The tallest observatory in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia Tower’s Sky View Observatory downtown, is an entirely fresh experience after a $25 million renovation, including the addition of new food and drink menus to accompany its 360-degree views.
New dining options like Pacific lox on an everything bagel, seared salmon cobb salad, and a salami and hot honey flatbread are available on the 73rd floor, 902 feet high.
The previous experience was more low key, and the observatory’s views extended only about 270 degrees. Now, the experience is a complete package: Visitors enter through a new atrium at 700 4th Avenue, complete with a massive, modern staircase. They ride a direct-access elevator that bypasses offices; the trip takes 70 seconds, during which an animation of Mount Rainier’s history plays.
When the elevator door open on the 73rd floor, the views of downtown, the waterfront, and the mountains are magnetic, pulling visitors to the nearest window. Displays at various vantage points explain what guests are seeing, and offer tips on taking photos through the glass.
Once diners manage to tear themselves away from the windows, the observatory also offers a new food and drink menu that includes Washington and Oregon wines, Washington draft and bottled beer, cocktails with Washington spirits — including the aptly-named Seattle 73, a 73rd-floor take on the French 75 made with the addition of huckleberries. Rachel’s Ginger Beer is the sole non-alcoholic option.
A crowd-pleasing food selection ranges from snacks like crab-stuffed mushrooms and a cheese board to salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads. There are also chicken fingers and small flatbreads for kids, plus desserts like a root beer float and strawberry rhubarb shortcake.
A regular admission ticket to the observatory costs $20 online. Sky View Observatory is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, at which point it’s open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.