While tickets to go up in the recently renovated Space Needle continue to rise, this out-of-the-way art installment remains a cool reprieve with iconic views. 

This year a newly updated Space Needle was unveiled to visitors – visitors willing to pay $30 per person for access, at least. If you are planning a visit to Seattle, you may want to consider alternate ways to experience the space needle. One of the best ways to experience the space needle without the expensive tickets is the sprawling 74-acre park at the base of the Space Needle.  This park, build for the 1962 World’s Fair and now home to various art installments and festivals, offers stunning views of the space needle and lots of free family activities.

space needle free splash pad fountain


Art / Fountains at Seattle Center

At the Seattle Center, artist-created fountains that double as tiny water parks are popular features. Unlike most parks, this park tucked under the metaphorical wings of the looming Space Needle are designed for- and even encourage- splashing, wading, and play. According to Seattle Center publications, all the fountains at Seattle Center include water filtration and treatment equal to or better than community swimming pools.

While the most popular art installment at the Seattle Center Park is the enormous International Fountain, located directly behind the space needle, for fun more suited to a lazy day or family with young children, it’s worth a short hike to my favorite Seattle Center art installment: the Fountain of Creation.

space needle free splash pad fountain

Fountain of Creation

Designed by Everett Dupen and Paul Thiry in 1962, the Fountain of Creation is a three-part sculpture set amidst rising water fountains and a shallow but large wading pool of crystal clear water. The fountain represents changing life and the role of water in giving and shaping life. The water rising from jets brights the sculpture to life with movement.

I love this fountain for it’s aesthetic and it’s community value. I also enjoy that it’s a little hidden gem tucked away around a few corners and down a few paths- slightly insulated from the mass of people often directly surrounding the base of the space needle. Even during the hottest summer months (these photos were taken on a hot day in July of 2018) this fountain is rarely crowded, and is a quiet spot where an urban aesthetic meets with the naturally soothing combination of moving water and still pools.


After you’ve had enough sun at the fountains, just a few steps away is one of Seattle’s coolest coffee spaces: part community meeting space, part coffee shop, part modern reimagining of a local radio station, the La Marzocco café and showroom is a fun stop after your time at Seattle Center.

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