Smith Tower

The 42 story Smith Tower is Seattle’s first skyscraper. It opened on July 4, 1914, as the tallest building outside New York City. Construction of the building, located in Pioneer Square, was funded by Lyman Smith from the Smith-Corona company.

Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Smith Tower

 

Admission

Admission is US$19 for adults (as of January 2018), and tickets can be purchased in a small gift shop at the base of the tower. The tower is closed to visitors on Mondays.

Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Smith Tower

 

Museum

After buying tickets, there is a short film and a fun interactive museum about the building’s history. Visitors can explore stories about real people who once occupied Smith Tower, and see the original telephone switchboard.

Museum at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Museum

Museum at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Museum

Telephone switchboard at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Telephone switchboard

 

Elevator

From there, it’s a long ride up the building’s original elevator to the 35th floor. An elevator operator dressed in period costume cracks jokes about having a day full of “ups and downs”. The ride takes longer than a modern elevator, and you can see the floors as you ride. Finally, after a big jolt, you arrive at the Observatory.

Elevators at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Elevators

The elevator to the observatory at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

The elevator to the observatory

 

Chinese Room

When you walk out of the elevator, there’s the Chinese Room, a bar inspired by a speakeasy. The tower played a major role in the illegal alcohol trade during Prohibition.

Chinese Room at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Chinese Room

Bar in the Chinese Room at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Bar in the Chinese Room

Ceiling of the Chinese Room at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Ceiling of the Chinese Room

 

Observatory

The Observatory is located on the outside of the building behind iron bars. It can get windy out there, so be careful! You might want to bring a jacket as well.

Observatory at the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Observatory

From the Observatory, it’s possible to spot several Seattle landmarks such as the Space Needle, Columbia Center, stadiums, and a good look at the International District. I actually preferred the views at Smith Tower to the ones at the Space Needle and Columbia Center.

Looking at downtown Seattle from the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Looking at downtown Seattle

Space Needle from the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Space Needle

International District from the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

International District

Docks from the Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Docks

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