Seattle’s beauty consistently inspires awe in seasoned and newbie travelers alike. The Emerald City is surrounded on the east and west by majestic mountains and bodies of water. It’s also filled with incredible city landmarks. Luckily, there are a ton of Seattle viewpoints to help you enjoy the sights.
I’m a local, and I’ll walk you through the best places to find sweeping views in Seattle. Whether you’re searching for breathtaking sunsets, Puget Sound panoramas, crystal clear mountain vistas, or the most Instagram-worthy shots of the skyline, Seattle will deliver.
Keep reading to discover where to find the best views in the city!
Best Spots for Beautiful Seattle Views
Jack Block Park
Jack Block Park feels a bit like a secret. It’s tucked away in an industrial area, making it easy to miss from the road. But if you visit this hidden gem, your treat is a fantastic Seattle skyline view across the glittering water.
The park is in West Seattle, just off of Harbor Ave SW. For the views, you’ll want to head to the Observation Tower. It’s 45 feet high, and you’ll be able to see Elliott Bay, the Space Needle, the downtown waterfront, and possibly even Mount Rainier (if the fickle Seattle weather allows it). Early risers will adore the park at sunrise.
You can also explore the walking paths along the pier and go relax by the beach, capturing unique photos throughout the uncrowded park, listening to the waves, and watching the ferry make its way from downtown to Bainbridge Island.
Bonus West Seattle Viewpoint: Alki Beach
Alki Beach is a popular West Seattle viewpoint that’s not far from Jack Block Park. Take a car or a leisurely walk there. You’ll be able to enjoy even more sights and viewpoints from Seattle’s westernmost neighborhood along the way.
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Kerry Park is no secret at all. This is the place to capture the ever-so-popular, and ever-so-Instagrammable view of Seattle. It’s a small park in Queen Anne that gets crowded during the peak of summer, but it’s still worth a visit.
Once you arrive, you’ll understand why Kerry Park is on nearly every list of where to get the best view of the Seattle skyline. The Space Needle stands tall in the foreground, flanked by downtown and South Lake Union skyscrapers with the stadiums and Beacon Hill beyond.
Rising like a giant behind it all, Seattle’s favorite mountain, Mount Rainier, might even make an appearance on a clear day. If you’re taking pictures and are interested in getting a panoramic shot, you can capture sweeping views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains beyond.
No matter what time you go you’ll have a great view, but sunrise, sunset, and evening shots are especially romantic and photographer-friendly.
Bonus Seattle Skyline Viewpoint: Gas Works Park
Yet another popular place to catch a good view of the Seattle skyline is Gas Works Park between the Fremont and Wallingford neighborhoods. At this hilly park, you have crystal clear views of the city from across Lake Union.
The Seattle Ferries + Water Taxi
Catch ferries to Bainbridge or Bremerton, or take the water taxi to Alki. On one end of the boat, you’ll have a clear view of the waterfront with the Great Wheel, Seattle Aquarium, and the Columbia Tower rising behind. As the ferry pulls further from the dock, this view will expand to include the Space Needle and the Magnolia Peninsula.
On the other side of the ferry, take in the sights of the gorgeous snow-capped Olympic Mountain range. Either of these makes a lovely backdrop for photo ops.
Another classic, the Space Needle is a great place to get a 360-degree view of the city and beyond. Located in the Seattle Center, it costs $35 for adults to ride to the top ($26 for kids), but you can save on costs by purchasing a Seattle CityPass. As a bonus, the CityPass gives you a chance to ride to the top twice.
When you get there, you’ll fall in love with the stunning views all around you (and below you thanks to the Loupe, the Space Needle’s revolving glass floor). In this over-600-foot landmark building, you’ll have views of both the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, the Puget Sound, and a bird’s eye view of the many neighborhoods that make up the Emerald City.
As with most viewpoints, the best time to go are days when it’s clear out, so you can see far beyond downtown. And the prettiest time to go is, arguably, during sunset.
Prepare for it to be crowded here – this is one of the top attractions in Seattle, after all! Some may pass the Space Needle off as a tourist trap, but if you have your heart set on a visit, and want to see the city from a unique vantage point, there’s no reason not to go.
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Golden Gardens Beach Park
Not so interested in city views? Golden Gardens Park might be more your speed. This clean and pretty beach up in north Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is perfect for those who want some of the best of Seattle’s mountain and water views.
There’s a paved path for casual strolling beside the beach or you can turn it into a full-day beach excursion and take in the views and changing light all day long. Staying longer also means you might have a better chance of spotting some seals offshore too.
If you want the most epic photos, stay for sunset and you won’t be disappointed. They are, in a word, breathtaking.
Bonus Seattle Beach Viewpoint: Carkeek Park
Further north of Golden Gardens is Carkeek Park. The beach on the park’s western end also faces out into the Puget Sound and Olympic range. You’ll see an equally stunning sunset here, and this is a good option for people who prefer a slightly more secluded beach to enjoy their view.
Some of Seattle’s best attractions are along the downtown waterfront, which happens to be a fun and bustling place with countless picture-worthy views.
Stop to admire the views from Waterfront Park and Pier 62 and extend your walk into the Olympic Sculpture Park if you want to get some shots with abstract sculptures in them.
From each spot, you’ll capture a slightly different angle of the mountains, the sound, and the buildings of the waterfront area. Waterfront Park provides the closest view of The Great Wheel, glowing beautifully if you’re there during the night. Pier 62 has enough seats for you to sit and enjoy the sunset.
Take your time while wandering along the waterfront, watching as the ferries make their way to and from the docks. And after you’ve snapped all the photos your heart desires, don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants nearby.
Sky View Observatory at Columbia Center
For truly jaw-dropping views, you need to come to the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center, the tallest building in the city.
Located on the 73rd floor, you’ll have panoramic views of not just the city, but the surrounding neighborhoods, the Puget Sound, Lake Washington, both mountain ranges to the east and west, and so much more. Tickets begin at $25 and they are totally worth it.
Expect gorgeous views on any visit, and this is a spot where you can linger as well. There is a cafe at the observatory with a good mix of cocktails, beer, wine, and snacks, which also makes it an excellent place for a date.
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Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge
The view of the city from the Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge is a unique one. Other views of the city on this list are from north, west, or within it. At this bridge, you get a view from the south, a unique angle that encompasses winding lanes of the highway, Smith Tower, Columbia Tower, and the stadiums.
This park is located on the border of the International District and North Beacon Hill, and it’s a favorite for photographers. Shots of it at night are particularly stunning if you’re able to capture the streams of lights from the cars. Visit at sunrise to see the city wrapped in a pretty, warm glow.
Whenever you visit, make sure you bring your tripod and be prepared to be blown away with the shots you capture.
The Mountaineering Club
Seattle’s got some incredible rooftop bars, but if you’re looking for one that’s going to wow you with both drinks and a unique view of the city and beyond, look no further than The Mountaineering Club.
This bar is located at the top of the Graduate Hotel in the University District of Seattle, and you’ll want to make a reservation before you head over, but you’ll be totally blown away by what you see. Sweeping views of downtown Seattle to the south and Lake Washington to the east will be ready to greet you as you sip on camp-inspired cocktails and soak in all the city’s beauty.
Bonus Seattle Rooftop Bar Viewpoint: Smith Tower Observatory Bar
The bar at the top of Smith Tower in Pioneer Square is another ideal place to have a good (albeit pricey!) drink and admire the view of Seattle. Enjoy sights of the waterfront, downtown, and mountains from this cool and swanky bar.
And that wraps it up! I hope you’re excited to go enjoy the best Seattle views. Let me know what’s on the top of your list in the comments.
Chelsea is a Seattle-based freelance writer with an adventurous spirit and a passion for all travel, whether it takes her across the globe or down the street. She enjoys writing about her trips, whipping up articles on health, wellness, and personal development, and working on her novel. When she’s not traveling or writing, she’s reading any fantasy book she can get her hands on, tending to her rapidly expanding houseplant collection, and honing her strategy skills so she can always beat her husband at board games.