For groups meeting in Seattle, the city offers a couple of spectacular new venues for events and receptions. The Seattle Symphony has a new permanent home, Benaroya Hall, in the heart of downtown.
The striking building holds two main concert facilities. S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium seats 2,500 people in a gorgeous wood-clad space that is said to be nearly perfect acoustically. Just outside the soundproof entryway, the soaring Samuel and Althea Stroum Grand Lobby is perfect for seated dinners for up to 400 people or for a cocktail reception for as many as 1,000. The lobby's floor-to-ceiling windows afford views of the city and Elliott Bay, with the snow-capped Olympic peaks beyond. The more intimate Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall holds 540 and is ideal for meetings and lectures. Its Bill and Melinda Gates Lobby can accommodate a dinner for 110 people. Call Benaroya Hall at (206) 215-4700.
On the other side of town, in Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World's Fair, the Frank Gehry — designed Experience Music Project celebrates American rock 'n' roll, from its roots in jazz, soul, and gospel to hip hop, punk, and rap. A comprehensive Jimi Hendrix gallery is a highlight, and the “Northwest Passage” focuses on Seattle musicians from Ray Charles and Quincy Jones to Heart and Kurt Cobain.
EMP is available for rental in its entirety. Sky Church, EMP's cathedral-like lobby, is a dramatic space for a reception. Call (206) 770-2700.