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Fitness fun in the Emerald City

Imagine a dream conference with daring ideas and speakers, and wonderful networking opportunities.  How about a conference city with plenty of options for fitness fun, too?  In Seattle at MLA’17, you can do this!  When you are ready to get some exercise, your biggest challenge will be making a choice! 

How about a run or walk? Just lace up your shoes and head down to the waterfront and the  winding pedestrian path to Myrtle Edwards Park stretching 1.25 miles along Elliott Bay. This popular park has fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier. Another option--though more  of an excursion-- is to walk less than a mile to Pier 50 on Alaskan Way and catch the West Seattle water taxi  (note: no service on Memorial Day). Stepping off the boat, enjoy a 2.2 mile walk or run along the beach on the Alki Trail to Alki Beach Park, an important site in Seattle’s history, featuring a drop dead view of the Seattle waterfront and city skyline.  

And, despite its many hills, Seattle is a bikeable city with a comprehensive network of well-marked bike paths. To plan a ride, use this interactive online bicycle map, developed to appeal to riders of all ages and abilities.  Rent a bike at one of the many Pronto Bike Share stations around the city, including one outside the Convention Center at 7th and Union. Each station has a touchscreen kiosk, station map, helmets, and a docking system that releases bikes using a member key or ride code. (Note: Riders must be 18 years or older to use Pronto). Popular destinations include the Elliot Bay Trail on the waterfront.  Or, if you prefer a road bike, head to the Bicycle Repair Shop near the waterfront at 928 Alaskan Way. Their bike rental service includes maps and information on self-guided tours, such as the Ballard/Fremont tour.  On this route, you will hook up briefly with the Burke Gillman trail, a 27-mile long urban pedestrian and bicycling trail hugging the shoreline from Puget Sound to Lake Washington, before pedaling across the University Bridge along east Lake Union and back into downtown.  Or, if you prefer a guided tour of the downtown core, try Seattle Cycling Tours, conveniently located in the Convention Center. Their afternoon basic tour takes about 2.5 hours to bike through an array of neighborhoods such as Pioneer Square, The Metropolitan Tract, International/Chinatown, Waterfront, Seattle Center, and South Lake Union (Amazonia).

Lastly, what about water sports?  At the end of May, water temperatures will be chilly for a swim, but you might want to try either urban kayaking…or, stand up paddling (in a dry suit of course)!  Within a 10 minute Uber trip from the Convention Center, go to either the Northwest Outdoor Center or Moss Bay Kayak, Paddle Board, and Sail Center to rent a kayak or paddle board and explore Lake Union. One of the waterways linking Lake Washington and the Puget Sound, Lake Union has a 7-knot speed limit for any type of boat or vessel, providing a sheltered and safe paddling experience. You might explore Seattle’s houseboat community. Or, with more time, navigate the waters to Gas Works Park or University of Washington.  And, don’t miss what’s happening in the skies overhead, where you might spot a sea plane landing on the lake and floating (literally) into the Kenmore Air Harbor Seabase!   

These are just a few ideas, to encourage your fitness instinct and toss in some fun with sightseeing! In addition to health benefits, outdoor exercise will help you rejuvenate during the busy conference, and feel more engaged in your whole MLA’17 and Seattle visit experience.

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