Just minutes north of downtown is Seattle’s newly hip and longtime funky Fremont neighborhood, or as locals like to refer to it, the center of the universe.
SLEEP Lodging isn’t available in Fremont, but two great choices in nearby downtown are the boutique-style Inn at the Market (206-443-3600) and the always luxe Four Seasons Olympic (206-621-1700).

EAT Linger over a latte at the airy Still Life in Fremont Coffeehouse (206-547-9850).The soups and salads are out of this world, as is the grownup macaroni and cheese. Elegant Chiso Sushi (206-632-3430) has access to the region’s freshest seafood. Great Mexican fare is difficult to find in Seattle, but at El Camino (206-632-7303), tradition steps into the present in dishes like halibut Veracruzana. Of the many Thai restaurants that have sprouted up here recently, locals prefer Kwanjai Thai (206-632-3656), with its open kitchen, modest prices, and authentic cuisine.

DRINK Step up to the curved bar at Fremont Fresh Market (206-633-3663) to sample flights of regional or varietal wines, and pick up a few bottles to take back home. The weekday happy hour is great for mingling with the locals.

SHOPFrank & Dunya (206-547-6760) offers one-of-a-kind pieces ranging from wall hangings to jewelry. Fremont Place Book Co. (206-547-5970) is one of the all-too-rare independents. Frankie (206-547-1030) will shoe you in appropriately understated Northwest fashion.

MUSIC Music pulses throughout this otherwise businesslike city, and after touring the Seattle Center’s Experience Music Project, you may be keen to see if you’ve got the beat. Like many of the city’s best places, Dusty Strings (206-634-1662) is a sleeper, its downstairs full of top-quality handcrafted musical instruments. If you’re looking for Sinatra on vinyl or ambient lounge on CD, visit Jive Time Records (206-632-5483). Ask what’s tucked away in the back — you’ll be surprised at the selection.