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4 Hours in Seattle

The urban buzz is palpable, yet lush greenery, towering mountains and Puget Sound make for a peaceful easy stopover

Space Needle

The best deal if you plan to visit multiple sites is a CityPASS ticket ($99 for adults), which can shave nearly half the cost off admission plus offers expedited access to many attractions including the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden & Glass, Pacific Science Center or the Woodland Park Zoo. The passes are valid for nine consecutive days if you plan to stay longer.CityPASS in hand, your first stop probably should be the iconic Space Needle.  Visible from all corners of the city, the landmark was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Fresh from a $100 million renovation, the Space Needle has unveiled a new revolving glass floor and glass walls giving visitors a jaw-dropping peak at the city below their feet. Open daily 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, admission $32.50 till 6:00 PM, $37.50 6:00 to 8:00 PM. 400 Broad St.

The Museum of Pop Culture

Museum lovers can decide between the Museum of Pop Culture close to the Space Needle or the Seattle Art Museum with its Olympic Sculpture Park near Pike Place Market. But if time permits, why not choose both? Inside its undulating, steel-skinned Frank Gehry-designed building, the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, is filled with carefully-curated, hands-on exhibits from science fiction and rock music; among them, Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, an entire exhibition on Minecraft, and the most extensive collection of Nirvana memorabilia anywhere. Open daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, admission $34. 325 5th Avenue N. Tel 206-770-2700.

Chihuly Garden & Glass 

Only steps away is Chihuly Garden & Glass, which showcases many of Dale Chihuly’s colorful blown glass masterpieces as well as other works of art along with the story of his career. Tacoma native Chihuly has seen his works featured in museums in the US and around the world, and he opened the Garden and Glass exhibition in 2012. You can easily spend an hour strolling through the galleries and gardens, but if you can, plan your visit for dusk when the lighted art is even more spectacular. Open Mon – Thurs 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Fri – Sun 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, admission $32. 305 Harrison St. Tel. 206 753-4940.

Olympic Sculpture Park 

A brief walk down Western Avenuebrings you to the Seattle ArtMuseum’s Olympic Sculpture Parkoverlooking Elliott Bay. Here, you’ll find a collection of huge sculptures ina lush green setting. You’ll recognizeClaes Oldenburg’s gargantuanTypewriter Eraser, Scale X. TheEagle, a sort of red origami-in-steel6-ton creation by sculptor AlexanderCalder, is perched on the water’sedge, seemingly ready take flight. TheOlympic Sculpture Park is free to thepublic and open every day from onehalf-hour after sunrise to one half-hour before sunset.

Pike Place Market

While the museums have great gift shops, there’s nothing like “Made in Washington” products, souvenirs and signature foods found at world famous Pike Place Market. You’ll find regional gifts like smoked salmon, local wine, and handicrafts as well as hundreds of vendors selling books and maps, souvenirs, homemade products and food galore. This is some of the best people watching in town, and you are sure to buy a few gifts along the way. Just a short walk away is the world’s first Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place. While not the city’s largest (you’ll find Starbucks on almost every other block), it is one of the most famous. Open daily. 1st Ave and Pike St.

Waterfront Seattle

Take a stroll to the waterfront and look at the City of Seattle’s project to reinvigorate the area. Once demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is complete, the city will construct a park promenade along the water, adding walkways, bike lanes, and parks, plus new surface streets and more downtown attractions. waterfrontseattle.orgCatch a birds-eye view of the progress below from the Seattle Great Wheel. This gigantic newcomer almost rivals the Space Needle as the defining symbol of the Seattle skyline. Hours Mon – Thurs 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Fri 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM, Sat 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM, Sun 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, admission $15. 1301 Alaskan Way. Tel: 206 623-8607.