Just because you missed the World’s Fair doesn’t mean you can’t visit these great sites. Here are four unique towers you can visit that are the legacy of previous World’s Fairs.
Knoxville left us with the Sunsphere, a gilded disco ball atop an oil derrick. Click here for previous post.
Space Needle, Seattle (1962 World’s Fair). It’s groovy. Groovy in a Jetsons way. The first time I went to Seattle, I skipped the 650-high Space Needle, envisioning it as overpriced and overplayed. The next time I discovered its retrotastic groove. Seattle is such a picturesque city that the view is always great. Even in the rain, the islands of Puget Sound and the ferries in the harbor beckon, even if the mountains in the distance are hidden in the clouds. The Sky City restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. A meal includes a trip to the observation deck. In true Austin Powers fashion, the restaurant rotates. Groovy! For the full futuristic experience, ride the monorail into downtown & back. $18 adults / $11 kids. www.spaceneedle.com
Tower of the Americas, San Antonio (Hemisfair ’68). This 750-foot tower, operated by Landry’s Restaurants, is the tallest building in San Antonio. The view takes in the Alamodome, the interstate, the roof of the convention center, and miles of Texas landscape, even if the San Antonio skyline is not particularly remarkable. Enjoy dinner (or reasonably-priced happy hour drinks) at the Chart House seafood restaurant and Bar 601 on top. The observation deck is branded as “Flags Over Texas” and an admission to the tower includes a 4-D Theater Ride. If you need some culture with your view, the Institute of Texan Cultures (www.texancultures.com), (part of the University of Texas-San Antonio) is nearly adjacent to the tower. $10.95 adults / $8.95 kids. www.toweroftheamericas.com.
European Bonus: The Atomium, Brussels. If the Atomium was built in historic Brussels, this 335-foot high monument would be among the not-to-be-missed sites of Europe. Since it is located in the burbs, near the last stop on the subway, it escapes the crowds. Built for Expo ’58, this fantastic overblown atom, shiny like an Airstream, rivals the Space Needle for retro-groovy. It is not to be missed. Skip the chocolate shops. Go to the Atomium. If you have time enjoy lunch at the top or stop by Mini Europe next door. www.atomium.be.