Few other cities in America are so dramatically surrounded by light, water and nature — especially when the weather's nice. Seattle is synonymous with the relentless churn and innovation of the technology industry, and every year brings the unveiling of a sweeping new piece of civic architecture. But the great outdoors is never far away; the San Juan Islands, accessible from the Anacortes ferry terminal 90 minutes north of the city, are home to orca whales and bald eagles. Entire neighborhoods, notably Belltown and Capitol Hill, have been revitalized in recent years. The city abounds in terrific places to eat. And its cultural life is vigorous and growing: An architecturally dazzling library; the Frank Gehry designed Experience Music Project; and the superb Seattle Art Museum. With Mount Rainier and the Cascades looming to the east and the Olympics to the west, along with Puget Sound and dozens of lakes at its doorstep, Seattle offers endless opportunities to enjoy life outdoors. Even a simple commuter ferry ride across Elliott Bay can be a delightful and invigorating experience.