Enjoy dramatic views atop an icon that turns 50.

Get oriented atop the Space Needle, which offers sweeping views of the city and Mount Rainier. This iconic tower is marking the months leading up to its milestone 50th birthday with special events, contests and prizes. Also see what lies beneath today's metropolis -- a preserved Seattle from the mid-19th century -- with a "Seattle Underground" tour.

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Stroll the iconic market home to fishmongers.

The oldest continuously running farmers market in America, Pike Place Market is a must for first-time visitors to Seattle. Stop at Pike Place Fish for one of city's best photo opps: fishmongers tossing around fish and educating crowds about fresh-caught salmon, Dungeness crab and oysters. Meet the "fishy" fellas that will inspire a seafood meal.

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Slip out of the city by kayak, bike or boat.

Trade Seattle's urban landscape for this: an early-morning kayak on Puget Sound. Dubbed the "Most Active City in America" by Men's Health magazine, Seattle is a haven for bicyclists, hikers and boaters who seek the fresh air of the Pacific Northwest and velvety green colors of area forests and mountains -- especially now, when the weather is ideal.

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Rock out in the home of Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Twenty years ago, grunge-rock legends Nirvana and Pearl Jam helped to put Seattle on the musical map. Relive that sound through the new Nirvana exhibit at the Experience Music Project museum, or time a trip around music festivals such as Bumbershoot (Sept. 3-5) or the Earshot Jazz Fest (Oct. 15 - Nov. 7).

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Sip world-famous coffee and homegrown alcohol.

Sip expertly made espresso at the original Starbucks, or spots that haven't gone global and bear names that could double as rock bands -- such as Bedlam, Fuel and Zoka. Get a different sort of buzz by visiting some of of the 80 wineries within 30 minutes from Seattle, or sampling up-and-coming craft beers during Fremont Oktoberfest (Sept. 23-25).

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