If you’re looking for the best views in Seattle, you’re in the right place.

They call Seattle the Emerald City for a reason – it’s teeming with lush greenery, bodies of water, and breathtaking views that look straight out of a fairy tale. But aside from the beauty at eye level, wouldn’t you love to see Seattle from a whole new perspective?

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, join us as we explore the most awe-inspiring views in Seattle. 

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Best Scenic Views of Seattle from Above

Aerial view of Lake Union and skyscrapers in Seattle - one of the best views in Seattle
Photo by Cody Fitzgerald

Helicopter Tour

Neighborhood: Departing from Various Locations

Why not begin your Seattle experience from high in the sky? A helicopter tour will give you unparalleled views of the city, soaring above skyscrapers and providing an unforgettable glimpse of Mt. Rainier in the distance. 

Helicopter tours of Seattle take off from a variety of locations throughout the city. Prices start at $150 and can range up to $600+ per person, depending on the route and tour company. If you are visiting on a budget, be sure to check sites like Groupon for a discounted ticket.

🚁 Check out this helicopter tour of Seattle to see the city from above! 🚁

Blue skies are the backdrop of the Seattle Skyline, the best view from the Space Needle
Contributed by Jeni of PhotosByJeni Photography
Shoes standing over the glass floor above the Space Needle in Seattle

Space Needle

Neighborhood: Lower Queen Anne

A Seattle icon, the Space Needle is perfect for an elevated view. Ride the elevator to the Observation Deck at 520 feet high and soak in the 360-degree panoramic views of the city, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains.

Now boasting a glass floor, the entire view is visible on a clear day. Be sure to check for weather conditions, as Seattle is known for its less-than-optimal gray weather which could obstruct your view from above.

Grab a CityPASS to visit the Space Needle as well as other hallmark Seattle destinations, such as the Chihuly Glass Museum just below, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Museum of Pop Culture for a combined discount.

Views of the city of Seattle at night overlooking the Puget Sound from the Smith Tower

Smith Tower

Neighborhood: Pioneer Square

This vintage beauty is another must-visit. Step into the historical building of Seattle’s first skyscraper and take the original Otis elevator up to the observatory. 

At 484 feet, enjoy a drink from the 20’s style bar on the viewing platform with gorgeous views of Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle, and beyond.

Pro Tip: Bring a ticket from a sports game downtown, either Seahawks, Mariners, or the Sounders, for a free visit to the observatory, and stop at the museum on the way. 

You can also stop by on the first Monday of the month for free admission and a movie night!

🏙️ Snag your ticket to 360 views on the Smith Tower 🏙️

View of Seattle from the Columbia Tower Sky View Observatory
Photo contributed by Nicholas Lim of Rambling Feet
View of other city buildings from the Starbucks in Columbia Tower in Seattle

Columbia Center Sky View Observatory

Neighborhood: Downtown

Located on the 73rd floor, this observatory offers the highest public viewing area in the city. Soak in the breathtaking vistas, including a unique vantage point of the Space Needle!

You can sometimes sneak in a free view from the Starbucks in this building, but a new skyscraper has been put up right in front, blocking what used to be one of the best free views in Seattle.

Tickets to the Sky View Observatory start at $28, or you can visit with a C3 CityPASS.

🤩 Grab tickets to the Sky View Observatory

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Volunteer Park Tower

Neighborhood: Capitol Hill

This great little free tower offers a 360 scenic view of Seattle from the Capitol Hill neighborhood. 

Step back in time and climb the spiral staircase of this elaborately designed brick water tower in Volunteer Park. Learn about its history through informational panels while enjoying the bird’s-eye views of the city.

Also worth visiting is the Volunteer Park Conservatory, at an excellent budget cost of only $4, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which only just reopened in 2022 after a very long hiatus.

An ornate grate frames the city skyline from the background at the Volunteer Park Tower in Seattle

Best Views of the Seattle Skyline

Seattle is a green city in many senses, one of which is boasting over 400 city parks. With so many designated green spaces, there are bound to be a few parks with incredible views of the Seattle skyline.

Headlights blurring past the cityscape at night in Seattle
Photo by Chad Peltola

Dr. Jose Rizal Park

Neighborhood: Beacon Hill

This gem of a park provides sweeping views of downtown Seattle, creating the perfect backdrop for a picnic or an afternoon walk. From the edge of the park, visitors can get a unique view of the entire city normally only visible from the drive in to Seattle on I-5.

Photographers come to Dr. Jose Rizal Park at night for the iconic shot of the highway glowing with headlights, framing the city from below.

A Man eats the sunset

Alki Beach

Neighborhood: West Seattle

Offering more than just sand and sun, Alki Beach is the ideal spot to take in the shimmering skyline reflected in Elliott Bay.

The beach is one of the best places to photograph the Seattle skyline and can be accessed by water ferry straight from downtown.

Stick around for fish and chips, Top Pot donuts, and volleyball on the beach.

The sunset reflects off buildings and the Space Needle, with Mount Rainier in the background of this scenic view in Seattle

Kerry Park

Neighborhood: Queen Anne

Boasting one of the most picture-perfect panoramic views of the Seattle skyline at night or during the day, including the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier, Kerry Park is a photographer’s dream.

As the best place to photograph Mt Rainier from Seattle, the park tends to get crowded around sunset, so arrive in time to get a good spot and watch the epic view.

Gas Works Park

Neighborhood: Northlake

Known for its unique industrial setting, Gas Works Park merges the old with the new, providing unobstructed views of Lake Union and downtown.

Grab an assortment of picnic snacks and head to the giant hill for a daytime view of Seattle over Lake Union.

Alternatively, the park also has great views of the Seattle city skyline at night from the waterfront.

Waterfront views from Gasworks park in Seattle
A woman sits on the deck of a hot tub boat in Lake Union with the Seattle Skyline in the background
Photo contributed by Kristen Kincannon

Hot Tub Boats

Neighborhood: Northlake, South Lake Union

Yes, you read that right. Enjoy the Seattle skyline from a floating hot tub while cruising along Lake Union – an unforgettable experience! Two main businesses are offering hot tub boat rentals on Lake Union – Hot Tub Boats and Lake Union Hot Tub Boats.

 If you are in it for the aesthetics, we recommend the former for the pretty wooden boats.

Both offer 2-hour rentals for $400 that seat up to 6 people. These can book up quickly, especially in the summer, so we recommend reserving your boat in advance.

An artistic view of a Ferris wheel from below against a bright blue sky in Seattle
A colorful sunset sets the backdrop of the cityscape in Seattle as seen from the Bainbridge Ferry

Great Wheel

Neighborhood: Downtown Waterfront

The Ferris wheel in Seattle offers two options to see the Seattle city skyline: viewing the city from the Great Wheel, or viewing the Great Wheel along the cityscape. 

Capture the energy and excitement of the city on this waterfront Ferris wheel which offers several rotations for a chance to see the skyline and mountains on a clear sunny day.  

Tickets cost $6 per person and the ride lasts around 15 minutes.

Or, hop on the Bainbridge ferry for views of the entire wheel and skyline as you sail to the island for a day of fun. A round-trip pass on the ferry is $9.45 per walk-on adult, or ~$13.55 per vehicle plus each passenger. 

If you choose to drive onto the ferry, you may still exit your vehicle and walk to the upper decks to catch the views. Just make sure that you are back in your car in time to exit once the ferry docks. 

Check here for the ferry schedules, and be sure to arrive at the loading area well in advance to catch your ride home.

Two tickets held in front of the decorated sign for Wings over Washington on Miners Landing in Seattle

Wings Over Washington

Neighborhood: Downtown Waterfront

For a virtual experience of scenic views in Seattle and all over the state of Washington, head next door from the Ferris Wheel to Wings Over Washington

Tickets to this 4D “flying theater” (think: Soarin in Disney parks) cost $17 per adult and the ride takes around 15 minutes, so it can be easily paired with the Great Wheel located just beside it on Miner’s Landing.

Best Mountain Views in Seattle

Seattle is famous for the Space Needle in its city skyline, but there are many other scenic viewpoints in Seattle. Surrounded by mountain ranges and the Puget Sound – Seattle’s best views are endless. Here are the best mountain views from Seattle.

A plane wing stretches over endless mountains in the distance

From the Plane

Your best chance to spot Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, or the Cascades is from the aircraft on your flight into Seattle.

Check websites like Flight Aware to plan your window seat accordingly, and try to plan your arrival before sunset to ensure incredible views of the Cascade Mountain Range on your way in.

Need help packing? Check out our Amazon Storefront for all our favorites!

The sun sets over the water as seen from a grassy cliff in Discovery Park

Discovery Park

Neighborhood: Magnolia

Discovery Park is not only an excellent location in Seattle for mountain views, but it is a lush destination in its own right. 

Wander through this 534-acre oasis featuring several spots to catch glimpses of the Olympics or Mt. Rainier. 

With a 3-mile loop around the park and tons of interconnected trails on one of the best urban hikes in Seattle. You can devote an entire day to visiting this park (or just park and walk to the vista to see the snow-capped Olympic Mountains over the Puget Sound).

View of the waterfront from Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park

Neighborhood: Downtown Waterfront

Nestled on the waterfront between Elliot Bay and the Pike Place Market, the Olympic Sculpture Park is a free outdoor exhibition that is an extension of the Seattle Art Museum.

Explore this outdoor art gallery with impressive sculptures, as well as striking views of the Olympic Mountains.

Pike Place Market

Neighborhood: Downtown Waterfront

The world-famous Pike Place Market offers not only local products but also boasts a stunning view of the Olympic mountains from Seattle. 

Stop by to wander the local vendor stalls, and pass through to the back for unobstructed views of the mountains – a perfect spot to snap a picture with your market flowers!

A woman holds a bouquet of flowers while standing on the balcony of Pike Place Market overlooking the water and city below
Elliot Bay Park has a great view of Mount Rainier across the water, with a fishing dock in the foreground

Centennial Park

Neighborhood: Downtown Waterfront

Formerly known as Elliott Bay Park, Centennial Park lies along Seattle’s beautiful waterway.

Stroll along the waterfront and savor spectacular sights of the Olympic Mountains, Seattle skyline, and Mt. Rainier. The angled positioning of this park allows for different views than that of Pike Place and the Olympic Sculpture Park.

A group of spherical sculptures form a ring in Fremont Peak Park overlooking the neighborhood below and Olympic Mountains in the distance
Photo contributed by Tammi Kaeberlein of Wander Healthy

Fremont Peak Park

Neighborhood: Fremont

What’s a visit to Seattle without hitting up the “center of the universe?” 

Fremont is an eclectic neighborhood with a quirky personality and is worth a visit when in town. 

While there, check out Fremont Peak Park for a view of Seattle from up high. This urban park boasts excellent views of the Olympic mountain range and the Seattle skyline. 

Then head to Fremont Brewing for some local craft beer to round out the day.

Looking for more to do in the Seattle area? Read here for the best beaches in Edmonds, WA

Carkeek Park

Neighborhood: Broadview

Carkeek Park has a lovely scenic view of the Puget Sound in Seattle from the beachfront. This park is great for bringing along a picnic and hanging out on the shore to admire the view of the  Olympic Mountains and the kite sailing/windsurfers on the sapphire blue water.

Carkeek is more than just its beachfront, however, and had several miles of trails across the railroad tracks. You might even find a century-old orchard along the path.

Beachgoers lounge in the sand looking out onto the sapphire blue water watching kite surfers with mountains in the distance

Restaurants with a View

There are many bars with beautiful views of Seattle, whether it’s the city skyline or a view of the mountains across the water. Grab a drink and pull up a seat to some of Seattle’s most picturesque views from these restaurants and bars.

The famous Pike Place Market sign seen from the inside of a building through a framed window

Matt’s in the Market

Neighborhood: Downtown

Dine with the iconic Pike Place Market sign in the background. This is almost a hidden gem, located right across from the main entrance to the Pike Place Market. 

It can be difficult to snap a good picture of the market sign, between the cars driving into the entrance of the market, the tourists exploring, and the awkward angle from the street. 

Matt’s in the Market has the advantage of a uniquely unobstructed view.

A hand holds a colorful cocktail up against a sunny blue waterfront overlooking the skyline of Seattle from Marination in West Seattle

Marination Ma Kai

Neighborhood: West Seattle

This West Seattle waterfront restaurant is a must-visit in its own right, but combined with the sweeping views of downtown it’s a perfect choice.

Marination’s menu features Hawaiian-Korean cuisine plus cocktails on a lovely outdoor deck right on the water. Make sure you try the Spam Musubi!

The Mountaineering Club at Graduate Seattle

Neighborhood: U-District

Sip on a cocktail or dine on American cuisine at this rooftop bar, boasting panoramic views of the city and mountains.

The Mountaineering Club might require reservations, so be sure to check before showing up.

An outdoor rooftop bar wraps around the building overlooking the University District with downtown Seattle in the distance.

A hand holds up a cocktail in front of the city from a rooftop bar
Photo contributed by Katie Wuestney
A bright orange aperol spritz is help up in front of a waterfront view at the Westward in Seattle


Neighborhood: Northlake

Looking for a snack with your views? Grab fresh oysters and drinks at this gorgeous waterfront location overlooking Lake Union.

Snag a seat inside if the weather’s not ideal, or relax in the Adirondack chairs facing the lake on a sunny afternoon for the perfect view of Seattle from Westward.

Two brightly colored cocktails sit on a railing overlooking the sunset on the water and the city below.
Photo by Jessica Schmit

The Nest Rooftop Bar at Thompson Seattle

Neighborhood: Downtown

Toast to the good life surrounded by the twinkling city lights at this swanky rooftop bar. 

The Nest overlooks Elliot Bay – an excellent place to see the mountains and one of the best places for killer whale watching in Washington.

View of Seattle from across the water

Salty’s on Alki Beach

Neighborhood: West Seattle

Appreciate some of the best seafood in town, along with 180-degree views of the Seattle skyline.

With Instagram-worthy yellow striped umbrellas complete with fringe, and gorgeous bistro lights on the patio, Salty’s is worth a visit no matter the time of day.

The Space Needle view as seen from a rooftop bar in Seattle


Neighborhood: Downtown 

A popular choice for locals and visitors alike, Mbar boasts a lovely rooftop vista of Seattle. 

Enjoy the artistic ambiance and fine dining with vistas of Puget Sound, the city, and Mt. Rainier.

Photo contributed by Sasha Roethe

Map of the best places with a view in Seattle

Recap of the best views in Seattle

  1. Helicopter Tour
  2. Space Needle
  3. Smith Tower
  4. Columbia Tower Observation Deck
  5. Volunteer Park Tower
  6. Alki Beach
  7. Kerry Park
  8. Gasworks Park
  9. Hot Tub Boat
  10. Great Wheel
  11. Wings Over Washington
  12. From the Plane
  13. Discovery Park
  14. Olympic Sculpture Park
  15. Pike Place Market
  16. Elliot Bay Park
  17. Fremont Peak Park
  18. Carkeek Park
  19. Matt’s in the Market
  20. Marination Mai Kai
  21. The Mountaineering Club at Graduate Seattle
  22. Westward
  23. The Nest Rooftop Bar at Thompson Seattle
  24. Salty’s on Alki Beach
  25. MBar

No matter your preferences, there’s no shortage of breathtaking views to enjoy in Seattle.

Take a moment to pause and soak in the epic beauty of the Emerald City.

Whether it be from a hilltop park or rooftop restaurant – and likely with a delicious cup of coffee (or a craft cocktail) in hand – prepare to fall in love with Seattle all over again.

Happy viewing!

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