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Seattle

Updated: June 5, 2012 10:25 AM EDT


By Karl Samson

Imagine yourself sitting in a park on the Seattle waterfront, a latte and a marionberry scone close at hand. The snowy peaks of the Olympic Mountains shimmer on the far side of Puget Sound, while ferryboats come and go across Elliott Bay. It's a sunny summer day, not a cloud in the sky. It just doesn't get much better than this, unless maybe you take in a 9:30pm summer sunset from the Space Needle or the Olympic Sculpture Park and then head to a brewpub. No wonder people love this town.

Things to Do

For a bottom-to-top tour of Seattle, join the Underground Tour and hide out beneath the streets of historic Pioneer Square, then later take an elevator to the clouds at the Space Needle. Between these extremes, you can walk the waterfront, watch salmon climb the fish ladder at Ballard Locks, see fish fly at Pike Place Market, and sail off into the sunset. If the Space Needle isn't spacey enough, visit EMP/SFM, a museum dedicated to rock music and science fiction.

Active Pursuits

If you visit Seattle and don't get out on the water while you're in town, you're missing out on what makes this city so distinctive. With Lakes Union and Washington, Elliott Bay, and Puget Sound surrounding the city, you'll have ample opportunities to go boating. However, the quintessential Seattle outing is a paddle around Lake Union in a sea kayak. You'll paddle past houseboats, see floatplanes, and even have the chance to tie up at a waterfront restaurant.

Eating & Drinking

In a city where people discuss the merits of oysters from different local bays and anxiously await the annual return of Copper River salmon, it should come as no surprise that Pike Place Market, with its fishmongers and food stalls, is one of Seattle's top attractions. A day spent noshing in the market can be a foodie's dream come true. Visit such popular dining districts as Capitol Hill and Ballard, and you'll quickly learn that this is a city obsessed with eating locally.

Nightlife & Entertainment

If you think Seattle nightlife still means grunge music, dude, wake up! The grunge scene died with Kurt Cobain, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do here at night. Whether you're into Wagner or weird, Seattle's got you covered. Seattle Center and Benaroya Hall keep the cultured crowd happy, while Pike Place Market has clubs staging wild cabaret acts. You can even do dinner and the circus at Teatro ZinZanni. Then again, you just might want to raise a pint of local ale to Kurt's memory.

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