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Originally published Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 12:06 AM

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A free day in Prague

After a tour, here are some suggestions on how to spend a day on your own in Prague in winter.

Free day in Prague

Q: My friend and I will be in Prague in December. As part of our tour package, we will be taking a drive of the city with stops at Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of St. George, Vladislav Hall and the miniature houses of Golden Lane. Any suggestions as to other things we might see on our own free time (one day)? Is it a fairly safe city to walk around in the evening?

Jannelle, Black Diamond

A: Bundle up, because it's going to be chilly, but there's lots to do indoors in Prague, and it's especially cozy at night in the pubs and restaurants.

There will be people around — not as many tourists, fortunately, as there are other times of the year — but plenty of locals out strolling, going to concerts, etc. So, no worries about personal safety. Pickpocketing on trams and in crowded areas does happen, so safeguard your money and passports. Then go out and enjoy your free day and evening in one of Europe's most beautiful cities.

I recommend spending time in Marlá Strana, an old, fascinating and less-visited area below the Prague Castle. This is Prague's "Left Bank," and it retains an artsy, bohemian feel with wine bars, restaurants, cafes, churches and gardens.

Back across the Charles Bridge, in Nové Mesto, take time to explore the excellent Mucha Museum (www.mucha.cz) dedicated to the work of Czech artist Alfons Mucha. Many of the theater posters for which he became known are on display in a series of quiet galleries. This also is a good area for shopping and restaurants.

If you like classical music, consider attending a concert in the afternoon. No need to buy tickets in advance. You'll run into students passing out fliers. If something appeals to you, you can make a last-minute decision to go.

Consider doing a walk with Prague Walks (www.praguewalks.com). There are a number of guided tours around themes such as classical music, pubs, fashion, etc.

The "Jewish Quarter" walk could be a relaxing way to learn about this interesting area if you haven't already visited there on your tour. The walks cost about $17.50 ($15 for students and seniors). Most start at the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square.

Carol Pucci / The Seattle Times

If you have a question about travel, ask us. Go to www.seattletimes.com/travel (scroll down to the middle of the page to "Ask Travel") to submit a question. We'll answer as many as we can, but are unable to answer all due to the volume of submissions.

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