In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
Whether inside the gym hopping on and off plyometric boxes or outside lifting weights when the sun shines, the trainers at Westsound CrossFit keep routines interesting with ever-changing daily workouts. It’s all part of the CrossFit system, which is designed to employ all muscle groups while staving off the boredom of repetition. Intense classes feature functional movements—such as lifting, pushing, and pulling—that prep participants for all sports, work, and daily activities.
At All Metal Arts, Rusty Oliver—whose wide-ranging experiences include large-scale fire sculptures, a television pilot for destructive remote-control vehicles, and a large, industrial-art mini-golf concept—invites students to explore and experiment with metalworking and art concepts. Within the 2,200-square-foot art studio, sparks fly as metals are hewn together and students learn the ins and outs of welding. Class participants stand in closed-toe shoes and puddles of water to divert any potentially harmful currents to the ground so they don't ruin their hairdos. Among the classes taught are MIG and TIG welding, furniture fabrication, and CNC plasma cutting.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates in cardio routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
The creativity area at Emerald City Fired Arts Studio & Gallery is fastidious, almost regimented in its appearance. A grid of finished plates hangs above the shelves of paints, the bottles arranged in a pleasing gradient of colors. Glass jars filled with shiny ceramic tiles clatter as artists fish out their materials. This seems to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom that creativity is a messy pursuit, but the results are stunning. Earthy grids of glass pieces hang like maps of lost cities, and plates reveal blooms of flowers after the bearers finish their stacks of flapjacks. All studio fees are included with each of these projects, giving visitors ample time and supplies to complete their pieces.
The studio of CrossFit North Seattle pulses with high-intensity workout routines. As students undergo varied exercises from the scheduled Workout of the Day, a shoal of coaches circumnavigates the floor, guiding movements, ensuring safety, and gingerly removing any unnoticed "Kick Me" signs pinned to T-shirts. Combining weightlifting, gymnastics, and track-and-field techniques, CrossFit aims to build resilience, strength, and versatility, equipping students with the stamina for athletic and everyday activities. Instructors scale each workout up or down to accommodate individual levels of fitness or exercisers recovering from restrictive injuries.