At 520 feet tall, the Space Needle was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. Here, though, the spectacular, panoramic view make the east’s mighty river look like a rambling brook. To the west, the waters of Puget Sound and Elliott Bay glimmer in the sunlight. To the south, Mount Rainier peeks over the skyscrapers and neighborhoods of downtown Seattle, sprawled all the way to Lake Union and the distant ridges of the Cascade Mountain Range.
Just 20 feet below the observation deck, diners at SkyCity Restaurant let the 360-degree panorama revolve around them. Powered by a single 1.5-horsepower motor, SkyCity was only the second revolving restaurant in the world when it was built. Today, there are dozens of such restaurants worldwide, but SkyCity continues to distinguish itself with a carefully curated menu by Executive Chef Jeff Maxfield. Specializing in Pacific Northwest cuisine, Chef Maxfield was invited to cook a six-course meal at the James Beard House in October 2013—a testament to his work at SkyCity, whose menu includes everything from jumbo sea scallops to pear-and-brie agnolotti. For dessert, diners are invited to soak up the sweet views from the observation deck free of charge.
Since its construction in 1962, the Space Needle has become one of America’s most iconic architectural achievements. To prepare for the 1962 World’s Fair, crews constructed the Space Needle in a mere 400 days, earning the structure the unofficial title of “400 Day Wonder.” More than a million visitors visit the Needle every year, whether to eat at SkyCity, survey the Emerald City, or simply stand within the Earth’s last line of defense should a giant balloon ever descend on the Northwest.
Inspired by The Amazing Race, CityScape Adventures—held across the United States—entangle race participants in webs of 12 puzzles and challenges in citywide races to the finish line. Participants compete in teams of two, using their wits, teamwork, and underground network of mutant-turtle spies to complete the tasks given at the start of the race. The 12 challenges take the form of puzzles, riddles, and clues that guide treasure hunters to a specific location within the city, where each team must complete a special task using only their cleverness and muscles. Players can also use the Internet, and the winning team is usually the one that best leverages its resources. The first team to successfully complete all tasks and vault over the finish line will receive a prize and assembly line of high-fives.
For more than 40 years, the trained and professional pilots at Chelan Seaplanes have been floating passengers through the air on exotic day trips and scenic charter flights. Flights ferry passengers the 25 minutes back and forth to Stehekin, giving them unique views of the Lake Chelan Valley and the snow-topped Cascade Mountains. Passengers pick and choose from a collection of diverse sightseeing tours or climb aboard Chelan's amphibious aircraft for a chartered flight to Seattle and British Columbia. Clyde and his son, Shane, also lead adventurous outdoorsmen on a diverse collection of day-trip packages. Trips fuse flying with an afternoon of kayaking, fly fishing, hiking, or river-rafting, ferrying guests back at the end of the day full of stories about meeting celebrity waterfowl.
What happens when you say "Bloody Mary" three times? The masterminds behind Shadows Haunted Attraction won't say, but they invite all intrepid guests to find out for themselves. Once the group theatrical experience begins, none of the house's 15–20 visitors can leave, even if candles ominously flicker or ghostly faces begin materializing in mirrors. Afterward, guest can brave more scares inside the eponymous Shadows, a maze where startling, mildly gory frights lurk around every turn. Designed by Sinister Pointe Haunted Attractions, both haunts teem with volunteer actors trained in more effective scare tactics than threatening to tattle. Neither Shadows attraction is recommended for children 12 and under.
Customized Tours leads groups on guided expeditions of Seattle's most breathtaking spots. Outdoor adventurers can try the Mount Rainier National Park tour or the winery and waterfall tour, which travels across Lake Washington on the 7,700-foot Evergreen Point floating bridge to the world-renowned Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. City tours explore a variety of coffee shops and tourist attractions across the Queen Anne, Fremont, and Chinatown neighborhoods.
One of the more unique tours is the Boeing Factory tour, which gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at airplane assembly. It also gives them a chance to design their own airplanes using touch-screen computers, or, for traditionalists, old geometry homework.
Nestled atop a 50-foot bluff along the steel-blue waters of Dungeness Bay, Juan de Fuca Cottages overlooks the Dungeness Spit that teems with lush plant life, waterfowl, shorebirds, and seals. In the distance, the New Dungeness Lighthouse stoically guides ships, and the Olympic Mountains rub their jagged, snow-peaked backs against the horizon. With many cottages and suites sporting amenities such as whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and full kitchens, Juan de Fuca Cottages assure relaxation and leisure amongst a landscape brimming with natural beauty. While the cottages keep guests cozy, the staff's mission is to get their guests out among the wild splendor throughout the seasons with onsite rentals of kayaking, biking, and snowshoeing equipment. The new addition of the Dungeness Bay Lodge also opens the region's effulgence of flora and fauna for parties, weddings, or pet-naming ceremonies.