When I was young, the Smith Tower loomed over all the other buildings on Seattle’s skyline. Built in 1914, the Tower became the first skyscraper in Seattle at 484 feet tall with 38 stories. More than a century later, it’s dwarfed by the Columbia Tower and even the Space Needle, but it remains an iconic part of the city with some changes that may surprise you.
Insider tip: The Smith Tower is less crowded than the Space Needle.
Now, for an entrance fee, you can relive those days of yesteryear through a self-guided tour, 360-degree observation deck and speakeasy bar. While you wait for the elevator, complete with an elevator operator dressed in period garb, scan the gift shop for some super cool items like tissue paper depicting a map of downtown Seattle streets or snow globes with Seattle icons sealed inside.
Smith Tower is holding special events this year that they’ve dubbed “Smells Like Seattle Spirits.” Each event features a new bootlegger cocktail and a speaker who charms the audience with a bit of Seattle history. On April 1, you’ll hear about Fred Olmstead and his full-time bootlegging gig. May 6, on tap is “The Feds Fight Back.” Check back here for dates for the rest of this year’s series.
A little of what you’ll find in a trip to the Smith Tower is better explained in photos.
Small bites are offered in the tower. Another option is Tat’s Delicatessen across the street, which is very popular with downtown office workers. Lots of subs, hoagies, Philly steaks, soup and salads to choose from.