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Top 10 Tallest Buildings in Seattle

Skyscrapers That Make up the Seattle Skyline


Seattle’s skyline is marked by several distinctive buildings that rise above the downtown core. Of these, the Space Needle and Smith Tower are some of the most recognizable and historic, but while these are among the tallest buildings in Seattle, they are not the tallest. The highest skyscrapers in the city are newer, dating to the 1980s and 1990s with a few built in the 2000s. Some are event among the tallest buildings in the world.

1. Columbia Center

Columbia Center Seattle
Seattle’s tallest building is the tall, dark Columbia Center. As of 2013, the Columbia Center is the 20th tallest building in the U.S. and the tallest building in all of Washington state. Even better, the public is allowed into this skyscraper and can enjoy the view from the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor. There’s a moderate admission fee that’s under $10 (cheaper for kids, students, military and seniors), but cheaper and higher up than the Space Needle!
Location: 701 5th Avenue, Seattle
Built: 1985
Height: 937 feet

2. 1201 3rd Avenue

1201 3rd Avenue Seattle

Formerly Washington Mutual Tower, 1201 3rd Avenue was the home of WaMu until the bank’s headquarters moved. The tower is one of Seattle’s most distinct buildings and is vaguely reminiscent of the Empire State Building. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and The McKinley Architects.
Location: 1201 3rd Avenue, Seattle
Built: 1988
Height: 772 feet

3. Two Union Square

Two Union Square was designed by the firm of NBBJ—Floyd Naramore, William Bain, Clifton Brady and Perry Johanson. The tower has underground passages to nearby Seattle Hilton and Rainier Square.
Location: 601 Union St #4200, Seattle
Built: 1989
Height: 740 feet

4. Seattle Municipal Tower

Seattle Municipal Tower
City of Seattle

The Seattle Municipal Tower is home to Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities and a other government offices, hence its name. In the past, this 62-story skyscraper went by more commercial names—AT&T Gateway Tower and Key Bank Tower, and served as base to those companies as well as many other companies. The tower has restaurants located on its upper floors, too.
Location: 700 5th Avenue, Seattle
Built: 1990
Height: 722 feet

5. Safeco Plaza

Safeco Plaza Seattle
Joe Mabel

Since 2006, Safeco Plaza has been the headquarters for Safeco Insurance Company of America. Like other skyscrapers in Seattle, Safeco Plaza has gone by other names in its past, including Seattle-First National Bank Building. Other major tenants include Bank of America, Riddell Williams and Helsell Fetterman.
Location: 1001 4th Avenue, Seattle
Built: 1969
Height: 630 feet

6. Space Needle

Space Needle

The Space Needle is Seattle’s most recognizable building by far—so recognizable that this distinctive landmark has become a symbol of the city. Located in Seattle Center, the Space Needle is a major tourist draw because of its observation tower and SkyCity restaurant that offer great views of the city, Lake Washington, Lake Union, mountains and Puget Sound.
Location: 400 Broad Street, Seattle (in Seattle Center)
Built: 1962
Height: 605 feet

7. Russell Investments Center

Russell Investments Center Seattle
Antonio Campoy Ederra

The Russell Investments Center was originally built to be the WaMu Center and be the headquarters for Washington Mutual, but around the time it was completed, WaMu failed. Since its completion in 2006, the building has been the Chase Center (Chase acquired WaMu), but in 2009 Russell Investments purchased the building and moved to Seattle from its former headquarters in Tacoma. The building includes Seattle Art Museum on the bottom four floors of part of the building, and also has a very innovative feature—a private, 20,000 square foot deck on the 17th floor for workers in the building to use for strolls or a bit of outdoor time.
Location: 1301 2nd Avenue, Seattle
Built: 2006
Height: 598 feet

8. US Bank Center

Designed by Callison Architecture, the US Bank Center is an office building.
Location: 1420 5th Avenue, Seattle
Built: 2006
Height: 580 feet

9. Wells Fargo Center

Wells Fargo Center Seattle

Formerly named the First Interstate Center, the Wells Fargo Center was designed by The McKinley Architects and has 47 stories. The building is distinct as it is six-sided and features tinted glazed glass and granite panels.
Location: 2800 3rd Avenue, Seattle
Built: 1983
Height: 573 feet

10. Bank of America Fifth Avenue Plaza

Designed by 3D/International, this 42-story building has retail space in a complex at its base. The office space is filled by a number of tenants, which include Bank of America and Princess Tours.
Location: 800 5th Avenue, Seattle
Built: 1981
Height: 543 feet

11. Other iconic buildings in Seattle:

Smith Tower Seattle
While not in the top 10 tallest buildings in Seattle, other buildings are likely to catch the eyes of passerby as well. Among these is Smith Tower at 506 2nd Avenue in Pioneer Square. When it was completed in 1914, this historic building was the tallest building on the West Coast. Today, it’s still a great place to view the city from its observation deck on the 35th floor. The building is also home to office space and the Chinese Room, which is a cool place to book for events.
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