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Located on First Hill, just north of downtown, the Frye was Seattle’s first free art museum, thanks to the legacy of Charles and Emma Frye. A child of German immigrants, Charles Frye made a fortune by starting a meatpacking plant during the 1890s gold-rush days (if you take the highly entertaining Underground Tour, described below, you’ll see where the meat lockers were). With their wealth, the Fryes began to collect paintings and bequeathed their enormous collection to the city with the stipulation that the works be displayed free to the public in one location. The original collection of portraits, still lifes, and landscapes by late-19th- and early-20th-century French, German, and American painters is dramatically exhibited in one enormous room. This layout, which recreates the way the paintings were originally exhibited, changes periodically, so you may see a work by Ernst Lembach, Franz von Stuck or Thomas Hart Benton on one visit, and a canvas by Edward Hopper or an early Picasso on another. In recent years, the museum has re-invented itself, adding modern and abstract art to the collection and exhibiting an interesting array of works by artists active in the Pacific Northwest or with ties to it. The galleries are serene, the shows interesting, and there’s a lovely little cafe and garden.