Seattle Center

Photo by: Jeffery Hayes, CC

The Seattle Center was originally built to host the 1962 World’s Fair. This was planned out to be a 74-acre park which was to be the entertainment center of Seattle, Washington. The famous landmark, and now iconic-building, is the 605 foot Space Needle. This building is now the official city landmark. Right after the completion of this building, it was known as the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. The Seattle Center lies in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, just north of Belltown.

Early History

Seattle held its first world’s fair back in 1909. Almost fifty years later, a City Council member, by the name of Al Rochester, proposed that Seattle host a world’s fair to mark the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. In 1957, the World’s Fair commission received authorization from Washington to hold the fair in Seattle in 1959. That same year, $7.5 million dollars in funds for the fair was approved by Washington Legislature. On October of 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, which became the theme for the fair. It was decided that the fair would be held in the Civic Center. In 1962, the Civic Center campus was renamed the Seattle Center.


The Seattle Center has many attractions. Other than the Space Needle, which is the most iconic building in Seattle, the International Fountain can be found right in the middle of the center. A fountain here operates all year round, and was built specifically for the 1962 World’s Fair. It features modernist sculptures and has over 20 spouts. It operates through programmed cycles which feature remarkable shooting patterns that are accompanied by music. The music of this fountain changes every month. The Seattle Center is also home to the Seattle Center Armory, The Seattle Center Monorail terminus, The Pacific Science Center and other great attractions.


The center hosts a lot of different musical, cultural and arts festival. Some of the main attractions include the Winterfest and the Gay Pride Fest, which is also known as PrideFest. The Winterfest is a celebration which runs from Thanksgiving, until the first day of January, the following year. Festivities include ice skating, showcases from different schools, concerts, storytelling, artistic and cultural performances as well as concerts. The PrideFest is another festival that is largely celebrated in the city. This is held annually during what is known as “Pride Weekend”. The number of attendees increases every year for this festival. Besides these two big festivals, there are also smaller celebrations which are held in the park. This includes Festal, Bumbershoot, Bite of Seattle and Seattle International Children’s Festival.

The Peace Award

Another special event is held in this center to commemorate Civil Rights. In Seattle, during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the center hands out three individuals or organizations youth peace awards. It is a great honor to receive this award. The awardees receive a medal along with $100. It is to recognize them for their outstanding leadership for promoting peace in youth organizations and in the community in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Seattle Famous Landmarks

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