Best Government Edifice You Paid For

It may have cost more than $70 million, but Seattle's airy City Hall is almost worth it. And it's not just a place to nod off during council hearings, either—though the sleek second-floor council chambers are worth at least a walk-through. With its peek-a-boo views of Elliott Bay, sweeping open public spaces, and terrific outside seating options, City Hall is actually a decent place to hang out, take tourists, or grab coffee—seriously. There's a cart with caffeine and snacks on the main floor (and an affable barista who knows almost everyone in the building by name). There's also free Wi-Fi in the lobby, where you can surf the Web to the soothing rush of the gentle waterfall that cascades through the building. Or come back for the free lunchtime concerts every Thursday: The Seattle-area performers run the gamut of sound and style, and the shows are held year-round (outside in the summer). If you're lucky, you'll also spy one of your elected officials doing the dirty work of government.—Aimee Curl 600 Fourth Ave.

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