24 Hours In: Seattle

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The Independent Travel

Wake up with an espresso

07.30: Rise early from the Fairmont Olympic (001 206 621 1700; fairmont.com/ seattle), 411 University Street, for breakfast at Uptown Espresso (001 206 285 3757), 525 Queen Anne Avenue North, which claims to be the original for Frasier's Café Nervosa. The bariste will have been serving lattes from 6am (5am during the week) but they remain friendly and efficient. A coffee and chocolate brownie will set you back $4. Buy a T-shirt or browse the books and then head up Mercer and down 5th to the monorail terminal.

Take in a fishy scene

09.00: Time to hit Pike Place, Seattle's oldest public market and one of the oldest farmers' markets in the US. Stroll down tree-lined Pine Street, past Macy's. Pure Food Fish Market (001 206 622 5765), 1511 Pike Place, sells great sockeye salmon, Dungeness crab and Alaskan halibut. There are also some stunning flower stalls and great arts and crafts.

Get physical with a kayak

11.00: After a quick cup of tea at The Crumpet Shop (001 206 682 1598), 1503 1st Ave, time for some serious exercise. Go down to Pier 55 and take the Elliott Bay Water Taxi to Seacrest Dock. Here Greg and Ali run Alki Kayak Tours (001 206 953 0237; kayakalki.com). Sign up for one of their 90-minute guided trips to the Alki Lighthouse ($49/£29) which offer great views of the city, the Olympic Mountains and lots of sea and birdlife en route.

Eat oysters by the water's edge

13.00: Following all that exertion it's time for a leisurely lunch. Elliott's Oyster House on Pier 56 (001 206 623 0211; elliotts oysterhouse.com) has been serving seafood for more than 30 years and claims to have the best beer and ale list in Seattle. The 21ft long oyster counter is the place to sit in winter but in better weather take your food on the deck and watch the water traffic come and go.

On your bike for city landmarks

14.30: As the Art Museum is closed until next year a good alternative is a trip to the Seattle Center (001 206 684 7200; seattlecenter. com). Hire a bicycle from Alpine Hut (001 206 284 3575), 2215 15th Ave W, and you can pedal there along 2nd Ave, one of the city's main cycle routes. Built on the site of the 1962 World's Fair, the Center's sprawling campus contains five gardens, 11 art installations and four museums including the extraordinary Experience Music Project designed by Frank Gehry. It's also home to the Space Needle (admission $14/£8.20) which will take you up 520ft in 41 seconds for a panoramic view of the city and Mount Rainier.

Time for supper and a sunset

17.30: Time for a drink. Cycle along Broad Street to Lake Union. If you had more time you could get one of the Kenmore Seaplanes out to San Juan island - the cause of a military confrontation between the US and Britain (1859). Instead find a bar and watch seaplanes take off. Afterwards head for a spot of dinner to BluWater Bistro, (001 206 447 0769; bluwater bistro.com) 1001 Fairview Ave N, which is famous for its grilled mahi mahi and is a relaxing place to take in Lake Union and the sunset. Be advised - if you stay after 10pm it turns into the capital of the Seattle singles' scene.

Take a taxi to the Tractor

21.00: Lock up the bike and take a taxi over to Ballard for some music at The Tractor Tavern (10) (001 206 789 3599; tractortavern.com), 5213 Ballard Ave NW, which is one of the top insider places for live music. Make sure you take your passport (the one form of valid photo ID they'll accept from foreigners) or you won't be allowed in.

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