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Whispers of its colorful history stir the intrigue of this fixture of the Seattle skyline.

About Smith Tower

Rum runners, guns, typewriters, romantic superstitions, and ties to Chinese royalty are all woven into the historical fabric of this icon, which presents a window into the Emerald City’s colorful past. Classic architecture evokes an opulent era, a backdrop of craftsmanship that lives on through carefully crafted cocktails from an unrivaled, breathtaking vantage high above Seattle.

For over a century, visitors have come here to take in Seattle from above, relax, and have a good time. When you visit, be sure to have a seat in the Wishing Chair, and keep your eyes out for more legends as you explore the thirty-fifth floor.

Throne chair and skyline visible through skydeck doors



Smith Tower opened to

the public


Other buildings may have more physical stories, but none has more stories of lore that are forever a part of Seattle’s history.

SMith Tower Facts

Take a trip through history with these fascinating fun facts about Smith Tower.

Smith Tower was the vision of Lyman Cornelius (L.C.) Smith, an industrialist from New York who made a fortune selling typewriters and firearms. L.C.’s wife fell in love with Seattle and convinced him to purchase the land at Second Avenue and Yesler that would eventually become Smith Tower.


New York architectural firm Gaggin & Gaggin designed Smith Tower. They had never previously designed a building taller than five stories. Smith Tower was their first and last skyscraper.
Smith Tower’s historic elevators were provided by the Otis Elevator Company and one of the seven operated elevators is still powered by its original DC motor.
The famed “Wishing Chair” is rumored to have been gifted to L.C. Smith by China’s Empress Dowager Cixi before her death in 1908. It remains in the thirty-fifth-floor Smith Tower Observatory and is a popular spot for visitor selfies. Rumor has it that if you’re single and you sit in the chair, you’ll be married within the year!
In 1922, a one-armed stunt man (Mink de Ronda) successfully parachuted off Smith Tower, which at that time was the fourth tallest building in the world!
During Prohibition, Roy Olmstead (Seattle’s infamous rum-running Bootleg King) and his wife Elise hosted a broadcasting station in their home with a remote studio at Smith Tower. As “Aunt Vivian,” Elise read bedtime stories as rumored (but never proven) to contain secret messages. You can sip an Aunt Vivian cocktail at the Observatory in her honor.
King Broadcasting Company (now KING) was founded on the twenty-first floor of Smith Tower in 1947 and remained in the tower for 35 years as it expanded from radio to television.


Smith Tower is located in the heart of Pioneer Square, south of downtown Seattle. Pioneer Square is rich in history, having served as the city’s original port and lumber hub. Today the neighborhood is known for its historic architecture, “First Thursday” art walks, restaurants, bustling nightlife, boutiques, and galleries.

Ticket Info & Hours

Start planning your visit to the iconic Smith Tower, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views and fascinating history.

Observatory & Bar

Enjoy barrel-aged liquors, signature cocktails, and mouthwatering deserts.

Rum Runner's Card

In honor of our bootlegging roots, we offer a Rum Runner’s card so frequent guests can enjoy swanky perks.