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Editor's Explorations - Smith Tower

  • Written by Kristen Hamilton

It’s funny that we lived in northwestern Montana for over 20 years and could really count our out of state visitors on two hands. On the other hand, we have only lived in the Seattle area since April, and we’ve had visitors just about every other weekend.  Don’t get me wrong, as it has been great, and we love showing people around and discovering new places in our new surroundings with our friends and family. 

SMITH TOWERPhoto by Kristen HamiltonLast week was no exception to the stream of visitors as we welcomed our dear friends from Whitefish, Montana. 

Their  visit  gave  us a perfect excuse to check out Smith Tower, deemed Seattle’s “Original Skyscraper,” for this week’s Editor’s Exploration.

If you are situated anywhere along Alaskan Way on Elliott Bay, you will see the iconic Smith Tower. In 1914, the tower was completed and opened as the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.   In addition to the beautiful architecture inside and out, the highlight of everyone’s visit has to be the Observa-tory on the 35th floor.  The 360° open-air viewing deck offers stunning panoramic views of the city. 

Peruse the historic (and interactive) exhibits leading you through the halls and up a flight of stairs.  Then you will ride up to the 35th floor in a copper and brass Otis elevator complete with operator in period attire. Our operator was also quite the tour guide providing details on the building and as well as some of the more colorful former residents of the tower. We were also provided with a few details on the floors above the 35th as the tower advertises itself as a 42-floor building.  You’ll have to go yourself to hear those secrets!

After you soak in the views from the viewing deck, you can relax inside (where it’s warm) and enjoy a classic cocktail as the sun sets and the city comes to life with lights all around.
It’s definitely worth mentioning that we started our afternoon sightseeing in the Capital Hill district and located The Inn at Virginia Mason.  We noticed the sandwich board promoting The Rhododendron Café and popped in to have a look. The menu was perfect for a late lunch and the prices really reasonable compared to many places in the city. The food and atmosphere did not disappoint, and we’d definitely recommend this stop as well.  I think we’ll even plan an overnight “staycation” here in the future, as the lodging prices are really affordable for downtown.

For more information visit www.smithtower.com or www.innatvirginiamason.com.

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