Discovery Park: Hands down my favorite place in the city, Discovery Park has more than 534 acres of forest, trails, beaches, grassy fields, and sea cliffs. You can spend hours wandering through the area and still not see it all. I've spotted turtles (in the pond, down by the beach!), raccoons, sea lions, and just about every kind of Northwest-dwelling bird imaginable. You will get lost—go with a friend. (3801 Discovery Park Blvd,

Alki Beach: Alki is THE place to go in the summer—the West Seattle waterfront is more than two miles of sandy beaches with an incredible view of the city, and there are tons of places to eat and drink across the street. To get there: Go to downtown Seattle's waterfront and catch a cheap water taxi across Puget Sound. (1702 Alki Ave SW,

Golden Gardens: Another popular beach, especially in the summertime. There's volleyball, surfboard and paddleboard rentals, barking sea lions, and fire pits available on a first-come, first-served basis. Get a sandwich on your way from Paseo ( and go watch the sunset. Be warned: Parking is IMPOSSIBLE in the summer. A total clusterfuck. It's best to bus, bike, or walk if at all possible. (8498 Seaview Pl NW,

Kerry Park: A small park on Upper Queen Anne that has an awesome view of the city. It's especially gorgeous on a clear night. Make out! (211 W Highland Dr,

Green Lake: It's a lake! You can swim in it, rent paddleboats and small sailboats, or, if you're the jogging type, you can run around it. (7201 E Green Lake Dr N,

The Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee Grave Site: It's on Capitol Hill, should you be a die-hard kung fu fan. (Lake View Cemetery, 1554 15th Ave E)

The Fremont Troll: It's a giant troll under the Aurora Bridge. It's neat! You can climb on it. (N 36th St, under the Aurora Bridge)

The Gum Wall: It's in the Pike Place Market (another place you should go—cheap produce and flowers!) and it's a wall covered in decades' worth of chewed gum. It's disgusting. (Outside the Market Theater, 1428 Post Alley)

The Seattle Aquarium: Yes, they have sharks here. Three-foot tiger sharks, but still sharks. The aquarium is also home to a giant Pacific octopus (so cool) and sea otters (they hold hands while they sleep so they don't drift away from each other! Eeeee!). (1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, 386-4300,

The Woodland Park Zoo: No sharks, but giraffes, meerkats, tapirs, sloth bears, red pandas, lion-tailed macaques, and adorable red-flanked duikers, which are like mini antelopes. (5500 Phinney Ave N, 548-2604,

Seattle Center: It's probably worth it, just once, to cough up $18 to go up to the top of the Space Needle and look down at the city you're calling home for the next four years. If you're too broke for that, head to the dome-shaped International Fountain, with water cannons that spit 60 feet into the air. It's free, and a local musician named James Whetzel puts together really impressive soundtracks to go along with the water shows, including everything from the Smiths and Radiohead to Egyptian DJs and Hmong musicians you've probably never heard of. (305 Harrison St,

The Electric Boat Company: Like a rental car, you have to be at least 25 years old to rent a small, cute boat from the Electric Boat Company and drive it around on Lake Union. But in case you (or a friend) are old enough, IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. You can eat and drink (if you're not driving) on board, so bring a picnic. There's also a CD player. It's $89 an hour, with a two-hour minimum, but each boat can hold up to 10 adults so you can split up the cost. They even cover them with Christmas lights for the holidays. (2046 Westlake Ave N, Suite 102, 223-7476,

Agua Verde Paddle Club: Speaking of boats, you can visit the Paddle Club for a much cheaper (but more labor-intensive) boating adventure. They rent out single and double kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to anyone over 18 years old, giving you waterfront access to the UW's Arboretum and Foster Island. (1303 NE Boat St, 545-8570,

The Indoor Sun Shoppe: If this coming winter is your first in the Pacific Northwest, take note: They can be brutal. Unlike other parts of the country, where you can be prepared for below-freezing temperatures and lots of ice and snow, the Northwest's winters are just really long, gray, and wet. If you start feeling blue, pay a visit to the Indoor Sun Shoppe in Fremont. With hundred of plants and sunlamps, the shop is the brightest, warmest room you could possibly find in the dead of winter, and it can instantly lift your spirits should a lack of sun be messing with your brain. And going there is free, unlike Mexico or the Caribbean. (160 N Canal St, 634-3727,