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Seattle’s most iconic landmarks

Consider these our Hollywood signs.

A view of the Seattle skyline on a cloudy day with the Space Needle in the foreground displaying its Astronaut White paint at the top

Remember this Space Needle look? It’s coming back.

Photo by Josh Fields via Pexels

We’ve all been there: Someone’s trying to give you directions by describing 10 lefts, 20 rights, and a jumble of cardinal directions. Isn’t it easier to just point out a landmark?

That’s exactly what we’re doing. We have 12 of the most recognizable Seattle landmarks — from towers of power to pink pachyderms. Not only are these local icons easy to remember, but they’ll also get you where you need to go in a jiffy.

Space Needle
Address: 400 Broad St.
Nearby: The Pacific Science Center, MoPOP, the Monorail (all landmarks in their own rights)

Perhaps the most famous Seattle landmark is now over 60 years old and has gotten various different paint jobs to mark anniversaries. Fun fact: there have been six parachute jumps from the Needle — two unauthorized.

The Fremont Troll in Seattle, WA under the SR-99 highway

The Fremont Troll remains one of the quirkier landmarks in the city.

Photo by SEAtoday staff

Fremont Troll
Address: N. 36th St. + Troll Avenue N.
Nearby: Troll’s Knolls Park, the Fremont Branch of the Seattle Public Library, Schilling Cider

Embodying the creative spirit of the surrounding neighborhood, the troll sculpture was created in 1990 after four local artists won a design competition to spruce up the freeway underpass. The base is actually an old Volkswagen encased in concrete.

A view of the Smith Tower in Seattle, WA

Pretty dramatic, don’t you think?

Photo via SEAtoday staff

Smith Tower
Address: 506 Second Ave.
Nearby: City Hall Park, Pioneer Square Light Rail Station, Tat’s Delicatessen

Though it’s dwarfed by other buildings in the Seattle skyline now, the 1914 office tower was once the tallest skyscraper in the US west of the Mississippi River. It now hosts a variety of events and has a cocktail bar at the top.

A colorful signpost points to various locations like Fremont Abbey and Machu Picchu

The Center of the Universe sign was based on locals discussing the status of the artsy neighborhood.

Photo by SEAtoday staff

Center of the Universe Sign
Address: 3427 Fremont Place N.
Nearby: Fremont Vintage Mall, Fremont Drawbridge, CSz Seattle

The quirky, colorful signpost is a neighborhood institution that points to places near (Fremont Abbey), far (Timbuktu) — and fantastical (Xanadu). This is actually the third iteration of the landmark that was installed in 1991 — previous versions got run over by cars and stolen.

CarWash_SEA

The larger version of this sign designed by Beatrice Haverfield is at MOHAI.

Photo by SEAtoday staff

Elephant Car Wash Sign
Address: 2200 Seventh Ave.
Nearby: The Butcher’s Table, Sub Pop Records, Fulcrum Cafe

Declared a historic landmark, the famed neon sign has been blinking its bright pink trunk at drivers for 60+ years. It was restored by Amazon in 2022 and installed in the corner of its campus, though the car wash itself is no longer downtown.

Old Rainier Brewery
Address: 3100 Airport Way S.
Nearby: Evolution Architecture, Austin Foundation, Jack’s BBQ

Even though the beer for this brand that dates back to the 1800s is made out of state now, the iconic “R” sign serves as a reminder of the good ol’ days. The original letter is at MOHAI — but the one installed in 2013 is just as shiny, with 235 light bulbs on each side.

The front of Pike Place Market on a clear, sunny day.

Be sure to read those signs carefully, no matter where you park.

Photo by SEAtoday staff

Pike Place Market Clock
Address: 86 Pike Pl.
Nearby: Pike Place Fish Market, the “Original” Starbucks, Three Girls Bakery

The more-than-century-old farmers market is timeless, and the neon clock installed in 1927 helps preserve those vibes — particularly after a 2022 restoration of the whole sign. It also makes for an easy rendezvous if you need to meet someone among the throngs.

Seattle Great Wheel
Address: 1301 Alaskan Way
Nearby: Seattle Aquarium, Waterfront Park, Elliott’s Oyster House

Who’s up for a ride? Since opening in 2012, the giant ferris wheel at the waterfront is a great place to get a new perspective on the city. It stands 175-ft tall and has 42 fully enclosed gondolas that can hold up 300 passengers at any given time.

Statue of Liberty at Alki
Address: Alki Beach Park
Nearby: Il Nido, Duke’s Seafood, Southwest Seattle Historical Society

No shrink ray involved. This mini version of Lady Liberty was a donation by Boy Scouts of America in 1952 as part of the organization’s 40th anniversary. It was also a nod to the Denny Party, which named their settlement “New York Alki” when it was first built.

The International Fountain in Seattle lit up in rainbow colors for the holidays.

The International Fountain at Seattle Center is lit up for Winterfest.

Photo via Seattle Center

International Fountain
Address: 305 Harrison St.
Nearby: SIFF Film Center, Climate Pledge Arena, Fisher Pavilion

Oh spray can you see? Seattle Center’s much-loved water feature was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and has since been upgraded with more powerful jets + LED lighting. All of its water is recycled and billed as the cleanest in the city.

The Amazon Spheres
Address: 2111 Seventh Ave.
Nearby: Deep Dive, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Amazon Dog Park

One of the newer editions to Seattle’s landmark lineup (it opened in 2018), the glass domes contain ~40,000 plants from 30 different countries. Free public tours are available on the first and third Saturday of each month.

The Gum Wall
Address: 1428 Post Alley
Nearby: Ghost Alley Espresso, Alibi Room, Unexpected Productions Improv

This sticky situation has been fascinating — and grossing out — tourists since the 90s thanks to the enterprising jokesters at Unexpected Productions, who started it. At one point, it had an estimated one million pieces attached.

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