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.
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.