The Seattle Space needle is the most recognised symbol of Seattle, and a popular destination for visitors to the area. What most people don’t realise is you can see amazing views of Seattle, from the tallest buliding in Washington State for a fraction of the cost!
The Columbia Centre
The Columbia Centre building was built between 1982 and 1985, and is now the 20th tallest building in the USA. It is located at 701 Fifth Avenue and takes up most of the block between 4th and 5th Avenue, and Cherry and Columbia Streets. The base of the building is coated in Rosa Purino Carnelian granite, which is what gives the building its magnificent appearance. The building is 285 metres high and has 76 stories above ground and an additional 7 below ground. The majority of the building is office space with some cafes inside for the workers.
The observation viewing deck at the Columbia Centre is located on the 73rd floor and is reached by 2 high speed elevators. To reach the top, enter through the 5th Avenue side of the building and you will find a representative who will sign you in and have you escorted to the viewing deck. The first elevator takes you to the 40th floor and the second elevator to the 73rd floor.
Entry to the viewing deck is $5 for adults and $3 for students, open on weekdays only. At the top you have a 270 degree view, as you cannot see to the north of the building due to the position of the elevators. At a much higher location then the Space Needle, this is a small price to pay for such an amazing view. On a clear day you can see all the way to Tacoma, Mt. Rainer and the Puget Sound.
Every year the Big Climb is held at the Columbia Centre. It has been running for over 23 years and attracts over 4,000 participants annually. The Big Climb is also part of the largest firefighting competition with over 1,300 firefighters from around the world taking on the 69 floors made up of 1,311 steps in full firefighting gear. Profits from the Big Climb go towards the Leukemia and Lymphoma society with participants being sponsored $35 each to participate.
The Space Needle
For a comparison, the Space Needle is located at 400 Broad street, built in 1962. It is 185 metres high and the viewing platform is 159 metres from the ground. You reach the 360 degree outside viewing deck in less then 45 seconds by elevator. Admission is $16 for adults and $9 for youth under 13, open 7 days a week.
With less crowds, a better view and a smaller fee, make the Columbia Centre part of your next visit to Seattle. You won’t be disappointed!