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One City, Five Hours: Seattle

Rock out in the Emerald City

Author Rachel Sturtz Illustration Oliver Jeffers

1 Kick things off in Pioneer Square (www.pioneersquaredistrict.org), a historic district that was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1889 and is now colonized by artists. Nod and murmur to yourself knowingly as you pop into a few of the local art galleries. Newly purchased prints in hand, hitch a ride north on any of the free buses (until 7 p.m.). ( :40 )

2 Come as you are to The Showbox at the Market (1426 First Ave.; www.showboxonline.com). Time it right and you’ll be able to catch an opening band at the popular 71-year-old Art Deco venue, which has hosted musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Muddy Waters, Iggy Pop and Pearl Jam. ( 1:10 )

3 Cut through Lower Post Alley and past its famous gum-covered wall to arrive at Pike Place Market. Dodge the flying salmon (the fishmongers here are known for their airborne seafood), and buy yourself some smoked filets. Let the street buskers serenade you while you wash down the lox with a venti, nonfat, triple-pump caramel macchiato (just like Mom used to make!) from the original Starbucks (1912 Pike Pl.; www.starbucks.com). ( 1:55 )

4 Head east to Capitol Hill, home to young professionals, creative types and the recently relocated Elliott Bay Book Company (1521 10th Ave.; www.elliottbaybook.com), a massive indie bookstore. Pick up former local Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and weigh the risks of summiting Mount Rainier over a pint of Trappist ale at Quinn’s Pub (1001 E. Pike St.; www.quinnspubseattle.com). ( 2:40 )

5 Before you go back downtown, duck into Velouria (1521 Melrose Ave.; www.shopvelouria.tripod.com), a boutique featuring products by local artisans, to pick up the crème de la crème of rain gear: the ever-youthful and design-happy Pare*Umbrella. You know, just in case. ( 3:00 )

6 Hungry? Stop into chef Tom Douglas’ James Beard–nominated Palace Kitchen (2030 Fifth Ave.; www.tomdouglas.com) for his melted, creamy (and dreamy) goat cheese and lavender fondue, or track down the Skillet Airstream trailer for truckside dining on seasonal local fare. Now, too full to walk, you’d best let the Seattle monorail do the moving for you. ( 3:40 )

7 Pay tribute to Seattle music gods at the interactive Frank Gehry–designed Experience Music Project (325 5th Ave. N; www.empsfm.org). Read Jimi Hendrix’s journal, bend notes with a wah-wah pedal and take in the rock-heavy Northwest Passage exhibit, where grunge lives on. Pause for a Vulcan salute to the attached Science Fiction Museum—there’s only so much time. ( 4:20 )

8 The wait is long, but the view from the 605-foot Space Needle (400 Broad St., www.spaceneedle.com) is well worth it. The 360-degree vista showcases the Olympic Mountains, Cascade Range and the Puget Sound—all of which deserve further exploration. ( 5:00 )

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