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Buildings twice its size now form the Seattle skyline, but from 1914, when it was completed, until the early 1960s, Smith Tower was not only the tallest building in Seattle, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. View junkies and fans of heritage architecture  will love zipping up to the 35th floor in one of the last manually operated elevators in the U.S. But before that, there’s a short video on the building’s history and the (sometimes shady) characters that built it and worked there, and you can do fun things like operate the 1914 switchboard. Beautiful period details abound, including walls and banisters made of solid onyx and gleaming brass elevator cages. The view from the open observation deck is panoramic and unique, taking in all of Seattle. I highly recommend a sunset cocktail or light lunch or dinner in the historic Chinese Room with its ornate teak ceiling. This is also a great excursion for kids.