Not Martha

photo: typical

the view

It’s not well known but one of the best views in Seattle is from the Observation Deck of the Columbia Tower (one of our skyscrapers). To get there you take a bank of elevators up to one floor and transfer over to another bank of elevators and, hold on, what do you find as you’re walking past? A Starbucks! A Starbucks with a pretty great view.

Above is one of the first views that greets you from the Observation Deck. I’ve circled the Space Needle in orange to show you how tiny it seems from the Columbia Tower. See? Cute.

a Starbucks sign

Here is the proof of the Starbucks. It’s free to get up to it, by the way.

To get to the observation deck you take the bank of elevators in the North Lobby to the 40th floor, pass by that Starbucks, then take those elevators to the 73rd floor. Follow the signs to the left. It’s about $5 per person to get in and then you find yourself looking down at the Space Needle, which is pretty cool. The views are nearly 360 degrees and on a clear day you can see all the surroundings mountains. It’s far cheaper than the Space Needle, involves a whole lot less waiting and zero souvenir photographs. (The Space Needle, though, does have glass elevators and a rotating restaurant.) It’s one of my favorite places to bring visitors. And not just to show off that yes we really do have Starbucks everywhere.

update: Not too long after this I found myself taking a picture of the Columbia Tower from the top of the Space Needle for comparison.

· comments [14] · 06-22-2011 · categories:seattle ·

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Alicejune // Jun 22, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Thank you so much for the info ! We go to Seattle in July: we know now THE place from where we can see everything :)
    Best regards,
    Alice

  • 2 Lindy // Jun 22, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for a great tip! :) I’ll definitely keep that in mind when I visit Seattle… whenever that may be!

  • 3 Reading (and chickens) // Jun 22, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I had no idea; thanks for the tip!

  • 4 Beth J // Jun 22, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Thanks for that tip. I visit the area to see my sister and would like a less “touristy” place to get a good view. I don’t even know if she knows about it!

  • 5 Ande // Jun 22, 2011 at 10:49 am

    The women’s bathroom also has a viewing window and is supposedly the best view of Seattle. But Starbucks has a view for all :)

  • 6 Anotheryarn // Jun 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Oh man, this would have been awesome to know about (and maybe get a shot of the space needle with a rainbow flag) when we were there last summer. Filing this tidbit away.

  • 7 Seanna Lea // Jun 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    That is a beautiful view.

    Here, people go to the John Hancock Tower to get a good picture of the Boston skyline. Of course, it is often overcast and grey, which makes it less fun probably for tourists.

  • 8 Jené // Jun 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve heard about that observation deck but haven’t been yet. I really wanna see that view!

  • 9 Janet S // Jun 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I thought you could only get to the upper floors of the Columbia Tower by special invitation.

    For $7.50/person, the observation deck at the Smith Tower also provides great views of the south end of town and a view of the Space Needle, looking all the way north along what must be 2nd Avenue (I think). And the building is a cool part of Seattle history.

  • 10 Katherine // Jun 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    The restrooms inside the club, IIRC, have windows inside the stalls that you can look out of. It’s super neat and disconcerting.

  • 11 Magpie // Jun 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this tip! I’ve just moved to Seattle and I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now to get insight on neat non-touristy places to visit and bring out-of-town friends. Please keep up the good tips. :)

  • 12 Amber // Jun 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Aw man, wish I had read this when you posted it instead of here on my last night in the city. View from the Renaissance Seattle’s 28th floor is pretty nice, but it’d be a whole lot nicer from the 40th :)

  • 13 Emily // Jun 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    One word of warning to those wanting to go, it’s only open week days since it is an office building.

    Used to work in that building and Megan is totally right about the view, beats the Space Needle by a far far margin. Oh and that Starbuck’s it’s one of two in that building. Oh silly Seattle. :)

  • 14 megan // Jun 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Emily – Thank you for mentioning that!

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