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By Biking and Walking: Bicycling is popular but still somewhat of a cult endeavor thanks to a shortage of safe bike routes and some daunting hills. Check out www.ridethecity.com/seattle. Walking is fun, though distances and rain can sometimes get in the way. Several neighborhoods—from Pioneer Square to Downtown, or from Belltown to Queen Anne, for example—are close enough to each other that even hills and moisture can't stop walkers.

By Bus: The bus system will get you anywhere you need to go, although some routes require a time commitment and several transfers. Within the downtown core, however, the bus is efficient—and, most of the time, it won't cost you a dime, thanks to the Ride-Free Area. The trip Planner (tripplanner.kingcounty.gov) is a useful resource. (Fare: $2.25)

By Light Rail: Sound Transit's Central Link Light Rail (www.soundtransit.org)—the first link of which was completed in 2009—will eventually accomplish what the buses can't: an efficient way to go north–south in this vertically oriented city. (Fare: $2.50)

By Monorail: Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the monorail (www.seattlemonorail.com) is the shortest transportation system in the city. It runs from Westlake Center (on 5th and Pine) to Seattle Center. But this is great for visitors who plan to spend a day at the Space Needle and the Seattle Center's museums. (Fare: $2.00)

By Seattle Streetcar: The second-shortest system in the city (www.seattlestreetcar.org) was built to connect Downtown to South Lake Union (directly east of Seattle Center). It runs from Westlake and Olive to the southern shore of Lake Union. (Fare: $2.25)

By Taxi: Seattle's taxi fleet is small, but you can sometimes hail a cab, especially Downtown. Most of the time you must call for one. Except on Friday and Saturday nights, you rarely have to wait more than a few minutes. Cabs can be pricey but useful, especially late at night when buses run infrequently. Two major cab companies are Yellow Cab (206/622–6500) and Farwest (206/622–1717).

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