Seattle may be the world’s most appropriate city to highlight within the context of 360° photography—can you guess why? Gorgeous panoramic views? Sure, but more specifically? Lots of friendly, smiling people all around you? Well, not if there’s any truth to the lore of the Seattle Freeze (note: there is). If you need a hint, just glance up at the above photo. Or check out the video below.


Seattle in 360: observation towers


As far as 360° observation towers go, there’s likely none on the planet more iconic than Seattle’s own Space Needle. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the unique landmark stands 605 ft (184 m) tall and offers rotating views of the downtown Seattle skyline, the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, Elliott Bay, and surrounding islands. It’s also a great place to keep tabs on your car in case you neglectfully parked in the tow-happy lot of the nearby McDonald’s.

So obviously Seattle is all about that 360° perspective, but does the Needle embrace the tech? Well, the city recently launched their own 360° VR app, which is free to download and great for those who haven’t yet had the chance to visit the Emerald City in the flesh.  As you can see, the Giroptic iO was born for this place!

Not far from the Space Needle is a massive interactive water fountain called the International Fountain. Another relic of the 1962 World’s Fair, this inverted dome that you can run circles around fits the 360° motif and recalls the iO’s own fisheye lens.


Go back to the Earth

After long lines at the Space Needle and too much fun at the International Fountain, we’ve already covered a solid ⅓ day in the city. Now it’s time for some Seattle-specific grub. As far as quick nourishment goes, you’ve got options: fish and chips, smoked salmon, teriyaki, and Top Pot doughnuts are all local favorites. But if you want to go iconic, there’s no place better than good ol’ Dick’s Drive-In.


Dick’s was founded in 1954, a year before the McDonald’s Corporation officialized. Unlike other well-known hamburger chains, however, Dick’s never got caught up in the wave of massive growth that the 1950s and 1960s brought for the fast food industry. All these years later, there are still only six locations—all within the Greater Seattle Area—where you can enjoy a delicious bag of Dick’s burgers and fries.

What makes Dick’s such a cool experience? In addition to delicious food and shakes, its restaurants have hardly altered the way they look or do business since they began operations sixty-something years ago. Even the prices are like a blast from the past!



A great Seattle spot for a post-lunch digestive stroll is Gas Works Park in the Wallingford neighborhood, over on the north shore of Lake Union. This former industrial zone-turned-green space is a great place to take 360° photos, largely on account of the “earth mound.”



Personally, I feel that 360° images look particularly awesome when the landscape is wide open and doing all sorts of funky stuff all around you. As you can see, this is absolutely the case with Gas Works. I’m not sure there are too many parks in the world quite like it.

It’s the Blue Angels, baby!


Sapped of the energy needed for continued sightseeing, to close out the day we’ll need an activity that only requires us to sit around and watch. Luckily, we happen to be in town for the annual Seafair Weekend. And the highlight of Seattle’s long-held summer festival? Well, after the hydroplanes…it’s the Blue Angels, baby!



The Blue Angels have been performing their low-flying aerobatics at Seafair since the early 1950s. Although it’s best to catch their performance from a parked boat in the bay, we had to settle for the shore. Still, what an experience!

We were about to call it a day when my 4-year-old reminded me of a forgotten city treasure. It’s true, I did promise him before the trip that I would take him to see the Fremont Troll.



For me, this hidden public sculpture is the perfect indication of what makes the offbeat city of Seattle discreetly unique. I mean, who else would hide such a cool statue in such a nondescript locale besides a bunch of quirky Seattleites. Gotta love ‘em. And gotta love this place!

As you can see, there are plenty of 360° photo opportunities in Seattle. In fact, I only managed to catch a few of them. Next time I’m in town, I plan to spend more time on a boat cruising through the Puget Sound or maybe even doing a little hiking in the Cascade Mountains. The view are incredible up there and I’m sure the iO could do them justice.

If you live near Seattle or plan on visiting sometime soon, please be sure to share your 360° photos for us to include in the gallery. Also, keep checking back here as Giroptic continues its tour of other 360°-friendly cities across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and beyond!