Things are always looking up at Seattle Bouldering Project, a south city climbing gym where both indoor and outdoor rock climbers enjoy the challenging ascents. The space offers typical bouldering (rock climbing without harnesses or ropes, using only special climbing shoes and techniques to ascend) courses on any of their multi-level artificial climbing walls, plus bouldering classes for all skill levels. Seattle Bouldering Project focuses on climbers aged four to adult, with special times and programs for the little ones, plus all of the necessary safety precautions. Occasional climbers can buy a day pass for use of the entire sprawling facility, while avid climbers have a choice of membership levels. There are climbing shoes and crash pads for rent at the gym, and instructors also teach the occasional yoga and fitness class.
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.
Parkour Visions teaches aspiring traceurs_—the French word for parkour practitioners—how to overcome physical obstacles. Though the sport's origins are a bit fuzzy, it has achieved a wider audience thanks to the many parkour videos uploaded to Youtube as well as the popularity of the television show _American Ninja Warrior. These all highlight the purpose of parkour: to improve speed, strength, and coordination while learning how to move efficiently through your environment. At Parkour Visions's three locations, seasoned traceurs teach students of all skill levels and ages how to safely execute basic movements and landings, and, as a non-profit organization, they pay it forward by working with parks to help maintain their grounds and encourage safe outdoor training.
High above the city, you might hear the sounds of splashing in the Seattle Municipal Tower. They're coming from the 25-meter lap pool and jacuzzi at one of Seattle Executive Fitness's two downtown outposts. Both gyms tend to the bodies of busy Seattleites with personal training sessions with certified fitness gurus, rows of cardio and Hammer Strength equipment, and more than 60 weekly classes. Before exercisers head back into the city to impress their bosses with their new muscles, they can freshen up in the facilities' plush locker rooms, which have showers, towel service, dry saunas, and steam rooms.
A stress-free oasis in the heart of downtown, Seattle Executive Spa offers a tranquil counterpoint to the bustling energy of the city just outside its doors. The spa’s aestheticians and therapists practice their crafts within private treatment rooms, where medical-grade facials help correct blemishes and a combination of traditional and Hawaiian massage styles untie pineapple-size knots or pry away floral shirts that have taken root on backs and shoulders. Though the team specializes in relaxing individual treatments, they can also accommodate large groups for events such as weddings, bachelorette parties, or corporate functions.
Redmond Athletic Club stands as a ziggurat built in honor of fitness. The 7,500-square-foot space resonates with music, vibrant colors, and natural light as personal trainers walk the spacious floors helping exercisers zero in on fitness goals. The open layout inspires exercisers as they gaze over rows of Precor ellipticals and exercise balls, stretch in the warmup area, or jog on treadmills. A strength-training room teems with equipment such as plate-loaded machines and free weights. Dry saunas and complimentary towel service soothe sore muscles after adventures in sweating and sculpting. From a childcare staff that watches over kids at the Kids Club while parents work out to the group of trainers, RAC's crack team of employees dehassles the gym experience.