Best Seattle Viewpoints
Best Seattle Viewpoints

Seattle, nestled between the shimmering waters of Puget Sound and the rugged peaks of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication. This Pacific Northwest gem is renowned for its stunning panoramic views, which can be enjoyed from a multitude of vantage points scattered throughout the city. 

From bustling urban lookouts with breathtaking skyline vistas to serene natural spots overlooking tranquil waters, Seattle’s diverse viewpoints offer something for every visitor. If you’re searching for the Best Seattle Viewpoints then read on for our guide to see them!

13 Best Seattle Viewpoints

From the beautiful Kerry Park to the iconic Space Needle, these are our 13 Best Seattle viewpoints. Many of our best Seattle viewpoints are conveniently accessible and situated near well-known tourist attractions, making them straightforward to include in your Seattle itinerary.

1. Space Needle

Space Needle

One of the most iconic symbols of Seattle, the Space Needle stands as a testament to the city’s innovative spirit and its role in the 1962 World’s Fair. Rising 605 feet above the ground, its futuristic silhouette has become synonymous with Seattle’s skyline. The observation deck, known as the “Loupe,” provides 360-degree views that encompass downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the surrounding islands.

  • What to expect: The observation deck offers interactive displays, outdoor viewing areas, and the thrilling experience of walking on the world’s first and only revolving glass floor.
  • Tips for visiting: For the best views, visit on a clear day during sunrise or sunset when the city is bathed in golden hues. Purchasing tickets in advance online can save time and secure a spot during busy periods.

2. Kerry Park

Situated on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill, Kerry Park is famed for offering one of the quintessential views of Seattle. This small public park presents a picture-perfect postcard view of the Space Needle, the downtown skyline, and on clear days, Mount Rainier. It’s a favorite spot for photographers aiming to capture the essence of the city in a single frame.

  • Nearby attractions: The Queen Anne neighborhood is rich in history and architecture, with beautiful homes, local eateries, and quaint shops to explore after soaking in the views.

Read More: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

3. Columbia Center Sky View Observatory

Columbia Center Sky View Observatory

Standing as the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia Center’s Sky View Observatory offers breathtaking vistas from the 73rd floor—higher than the observation deck of the Space Needle. At 902 feet above street level, it provides a unique perspective of Seattle’s layout, the surrounding bodies of water, and the mountain ranges in the distance.

  • Comparison with the Space Needle: While the Space Needle is more iconic, the Sky View Observatory offers a higher vantage point and arguably more expansive views of the entire region.
  • Visitor information: The observatory is open to the public, with tickets available for purchase online or at the door. Check the website for the latest hours and ticket prices.

4. Discovery Park

Nestled within the Magnolia neighborhood, Discovery Park stands as Seattle’s largest city park, offering 534 acres of natural beauty. This park is a sanctuary where the urban landscape meets the wild, with meadows, forests, and coastlines. At its heart, the West Point Lighthouse serves as a historic beacon, guiding ships and offering visitors a picturesque view over Puget Sound. The park’s extensive network of nature trails winds through diverse habitats, leading adventurers to breathtaking viewpoints where the sound’s expansive waters stretch to the horizon.

5. Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park showcases Seattle’s ability to repurpose its industrial past into vibrant public spaces. Situated on the north shore of Lake Union, the park incorporates remnants of the sole remaining coal gasification plant in the United States

The result is a unique blend of history and recreation, offering panoramic views of Lake Union against the backdrop of the Seattle skyline. It’s an ideal location for picnics, kite flying, and watching seaplanes ascend and descend. The juxtaposition of the industrial structures with the natural beauty of the lake and city skyline makes Gas Works Park a must-visit for those seeking a different perspective of Seattle.

Read Also: Hobie Island Beach Park

6. Alki Beach

Alki Beach is a strip of sandy beach that offers more than just a place to relax by the water—it’s a site of historical significance, being the landing point of the first white settlers in Seattle. Today, it’s a beloved spot for both locals and visitors, offering stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle’s skyline. The beach is perfect for long walks, volleyball, and enjoying the sunset over the sound. Nearby, a range of dining options and recreational activities ensure a full day of exploration and enjoyment.

  • Best Views in Seattle Tip: When you’re at Alki Beach, don’t miss out on eating at Marination Ma Kai. This incredible spot offers a unique blend of Hawaiian Korean fusion cuisine that ranks as some of the finest we’ve experienced in Seattle.

7. Pike Place Market

To be transparent, Pike Place Market wasn’t always my favorite spot due to its bustling nature, and having visited it numerous times to show visitors around. However, seeing it again through the eyes of a tourist rekindled my appreciation for its quintessential Seattle vibe and charm. I particularly enjoy capturing its essence in photographs. It’s definitely a place worth exploring, and while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the famous Gum Wall nearby. For those interested in a deeper dive into the Market’s offerings, the Walking Food Tour is a fantastic option.

  • Crowd Level and Parking: The area tends to range from moderately to extremely crowded. As for parking, I advise against trying to find a spot close by. It’s better to park a few blocks away due to the dense pedestrian traffic making navigation near the Market quite challenging.

8. Smith Tower

Smith Tower

Situated in Pioneer Square, Smith Tower stands out as one of Seattle’s landmark buildings! It held the title of the tallest building in the city until the construction of the Columbia Tower. Enjoy an engaging historical tour within the tower before heading up in the elevator to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of Seattle and the Space Needle.

The 35th-floor lounge offers a delightful atmosphere for relaxation. However, anticipate higher prices for drinks and snacks. It’s not a frequent spot for locals since there’s a charge every time you ascend the tower.

9. Hamilton Viewpoint Park

Located in West Seattle, Hamilton Viewpoint Park is a hidden gem that presents sweeping views of the Seattle skyline, Elliott Bay, and, on clear days, Mount Rainier’s majestic presence. This tranquil spot is less frequented than more famous viewpoints, offering a peaceful retreat with ample space to enjoy a picnic or simply sit back and admire the view. Its relative seclusion makes it an ideal destination for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and soak in its scenic splendor in quiet contemplation.

Also Read: Baxter State Park

10. Bell Street Pier

Bell Street Pier ranks as one of the most iconic views in Seattle, second perhaps only to the famous vista from Kerry Park, especially for its magnificent sight of the Great Wheel. Located just a brief stroll from Pike Place Market, Pier 66 hosts the Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck.

This rooftop deck is a must-visit in Seattle, thanks to its proximity to Pike Place Market and the stunning views it offers. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic, especially after picking up some food from Pike Place Market.

A top tip for reaching the Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck from Pike Place is to use the pedestrian bridge off Elliott Avenue. This route bypasses the waterfront, offering a faster way to get to the viewpoint.

11. Dr. Jose Rizal Park

Dr. Jose Rizal Park

Just a short drive south from downtown lies Dr. Jose Rizal Park, offering some of the finest views of downtown Seattle. Although not the largest park in the city, Dr. Jose Rizal Park boasts exceptional skyline views from its location on the west side of Beacon Hill. The I-5 interstate serves as a striking lead into the cityscape of downtown Seattle.

The prime viewing spot is conveniently located right in front of the parking area, eliminating the need for extensive walking to appreciate the city views. Typically, the park isn’t overcrowded, with a few runners and dog walkers around, and there’s plenty of public parking available in the lot.

12. Volunteer Park

Volunteer Park offers one of Seattle’s most distinctive vistas and is a significant public space situated in the Capitol Hill area, just east of Lake Union. This makes it an excellent stop on your way to Gas Works Park.

A prime spot for viewing the city is the Black Sun Sculpture, positioned near the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s parking area. Crafted by artist Isamu Noguchi, this sculpture elegantly encircles the Space Needle in the backdrop.

Besides its picturesque views, the park is home to several attractions, including the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Water Tower Observation Deck, and Lake View Cemetery, where martial arts legend Bruce Lee is buried.

13. Creosote Park Bench

If you’re exploring Bainbridge Island or nearby regions, consider making a stop at Pritchard Park or the Creosote Park Bench. Located across Elliott Bay from Downtown Seattle, reaching the park involves a 1.5-hour boat journey. Despite its distance from the bustling city center, the panoramic views it offers are a photographer’s dream, presenting a captivating distant perspective of the entire skyline.

Tips for Viewpoint Visitors

The best Seattle Viewpoints offer mesmerizing scenes that appeal to both seasoned photographers and casual visitors alike. To capture the city’s beauty in its full glory, consider the following tips:

  • Best Times to Visit: The golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) provides soft, diffused light that enhances the cityscapes and landscapes. The blue hour, which occurs just before sunrise and just after sunset, offers a cool, ethereal light and a dramatic backdrop, especially for urban skylines.
  • Weather Considerations and Visibility: Seattle’s weather can be unpredictable. For the clearest views, aim for days following rain showers when the air is clean and crisp. Foggy days can also create mystical shots, especially of the Space Needle peeking through the mist.
  • Suggested Gear for Photography Enthusiasts: A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a tripod is essential for long exposures during the blue or golden hours. Wide-angle lenses are perfect for capturing expansive landscapes, while a telephoto lens can be great for zooming in on distant features like Mount Rainier.
  • Using Public Transportation and Parking Tips: Seattle’s public transportation system can be a convenient way to reach many viewpoints. For places like Kerry Park or the Space Needle, consider using the bus or monorail to avoid the hassle of parking. For more remote locations, check parking availability and restrictions in advance.


Seattle’s array of viewpoints, from iconic urban vistas to serene natural lookouts, showcases the city’s unique blend of natural and man-made beauty. Each spot offers a different perspective on the Emerald City, whether it’s the industrial charm of Gas Works Park, the historic ambiance of Alki Beach, or the panoramic views from the Columbia Center. Visitors and locals are encouraged to explore these sites, experiencing the diverse beauty of Seattle firsthand. Beyond the well-trodden paths lie countless other gems waiting to be discovered, promising new adventures and memories.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there any viewpoints in Seattle that are free to visit?

Yes, many of Seattle’s best viewpoints are free to the public. Kerry Park, Dr. Jose Rizal Park, and the Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck do not require an entrance fee, allowing visitors to enjoy stunning views without spending money.

Where to Stay when Visiting Seattle?

Seattle offers an abundance of lodging options, yet selecting a neighborhood can enhance your stay significantly due to its closeness to various Seattle viewpoints and convenient access to transportation.

What is the best time of day to visit Seattle viewpoints for photography?

The golden hour, just after sunrise or before sunset, is ideal for photography, offering soft, natural lighting. The blue hour, just before sunrise or after sunset, also provides a unique light for capturing the city’s skyline and landmarks.

Are there any viewpoints with views of Mount Rainier?

Yes, on clear days, several viewpoints offer views of Mount Rainier, including Kerry Park and the Sky View Observatory at Columbia Center. The visibility of Mount Rainier can greatly enhance the scenic beauty of your photographs.

Can I access the viewpoints using public transportation?

Many of Seattle’s viewpoints are accessible via public transportation. The Seattle Metro Transit system provides bus and light rail services that can get you close to many popular spots, including the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, which are near several great viewpoints.