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10 Most Famous Buildings In Washington State

The U.S. state in the utmost northwestern part of the country was named after the first President of the United States, George Washington.

It’s often referred to as Washington State to distinguish it from the capital of the country, Washington D.C., and is home to a wide variety of tourist attractions.

The state capital is Olympia, which is remarkable because it only has a population of just over 50,000.

The largest city in the state of Washington is Seattle, a bustling metropolis with nearly 4 million inhabitants and countless amazing landmarks.

The state is also one of the richest states and is known to be the leader in lumber production, as well as the second-largest wine producer after California.

If you plan to visit this state in the Pacific Northwest region, then these are some of the most famous buildings in Washington State to check out.

1. Washington State Capitol

The Washington State Capitol is both one of the most impressive and one of the most important buildings in Washington State. It’s located in the state’s capital of Olympia and is the official of its government.

The most amazing of the collection of structures in this area is the Legislative Building, a huge Neoclassical building topped by an impressive dome that reaches a height of 87 meters (287 feet).

The original structure in which the legislature of the state met was a two-story wooden structure. The current legislative building was completed in 1928 and has been one of the most iconic landmarks in the state ever since.

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Official website: Washington State Capitol

Famous buildings in Washington State Capitol
Washington State Capitol / Jim Bowen / Wiki Commons

2. Space Needle

Another one of the most iconic buildings in Washington State is also the most famous attraction in Seattle.

The Space Needle has dominated the city’s skyline since its completion in 1962 and its futuristic design has served as a model for countless fascinating towers all around the world since.

It’s far from being the tallest observation tower in the world as well as it only stands 184 meters (605 feet) tall.

Regardless, it’s one of the best locations in the city to get amazing views of both downtown Seattle and the nearby Olympic and Cascade mountains, as well as Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.

The Space Needle is one of those tourist attractions that should simply be on your Washington State bucket list when you plan to visit.

Official website: Space Needle

The Space Needle at night / Wiki Commons

3. Old Capitol Building

The original wooden capitol building that was completed in 1854 was replaced by a far more impressive building between 1890 and 192. This structure is now referred to as the “Old Capitol Building.”

It didn’t serve this purpose immediately, though, because it was officially used as a courthouse and named the “Thurston County Courthouse.” It didn’t become the main seat of the state’s legislature until 1905, a function it held until the new building was completed in 1928.

The building features distinctive Romanesque towers and was partially destroyed several times by earthquakes. It was rebuilt to its former glory each time and currently serves as the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Official website: Old Capitol Building

Old Capitol Building Olympia
The Old Capitol Building in Olympia / Steven Pavlov / Wiki Commons

4. Columbia Center

The Columbia Center was formerly known as the Bank of America Tower and Columbia Seafirst Center and is the most prominent skyscraper in the Seattle skyline. That’s because it’s the tallest building in Washington State.

The stunning skyscraper stands 284 meters (933 feet) tall and was completed between 1982 and 1985. This height made it the tallest building on the West Coast of the United States at the time of completion.

The building was designed in such a way that it appears as three buildings standing next to each other. Although it’s far from being the tallest skyscraper in the United States, its remarkable design makes it one of the most fascinating ones.

Official website: Columbia Center

Columbia Center Seattle Skyline
The Columbia Center in the Seattle skyline / Wiki Commons

5. Seattle Central Library

The Seattle Central Library is the most famous of all the Seattle Public Libraries and that’s because of the fantastic structure that houses it.

It’s located in downtown Seattle and the glass and steel Deconstructivist building has become one of the most fascinating landmarks in the city since its completion in 2004.

The building has a floor space of 33,722.6 square meters (362,987 square feet) and can hold over 1.5 million books. It features 11 floors and stands 5.9 meters (189 feet) tall.

Official website: Central Library

Seattle Central Library
Seattle Central Library / Andrew Smith / Wiki Commons

6. Pioneer Building

There aren’t any buildings in Seattle’s central business district that pre-date 1889, and that’s because the “Great Fire of Seattle” destroyed all structures in this part of the city that year.

The entire city was rebuilt at an elevation of 6.1 meters (200 feet) above the original street level, and multiple historic buildings date back to this reconstruction period.

One of the most famous buildings in the city is called the “Pioneer Building” which was completed between 1889 and 1892. It was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style, a Romanesque Revival style named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886).

Official website: Pioneer Building

Pioneer Building Washington State
Pioneer Building / Joe Mabel / Wiki Commons

7. Smith Tower

Smith Tower is the oldest skyscraper in Seattle as it was completed in the year 1914. It features 38 stories and stands 148 meters (484 feet) tall. It was named in honor of typewriter magnate Lyman Cornelius Smith (1850-1910) who never saw the building completed.

It’s located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, an area of Seattle that was named after the Pioneer Building. It was the tallest skyscraper in the world outside of New York at the time it was completed.

It was the tallest building in the Western part of the United States for nearly half a century and was only surpassed by another famous building in Washington State, the Space Needle.

Official website: Smith Tower

Smith Tower Washington State architecture
Smith Tower / Christopher S. Maloney / Wiki Commons

8. Fort Nisqually Granary

Fort Nisqually is a former fur trading post that was located in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. It was originally located in the city of DuPont in Pierce County.

The historic fort has been moved to its current location in Tacoma, Washington, and is a major attraction of Point Defiance Park.

One of the buildings in Washington State that were moved here was the Fort Nisqually Granary. It was originally constructed in the year 1843 and that officially makes it the oldest building in the state.

Official website: Fort Nisqually

Fort Nisqually Granary
Fort Nisqually Granary / Steven Pavlov / Wiki Commons

9. Museum of Pop Culture

The Museum of Pop Culture is often abbreviated to the MoPOP and is a museum in Seattle that is entirely dedicated to pop culture. It’s a nonprofit museum and is housed in one of the most fascinating buildings in Washington State.

It was originally known as the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame and later the EMP Museum and was only named by its current name in 2016.

The structure was designed by one of the most famous architects in history, Frank Gehry. Some of his most notable works are the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Museu in Bilbao, and the Dancing House in Prague.

Official website: Museum of Pop Culture

Museum of Pop Culture
Museum of Pop Culture / Josh Grenier / Wiki Commons

10. F5 Tower

The F5 Tower is another remarkable building in downtown Seattle. It’s not the tallest building in the city as it only stands 200 meters (660 feet) tall, but it’s arguably one of the most beautiful ones.

The office tower was completed between 2014 and 2017 for $450 million and was designed in such a way as to mimic the silhouette of British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961).

The glass used on the building’s façade is the same as the one used in One World Trade Center, the tallest skyscraper in New York City, and amazingly reflects the buildings that stand next to it.

F5 Tower architecture
F5 Tower / Joe Wolf / Wiki Commons