Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

The Seattle Space Needle is probably one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Created in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, it’s 520 foot high observation deck is enjoyed by people from around the world.

Being a “sister city” to many of Japan’s cities, it has that international flavor permeating every corner.

With some 5,850 tons of concrete and steel making up it’s foundation, it has been considered to be superbly designed and built.

Top heavy?  Not this baby!

It’s center of gravity is a mere 5 feet above ground!  With a lower center of gravity, it does not need to worry about “toppling over” onto itself.  🙂

The Observation Deck

Observation Deck with safety rails

Observation Deck with safety rails

Initially, the observation deck was open when you arrived.  Today,  mainly because of safety reasons and to discourage any future parachute jumps, it now has high fenced areas around the deck.

B.A.S.E. jumpers from the Needle

B.A.S.E.  jumpers from the Needle

But don’t worry, you can still see the entire city of Seattle quite well.  Even picking out places of interest where you’ll want to go next.

The Ferries that scurry around the Sound and through the San Juan Islands can be seen from the Needle.  On the other side of Capitol Hill (a.k.a. Hospital Hill…also where Bruce Lee is buried)  you can see the Mercer Island floating bridge that will connect you to the East Side (a.k.a. Bellevue) of Seattle.

Don’t forget the Pike Place Market along with many other sights and restaurants that dot the Seattle waterfront  in and around the Seattle Aquarium.

The Eye of the Needle

Located at it’s top is the SkyCity Restaurant originally nicknamed “The Eye of the Needle” is known for it’s fine cuisine.   With a nearly 95 foot diameter eating area, there is plenty of “elbow room” for you and your party.

When you choose your reservations, be sure and request a window seat.  Why  so?  Because only the outer 14 foot ring of the restaurant revolves.  It takes about one full hour to make the 360 degree circle, allowing you to enjoy the sights of Seattle.

In it’s early days, the Seattle Space Needle was the second revolving type restaurant in the world.  Second only to the Ala Moana shopping mall located in Hawaii.

Today, because of it’s popularity, there are now hundreds of revolving restaurants.

Borrowing from the ideas of old style Round Houses for the railroad, this “simple” mechanism has been used countless times for rotating platforms.

Updating The Needle

With the Needle being so popular, it’s operators quickly realized there needed to be more restaurant space along with a souvenir gift shop.

Though the Seattle Space Needle when built was a “measly” $4.5 million, it received a revitalization  in the 2000’s upwards of some $20 million.

Here is when the construction of the Pavilion Level, the SpaceBase outlet retail store, the SkyCity restaurant and Deck were overhauled and given that much needed  facelift.

The Needle and it's lower restaurant

The Needle and it’s lower restaurant

Even it’s paint was updated and freshened along with the installation of the Legacy Light and more exterior lighting.

It’s Early Days

When the Space Needle was conceived, it’s original purpose was for the Seattle World’s Fair…only.  When the fair was over, the Needle was slotted to be torn down.  🙁

However, because of the outcry of Seattle residents, the Needle still stands today. 🙂

It was so popular that at one time, the small city of Fife, Washington, offered the sum of $1 million to have the Needle moved to their downtown area.

Clearly Fife recognized the Needles effects of city growth!

Practical Jokes At The Needle

When H.G. Wells broadcast his now infamous “War of the Worlds” radio program on Sunday, Oct. 30, 1938, many thought that there had been a real invasion from Mars.

Having that in mind, a few radio pranksters chose to capitalize on that mentality.   H.G. Wells broadcast had coincided with the 1938 observance of Halloween.

As an April Fool’s joke, a local TV station broadcast a report that the Space Needle had fallen over and rescuers were needed to volunteer to search for victims and survivors.

(See the results of the Needle’s collapse by clicking on the CHEESE committe)

Then there was the CHEESE committe for the Needle and the aliens from space.  Everyone got a real kick out of that one.  🙂

The Needle’s Use

The celebration of New Year Eve parties has grown since its inception in 1982.   It has also seen the welcoming of the Olympic Torch Relay as it went through the city of Seattle.

Sports team welcome messages have been seen for many years, decorating the Needle.

Even a Miss USA Pageant, Miss Washington, Stina McLynne,  wore her Needle hat during the costume portion of the pageant.

Come For A Visit To The Needle

Why not find out more about this multicultural city located in Washington?  Become familiar with Seattle and it’s entrepreneur’s that populate the city.  You’ll be glad that you did.

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by:expedia,seattlepi,thousandwonders,pachid

Seattle Restaurants Downtown – Take Your Choice


Seattle Restaurants Downtown

Seattle Restaurants Downtown

The huge number of Seattle restaurants downtown can be daunting to say the least.  Depending on your taste and atmosphere that you desire, you’ll easily be accommodated here in the downtown area.  Let’s take a look at what you’ll be able to find.  First of all, be aware that since there is such a variety of the Seattle restaurants downtown, that I am not about to try to cover all of them.  What I will do though is to give you, the reader, several to choose from.

What we’ll be looking at is not only the food, but what is popular with the folks that go there.  In other words,  How do others view this restaurant?  Did they like it?  Was the food good?  How about the atmosphere?   How popular is this dining place within the downtown area?  Did I get my money’s worth?

My first choice is  Lola Restaurant.  It is mainly a breakfast and brunch type of eatery.  It specializes  in Greek food.  OK, now don’t close off your thinking.  “Greek food? What am I getting into?”   Lola happens to be one of the most popular restaurants with an excellent track record not only for the locals but for many that travel through Seattle.

Eggs Benedict at Lola

Eggs Benedict at Lola

As you enter you’ll note the high ceilings, giving you a sense of “open spaces” even within the hotel portion.  With painted art on the walls, you’ll have plenty of ‘eye candy’ to take note of.  Located at  2000 4th Ave, Seattle, Wa.  98121  (206) 441-1430

But how is the service?  

Trust me when I say that you’ll not have a waiter/waitress with any type of ‘attitude.’   Even when others join your already seated party, they will be most welcomed.  Here is just one tasty little snack that catches everyone’s eye.   Eggs Benedict.

Not in the mood for Greek?  Then how about Japanese?  The Japonessa Restaurant and sushi bar, located at 1400 1st Ave Seattle, Wa.  98101   (206)  971-7979 will fulfill all your desires for Japanese food.  You’ll love it.

So, what should expect?  Many who eat at Japonessa enjoy the “Super Bad Boy” roll.  You will too.  Oh, and do not forget about the “happy hour” where your dollars will purchase more.   Want something more?  Then try the Tempura Brie.  It will be something that will be remembered, and savored, for many days to come.

Japonessa Casanova & Tango de Mango Rolls

Japonessa Casanova & Tango de Mango Rolls

Do you like salads instead of a large meal?  Then you’ll want to try the Sashimi Salad.  It gets a ‘thumbs up’ in my book!

If you are considering dining here, you may want to call ahead and reserve a seating place.  Why?  First of all, the waiting area is just a wee bit cramped.  Also, another thing I noticed, was the dining area itself.  It would be nice to be able to “stretch out” just a bit more while eating.  If you are a very large person, you may find it just a bit tight in the dining areas.

But check out this tasty dish!

But…Where’s The Beef ?!

The above downtown Seattle restaurants are all well and good.  However, there are many of us that just like the “meat and potatoes” type of eating.  Right?  How about steak?  Then you’ll love this next stopping spot.

The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House is the place we’ll be going to next.                                                                   1212 2nd Ave.  Seattle, Wa. 98101  (206) 224-7000

Here is a great suggestion.  Just as soon as you are seated, order the clam chowder with just a hint of truffle oil dribbled on it.  It will get the “juices flowing” for the next course.    Would you prefer oysters?  Then check out the Cajun fried oysters and calamari.  Prefer lobster?  mmmmmm……I can taste it now!

BSS&OHouse Filet Mignon

Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House Filet Mignon

Being a steak and seafood restaurant, you can’t overlook the fantastic King Crab fresh from Alaska or the Dungeoness Crab.  How about the house speciality of halibut?   or even the Wild Alaskan King Salmon dish?

Tomahawk Ribeye steak is next on the menu.  Or on the other hand, the Filet Mignon would be just perfect.   But where are the potatoes that goes with the “meat and potatoes” menu?   Then order the Oscar with cheesy potatoes.  You can’t go wrong there.

Next  is the fun part…if you’ve still got room for it.   Dessert!

Another Steak House

The Capital Grille located at 1301 4th Ave. Seattle, Wa  98101 (206) 382-0900 is another place that you’d do well to consider for a great meal.

Go for the 22 oz. Delmonico Steak.

As you enter, you’ll notice the Old style of  decor with great service to each customer.  Oh, yes, and did I mention the VALET SERVICE for FREE ?  When you get tired of searching for a place to park, then the Capital Grille is the place to go to for that well deserved meal.

Beth’s Cafe – I Saved The Best For Last

Beth's Care from the outside

Beth’s Care from the outside…a “hidden” treasure !

The last on my list is Beth’s Cafe.  Why would I even consider a so-called “out-of-the-way” type restaurant as good?  To be honest…because it IS good !   In fact, I would consider it the best of all of the above mentioned restaurants. Why do I say that?  Let me give you my own experience the first time I and 3 other friends, had breakfast at Beth’s Cafe.

Located at : 7311 Aurora Ave.  North  Seattle, Wa  98103

Phone number :  (206) 282-5588

It was early Saturday morning (about 6:30 or so, and very cold), the four of us had finished up our work in the downtown area.  Now it was either time to head back to the barn (home) or go and grab a bite to eat.  Well, Wenn, (one of us guys) decided he wanted to treat the other 3 of us.  So off we went.  Instead of heading towards one of the more local and nearby restaurants or a quick ‘grab-n-go’ burger joint, he headed towards the Green Lake area out by the U-District.

So here we are, parked on the street and heading toward Beth’s.  As we walk up, I’m thinking, ” is this  a real restaurant that has good food?”  Why would I ask that?  Because it just looked like a well worn store front.  Ok, so we get inside.  Now remember, this is my own personal experience, I’m not sure if it is still this way because I’ve not had the opportunity to return for some time.  Anyway, back to what I saw.

The first thing I noticed was the absolutely BLASTING hard rock music coming from the kitchen area.  Wow! It really caught me off guard.  The guy washing the dishes had hair down to his belt and was really rocking out to the music.  Even so, as I looked around, I could see that it was a very well worn place.  However, it was quite clean and inviting.  After we found an empty booth, we got the menu’s and began to look them over.

Wenn took all of the menu’s out our hands  and said he was ordering the same thing for all of us and that none of us needed the menu…..We took his advice and just sat and waited.   Having a good morning so far, we enjoyed telling stories and other light hearted conversation while our breakfast was being prepared.

After about 15 minutes, here comes a guy pushing a cart with piles of trays stacked on it.  When I say trays, I do mean trays, not plates, but trays!  He stopped at our table and each of us got a PLATTER so stuffed with food that not one of us could finish our platter plate!

You’ll Never Believe What Came On Our Platters !

One of the great folks that work at Beths

One of the great guys that work at Beths

Why not finish it?

Well, here is what was on this platter plate.  On the bottom layer, was probably 2 or maybe 3 freshly shredded hash-brown style potatoes. Then came the eggs on top.  It began with 12 or 13 eggs for each of us.  Mixed in were green onions, garlic, bits of tomato, some black olives, cheese, and several other tasty bits of flavors that I can not remember.  Along with toasted and buttered bread with jelly.  A cup of coffee, or orange juice.  All of that was for under $6.00 each!   Now remember, that was my very first time at Beth’s , many, many years ago.  So I’m sure prices have gone up…like everything else has.   🙁

What I do remember is that it was fantastic!

This is a real "down to earth" restaurant. Note the great wall decorations !

This is a real “down to earth” restaurant. Note the great wall decorations !

Wenn told us that he had came across this place by accident.  But I’ll tell you what, it’s no accident that they are still in business!  After eating as much as any of us dared to do, we were given aluminum foil to take away the left overs.   When I finally did get home, my wife and son finished it off and wanted more.

Sorry, but that was all there was.

But you know what?  That left an open door for me to treat my family to another one of Beth’s fantastic breakfast meals.  Yum !   I can hardly wait !

Beth's Cafe 12 egg omelette

Beth’s Cafe 12 or 13  egg omelet

If you are not the “prim and proper” type of person, then you’ll love Beth’s Cafe even though it is not one of those  fancy-dancy Seattle restaurants downtown where you have to be a bit on the formal side.

The reviews and rants and raves for this little restaurant is fantastic.  In fact, some years back I was in Arizona and my wife and I met another woman that was also from the Seattle area.  She was complaining about the prices of food and how little you got for the money.  Then she told us about a wonderful little “hole-in-the-wall ” restaurant in Seattle called Beth’s Cafe and how great their food was.

Needless to say, after that, our conversations turned a completely different corner!  It was great!

So, are you intrigued?  If you want a different type of atmosphere where you can just be yourself,  go and check out Beth’s Cafe.  I know you’ll love it.

Liked this little review of the Seattle Restaurants Downtown?

Be sure and leave me a comment because I’d love to hear from you.

Have you been to Beth’s?  Be sure and let me know your thoughts.

Written by :   Tom McDaniel

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photo credit: <a href=””>Werner Kunz</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>


Seattle's Famous Space Needle & Restaurant

Seattle’s Famous Space Needle & Restaurant

The Seattle Space Needle Restaurant is one of those eye catching buildings that all visitors instantly recognize.  It is usually one of the first things people see and think of when the name, Seattle, is mentioned.

Why can we say that?  Because in almost any picture, postcard, TV episode or movie that is featuring Seattle, the Seattle Space Needle is prominently displayed.

It’s revolving restaurant is one of it’s main attractions that people from all over enjoy.  Taking about 60 minutes to make the 180 degree (a full circle) visual trip around the Seattle area while you are enjoying your meal.  Off in the distance, you can see Mount Rainier (ray near) along with the Puget Sound (pew jet) area where ships from around the world come and dock to load or unload their goods.

Enjoy The View!

The Needle is one of the easiest sites to see and find.  It towers above the surrounding buildings in it’s area.  But keep in mind that if you are one who is just a wee bit nervous about heights, then the Needle may not be for you.  At it’s highest point, that is, the top of the aircraft warning beacon, you are at the 605 foot mark.  On the other hand, since no one is allowed there except maintenance crews to change the lights and check the wires, you do not have to be concerned.  (see picture)

Enjoy yourself with your date, family, friends, and everyone else that walks the observation deck at the 520 foot level.  You will absolutely LOVE the view!

Towering Into The Sky

Many of us can recall when the Needle was first started back in 1961.  It was being covered by all the local news media.  Because of it’s shape, location and time constraints, it’s builders were to have it completed within 540 days, or 18 months.  Why so?  Because in the spring of 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair was to be opened.  The Space Needle was to be one of many attractions.  Did they succeed?  Yes indeed!  In fact, from the time construction began, it took a mere 400 days to be completed.


1961 putting up the needle

The Mighty Mississippi River and the Seattle Space Needle

Because of it’s location and year it was built, it had the distinction of being the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, overshadowing the former glory of the Seattle Smith Tower and it’s “tallest building west of the Mississippi” status.  The Smith Tower is still located in downtown Seattle, but, by comparison to other buildings around it, it looks rather small.  Also, even the Seattle Space Needle is viewed as just an average height when it comes to modern day buildings.

Progress keeps moving forward…..and upwards!

The Safety Issue…Is It Needed?

Even though the Needle is now decades old, it was built with more than double the amount of safety standards that were in place in 1962.  Even by today’s tough safety standards, it passes with flying colors.  So, rest assured that when you enjoy your 10 mph or 800 feet per minute or 43 second trip up the Needle’s elevator, you will step out at the top, safe and sound.

Famous People And The Needle

However,  have  you ever wondered who has been to the Needle’s top platform and restaurant?  Just to name a few, had you been there at the right time, you would have seen:

Elvis Presley, Bill Gates at the age of 11, John Travolta, Vanna White, Michael Douglas, and Demi Moore along with a host of other famous people.

In a different line of thought, no one can ever accuse the Seattle people (Seattle-ites) of not having a good sense of humor.  How so?

The Seattle Space Needle Has Fallen Down!!!

One of the local Television News Stations had made a sensational news report that the Seattle Space Needle had fallen over!  Again, many of us can remember that report and wondered how that could have happened!  Needless to say, it was quite shocking to all.  In fact, more than 700 people called into the local station to find out what happened and if they could volunteer to help rescue people and clean up.

Finally, it had to be admitted that it was an April Fool’s prank.   🙂

Just a few more not well know facts about the Needle:

Blowing Up The Space Needle!  Yikes!

When it was first built, it was slated to be torn down at the end of the World’s Fair.  However, so many people were up-in-arms when that information was made known to the general public, that it was deemed to remain and become a permanent part of the Seattle skyline.

And a final note.

A Message From Space?

When the saucer shape of the observation platform and restaurant were first made, along with the tall airplane tower with the light atop it,  it was claimed to be used to send and receive signals to “outer space people” with the hopes of a return message.

Who was responsible for this action?

It was the Committee Hoping for Extra-terrestrial Encounters to Save the Earth.  In other words, it was the CHEESE committee.  Ha Ha……….funny but TRUE!

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Want to see more or Seattle?



The Green CHEESE Men From Outer Space? What Do You Think?