SEATTLE -- This city – sculpted by Puget Sound and Lake Washington, and crowned with leafy hills – abounds with lively diversions, both indoor and outside. A sunny and mild climate from June through well into October makes it one of the country’s most enchanting summer destinations.

It’s actually a cool getaway with year-round popularity – yes, even during the grayer, wetter winter months – with superb restaurants, offbeat shops and a mix of accommodations for all budgets. Downtown, with its dashing, postmodern skyline, contains a mix of enticing museums, historic blocks and trendy retail-entertainment strips.

The city’s many visitors are often drawn to Seattle’s LGBT hub, Capitol Hill. Students, dot-comers, latter-day hippies and young families of all persuasions live in this lofty neighborhood, a 20-minute walk or short cab ride east of Downtown. Cutting-edge music, liberal politics, coffeehouses mingling with microbreweries, computer technology and environmentalism are among the ties that bind Capitol Hill’s disparate populations.

The best way to enjoy Seattle is to set aside a few hours each day and focus on a particular neighborhood with its corresponding draws. Start by touring Downtown, with its landmark Pike Place Market, a sprawling 1907 structure abuzz with fishmongers and food marketers of every ilk. If you love to eat or cook, the halls of gourmet goodies are reason alone to while away an afternoon here.

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