The Seattle skyline is one of the most instantly recognizable in the USA and we’re often asked where to find the best views in Seattle. From the iconic Space Needle to the dizzy heights of Smith Tower and the Seattle Great Wheel the city has amazing views.
If you’re searching for the best views in Seattle then read on for our guide on where to find them!
The Best Views in Seattle
From the beautiful Kerry Park to the iconic Space Needle, these are our 10 best views in Seattle.
Best views in Seattle: Most of our favorite Seattle viewpoints are easy to reach and are located close to the popular tourist spots and are relatively easy to visit during your time in Seattle. A couple, including Discovery Park and Dr. Jose Rizal Park are easy to get to via rental
1 | Kerry Park
Located in the North Queen Anne district of Seattle, the small and unassuming Kerry Park is home to one of our favorite views in Seattle. You can see the iconic Seattle skyline and the Space Needle, Downtown Seattle and even Mount Ranier on a clear day.
The best time to visit Kerry Park is at sunrise, when the pink morning glow illuminates the skyline, or at sunset when the light is equally stunning. We were lucky with the conditions on the morning we took these photos and had an incredible view as the sun came up across Puget Sound.
We really love this view and always return to Kerry Park during our visits to Seattle.
How to get to Kerry Park: Kerry Park is a 20-minute walk from the Seattle Center and should be on every visitor’s list when they come to Seattle. If you are driving there is some street parking along the road in front of Kerry Park. If this is full there are adjacent blocks where you might be able to grab one of the on-street parking spaces.
Best Views in Seattle tip: Kerry Park is a very popular spot for sunset so expect the place to be packed during golden hour as everyone heads to the park for sunset.
2 | Space Needle Observation Deck
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has become a Seattle icon and is an instantly recognizable Seattle landmark. The observation tower is visible from all over Seattle and has been featured in countless movies and shows such as Frasier, Austin Powers and Grey’s Anatomy.
Visitors can take an elevator up to the observation decks which were completely renovated in 2018. The decks are located over two levels at the top of the Space Needle and offer panoramic views across the city. The lower level has glass walls and floors while the upper deck is open-air.
Best Views in Seattle tip: We purchased a Seattle CityPASS ticket on our first visit to the city and highly recommend ordering a pass when you are planning your first trip to Seattle. The pass saves you almost $50 on tickets (compared to buying seperately), includes 5 attractions (the Space Needle and the Seattle Aquarium and a choice of 3 attractions from the unmissable Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a harbour cruise or the Woodland Park Zoo. The pass is valid for 9 days after you activate it – check prices now!
From 160 meters up, the glass walls and floors of the observation deck offer really unique views of the city. The view of downtown is breathtaking and on a clear day, Mount Ranier is visible to the South and the Olympic mountain range to the West.
Tickets to the Space Needle also include an option to return to the observation deck after dark as they include a day and night visit. The Space Needle is open most evenings until 8.30pm or 9.30pm and the views of the city with its twinkling lights are spectacular after darkness falls. We returned to the Space Needle the same day we visited to check out the view after dark and loved the nighttime views.
Best Views in Seattle tip: We recommend visiting the observation deck early in the morning (before 11 am) on your first visit and returning later in the evening after 7pm if you want to check out Seattle after dark. The crowds tend to be lower during these times and you’ll have a much nicer time at the observation deck
3 | Sky View Observatory, Columbia Center
Located on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, the views from the Sky View Observatory offer another unique perspective of the Seattle skyline. There are wonderful 360 degree views of all of Seattle’s most popular spots including Mount Rainier, the Space Needle, the Great Wheel, and Lake Washington- check prices now!
Best views in Seattle tip: The Sky View Observatory is located 1,000 feet in the sky making it the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest
4 | Smith Tower
Smith Tower was built in 1914 and was the city’s first skyscraper. Located on Pioneer Square, the open-air observation deck on the 35th floor is home to some of the best views in Seattle. Due to its location, the view from Smith Tower is unique and the Space Needle is visible through the downtown skyscrapers.
Smith Tower is also home to the 35th Floor speakeasy, the Observatory Bar, which offers the magical combination of beautiful cocktails and amazing views!
Best Views in Seattle tip: The Observatory and Bar is a really popular spot in Seattle so we recommend visiting soon after opening each day (from 3pm) as there can be a long wait a peak times!
5 | Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park is located on the north shore of Lake Union on the site of the Old Seattle Gas Light Company Plant. Some old parts of the plant still remain on the site but it’s the view across Lake Union that draws the visitors to the park. From Gas Works Park there is a unique view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle.
On a clear evening, Gas Works Park is one of our favorite spots in Seattle and it is a popular Seattle sunset spot. The banks of the park are a really popular picnic spot and the perfect place to relax after exploring the city during the day.
The park is also a popular hangout for hundreds of Canadian Geese who like to relax along the water’s edge and forage in the grass.
Best Views in Seattle tip: There is limited parking at Gas Works Park and during busy periods spaces can be very limited. It’s also possible to park in the blocks just north of the park.
6 | Dr. Jose Rizal Park
A short drive south of downtown is the Dr. Jose Rizal Park and some of the best views of downtown Seattle. While it’s not the biggest park in Seattle, Dr. Jose Risal Park has some excellent views of the skyline from its vantage point on the West side of Beacon Hill. The I-5 interstate creates a perfect leading line that draws the eye to the downtown Seattle cityscape.
The best view is from directly in front of the parking lot so there isn’t much walking required to enjoy the cityscape. The park is usually not very busy except for some runners and dog walkers and other is ample public parking at the lot.
7 | Volunteer Park
One of the most unique views of Seattle can be found in Volunteer Park. Volunteer Park is a large public park located in the Capitol Hill district just east of Lake Union so it’s perfect to visit on the way to Gas Works Park.
The best view of Seattle is at the Black Sun Sculpture located in front of the parking lot for the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The sculpture was created by artists Isamu Noguchi and perfectly frames the Space Needle in the distance.
The park itself has lots to see with the Seattle Asian Art Mueum, the Water Tower Observation Deck, and the Lake View Cemetary which is the resting place for martial arts expert Bruce Lee.
8 | North Admiral and Alki Beach
A quick water taxi ride from downtown Seattle takes visitors across Elliott Bay to the North Admiral Hill. The ferry taxi terminal lands at the West Seattle Water Taxi Pier from where there are sweeping views of the Seattle Skyline.
For the best views, we recommend taking a stroll along the shore pathway north of the water taxi landing and around to Alki Beach. It’s around a 20-30 minute walk and, on a clear day, it’s really beautiful.
There are a number of viewpoints along the short walk north of the taxi terminal en-route to Alki Beach. Our favorite spots were along this section of the walk before the path turns the headland towards Alki Beach.
Best Views in Seattle Tip: If you visit Alki Beach make sure to stop for some food at Marination Ma Kai. This place is amazing and serves Hawaiian Korean fusion food – the food is among some of the best we’ve tasted in Seattle.
Another great view of Seattle at Alki Beach is from Hamilton Viewpoint Park. There is a parking lot directly in front of the viewpoint so it’s easy to visit for a quick look. If you took the water, taxi Hamilton Viewpoint Park is a short walk up the hill from Harbor Avenue.
9 | Discovery Park
Discovery Park is a real hidden gem in Seattle and has some really stunning views of Puget Sound. The park itself is huge at over 400 acres and sits on what was once Fort Lawton, a former US Army post. Today the park is operated by Seattle Parks and Recreation.
Our favorite location in the park was Discovery Park Beach (also known as Ford Lawton Beach) due to the incredible views of Puget Sound and Mount Ranier and the large driftwood trees that line the beach.
10 | Bell Street Pier
If the view from Kerry Park is the most famous view of Seattle then the view of the Great Wheel from Bell Street Pier is likely a close second. A short walk from Pike Place Market is Pier 66 which is home to the Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck.
The rooftop deck should be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Seattle as it’s so close to Pike Place Market and the view is so good. It’s a great place to have a picnic after grabbing a bite to eat from Pike Place Market.
Best Views in Seattle tip: If you are walking to the Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck from Pike Place make sure to take the pedestrian bridge just off Elliott Avenue. It avoids walking down to the waterfront and is a much quicker way to reach the viewpoint.
Map of the Best Views in Seattle
We’ve put together this map with each location marked so you can easily find the locations of our favorite spots with the best views in Seattle.
How to Use This Google Map: Click on the grey star at the top of the map and this map will be added to your Google Maps account. You can then view it on your phone or computer in Google Maps by clicking on the menu button, going to “Your Places” and selecting this map. We use these maps all the time as you can set out your itinerary ahead of time and quickly reference the saved maps.