The site of 1962’s Century 21 Exposition, tagged “America’s Space Age World’s Fair,” Seattle Center has survived decades of massive growth all around it. The main attraction is still the Space Needle, revealing the futuristic vision of 1960’s Seattle. Today, a close second is the ultra-modern and controversial Experience Music Project, Paul Allen’s monument to rock music. For the city’s residents, the Center is synonymous with lavish presentations of art, theater, dance, and music all year long.

Seattle Center

Space Needle

  • $14.00 adults, $7 for 4–13

  • 9am–12am daily

McCaw Hall listings

  • 206 684 7200


  • 206 367 5483


  • due to open in mid-2007


  • 206 733 9200

Pacific Science Center

  • 200 2nd Ave N

  • 206 443 2001

Seattle Children’s Theatre

  • 201 Thomas St

  • 206 441 3322

1962 World’s Fair

Century 21’s designers demonstrated their vision of the future in 1962, only 50 years after Seattle’s first World’s Fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition. Modernity ruled, from the science-fictionesque Needle and Monorail to the Sputnik-like Center Fountain. Nearly 10 million visitors came to marvel at this ideal future. Even Elvis Presley made an appearance, filming It Happened at the World’s Fair, (1963). Today, it is considered strictly retro, if not kitsch.

While the Center House contains many restaurants, walk along Queen Anne Ave for a wider selection, including Thai restaurants. For baked goods and espresso, try

525 Queen Anne Ave N
(206 285 3757)

Seattle Center used to be a favorite potlatch site for coastal Native Americans until the late 19th century.

Head to the International Fountain to watch the jets of water pulsing to music and to see kids of all ages getting wet!

Top 10 Sights
  1. Space Needle

    This imposing structure is recognized as the city’s architectural icon. Ride the vintage external elevators to the observation deck for a majestic view, or reserve a table at the revolving Space City restaurant for 360-degree panoramic views while dining.

    Space Needle, Seattle’s official landmark
  2. Opera House

    The luxurious Marion Oliver McCaw Hall  is home to the Seattle Opera. The site also contains Café Impromptu and the Boeing plaza.

  3. Experience Music Project (EMP)

    Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and avid rock aficionado, commissioned distinguished modern architect Frank Gehry to design this technicolor performance venue . It also houses the new Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.

    Experience Music Project

  4. Center House

    This large building houses the wonderful Seattle Children’s Museum as well as an intimate theater. It also contains restaurants, cafés, and shops.

  5. Bagley Wright Theatre

    The anchor for the Seattle Repertory Group, the theater rose in 1963 to become a Tony Award-winning playhouse. It is the largest of the three stages the Rep operates for their performances.

  6. Monorail

    Planners of the 1962 World’s Fair imagined the future of mass transportation might resemble this train. The Monorail has been out of service since a train collision in 2005 and is due to reopen in mid-2007. Plans to extend the route were shelved following a public vote.

  7. KeyArena

    The largest indoor venue in Seattle Center, with events ranging from heavy metal concerts to pro basketball games.

  8. Bumbershoot

    Seattleites mark their calendars for the long Labor Day holiday weekend in September, when Bumbershoot brings artists and imaginative literary arts programs, musicians, independent films, ethnic food, and many surprises to Seattle Center for the region’s largest festival of its kind .

  9. Pacific Science Center

    You’ll find exhibits on topics such as electronic music making, robotics, hydraulics, and natural history. There’s also a toddler area and two IMAX theaters.

  10. Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT)

    An award-winning organization that entertains 260,000 patrons each year. The Charlotte Martin Theater and the Eve Alford Theater are recognized for innovative family-oriented programs.

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