In 2004, a group of skilled climbers and experienced route setters married their expansive knowledge of the sport to create Edgeworks Climbing. The gym is an indoor paradise that expertly match the dynamic challenges that athletes face outdoors, boasting 10,000 square feet of climbing area with 25-foot top-rope routes, 35-foot lead routes, and 3,500 square feet of bouldering. The team of setters draws on years of experience outdoors to create hundreds of challenging, satisfying routes for climbers of all skill levels. Most of the setters are teachers as well, leading classes for beginners or advanced climbers, as well as heading outdoors to help the class appreciate the adrenaline rush of an outdoor climb ending in a fistfight with a bear.
Additionally, the passionate staff realized that alternative workouts are needed to push through plateaus in climbs, so they created a fitness area to complement the climbing gym. Classes such as yoga, Pilates, and cycling further exercise muscle groups that are useful when trying to finally ride a bike up your favorite route.
Hot Yoga Tacoma, which is celebrating its 11th year of serving the Tacoma yoga community, features certified instructors leading students with all levels of experience. Hot yoga takes place in the warm confines of a heated room, as movements stimulate the endocrine, nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems and eliminate toxins by means of sweating. Participants can nurture calm inner spirits while detoxifying as atmospheric warmth soothes joints and muscles and helps to prevent injury and relieve chronic pain. Their studio space offers cooler, more comfortable parts of the room for beginners who prefer to start off slowly, and hosts a variety of time-slots for classes seven days a week. Students gain a sense of camaraderie as they stretch together and sweat together. After classes, guests may freshen up in the studio's large private showers.
Each of the guitar coaches at American Guitar Academy are certified in the school’s signature teaching method. Developed over 25 years, this house-honed instruction technique incorporates scientific research to help fingers learn to shred frets up to eight times faster than alternative methods. During private half-hour lessons, instructors guide budding rock stars aged 4 years and up through the basics of strumming chords and seamlessly stitching together riffs. These comprehensive lessons on classical, electric, or acoustic guitars are offered once a week with a live instructor or online and guarantee that students will be playing their favorite music within six months of training. Students may begin lessons without owning a guitar, but are encouraged to gain access to one quickly for mastering scales and the ability to solo with their teeth.
An extension of the Tacoma Bar Academy, the Bartending Academy of Mill Creek has educated students in the finer points of bartending and mixology for more than 35 years. Classes include a 40-hour bartending-certification program, which prepares aspiring tenders to take their place in the drink-slinging industry with lessons in bar etiquette, drink-making techniques, and more than 150 cocktail recipes. The professional classroom setup echoes that of an actual bar, allowing students to get a feel for each element’s proper place, from the sliced fruit and soda guns to the emergency manual that outlines exactly what to do should a horse, duck, and pirate walk in.
An eternal student, T-Town founder Kelly Edmonston has been studying jazz, Lindy Hop, and blues dancing for the last 12 years. Harnessing her enthusiasm, she now shares the joy she’s experienced through dance with students in a fun, no-pressure setting. Joined by fellow dancer and musician Kevin Buster, she delves into the Lindy Hop style—which reigned as the king of swing dancing in the 1930s and ‘40s, made popular by King Kong’s light-footed steps atop the Empire State Building—along with other throwback-dance styles. Their weekly lessons are always followed by a social dance backed by a rotating cast of live DJs churning out swing beats.
Bally Total Fitness enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day guest pass includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, Step Fitness, and High-Impact Hopscotch (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts a bulk-building army of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.