Seattle’s famous cultural and entertainment precinct is a must for any visitor to the city. The Seattle Center is home to many local major sporting teams, and some of the key performing arts institutions are also based within the large complex. Throw in some of Seattle’s major cultural institutions, a range of upscale restaurants and bars and a choreographed water show, and you’ll see why its easy to keep coming back to the Seattle Center.
Covering more than 74 acres (30 hectares) of the popular Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, the Seattle Center was originally built for the 1962 World Fair. The center is immediately recognizable from afar because it features the 605-foot- (182-meter-) tall Space Needle, a tower which has become a symbol of the city.
Catch an ice hockey match or watch a Women’s National Basketball Association game at KeyArena. The 17,000-person-capacity venue also hosts boxing and music concerts and is one of the largest arenas in the state. Learn about the local history at the Pacific Science Center, watch a movie at one of two IMAX theaters or see 20 spurts of water perform in time with a musical show at the International Fountain.
The center is home to the Seattle Shakespeare Company, the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Seattle Opera, who use the many theaters and halls in the complex each week. Learn about the best contemporary pop culture has to offer at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), or take the elevator to the top of the Space Needle for amazing views across Seattle. Ground level dining is available at the lively Seattle Center Armory, along with a number of bars offering attractive discounts during their Happy Hour.
The Seattle Center is located just north of the city center and can be reached on foot, by bus, monorail or car. Ample parking is available in the area for a small fee. The Seattle Center is open daily and entry is free. Note that many organizations and shows housed in the center do charge admission fees.