Lonely Planet Writer

See Seattle through a rotating glass floor with the Space Needle's $100m renovation

A visit to Seattle could see you walking on air thanks to the Space Needle’s $100 million remodel, complete with rotating glass floors. Walls, and even barriers have been been replaced by glass to offer panoramic views of Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay, the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. Word of warning, if you’re afraid of heights it’s probably best to sit this one out.

A family enjoys views from The Loupe.

The landmark’s entire top viewing levels have been transformed with floor-to-ceiling glass after the $100 million ‘spacelift’.  A particular highlight is The Loupe, a rotating glass-bottomed restaurant that management describes as a world first. The restaurant hasn’t opened yet and the concept is still shrouded in secrecy but the glass floor is open to the public to test their vertical limitations.

Visitors can walk, stand or sit on the glass and take in spine-tingling views of the Emerald City as the floor gently rotates 360 degrees. It’s a long way down to the ground, a full 500 feet to be precise, but guests needn’t worry about the possibility of the floor disappearing beneath them. The structure is made up of ten layers of glass and each panel has been bonded together with a high-strength inner layer.

Guest takes a selfie at The Loupe. Image by John Lok and Space Needle

A winding staircase leads from The Loupe up to the Observation Deck where sleek, canted glass benches called Skyrises have been affixed to glass barriers. Although the Skyrisers face inwards, visitors will feel like they are leaning over the city below, with feet suspended in the air, as they snap the perfectly secure sky-high selfie.

Before and after: lower deck of the Observation Deck. Image by John Lok and Space Needle

The makeover is the Needle’s biggest renovation in its 56-year history and is part of the Century Project, an enterprise led by architects Olsun Kundig, which aims to highlight the structure of the Needle and introduce some technological and user-friendly upgrades. A state-of-the-art wheelchair lift was finally added to the structure making the outdoor deck fully accessible to all.

“This reinvestment ensures the long-term viability of the Space Needle,” said Space Needle CEO, Ron Sevart. “We have a commitment to our team members, our guests, and to the community to preserve the Space Needle as a civic and cultural icon for future generations.”

Check out the Space Needle’s website for more information.