Featured image: A close-up of downtown Seattle at dusk from Kerry Park on Queen Anne hill. (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Take advantage of the clear, dry summer days in Seattle by savoring the vistas from five of the city’s prime viewpoints. Even on days less clear, the fog and cloud formations create some beautiful effects.
The panorama from Belvedere Viewpoint stretches from the Space Needle to Harbor Island, a busy industrial area located between downtown Seattle and West Seattle.
Downtown Seattle from Belvedere Viewpoint in West Seattle (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Belvedere Viewpoint is located at the intersection of SW Admiral Way and SW Olga Street and open daily, 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (206) 684-4075.
Directions to Belvedere Viewpoint:
From I-5 North, take exit 163 or 163A if traveling south from downtown to the West Seattle Bridge. After crossing the West Seattle Bridge, exit at SW Admiral Way. Follow SW Admiral Way 1.5 miles to the top of the hill, where you will see the totem pole and pullout to the viewpoint on the right. If you want to spend time in the park across the street from the viewpoint, free on-street parking is available on 37th Avenue SW and SW Olga Street.
Hamilton Viewpoint, near the tip of the West Seattle peninsula, has another great 180-degree view of downtown Seattle, but at a slightly different angle and higher than Belvedere Viewpoint. The view stretches from Queen Anne Hill to Harbor Island, but you see less of Harbor Island than at Belvedere Viewpoint. Watch passenger ferries cross one of the nation’s busiest waterways, Puget Sound, while tugs assist ships and tow barges.
Seattle’s skyline from Hamilton Viewpoint in West Seattle (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Hamilton Viewpoint is located at the intersection of California Avenue SW and SW Donald Street. It’s open daily, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (206) 684-4075.
Directions to Hamilton Viewpoint:
From I-5 North, take exit 163 or 163A if traveling south from downtown to the West Seattle Bridge. After crossing the West Seattle Bridge, exit at SW Admiral Way. Drive 2 miles on SW Admiral Way to California Avenue SW and turn right. Hamilton Viewpoint is one mile away on the right.
Dr. Jose Rizal Park
Dr. Jose Rizal Park is best known from its night views of cars streaming thin ribbons of white and red lights along the I-5 curves intersecting downtown Seattle—a product of photographers’ long exposures. I-5 and Puget Sound form the crust of a scenic sandwich filled with skyscrapers from this vantage point just east of downtown.
For the best view, walk down the hill from the parking lot to the intersection of S Charles Street and Golf Drive S, and turn left. (Don’t cross the street when you turn left.) As soon as you turn, you’ll find an unobstructed view of downtown Seattle, CenturyLink Field, Safeco Field, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains from a long bridge.
A view of downtown Seattle and I-5 from the bridge near Dr. Jose Rizal Park (photo by Cheryl Landes)
The park is located at 1007 12th Avenue S and open daily, 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (206) 684-4075.
Directions to Dr. Jose Rizal Park:
From I-5 North, take exit 163 or 163A if traveling south from downtown to the West Seattle Bridge. Follow the exit ramp to S Columbian Way; stay in the left lane. Turn left onto S Spokane Street, then drive two blocks to 15th Avenue S and turn left. Follow 15th Avenue S for 1.5 miles, where its name changes to Golf Drive S. Continue on Golf Drive S for one-tenth mile to S Charles Street and turn left. You’ll see Dr. Jose Rizal Park on the right. Parking is one-tenth mile away on the right. If the parking lot is full, on-street spots in designated areas are available.
The perspective at Kerry Park, on Queen Anne Hill north of downtown Seattle, changes to skyscrapers clustered behind the Space Needle. Mount Rainier floats above CenturyLink and Safeco Fields, and the Olympic Mountains block the northwestern horizon opposite the sound.
A view of the Seattle skyline through Doris Chase’s “Changing Form” sculpture at Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill. The sculpture was installed here in 1969. (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Kerry Park is located at the intersection of W Highland Drive and 2nd Avenue W. and open 24 hours. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (206) 684-4075.
Directions to Kerry Park:
From I-5 North or South, take exit 167 to Mercer Street. Follow Mercer Street 1.6 miles to Taylor Avenue N; turn right. Drive three blocks; then turn left on Aloha Street and rive eight blocks. Turn right on Queen Anne Avenue N., drive two blocks to W Highland Drive, and turn left. Kerry Park is two blocks on the left. Park on the street in designated areas.
Space Needle observation deck and SkyCity restaurant
At 520 feet, this observation deck is the ultimate bird’s-eye city view for humans. From here, enjoy a 360-degree view of downtown Seattle, Lake Union, the Cascade Mountains, and the Olympic Peninsula.
The Space Needle at Seattle Center (photo by Cheryl Landes)
From this distance, you can still hear the traffic moving on the interstate and the ferries’ motors as they arrive and depart Colman Dock near Pioneer Square. If you’re hungry, try lunch (Tuesday-Thursday), brunch (Friday-Monday), or dinner (daily) in SkyCity restaurant at the 500-foot level. The restaurant rotates once every hour.
SkyCity’s hours are Friday-Monday, 9:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m. and 5-9:45 p.m.; and Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. and 5-9:45 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Book online for up to 4 people. Make reservations for larger parties by calling (206) 905-2100 or (800) 937-9582 during the restaurant’s daily office hours, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Directions to the Space Needle and SkyCity restaurant:
The Space Needle is located at the Seattle Center at 400 Broad Street. The observation deck is open daily, 8 a.m.-midnight, and the last admission is 30 minutes before closure. View directions and parking information.
Buy tickets at the ticket booth or online. When you dine at SkyCity, admission is free to the observation deck.
Traveling by public transportation
All of these viewpoints are accessible by public transportation. Plot your trip and view fares by visiting the King County Metro trip planner.