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Solo in Seattle

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I have to plan a business trip to Seattle some time this fall and plan to tack on a day that I'll be solo to see some of a city I've never been. Looking for....when to go (is there something big happening in town that brings out the real spirit)? where to stay (I prefer busy parts of town, I'm a busy NY'er the quiet makes me nervouse lol)? restaurants (I'll have two dinners, and two lunches for a taste of town, but will be alone so keep that in mind with your suggestions), must see spots to feel like I've been in Seattle. I will have a car and generally prefer a driving tour of a city so I can stop where I want, and just pass by simply "scenic" spots. And actually would love a suggestion of a half day drive out of the city to some beautiful NW splendor. I am a NY'er, a foodie (seafood fan, opt for farm to table but I appreciate a good greasy spoon that is a local legend), a hiker/biker (on this trip a driver), off the beat path fan, but love the tourist kitschiness. Basically I want to leave Seasttle knowing that I've been there, and with recommendations for others. Thanks in advance!!

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