Where to Find the Best Views of Seattle (10 Viewpoints Across the City!)

Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by admin

Seattle, known as the Emerald City because of its year-round greenery, has a truly beautiful skyline. If you’re visiting the city for the first time, or even if you’re from Seattle, you’ll definitely want to visit all the spots that have the best views of the city. I grew up in Seattle and in this post I’m sharing my list of 10 spots in Seattle that have the best views of the city

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Map of the Locations with the Best Views of Seattle

I created the map below so you can easily find each of these spots as you plan your trip. 

Trip map courtesy of Wanderlog, a vacation planner

Traveling on a budget? Be sure to see our list of 50 free things to do in Seattle.

Best Views of Seattle

1. Kerry Park

211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119

Kerry Park best views of Seattle

I’m starting this list with Kerry Park because it has one of the most iconic views of the Seattle skyline. If you’ve seen a postcard of Seattle, chances are the photo was taken from Kerry Park. When we have friends and family visit us from Seattle, we often take them to this park to see the city. 

What I like about this park is that you can clearly see the Space Needle. The Space Needle isn’t as tall as many of the skyscrapers nearby, so you really need to find a viewpoint that has the right angle to see the Space Needle fully. From Kerry Park, you have the perfect angle to see the Space Needle. On a clear day, you can also see Mount Rainier in the distance. When that happens, it’s pure magic.

The park is well-known for its views of the city, but it’s not in a location where tourists often frequent. The park is located on Queen Anne Hill close to downtown, but if you don’t know of its existence, you could miss it entirely. Now that you know about it, you can definitely check it out! 

See our perfect weekend itinerary for Seattle here. We share what to see in 2.5 days!

2. Gas Works Park

2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103

A couple slides down the snowy hill, city lights, Space Needle, view of Queen Anne Hill, Gas Works Park, Lake Union, Wallingford / Fremont, Seattle, Washington, USA“A couple slides down the snowy hill, city lights, Space Needle, view of Queen Anne Hill, Gas Works Park, Lake Union, Wallingford / Fremont, Seattle, Washington, USA” by Wonderlane is licensed under CC0 1.0

This park is really unique because it was the former site of the Seattle Gas Light Company’s gasification plant. Many of the original structures were never cleared from the park. Because of this, there are a bunch of rusty structures in the center of the park. (Which are fenced off from the public.) Gas Works Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The park is 19 acres and sits on the north shore of Lake Union. Across the lake, you’ll have direct views of the downtown Seattle skyline. A large grassy knoll gives plenty of space for picnics, frisbee, and sunbathing. A sundial at the top of the hill is a popular place for taking photos. We think one of the best views of the city is from the top of the hill.

Visiting Seattle on a rainy day? No problem! Check out our post on 24 Rainy Day Activities in Seattle.

3. Dr. Jose Rizal Park

1007 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Autumn Afternoon View of the Seattle Skyline From Jose Rizal Park“Autumn Afternoon View of the Seattle Skyline From Jose Rizal Park” by JoeInSouthernCA is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Dr. Jose Rizal Park is located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle. This park is located south of Seattle, so you’ll have a view of the south side of Seattle and Elliott Bay to the west. The park is named for Jose Rizal, who is a national hero in the Philippines. Photographers often take photos of traffic going up Interstate-5 and into the city. 

Be sure to see our post on the 101 Best Things to Do in Seattle. We put together the ultimate list!

4. Space Needle

 400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109

woman and baby at the Space Needle
My baby and I at the top of the Space Needle. 

 

The Space Needle is the most iconic symbol of Seattle. It was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair to symbolize humanity’s exploration of space, and it’s been a part of the Seattle skyline ever since. At 605 feet tall, you’ll have excellent views of the city surrounding you. 

In 2018, the Space Needle underwent a major renovation to enhance the viewing experience. Glass walls and benches (“Skyrisers”) were placed in the outdoor viewing platform, so you can take photos of the unobstructed city behind you. Additionally, the world’s first and only rotating, glass-floor (“The Loupe”) was installed in the lower viewing deck. Now, you can literally see Seattle beneath your feet!

Before visiting the Space Needle, see our full guide to visiting it here.

5. The Nest Rooftop Bar

110 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Nest Rooftop (@thenestseattle)

The Nest Rooftop Bar is located within the Thompson Hotel in downtown Seattle. As its name suggests, it’s a bar on the rooftop with stunning views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. The bar is surrounded by skyscrapers, so it really feels like you have a bird’s eye view of the city. The Nest is also a two-minute walk away from Pike Place Market, so it’s easy to combine both activities in a day. The bar is open for adults 21 and over, and it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It’s a very popular bar with limited space, so reservations are strongly encouraged. 

We wrote a complete guide on what to see at Pike Place Market here.

6. Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck

2225 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121
 

Not a lot of people know about the view from Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck. Although it’s within walking distance from Pike Place Market and the Seattle Aquarium, few people wander up to Pier 66 to look around. To access the deck, just find the large staircase near the restaurant Anthony’s. Once on the deck, you’ll have a clear view of the Seattle skyline and waterfront! 

7. Columbia Tower’s Sky View Observatory & Bar

700 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Columbia Center / Bank of America tower - IMG_1466“Columbia Center / Bank of America tower – IMG_1466” by Nicola since 1972 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

At 933 feet, the Columbia Tower is the tallest skyscraper in the Pacific Northwest. As you’d expect, the tower also holds commanding views of the city. The observatory is located 73 stories up the tower. There’s a cafe and a bar at the observatory, so you can definitely grab a cocktail and enjoy the sunset. (Which is when we recommend visiting!) Currently the observatory is open Friday through Sunday. 

8. Alki Beach (Near Salty’s)

1936 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126

Alki Beach, Seattle“Alki Beach, Seattle” by Dan Nevill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The portion of Alki Beach near Salty’s restaurant is located in West Seattle (across the bay) and faces downtown Seattle. During the summer, it’s fun to visit Alki Beach and go for a beach walk. Add in the views, and it’s perfection! 

9. Smith Tower

506 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Smith Tower, Seattle, Washington“Smith Tower, Seattle, Washington” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Built in 1914, Smith Tower was the first skyscraper erected in Seattle. For many years, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Near the top of the Smith Tower is an outdoor observation deck and indoor bar. The bar has a swanky 1920s vibe and it feels like you’re visiting a speakeasy. When we last visited the Smith Tower, we caught the sunset over the city and it was one of our favorite views of all time. 

10. View from the Ferry to Bainbridge Island

801 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA

best views of Seattle ferry from Bainbridge Island

For my birthday one year, my husband planned a day date on Bainbridge Island. The island is located just across the bay from Seattle, yet I had never visited before! We spent an amazing day visiting various parks and restaurants on the island. One of my favorite parts, though, was the trip to the ferry itself! Once you depart the ferry terminal in downtown Seattle, you get a gorgeous view of the city. It’s a view you can only really get from the water! We highly recommend visiting Bainbridge Island in-and-of-itself, but we especially recommend it for the beautiful views while on the ferry.

See our full guide to Bainbridge Island 

 


 

What to Pack on a Trip to Seattle

If you’re traveling to Seattle, we recommend that you pack the following:

  • Packable rain jacket (Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, the weather can change quickly. This rain jacket folds down small and can be easily packed in a bag for when you need it.)
  • Comfortable daypack (When exploring the city, you’ll want a comfortable daypack to place all of your belongings, snacks, and souvenirs.)
  • Portable charger (You’ll be using your phone for maps, navigation, and photos, so make sure you don’t run out of battery while you’re on the go. We like this one because it is slim and you don’t have to worry about packing extra cables.)
  • Insulated water bottle (This water bottle will keep your water cooler for longer.)
  • Comfortable walking shoes (When exploring a new city, you’ll be walking quite a bit. Make sure you have comfortable shoes! Brooks has been my favorite brand so far.)
  • Flannel shirt (This is Seattle after all. Time to look the part in your photos!)


 

Where to Stay in Seattle

Booking.com  

The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is a 5-minute walk from Pike Place Market. It’s a gorgeous 5-Star hotel located centrally in downtown Seattle. If you can afford it, this is our first recommendation. The hotel has an outdoor infinity pool with a view of the Seattle waterfront, lots of amenities, and is within walking distance of a lot of Seattle attractions.

The only hotel that’s actually within Pike Place Market is the Inn at the Market. You can’t get a better location! You’ll be able to watch Pike Place Market come alive in the morning, and you’ll be well-positioned to grab lots of delicious meals and snacks. See our full post on Pike Place Market here for food ideas!

The Charter Hotel Seattle is a moderately-priced hotel that’s only one block away from Pike Place Market. It’s also only a mile away from the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is located). The hotel is sleek and many of the rooms have nice city views.

The Seattle Marriott Waterfront has views of the water, as well as an indoor-outdoor pool. Every room has a view of the mountains and water.

For a full list of hotels in Seattle, click here.

 

 


Summary

We hope that you enjoyed this post on the best views of Seattle!

Here’s a brief summary of our favorite spots to get the best views of Seattle:

  1. Kerry Park (what you see in most postcards of Seattle)
  2. Gas Works Park (see the skyline across from Lake Union)
  3. Dr. Jose Rizal Park (see the city from the south side)
  4. Space Needle (see the city below you via the glass floor)
  5. The Nest Rooftop Bar (view in the midst of downtown and Elliott Bay)
  6. Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck (hidden gem view of downtown)
  7. Columbia Tower’s Sky View Observatory & Bar (see Seattle from the tallest building)
  8. Alki Beach (see the skyline across Elliott Bay)
  9. Smith Tower (has a 360 degree outdoor observation deck)
  10. Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island (and see the skyline from the water view)
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