When it was built in 1914, the Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Though it lost that designation a mere 17 years later, the tower still captivates Seattle visitors with the Smith Tower Observation Deck. The open-air deck wraps around the tower's 35th floor and grants panoramic views of the city's modern downtown and Puget Sound. Seattle's gorgeous surrounding landscapes are visible from the tower as well, with the majestic peaks of Mount Rainer and the Olympic Mountain Range creating a stunning horizon. And the journey to the observation deck is a treat in and of itself. Passengers ride in one of the last manually operated elevators on the West Coast, which is caged in brass and copper in the style of the early 20th century. In the lobby itself, 22 Indian head sculptures watch over the onyx- and marble-paneled room, acting as precursors to the grandeur of the tower's top floors.
Generally, adulthood forces people to give up childish pleasures, robbing them of the joy associated with playing in puddles, unearthing hidden treasure, and being silly in public. Sierra Adventure Sports wants grownups to regress, if only for a day. In service of that goal, the company organizes a variety of novel races that range from city scavenger hunts for the casual adventurer to creative triathlon courses for the ambitious athlete.
The Mad Mud Run, for instance, challenges participants to sprint and frolic through a dirty and deliciously fun outdoor obstacle course littered with manmade obstructions such as cargo nets, hills of hay bales, monkey bars, and slimy mud pits. Extreme Heat Adventure Races combine equal parts triathlon and scavenger hunt to create a 10?12K journey filled with running, river rafting, and mystery challenges that could pit teams against anything from blindfolded puzzles to wall climbs. Most Sierra Adventure Sports events encourage racers to compete in costumes of all types save for gremlins, which multiply in water and unfairly dominate the timed results.
Inspired by The Amazing Race, CityScape Adventures?held across the United States?entangle race participants in webs of 12 puzzles and challenges in citywide races to the finish line. Participants compete in teams of two, using their wits, teamwork, and underground network of mutant-turtle spies to complete the tasks given at the start of the race. The 12 challenges take the form of puzzles, riddles, and clues that guide treasure hunters to a specific location within the city, where each team must complete a special task using only their cleverness and muscles. Players can also use the Internet, and the winning team is usually the one that best leverages its resources. The first team to successfully complete all tasks and vault over the finish line will receive a prize and assembly line of high-fives. Click here for a video of past races.
Upon moving to Salem, Massachusetts, it didn't take long before Kimberly Bizjak became obsessed with the city's dark history. Soon, she co-founded Paranormal Salem, a tour company that garnered enough attention to snag her appearances on networks such as The History Channel. Now, at Paranormal Seattle, she teaches citizens of her native city the ghost-hunting skills she honed on the east coast. After discussing the history of paranormal investigation, Kimberly demonstrates various ghost-hunting techniques, like operating an EMF detector. With these new techniques in tow, participants then search for apparitions in a location of their choosing or in Merchants Cafe, an 1890s-era restaurant that has previously served as a brothel, speakeasy, and hotel.
After Seattle suffered a devastating downtown fire in 1889, city officials hatched a plan to re-grade its streets to a higher elevation. The result, at least around the old-time Seattle core of Pioneer Square, is an entire labyrinth of tunnels running just below the surface. There are complete underground passageways, rooms, storefronts, plumbing and artifacts from the city’s frontier era to be found below, and for several decades Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour has been the go-to way to check out this city beneath the city. Run by witty guides who crack jokes and weave anecdotes about Seattle’s evolution as the tour winds through murky areas and enclosed spaces, this underground excursion is sure to appeal to those with a fondness for geography, history, neighborhoods and urban planning.