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Destination Guide

Seattle is a city growing up. Neighborhoods like the University District, Ballard, Fremont and Capitol Hill attract younger crowds of students and artists with diverse tastes and small budgets. Downtown Seattle and Belltown have become hot spots for new entrepreneurs, high-tech employees and anyone else with money. Downtown has changed with the times by upping prices and adding more upper-crust restaurants, bars and dance clubs. Whether your tastes are for the rugged outdoors or cosmopolitan city life, Seattle can accommodate all of your needs. And day or night, the city can accommodate your dining and drinking tastes as well.

Seattles diverse neighborhoods have plenty to offer gourmets, beer buddies, vegans, ravers and others.

Just below Capitol Hill stretches the famous downtown Seattle skyline. Clubs, restaurants and bars crowd the streets here. Belltown, one of the fastest-growing and trendiest downtown neighborhoods, is considered the newest hangout for yuppies. Hip fusion restaurants here include Flying Fish and Blowfish Asian Café. For an art gallery with drinks check out the Ditto Tavern.

Pioneer Square
Most of the entertainment in downtown Seattle clusters around famous Pioneer Square. On weekends this four-block radius fills up with college students, beer-guzzlers, local band fans, jazz devotees, sports fans and others. By paying one joint cover charge of $8 on weekends, one can enter any of 11 affiliated Pioneer Square bars and clubs including the Central Saloon, one of Seattles oldest taverns, The Bohemian Cafe, featuring live reggae, jazz and blues, and Fenix Underground, a hot spot for dancing to the latest live bands and DJ mixes. Non-affiliated area clubs include Catwalk, Seattles most popular Gothic/Industrial scene, complete with enforced dress code. The Last Supper Club is a recent addition to downtown nightlife, offering a trendy New York-style club experience. Showbox, northeast of Pioneer Square, is a large nightclub featuring highly regarded DJs on weekends and nationally known bands on other nights. A less expensive, more casual evening alternative is the Art Bar on Second Avenue, which attracts a variety of people, young and old, with its mix of jazz, blues, trip hop and hip hop.

Midtown & Waterfront
Don't miss downtown dining, but do bring your credit cards because prices are higher here than elsewhere in the city. The Brooklyn offers a happy hour oyster and beer selection. Fine dining establishments on the piers of Elliott Bay include Anthonys Homeport, Elliotts Oyster House and The Seattle Crab Company. For a little less pretense and expense, try Red Robin. Other noteworthy downtown restaurants include Wild Ginger and Seattles famous Old Spaghetti Factory, where diners feast amid imaginative antiques. Pacific Place, a recently constructed upscale shopping mall features famous chain restaurants like Stars,Firenze and the Gordon Biersh Brewing Company.

Capitol Hill
This neighborhood is known for the numerous shops and theaters along Broadway Avenue and for the variety of alternative lifestyles it welcomes. Tasty bites include Pagliacci Pizza and the popular Siam on Broadway, which serves excellent Thai food. Don't miss Gravity Bar, an interesting vegan alternative with funky décor.

Eileens Sports Bar is the perfect place if you want to breakfast on greasy eggs in a smokey atmosphere. On the other side of the partition is a bar notorious for its strong drinks and gritty personality. Eileens is a dive that people keep coming back to. Hopscotch, a few minutes east, serves over 80 different scotches. Its worth the drive if you're a connoisseur, or even if you're not. Capitol Hill, known for its close-knit gay community, also has some of the best dance clubs in Seattle. For an all-out, get-down-and-boogie experience go to Neighbours, a primarily gay bar, for dancing until 3am. Or hit for cutting edge electronic music and a stylish crowd. Nearby sits the Comet Tavern where an entertaining mix of people go for beer and pool.

University District
This is a favorite area for diners and drinkers on smaller budgets. Check out "The Ave" (University Way) for vegetarian restaurants like Flowers Bar and Restaurant, which serves a lovely vegetarian buffet during the day and great mixed drinks at night. The Ave has food for everyone: Mexican, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese among others. Enjoy a cheap, all-inclusive lunch at the China First restaurant. Barhopping on the Ave is fun, too! Student crowds grab a beer or two at the Big Time Brewery then head over to the College Inn Pub to shoot some pool. About six blocks west lies the famous Blue Moon Tavern and the popular Rainbow Bar and Grill next door, which features local and national jazz, rock and blues acts.

Continuing westward, the nightlife seeker enters the quaint districts of Fremont and Ballard. In Fremont, drink a beer at Dubliner, an authentic Irish pub. Or dine at Seattle Catch, an upscale seafood restaurant. If you're in the mood for a mellow evening, sip coffee in the Still Life Coffeehouse, a Seattle classic. West of Fremont in Ballard, Irish pubs and seafood abound. Enjoy Irish brews at Conor Byrnes Pub or Bad Alberts Tap & Grill. Dance at the old Ballard Firehouse, which features local cover bands. For more elegant dining experiences make your way to Shilsole Bay, where good restaurants like Rays Boathouse line the shores of Puget Sound, offering great views and delicious seafood.

Meredith Mains