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Memorial Day Weekend 2017: business trip or family vacation? Why not make it both!

Exhibits Grand Atrium - Garrett Mukai-80.jpgPhoto credit: MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry), Exhibits Grand Atrium, by Garrett Mukai

It can be tempting to bring your family along on a meeting trip. But being at your professional, productive best while also trying to keep your children, spous, or partner entertained are goals that can clash. With proper planning, the combination can work well, especially in Seattle. Next Memorial Day weekend, in conjunction with MLA ’17, why not plan a trip to Seattle with your family? Here are tips on how to make MLA '17 a successful meeting and family vacation.

The compact Seattle downtown corridor is bike and pedestrian friendly, although comfortable shoes are a must for the hills. On a Seattle trip, it is helpful to plan downtown activities ahead of time to optimize the time and experience. This is especially important if multiple generations are involved. If your travel companions enjoy yoga, they can take classes in the morning at Urban Yoga Spa when you have meetings. When you are done with your MLA ’17 activities you can spend time together. Visit the Center for Wooden Boats for a public sail and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), both located at South Lake Union. All ages can learn about boating history and experience a sailing trip in the Puget Sound. Every Sunday, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., volunteer skippers and crew take passengers out on Lake Union for unforgettable voyages. Boats, steamboats, electric boats, schooners, ketches, yawls, and yachts participate year-round, rain or shine. The trips are free, although tips are recommended.

When traveling with family, it is best to seek out meeting hotels with pools, babysitting services, activities for children, and restaurants with children’s menus. The official MLA ’17 meeting hotel, the Sheraton Seattle Hotel will offer all these amenities—including an indoor swimming pool!

Gamers ages seven and up will want to experience the Seattle Pinball Museum. Admission to the museum, located one mile south of the meeting hotel, allows you to play games, while sipping on vintage sodas, snacks, local craft beers, and ciders. The collection includes games from as early as 1934 to present day games produced by Jersey Jack Pinball, Dutch Pinball, Spooky Pinball, VP Cabs, and Stern Pinball. Admission allows you to come in and play pinball games up until 10:00 p.m. on most evenings.

Interested in seeing the work of independent Seattle artists? Storefronts livens up empty storefronts, underutilized urban spaces, and blank windows with art installations placed in these spaces, creating vitality, light, and neighborhood engagement in otherwise overlooked areas of our streetscapes. A list of current events is available at

A wonderful day trip is Mt. Rainier National Park. In less than a 2-hour drive, you can find yourself standing on the second tallest mountain in North America. Northwest Trek is also along the way. A tram tour through this 723-acre park brings you face to face with free-roaming elk, bison, deer, bighorn shee,p and moose. If you prefer not to sit on a bus for long stretches, the Pacific Northwest is a garden lover’s paradise. My favorite is Lakewold Gardens, a historic estate garden 45 minutes south of Seattle and perfect for all ages. With help from the leading landscape architects of the 20th century, Eulalie Wagner made her garden her personal life project. It was designed at a time when the South Sound's Lakes District was first being discovered and when Tacoma’s new prominent families would introduce the world to their unique vision of a cultured country estate. Other public gardens are listed in books published by Timber Press. With so much to offer, what better way to enjoy MLA ’17 than by seeing the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the Puget Sound with friends and family over Memorial Day weekend?

Submitted by Tania Bardyn, AHIP, Chair, Local Assistance Committee, MLA 2017 National Program Committee

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