The Space Needle is an observation tower in Seattle, Washington, a landmark of the Pacific Northwest, and an icon of Seattle. Construction started April 17, 1961. It was completed on December 8, 1961 and opened on April 21, 1962. It was built in the Seattle Center for the 1962 World's Fair, which drew over 2.3 million visitors, when nearly 20,000 people a day used its elevators.
Once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, it is 605 feet high to the top of the antenna spire, 518 feet to the top floor, 138 feet wide, and weighs 9,550 tons. It is built to withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude. It also has 25 lightning rods.
It has an observation deck at 520 feet and the rotating Sky City restaurant at 500 feet. The downtown Seattle skyline, as well as the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands can be viewed from the top of the Needle. Photographs of the Seattle skyline often show the Space Needle prominently, above skyscrapers and Mount Rainier.
Visitors can reach the top of the Space Needle by elevators that travel at 10 miles per hour. The trip takes 41 seconds and gives a 360 degree view. On windy days, the elevators slow to 5 miles per hour. There are three elevators and six floors. Prices ranged from $7 to $20 for day and night visits. On April 19, 1999, the city's Landmarks Preservation Board designated it a historic landmark.