Seattle is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most photogenic cities, surrounded by green spaces and stunning natural beauty. You’ll find plenty of amazing Seattle views (almost as many as in San Francisco!), whether you’re looking for amazing vistas of the city skyline, waterfront, or surrounding mountains.
Seattle has become one of my favorite cities (especially for a weekend getaway) after visiting so many times over the last decade, and I’m always reminded of how beautiful the city is, especially after finding so many of the best views in Seattle.
Its location means that there are tons of amazing Seattle views, since the city is surrounded by the waters and island of Puget Sound, as well as the majestic Olympic and Cascade Mountains. It’s also got an impressive skyline as well, which allows for some incredible city views.
I sought out to find some incredible Seattle viewpoints to add to my bucket list, and over the years, I’ve found 15 of the best ones to share with you all. You need to add at least a few of them to your Seattle itinerary, even if you only have a day!
From the best observation decks, parks, rooftop bars, and more, here is where to find some of the best views in Seattle!
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The 15 Best Views in Seattle
I know, I know – the Space Needle is touristy AF. It’s not even the highest building in Seattle. But here me out – it’s one of the most iconic spots in the city, and it does still offer some of the best views in Seattle, especially on a clear day.
The futuristic Space Needle was built as part of the 1962 Worlds’ Fair, and standing at 605 feet high, used to be the tallest building in Seattle (until 1985, when the Columbia Center was built…but more on that later). It is still one of the most visited attractions in Seattle.
The observation deck here was completely renovated in 2018, offering visitors an enhanced experience. An upper level was added with open-air glass walls, which gives visitors floor-to-ceiling views.
In addition, a rotating glass floor named “the Loupe” was added as well, which will allow you to see the city beneath your feet (sort of like Skydeck in Chicago) – super cool!
From the top of the Space Needle, you will experience panoramic views of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, the Cascades, the Olympic Mountains, and beyond. It has one of the best Seattle views on a super clear day, when you can see all the way out to Mt. Rainier, which is always a magical sight!
Pro Tip: It’s cool to see the view from the Space Needle once in the daytime, and again at night – it’s fun to see how the view changes as the skyline becomes illuminated in dazzling lights, and is one of the best Seattle night views.
You can purchase a day to night ticket, which is included as part of the Seattle CityPass (which is an amazing deal if you are planning to visit several other top attractions in the city!).
Address: 400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109
Sky View Observatory at Columbia Center
Located on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, the tallest building in the city, the Sky View Observatory is the highest viewpoint in Seattle. From almost 1000 feet high, it is also the tallest observation deck in all of the Pacific Northwest, making this one of the best Seattle viewpoints.
Admire views of downtown Seattle, Bellevue, Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, The Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Rainier and beyond.
You can see almost all of the city and its surrounding areas, making this one of the best Seattle views! Aside from the fact that there are fewer crowds here, one advantage that Sky View has over the Space Needle is that, well, you can actually SEE the Space Needle from here (sort of like how you can see the Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock in New York City), which really makes it one of the best Seattle views
There are no open-air observation areas here (which can be an advantage since you won’t be freezing cold), but there are floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the entire circumference, from which you can stop and admire every little detail of the view.
There is also a bar and cafe here, offering beer, wine, craft cocktails (including a rotating menu of seasonally-inspired drinks), and light bites.
Pro tip: Upgrade your ticket to all-inclusive for a $10 credit to the bar and cafe, as well as a reserved window table so you can enjoy the view while sipping a drink!
Address: 700 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Built in 1914, Smith Tower was the first skyscraper in Seattle, and was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi. It stood as the tallest structure in Seattle until the Space Needle was built in 1962.
While it’s no longer the tallest building in the city, it’s still one of my favorite Seattle viewpoints. I love the unique history behind Smith Tower, which you can learn more about in the historical exhibits here.
You’ll go up one of those super old-school elevators here (you know, the ones with the grates), which adds to the historical charm here. When you get off, you’ll enter through a lobby area with a bar. It’s got a speakeasy vibe, and some really amazing cocktails, as well as things like old fashioned flights. All the drinks here were amazing and really added to the experience!
The bar leads out to an open air observation deck, which really does have one of the best views in Seattle! You’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the city, waterfront (which was super cool because we got to see our Alaska cruise ship parked at the dock from here!), surrounding mountain ranges, and even Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker on a clear day.
Pro tip: While you’re here, check out the Wishing Chair. Legend has it that any single woman who sits in the chair will end up being married within one year. It actually happened for an acquaintance of mine!
Address: 506 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
A small park tucked into a hilly corner of North Queen Anne, Kerry Park boasts one of my all-time favorite Seattle skyline views.
If you’ve ever seen that iconic view of the Space Needle standing perfectly in front of the Seattle skyline on a postcard (or from the opening credits of Grey’s Anatomy) and wondered where it was taken from – well, Kerry Park is the spot.
It is best during golden hour on a super clear day – you can see all the way out to Mt. Rainier, which makes one of the most picture-perfect Seattle scenic views even better! But really, you can’t go wrong with that view at any time of the day, or even on an overcast day (because, hey, that’s pretty much classic Seattle).
It’s one of the best parks in Seattle with a view, and is an especially popular spot for sunset, so it does tend to get crowded around then. An even better time to come is during sunrise, but if you’re not a morning person (I’m not), then if you’re patient, you can get an awesome shot!
Pro tip: It is best to photograph the view from Kerry Park with a zoom lens, as it will make the skyline look bigger in your photos. This will also mean that you have to stand a bit further back, which is another good reason to come earlier in the day.
Address: 211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119
The Nest Rooftop at the Thompson Hotel
The Nest has one of the most popular rooftop bars in the city, and it’s easy to see why – it has one of the best Seattle city views in town.
You’ll get a dazzling view of the waterfront, Pike Place, the Great Wheel, the stadiums, and see the twinkling lights of the downtown skyscrapers. On a clear day, I imagine you’d see Mt. Rainier as well, but it sadly did not make an appearance while I was there.
Reservations are highly recommended, as this is one of Seattle’s hottest spots! There is a $5 per person reservation fee (think of it as a cover charge), but it is worth it to be able to see one of the best views in Seattle. Walk-ins are available based on availability – if you try to go as a walk-in, I would aim to get there right when they open.
The drinks here are on the pricier side, but they are super well made and delicious.
It’s a fun spot for a date night, a girls’ night, or celebrating a special occasion. I celebrated my birthday here recently, and it was such a perfect evening – from the view to the cocktails (and the company, of course)!
Pro tip: The best time to be here is for sunset, when you can see the lights of the city twinkle against a pink sky. As the sky turns dark, you really get one of the best Seattle night views. Since each reservation is limited to 90 minutes, aim to get one that is 30-45 minutes before sunset.
Address: 110 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101
Gas Works Park
Situated on the north shore of Lake Union, Gas Works Park is one of the best parks in Seattle with a view, as well as one of the most fascinating sites in the city.
Gas Works Park once used to be home to a coal gasification plant for the Seattle Gas Light Company, which once provided power to the city of Seattle for over 50 years. After the plant was closed, it was eventually converted into a public park.
You can see the ruins of the plant today, which makes it one of the most unique places in Seattle. The industrial look of the ruins combined with the green space really gives it an interesting look.
While the ruins are fascinating, you are really coming here for one of the best Seattle viewpoints, and it does not disappoint!
What makes the view unique here is that you can see all of the buildings (and the Space Needle) of the downtown skyline laid out in a horizontal fashion. The rolling green hills of the park give it a nice touch as well.
Climb to the top of the hills for some of the best Seattle views!
The best time to come is on a sunny day, but an overcast day gives it an interesting, mysterious look as well (I mean, that’s kinda quintessential Seattle, right?).
Pro tip: Bring a blanket and some snacks – this is one of the best places in Seattle for a picnic! It is one of the most popular sunset spots in the city as well.
Address: 2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103
Olympic Sculpture Park
Another of the best parks in Seattle with a view, Olympic Sculpture Park is an open-air park and sculpture garden owned and operated by the Seattle Art Museum. It is one of the best places in the city to go for a walk, and find the perfect combination of vibrant public art, open green spaces, and waterfront views.
The unique public art pieces here complement the natural beauty of the area, and you’ll find some of the most breathtaking Seattle views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
Also be sure to look the other way – it’s got one of the best views of the Space Needle as well!
Pro tip: Start from the entrance on Western Ave. near Broad St. and make your way down hill. This will lead you down to a waterfront trail that has some beautiful Seattle scenic views as well!
Address: 2901 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
Bell Street Pier
Located a short walk from Pike Place, yet relatively unknown to have one of the best Seattle city views is the Bell Street Pier, located at Pier 66.
It’s another one of the most iconic Seattle viewpoints – you may have seen this view in a Google screensaver – but many people don’t know where it is, even if it’s located near one of the most popular tourist spots in the city!
You’ll get one of the best views of the waterfront and Great Wheel from here – it’s especially lovely around sunset, when the colorful lights of the wheel come up against the pink sky. You’ll also see the twinkling lights of the downtown skyscrapers.
Pro tip: To access the viewpoint, simply walk up the stairs near Anthony’s restaurant. If you are coming from Pike Place, you can also take the pedestrian bridge just off Elliott Avenue, which will save you from walking uphill from the waterfront.
Address: 2225 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121
The Mountaineering Club at Graduate Seattle
I am a huge fan of the Graduate Hotels brand (especially after staying at the one in Nashville), and when staying at this location, was so excited that they had a rooftop bar that boasts one of the best views in Seattle!
Located on the 16th floor of the Graduate Seattle, the Mountaineering Club has a unique vantage point in that you can see both Lake Union and Lake Washington from here. It’s also got some amazing views of the city skyline as well.
The one downside here is that there is a tall building in front that kind of obstructs the view, which doesn’t make it completely 360 degrees, but it’s still pretty awesome!
Pro tip: Come during sunset. This is a popular spot that sometimes gets really busy, so make a reservation!
Address: 4507 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Bainbridge Island Ferry
Taking a ride on one of Washington’s ferries is one of those iconic experiences you need to do at least once while visiting the state. And why not take a ride on one that boasts one of the best Seattle views?
Bainbridge Island is one of the most popular day trips from Seattle (and the ferry is actually part of the route going to Olympic National Park), but even if you don’t spend a full day there, it’s worth taking the ferry for the view. There are frequent departures (especially in the summer months), so planning a trip is super easy!
I always love seeing a city from the water, and seeing Seattle from Puget Sound really gives it a unique vantage point that you won’t find elsewhere. It’s truly one of the best views of the Seattle skyline – you can see it in all its glory from the water!
Pro tip: If you don’t want to go all the way to Bainbridge, you can get a similar view from taking a harbor cruise, which is included in the Seattle CityPass.
Ferry Terminal Address: 801 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104
From Lake Union
As I mentioned before, I love seeing a city from the water, and while seeing Seattle from the ferry gives you a unique vantage point, so does seeing it from Lake Union.
It’s got one of the most unique Seattle skyline views, as it is laid out horizontally and really cool to see! You’ll also catch awesome views of the Aurora and Ship Canal Bridges as well.
An awesome way to take in those Lake Union views is to do a sightseeing cruise (with cocktails!), which also allows you to see the floating homes on the lake (including the one that was in Sleepless in Seattle!), as well as go through the city’s drawbridges. It is such a unique way to see the lake, and such a relaxing activity.
You can also kayak around the lake, or even soak in a floating hot tub (an activity that has been on my Seattle bucket list forever!).
Ahhh yes, Pike Place is probably THE most touristy landmark in the entire city, but a stop here is an absolute must, not only to eat all the things (definitely do a food tour), but also to check out one of the best views in Seattle.
Pike Place is built into a hill, where the buildings at the bottom closer to the water are hidden from the top. This means two things – 1) you’ll find a cool view with the market’s iconic signs from the top, and 2) uninterrupted waterfront views from the bottom.
Snapping some photos with the market’s famous signs is a must while visiting Pike Place, and I love that perspective that you get when you photograph it from the top of the hill. You’ll get some amazing views of Elliott Bay that way, which makes for some amazing shots!
While you’re there, also head down to the Marketplace Plaza, one of the best Seattle viewpoints for the waterfront, the Great Wheel, and Puget Sound.
Pro tip: Also check out the secret rooftop garden, which is said to have some awesome views as well! I haven’t been there yet, but you can find directions to find it here.
Address: 85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
Seattle Central Library
I love discovering amazing bookstores and libraries on my travels (such as the Klementinum in Prague, the Trinity College Library in Dublin, and Lers Devagar in Lisbon), and one of my favorites is the Seattle Central Library.
What makes this one so special is the striking glass and steel structure (it kind of resembles a futuristic diamond), which has won numerous architectural awards. It’s also got one of the best Seattle city views!
When visiting the library, head up to the atrium on the 10th floor. You’ll find some amazing views of downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay from here, which is especially striking against the architecture.
Address: 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Seattle Great Wheel
Not gonna lie, the Great Wheel is kinda a tourist trap, but what can I say…I’m a suck for a good view and ferris wheels.
Located at the heart of the Seattle waterfront at Pier 57, the Great Wheel stands 157 feet high and is one of the tallest ferris wheels on the west coast (it used to be the tallest until the High Roller in Las Vegas came along!).
Taking a ride on the Great Wheel will give you a bird’s eye view of the city, and you can see some spectacular views of the downtown skyline, the waterfront, Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound.
Pro tip: At night on the weekends, there is a dazzling light show on the wheel as well. It is covered in over 500,000 LED lights which are illuminated in a full display. It’s especially magical seeing the lights from some of the other Seattle viewpoints on this list.
Address: 1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101
Discovery Park really is one of the most beautiful places in Seattle – it’s one of those places that give you a sense of peace and tranquility and make you forget you’re still technically in a large, urban city (kinda like Lands End in San Francisco).
You’ll really be able to see Seattle’s natural beauty in all of its glory at Discovery Park, which actually used to be a military base in the past. The 400 acre park has miles of trails, and the best way to take in its beauty is by meandering through them.
Some of the best views in the park are from Discovery Park Beach – there’s just something about those Pacific Northwest beaches that you can’t find in California, and this is one of the best in Seattle. You’ll find some beautiful views of Puget Sound here, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier peeking out in the distance.
Be sure to check out the lighthouse too – there are some amazing views from here as well!
Address: 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA 98199
Have you been to Seattle? What are some of your favorite Seattle views?
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