On July 4, 105 years ago, Seattle’s Smith Tower first opened to the public. On that day, more than 4,000 people paid 25 cents to ride the elevator to the 35th-floor observatory (in the same Otis elevator in operation today, by the way). The tower included 540 offices, six stores, two telegraph offices and a public telephone station.

Today, Smith Tower offers a historical backdrop for private events of up to 80 guests. Choose from two spaces: the 35th-floor bar named The Observatory (of course), or the 22nd-floor Lookout Lounge and deck. On the 35th floor, you’ll also find the tower’s famed “Wishing Chair,” which was rumored to have been gifted to the tower’s original owner and namesake, L.C. Smith, by China’s Empress Dowager Cixi. Legend has it that if you sit in the chair and you’re single, you’ll be married within the year.

The tower can also be a fun afternoon excursion for your group through its Talking Tower Tours. Seeing as its past includes connections to infamous rum-running radio hosts and a one-armed parachuting stuntman, there’s plenty for your guests to talk about long after the tour has ended.

Blame it on the eight seasons of “Portlandia” or simply on the way people rave about the city when they return from visiting. Portland is experiencing a hotel boom. Collectively, the recent wave in hotel development has resulted in an increase in room inventory of nearly 50 percent since 2016.

 

Construction has been completed on the striking new Gerry Frank/Salem Rotary Amphitheater.

Located in Riverfront Park, Salem’s premier downtown venue for outdoor events, the $4-milion amphitheater is a joint project of the City of Salem and the Rotary Club of Salem. CBTWO Architects based the structure’s sweeping wood “basket-weave” concept on the open-weave baskets of the Kalapuya Native American Tribe, whose history is an integral part of Riverfront Park’s land and culture.