In 1914, Smith Tower became the first skyscraper in Seattle and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. For more than one hundred years, it has remained a cultural icon of the city, offering breathtaking panoramic views and spectacular architectural beauty. In 2015, Unico Properties LLC purchased Smith Tower and revitalized the acclaimed landmark for tenants, tourists, and visitors alike. Today it features an entirely reimagined visitor experience including a ground-floor gathering place with gifts, souvenirs and treats, historical exhibits telling tales through time, and a renovated Observatory with an open-air observation deck and a speakeasy-style bar where you can enjoy a locally inspired menu of shareable plates and classic cocktails.

Smith Tower's storied past includes connections to radio, rum-running and a host of interesting characters and scintillating stories you can enjoy with your ticket purchase.



  • 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 five of the seven operated elevators are still powered by their original DC motors, including the one that will whisk you up to the Observatory.
  • The famed "Wishing Chair," rumored to have been gifted to L.C. Smith by China's Empress Dowager Cixi before her death in 1908, 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. Elise read bedtime stories as "Aunt Vivian" 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.


Observatory Check-In

Daily, 10:00am to 9:00pm

Observatory & Bar

Sunday – Wednesday: 10:00am to 11:00pm
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00am to Midnight

Access and tickets available through the Main Lobby after 9:00pm, with the last elevator up one hour before close.


The spirit of Seattle's original skyscraper shines through. Experience fascinating exhibits and a 360-degree view from the Observatory that includes an outdoor deck and a speakeasy-style bar featuring classic cocktails, fresh local oysters, and other shareable plates of goodness.