I think I am naturally a West coast kind of girl. Manhattan was okay but San Francisco will always win hands down. So when it came time to choose a conference to take the place of South by Southwest this year, IDEA Personal Trainer Institute (PTI) West in Seattle won hands down over the east coast version in Alexandria, VA.

It was my first trip to the Pacific Northwest but sadly I actually got to see very little of it outside of the Doubletree by the airport. What was wonderful was the weather. I didn’t get to experience the fog, mist and relative cool that seem to be the hallmark of Seattle. Instead it was in the 70s and sunny the whole time, while it was in the 30s at home with snow. Talk about some serious luck.

We did have a half a day before the official start of PTI and a half a day at the end to explore. Brian also came with me, so he was able to share his adventures and insights while I learned the latest in smart programs for menopausal women and new kettlebell moves. With his help, I have put together my top picks for having a fun and fit time on your next trip to Seattle.

  • Staying fit at a fitness conference is obviously a little bit easier than your average vacation. Workouts and workshops are the order of the day. Yet I still struggled to get my 10,000 steps. If your visit keeps you confined in a convention center or hotel, take the stairs always. Take them repeatedly. I had a lecture or two where I just had to get up and move. I went out in the hall and did some stairs. Instantly alert and ready for more.
  • Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks and a big coffee town. Stay away from the sugary coffee drinks and go for drip. Try Café Ladro, Café Vita and Tully’s after you visit the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market.  Or be a tea snob like me and go to the free tea tasting at Vital Tea.  You won’t be disappointed.
  • Speaking of Pike Place Market, get your steps browsing the stalls and pick up your snacks here. Not only will you find fresh fruit, but also lots of dried fruits and veggies like beet chips and green beans and a variety of raw nuts. Just don’t try the samples at the Gum Wall. It’s not free candy.
  • Walk don’t drive. Traffic, like most major cities, is a headache. The hills in downtown and Fremont rival San Francisco, making them a great glute workout. Take long strides going up make it even more challenging and effective.
  • Take a hike. Brian went on a nice hike at Discovery Park. They have paved and unpaved trails to enjoy. Just beware; even in the city you might encounter a tick or two. Or drive outside the city and visit Mount Rainer. It’s amazing to view from far away (or the plane as you approach the city) and I plan to visit it the next time.
  • Take advantage of happy hour. We all like to treat ourselves on vacation but no one likes to roll away from the table feeling miserable. Many of the restaurants have happy hour menus between 4-6 pm with small plates or portions that allow you to taste the fine locally sourced and organic cuisine but not be painfully stuffed afterwards. My suggestions: Serious Pie for a mushroom and truffle cheese half pizza or Agrodolce for the chickpea cakes and spring onion soup. Rachel Ray would be proud of my under $20 three course dinner tab.

Locals, what have I missed? Travelers, if you’ve visited Seattle, how did you keep it fit on your last visit?

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