reservations for lunch. If you have a meal in the restaurant the elevator ride to the restaurant and observation deck is FREE! The price for a trip up the elevator to the observation deck alone is $19. The prices of most of the lunch items on the menu are under $30 which, using my creative math, makes the cost of lunch about $10 while enjoying the best view in Seattle.

The Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science Center - Seattle, WA
Pacific Science Center - Seattle, WA

The Pacific Science Center

The Pacific Science Center is a fun place for both young and old to learn about science. Some of the popular exhibits include the Insect Village, Tropical Butterfly House, Dinosaurs, Imax theater and a Laser Dome a Planetarium and numerous interactive displays. The Pacific Science Center is in the building that housed the United States science exhibit during the 1962 World's Fair.


Key Arena

Key Arena - Seattle, WA
Key Arena - Seattle, WA

Key Arena

Key Arena was formerly called the Seattle Coliseum. It is a venue for concerts and sporting events. It was the home court for the now defunct NBA Seattle Supersonic and is currently where the WNBA Seattle Storm, Rat City RollerGirls, Seattle University Red Hawks Basketball team compete. During the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, Key Arena was the Washington State Pavilion with a "World of Tomorrow" theme.

The Center House Food Court

Center House Food Court - Seattle, WA
Center House Food Court - Seattle, WA

The Center House

The Center House is in the historic old Seattle Armory Building. During the 1962 World's Fair it was called the "Food Circus" so named because it featured three stages of entertainment - similar to a three ring circus. The eateries and décor has changed from 50 years ago, but the original concept of a food court with numerous cuisine choices has remained the same.

Seattle Children's Museum

The Seattle Childrens Museum
The Seattle Childrens Museum

The Seattle Children's Museum

The Seattle Children's Museum is on the lower floor of the Center House. With its interactive displays it is a great place for families to go for a fun educational experience.

The International Fountain

The Seattle Center International Fountain
The Seattle Center International Fountain

The International Fountain

The International Fountain was designed as a focal point of the 1962 World's Fair Grounds. The design as been changed somewhat over the years with increased safety features added, but remains a great place for people to gather around to spend a sunny day. The fountain intermittently shoots varying sprays of water from the numerous nozzles making it a favorite of children who scamper away from the sudden bursts of water.

The Experience Music Project Museum

EMP/SciFi Museum, Seattle, WA
EMP/SciFi Museum, Seattle, WA

The EMP/SciFi Museum

A more recent addition to the Seattle Center is the Experience Music Project - Science Fiction Museum, also known as EMP/Sci Fi Museum. It was built by Paul Allen, combining two of his interests - music and science fiction. The architecture is unique and interesting to say the least and doesn't please everyone. It is intended to resemble a smashed guitar, but at the time it was built, some people in Seattle referred to it as "the Blob". People who love music will enjoy the collection of memorabilia and interactive exhibits and Science fiction fans will enjoy sets and costumes from some of their favorite movies.

The Seattle City Pass

If you are visiting Seattle and plan to include a trip to the Space Needle and some of the other popular attractions, consider purchasing a Seattle CityPASS. A Seattle City Pass will save you a considerable amount of money on the cost of your visit to the most popular attractions.

The Seattle City Pass contains tickets to 5 of the most popular attractions in Seattle and is valid for 9 days. The booklet includes admission to the following:

1) Space Needle (2 visits in a 24 hour period)

2) Seattle Aquarium

3) Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour

4) Experience Music Project or Woodland Park Zoo

5) Chihuly Garden and Glass or the Pacific Science Center

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass - Seattle, WA
Chihuly Garden and Glass - Seattle, WA

The Chihuly Glass Garden

Chihuly Glass

The newest attraction at the Seattle Center is the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Created by the Pacific Northwest's world famous glass artist, Dale Chihuly, the Garden and Glass features Chihuly's beautiful glass art combined with a garden landscaped with lush plants.

Take a Video Tour of Chihuly's Glass Garden

Events at the Seattle Center

Year Round Fun at the Seattle Center

The Seattle Center is the site of many events during the year. In addition to concerts and sporting events held at Key Arena, there are also numerous festivals and events held annually on the Seattle Center Grounds including:

  • The Northwest Folklife Festival - Held over Memorial Day weekend, the Folklife Festival is a celebration of musical and artistic traditions. It is now the nation's largest free community arts festival.
  • The Bite of Seattle - The annual food festival at Seattle Center held each July. Over 60 restaurants, eight stages, a beer garden, family activities, free admission.
  • Bumbershoot - Seattle's Music & Arts Festival is the nation's largest arts festival, attracting over 100,000 people to Seattle Center every Labor Day weekend.
  • Seattle Winterfest -Seattle Center Winterfest offers several weeks of festive, FREE, fun-filled entertainment during the winter holiday season.

More Things to See and Do at the Seattle Center

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Seattle Center Peace GardenMcCaw Hall - home of Pacific NW BalletOlympic Iliad by sculptor Alexander LibermanSeattle Children's TheaterRocks and Poets Garden - a place to contemplateA large lawn near the fountain to play or relaxSeattle Center House Entrance
The Seattle Center Peace Garden
The Seattle Center Peace Garden
McCaw Hall - home of Pacific NW Ballet
McCaw Hall - home of Pacific NW Ballet
Olympic Iliad by sculptor Alexander Liberman
Olympic Iliad by sculptor Alexander Liberman
Seattle Children's Theater
Seattle Children's Theater
Rocks and Poets Garden - a place to contemplate
Rocks and Poets Garden - a place to contemplate
A large lawn near the fountain to play or relax
A large lawn near the fountain to play or relax
Seattle Center House Entrance
Seattle Center House Entrance

© 2013 Vicki Green

Did You Enjoy the Visit to the Seattle Center? - What is Your Favorite Seattle Center Attraction?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've never been there, but I think that my family would really enjoy it.

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      I would like to visit this wonderful center one day! Congrats for your LOTD!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      I grew up near Seattle and have been here many times, but not for a number of years. I'd love to take my kids soon.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      The closest I've ever been is been by watching "Frasier" lol....Looks fun though!

    • allaneaglesham lm profile image

      allaneaglesham lm 4 years ago

      If I was visiting Seattle this would be my reference lens.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      I've been to Seattle a couple of times. Love it! And the public transportation is great and cheap! Enjoyed your photos. Didn't know about the gardens - nice to know - for next trip. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm one of those who thinks of the Space Needle when it comes to Seattle....and now you have told the rest of the story of great explorations to be had...I've never been there but will remember your guidance if I ever go, thanks for this virtual tour and congratulations on your staycation Imminent feature! :)

    • profile image

      ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

      What great places to visit! Thank you for sharing! if I am ever out there, I know where to go!

    Click to Rate This Article