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Who cares if it rains? You are in the most beautiful, caffeinated and culture-rich city in the US. So, grab your umbrella and follow this 24-hour tour of the Emerald City.

Start in Pioneer Square, the birthplace of Seattle. Take a stroll and enjoy the handsome facades, wide cobblestone squares and boutiques. Be sure to visit Occidental Square and Pioneer Square Park before seeking out some breakfast.

Spend the late morning exploring Seattle's most visited attraction:  Pike Place Market. Sure, it is where all the tourists go, but it is also the fastest way to fall in love with the city. It is the oldest continuously operating market in the nation, and just fun. Browse stalls of flowers, local crafts, cheesy t-shirts, beautiful artwork and fresh fish (for a thrill, watch the fishmongers throwing fresh salmon).

Time for mid-morning snack? A visit to the Daily Dozen Donut Co. is a must. Watch the gorgeous little creations go through the magical doughnut-making process and pop out all hot and full of deliciousness. Eat them there and then or, even better, in neighbouring Victor Steinbrueck Park overlooking the Elliott Bay and the majestic Mt Rainier. Need a coffee to wash it down? Just around the corner is Cafe Ladro, one of Seattle's best coffee shops.

Head down to the waterfront to take in the classic Seattle smells: a mix of saltwater, cotton candy and greasy fish and chips. Walk along the boardwalk and take in sites like barnacle-covered piers, tacky souvenir shops, aggressive fry-stealing seagulls and ferries cruising the bay.

At lunchtime head to Ivar's, a Seattle institution serving the best, and perhaps cheapest, clam chowder in the city. that will fortify you to explore Seattle's coolest neighbourhood, the artsy Fremont,  considered "the center of the universe" by residents. Not-to-be-missed sites include the quirky Fremont Troll, Fremont Rocket and Statue of Lenin.

A kilometre to the east lies Seattle's picturesque Gas Works Park, built on the remains of the former Seattle Gas Light Company. Climb to the top of the grassy hill to enjoy the lovely view of Lake Union and the Space Needle. At sunset get yourself to Alki Beach. From here take in another breathtaking view of Seattle's skyline as you walk along the shore. As the sun sets and your tummy starts rumbling for dinner, head to Salty's for a seafood feast.

Ready for a night on the town? Seattle is famous for its music scene, so be sure to catch a show. If you are into jazz, go to Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Belltown. Crocodile Cafe, also in Belltown, is known as one of the country's best rock clubs. For those in the mood to dance, head to Fremont's Century Ballroom,  the perfect ending to a perfect day in Seattle.

© 2009 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘24 hours in Seattle’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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