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Baseball

Seattle Mariners. The Seattle Mariners play at Safeco Field, a retractable-roof stadium where there really isn't a bad seat in the house. One local sports columnist referred to the $656 million venue—which finished $100 million over budget—as "the guilty pleasure." You can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster or StubHub; online or by phone from Safeco Field (to be picked up at the Will Call); in person at Safeco's box office (no surcharges), which is open daily 10–6; or from the Mariners team store at 4th Avenue and Stewart Street in Downtown. Priced dynamically based on day and opponent, the cheap seats start at $10; better seats cost $45 to $82, and the best seats go for upwards of $400. 1st Ave. S and Atlantic St., Sodo, Seattle, Washington, 98134. 206/346–4000; seattle.mariners.mlb.com.

Basketball

Seattle Storm. The WNBA Seattle Storm has its season from mid-June to September. The Storm play at KeyArena, on the Seattle Center campus. Tickets cost $10–$57. KeyArena, 305 Harrison Street, Downtown, Seattle, Washington, 98109. 206/217–WNBA; www.wnba.com/storm.

UW Huskies. Representing Seattle basketball in the Pac-10 Conference, the UW Huskies have made huge strides under the guidance of coach Lorenzo Romar. Along with several conference titles, the team has advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen three times in a decade. The always-tough women's team—which also enjoys a very loyal (and loud) fan base—has advanced to the NCAA tournament several times in recent years, as well. Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, known locally as "Hec Ed," is where the UW's men's and women's basketball teams play. Tickets are $6–$35. 3870 Montlake Blvd. NE, University District, Seattle, Washington, 98195. 206/543–2200; gohuskies.cstv.com.

Bicycling

Biking is probably Seattle's most popular sport. Thousands of Seattleites bike to work, and even more ride recreationally, especially on weekends. In the past, Seattle hasn't been a particularly bike-friendly city. But in 2007, city government adopted a sweeping Bicycle Master Plan, calling for 118 new miles of bike lanes, 19 miles of bike paths, and countless route signs and lane markings throughout the city by 2017. The plan can't erase the hills, though—only masochists should attempt Queen Anne Hill and Phinney Ridge. Fortunately, all city buses have easy-to-use bike racks (on the front of the buses, below the windshield) and drivers are used to waiting for cyclists to load and unload their bikes. If you're not comfortable biking in urban traffic—and there is a lot of urban traffic to contend with here—you can do a combination bus-and-bike tour of the city or stick to the car-free Burke-Gilman Trail.

Seattle drivers are fairly used to sharing the road with cyclists. With the exception of the occasional road-rager or clueless cell-phone talker, drivers usually leave a generous amount of room when passing; however, there are biking fatalities every year, so be alert and cautious, especially when approaching blind intersections, of which Seattle has many. You must wear a helmet at all times (it's the law) and be sure to lock up your bike—bikes do get stolen, even in quiet residential neighborhoods.

The Seattle Parks Department sponsors Bicycle Sundays on various weekends from May through September. On these Sundays, a 4-mile stretch of Lake Washington Boulevard—from Mt. Baker Beach to Seward Park—is closed to motor vehicles. Many riders continue around the 2-mile loop at Seward Park and back to Mt. Baker Beach to complete a 10-mi, car-free ride. Check with the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (206/684–4075 www.seattle.gov/parks/bicyclesunday) for a complete schedule.

The trail that circles Green Lake is popular with cyclists, though runners and walkers can impede fast travel. The city-maintained Burke-Gilman Trail, a slightly less congested path, follows an abandoned railroad line 14 miles roughly following Seattle's waterfront from Ballard to Kenmore, at the north end of Lake Washington. (From there, serious cyclists can continue on the Sammamish River Trail to Marymoor Park in Redmond; in all, the trail spans 42 miles between Seattle and Issaquah.) Discovery Park is a very tranquil place to tool around in. Myrtle Edwards Park, north of Pier 70, has a two-lane waterfront path for bicycling and running. The islands of the Puget Sound are also easily explored by bike (there are rental places by the ferry terminals), though keep in mind that Bainbridge, Whidbey, and the San Juans all have some tough hills.

King County has more than 100 miles of paved and nearly 70 miles of unpaved routes, including the Sammamish River, Interurban, Green River, Cedar River, Snoqualmie Valley, and Soos Creek trails. For more information contact the King County Parks and Recreation office (206/296–8687).

Bicycle Alliance of Washington. The state's largest cycling advocacy group is a great source for information. 314 1st Ave. S, Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington, 98104. 206/224–9252; www.bicyclealliance.org.

Cascade Bicycle Club. The Cascade Bicycle Club organizes more than 1,000 rides annually for recreational and hard-core bikers. The most famous of its events is the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic—or, as it's known around the state, the "STP." Cascade offers daily rides in Seattle and the Eastside that range from "superstrenuous" to leisurely, such as the relaxed rides to the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville. 206/522–3222; www.cascade.org.

Seattle Bicycle Program. The Seattle Bicycle Program was responsible for the creation of the city's multiuse trails (aka bike routes) as well as pedestrian paths and roads with wide shoulders—things, in other words, that benefit bicyclists. The agency's Web site has downloadable route maps; you can also call the number listed to request a free full-color printed version of the Seattle Bicycling Guide Map. 206/684–7583; www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikeprogram.htm.

Rentals

Montlake Bicycle Shop. This shop a mile south of the University of Washington and within easy riding distance of the Burke-Gilman Trail rents mountain bikes, road bikes, basic cruisers, and tandems. Prices range from $35 to $90 for the day, with discounts for longer rentals (credit card hold required). If you find yourself on the Eastside, you can rent a bike from its Kirkland branch. 2223 24th Ave. E., Montlake, Seattle, Washington, 98112. 206/329–7333; www.montlakebike.com.

Montlake Bicycle Shop. Kirkland Bicycle Shop, 208 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland, Seattle, Washington, 98033. 425/828–3800; www.montlakebike.com.

Boating and Kayaking

Seafair. Seattle's rowdy Seafair festivities, which occur from mid-July through the first Sunday in August, include parades, a marathon, and many other events. The popular air show and hydroplane races are held at Lake Washington near Seward Park. 2200 6th Ave., Suite 400, Seattle, Washington, 98121. 206/728–0123; www.seafair.com.

Seattle Yacht Club. In summer, weekly sailing regattas take place on Lakes Union and Washington. Contact the club for schedules. 1807 E Hamlin St., Seattle, Washington, 98112. 206/325–1000; www.seattleyachtclub.org.

Alki Kayak Tours & Adventure Center. For a variety of day-long guided kayak outings—from a Seattle Sunset Sea Kayak Tour to an Alki Point Lighthouse Tour—led by experienced, fun staff, try this great outfitter in West Seattle. In addition to kayaks, you can also rent skates, fishing boats, and longboards here. Custom sea-kayaking adventures can be set up, too. To rent a kayak without a guide, you must be an experienced kayaker; otherwise, sign up for one of the fascinating guided outings (the popular sunset tour is $49 per person). 1660 Harbor Ave. S.W., West Seattle, Seattle, Washington, 98126. 206/953–0237; kayakalki.com.

Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club. Start out by renting a kayak and paddling along either the Lake Union shoreline, with its hodgepodge of funky-to-fabulous houseboats and dramatic Downtown vistas, or Union Bay on Lake Washington, with its marshes and cattails. Afterward, take in the lakefront as you wash down some Mexican food (halibut tacos, anyone?) with a margarita. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards are available March through October and are rented by the hour—$17 for singles, $22 for doubles. It pays to paddle midweek: the third hour is free on weekdays. 1303 N.E. Boat St., University District, Seattle, Washington, 98105. 206/545–8570; www.aguaverde.com.

The Center for Wooden Boats. Located on the southern shore of Lake Union, Seattle's free maritime heritage museum is a bustling community hub. Thousands of Seattleites rent rowboats and small wooden sailboats here every year; the Center also offers workshops, demonstrations, and classes. Rentals for non-members range from $24 to $40 per hour. There's also a $20 skills-check fee for sailing. Free half-hour guided sails and steamboat rides are offered on Sunday from 2 to 4 (arrive an hour early to reserve a spot). 1010 Valley St., Lake Union, Seattle, Washington, 98109. 206/382–2628; www.cwb.org.

Green Lake Boat Rental. This shop is the source for canoes, paddleboats, sailboats, kayaks, sailboards, and rowboats to take out on Green Lake's calm waters. On beautiful summer afternoons, however, be prepared to spend most of your time dealing with traffic, both in the parking lot and on the water. Fees are $18 an hour for paddleboats, single kayaks, rowboats, and sailboards, $25 an hour for sailboats. Don't confuse this place with the Green Lake Small Craft Center, which offers sailing programs but no rentals. 7351 E. Green Lake Dr. N., Green Lake, Seattle, Washington, 98115. 206/527–0171; www.greenlakeboatrentals.net.

Moss Bay Rowing Club. Moss Bay rents a variety of rowing craft—including Whitehall pulling boats, wherries, and sliding-seat rowboats—but sailboats are rented only to club members. Single kayaks rent for $13 per hour, doubles go for $18. You can also rent kayaks to take with you on trips outside the city; daily rates are $60 for singles and $80 for doubles; weekly rates are $300 for singles and $380 for doubles. Lessons and sailing tours are also available. 1001 Fairview Ave. N, Lake Union, Seattle, Washington, 98109. 206/682–2031; www.mossbay.net.

Northwest Outdoor Center. This center on Lake Union's west side rents one- or two-person kayaks (it also has a few triples) by the hour or day, including equipment and basic or advanced instruction. The hourly rate is $14 for a single and $20 for a double (costs are figured in 10-minute increments after the first hour). If you want to find your own water, NWOC offers "to-go" kayaks. In summer, reserve at least three days ahead. NWOC also runs guided trips to the Nisqually Delta and Chuckanut Bay, as well as sunset tours near Golden Gardens Park and moonlight tours of Portage Bay. 2100 Westlake Ave. N., Lake Union, Seattle, Washington, 98109. 206/281–9694; www.nwoc.com.

Waterfront Activities Center. This center, located behind UW's Husky Stadium on Union Bay, rents three-person canoes and four-person rowboats for $9 an hour on weekdays and $11 an hour on weekends from February through October. You can tour the Lake Washington shoreline or take the Montlake Cut portion of the ship canal and explore Lake Union. You can also row to nearby Foster Island and visit the Washington Park Arboretum. 3854 Montlake Blvd. NE, University District, Seattle, Washington, 98195. 206/543–9433; depts.washington.edu/ima.

Wind Works Sailing & Powerboating. Although members are given first pick at this club on Shilshole Bay, nonmembers can also arrange rentals. Experienced sailors are allowed to skipper their own boats after a brief qualifying process. Daily charter rental rates range from $150 to $350 during peak season. 7001 Seaview Ave. N.W., Suite 110, Ballard, Seattle, Washington, 98117. 206/784–9386; www.windworkssailing.com.

Yarrow Bay Marina. The marina rents 19- and 22-foot Bayliner runabouts for $75 an hour. Ask about daily rates, as well. 5207 Lake Washington Blvd. NE, Kirkland, Washington, 98033. 425/822–6066; www.yarrowbaymarina.com/boatrental.htm.

Fishing

There's world-class fishing in the Puget Sound from July through September. Local salmon runs have been improving in recent years, and populations of pink (humpy) and coho (silver) salmon are actually booming. Most salmon fishermen fish from small boats throughout the Sound, but shore fishing is also popular throughout the region. Seattle has public piers along Shilshole Bay in Ballard's Golden Gardens Park, and Elliott Bay has public piers at Waterfront Park, near Downtown and Pioneer Square. Shilshole Bay charter-fishing companies offer trips to fish for salmon, rockfish, cod, flounder, and sea bass.

Lake Washington has its share of parks department piers as well. You can fish year-round for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and large- and smallmouth bass. Chinook, coho, and steelhead salmon can also be fished, but often are subject to restrictions. Popular piers include the Reverend Murphy Fishing Pier, located at Seward Park, and the East Madison Street dock, located at the far eastern end of East Madison Street.

Additional freshwater fishing can be found at Green Lake, which is stocked with more than 10,000 legal-size rainbow trout each year. Anglers can also vie for brown trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and brown bullhead catfish. The parks department maintains three fishing piers along Green Lake's shores: East Green Lake Drive at Latona Avenue Northeast, West Green Lake Drive North and Stone Avenue North, and West Green Lake Way North, just north of the shell house.

All anglers age 15 and older are required to purchase licenses, which are sold at more than 600 locations throughout the state. Check regulations in the "Sport Fishing Rules" pamphlet (available at most sporting goods stores) when you buy your license. A one-day license for saltwater and freshwater fishing is around $20. Visit fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov for a list of locations.

Adventure Charters. Adventure Charters takes private groups out on six-person trolling boats to fish for salmon, bottom fish, and crab—depending on the season. The guided trips from Shilshole Bay Marina last for six or seven hours. The price per person is $165, plus $10 for a license; tackle and bait are included, and your fish will be cleaned or filleted and bagged for you. 7001 SeaView Ave., Ballard, Seattle, Washington, 98117-6006. 206/789–8245; www.seattlesalmoncharters.com.

Fish Finders Private Charters. Fish Finders Private Charters takes small groups of two or more out on Puget Sound for guided salmon and ling cod fishing trips. The cost is $200 per person and includes a fishing license. Morning trips last about six hours; afternoon trips are about five hours. All gear, bait, cleaning, and bagging are included in the fee. 6019 Seaview Ave. NW, Ballard, Seattle, Washington, 98117. 206/632–2611; www.fishingseattle.com.

Football

Seattle Seahawks. If you heard the earth rumbling on Feb. 2, 2014, it was probably just Seattle. The entire city went nuts when their beloved team trounced the Denver Broncos and won the Super Bowl. Now it's harder than ever to get tix to see the Seattle Seahawks play in their $430-million arena, the state-of-the-art Qwest Field. Single-game tix go on sale in late July or early August, and all home games sell out quickly. They're expensive, too, leading the NFL in starting prices at $99 for the cheap seats. The average ticket ask-price averages more like $400. Note that traffic and parking are both nightmares on game days; try to take public transportation—or walk the mile from Downtown. Fun local trivia: The number 12—look around and you'll see it everywhere—refers to Seattle’s “12th Man” phenomenon. The squad consists of 11 players and the fans are the 12th man. Just how serious are the Seahawks fans to earn such a title? The stadium gets so loud that it literally generates earthquakes. 800 Occidental Ave. S., Sodo, Seattle, Washington, 98134. 425/203–8000; www.seahawks.com.

UW Huskies. The UW Huskies are almost as popular as the Seahawks. The team, which usually plays at Husky Stadium, a U-shaped stadium that overlooks Lake Washington, currently hosts home games at CenturyLink as Husky Stadium is renovated. The Dawgs plan to be back for the 2013 season. Tickets, which start around $30, go on sale at the end of July. University of Washington, 3800 Montlake Blvd. NE, University District, Seattle, Washington, 98105. 206/543–2200; gohuskies.cstv.com.

Golf

Gold Mountain Golf Complex. Most people make the trek to Bremerton to play the Olympic Course, a beautiful and challenging par 72 that is widely considered the best public course in Washington. The older, less-sculpted Cascade Course is also popular; it's better suited to those new to the game. There are four putting greens, a driving range, and a striking clubhouse with views of the Belfair Valley. Prime-time greens fees are $35 to $44 for the Cascade and $49 to $69 for the Olympic. Carts are $32. You can drive all the way to Bremerton via I–5, or you can take the car ferry to Bremerton from Pier 52. The trip will take roughly an hour and a half no matter which way you do it, but the ferry ride (60 minutes) might be a more pleasant way to spend a large part of the journey. Note, however, that the earliest departure time for the ferry is 6 am, so this option won't work for very early tee times. 7263 W. Belfair Valley Rd., Bremerton, Washington, 98312. 206/464–1175; www.goldmt.com.

The Golf Club at Newcastle. Probably the best option on the Eastside, this golf complex, which includes a pair of courses and an 18-hole putting green, has views, views, and more views. From the hilly greens you'll see Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, and Lake Washington. The 7,000-yard, par-72 Coal Creek course is the more challenging of the two, though the China Creek course has its challenges and more sections of undisturbed natural areas. This is the Seattle area's most expensive golf club—greens fees for Coal Creek range from $80 to $165 depending on the season; fees for China Creek range from $65 to $120. Newcastle is about 35 minutes from Downtown—if you don't hit traffic. 15500 Six Penny Lane, Newcastle, Seattle, Washington, 98059. 425/793–5566; www.newcastlegolf.com.

Harbour Pointe Golf Club. This challenging 18-hole championship layout—with 6,800 yards of hilly terrain and wonderful Puget Sound views—is one of Washington's best, about 35 minutes north of Seattle. Greens fees range from $25 for twilight play to $67 for prime time on weekends. Carts cost $14 per person. There's also a driving range where you can get 65 balls for $5. Reserve your tee time online, up to 21 days in advance. Inquire about early-bird, twilight, off-season, and junior discounts. 11817 Harbour Pointe Blvd., Mukilteo, Washington, 98275. 425/355–6060; www.harbourpointegolf.com.

Interbay Family Golf Center. About a 10-minute drive from Downtown, Interbay is the city's most convenient course. It has a wildly popular driving range ($8 for 68 balls, $10 for 102, $13 for 153), a 9-hole executive course ($17 on weekends, $15 on weekdays), and a miniature golf course ($8). The range and miniature golf course are open daily 7 am–11 pm March–October and 7 am–9 pm November–February; the executive course is open dawn to dusk year-round. 2501 15th Ave. W, Magnolia, Seattle, Washington, 98119. 206/285–2200; www.seattlegolf.com.

Jefferson Park. This golf complex has views of the city skyline and Mt. Rainier. The par-27, 9-hole course has a lighted driving range with heated stalls that's open from dusk until midnight. And the 18-hole, par-72 main course is one of the city's best. Greens fees are $40 on weekends and $35 on weekdays for the 18-hole course; you can play the 9-hole course for $8.50 daily. Carts are $28 and $14, and $5 buys you a bucket of 30 balls at the driving range. You can book tee times online up to 10 days in advance or by phone up to 7 days in advance. 4101 Beacon Ave. S., Beacon Hill, Seattle, Washington, 98108. 206/762–4513; www.seattlegolf.com.

West Seattle Golf Course. This 18-hole course has a reputation for being tough but fair—and for some excellent views of Downtown. Greens fees are $33 on weekdays, $38 on weekends. It's $26 for a cart. The front 9 will challenge you, while the back 9 will reward you with views of Elliott Bay and the skyline. 4470 35th Ave. SW, West Seattle, Seattle, Washington, 98126. 206/935–5187; www.seattlegolf.com.

Willows Run. It's all here: two 18-hole, links-style courses; a 9-hole, par-27 course; and a lighted, 18-hole putting course that's open until 11 pm. The courses play reasonably dry even in typically moist Seattle-area weather. Greens fees for 9 holes are $22 Monday through Thursday, $26 Friday through Sunday and on holidays; fees for 18 holes are $42 or $56. Carts cost $14 per rider. There are also two pro shops and a driving range (75 balls cost $8; 35 balls cost $4). 10402 Willows Rd. N.E., Redmond, Washington, 98052. 425/883–1200; www.willowsrun.com.

Hiking

If there were ever a state sport of Washington, hiking would be it. The state is blessed with hundreds of miles of beautiful trails; Mt. Rainier National Park alone has enough to keep you busy (and awestruck) for months. If hiking is a high priority for you, and if you have more than a few days in town, your best bet is to grab a hiking book or check out the sites www.wta.org and www.cooltrails.com, rent a car, and head out to the Olympics or east to the Cascades. If you have to stay close to the city, don't despair: There are many beautiful walks within town and many gratifying hikes only an hour away.

Within Seattle city limits, the best nature trails can be found in Discovery Park, Lincoln Park, Seward Park, and at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Walking the Burke-Gilman Trail from Fremont to its midway point at Matthews Beach Park (north of the U-District) would take several hours and cover more than 7 miles. You'll get a good glimpse of all sides of Seattle; the trail winds through both urban areas and leafier residential areas, and the first part of the walk takes you right along the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Outside Seattle

Bridle Trails State Park. Though most of the travelers on the trails in this Bellevue park are on horseback, the 28 miles of paths are popular with hikers, too. The 482-acre park consists mostly of lowland forest, with Douglas firs, big-leaf maples, mushrooms, and abundant birdlife being just a few of its features. Note that horses are given the right of way on all trails; if you encounter riders, stop and stand to the side until the horses pass. Bridle Trails State Park, Bellevue, Washington, 98033. Daily 8 am–dusk.

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. This spectacular park in the "Issaquah Alps" has more than 36 miles of hiking trails and 12 miles of bridle trails within its 3,000-plus acres. The Indian Trail, believed to date back 8,000 years, was part of a trade route that Native Americans used to reach North Bend and the Cascades. Thick pine forests rise to spectacular mountaintop views; there are waterfalls, deep caves, and the remnants of a former mining town. Local residents include deer, black bears, bobcats, bald eagles, and pileated woodpeckers, among many other woodland creatures. 18201 S.E. Cougar Mountain Dr., Issaquah, Washington, 98027. Daily 8 am–dusk.

Larrabee State Park. This favorite spot has two lakes, a coastline with tidal pools, and 15 miles of hiking trails. The Interurban Trail, which parallels an old railway line, is perfect for leisurely strolls or trail running. Head up Chuckanut Mountain to reach the lakes and to get great views of the San Juan Islands. 245 Chuckanut Dr., Bellingham, Washington, 98229.

Mt. Si. This thigh-buster is where mountaineers train to climb grueling Mt. Rainier. Mt. Si offers a challenging hike with views of a valley (slightly marred by the suburbs) and the Olympic Mountains in the distance. The main trail to Haystack Basin, 8 miles round-trip, climbs some 4,000 vertical feet, but there are several obvious places to rest or turn around if you'd like to keep the hike to 3 or 4 miles. Note that solitude is in short supply here—this is an extremely popular trail thanks to its proximity to Seattle. On the bright side, it's one of the best places to witness the local hikers and trail-runners in all their weird and wonderful splendor. North Bend, Washington, 98045. www.mountsi.com.

Snow Lake. Washington State's most popular wilderness trail may be crowded at times, but the scenery and convenience of this hike make it a classic. Though very rocky in stretches—you’ll want to wear sturdy shoes—the 8-mile roundtrip sports a relatively modest 1,300-foot elevation gain; the views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness are well worth the sweat. The glimmering waters of Snow Lake await hikers at the trail's end; summer visitors will find abundant wildflowers, huckleberries, and wild birds. Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, 98068. www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/snow-lake-1.

Rock Climbing

REI. Every weekend more than 250 people have a go at REI's Pinnacle, a 65-foot indoor climbing rock. An "open climb" takes place most Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. It's $20 per person, ages 13 and up. You can also hone your skills in regularly scheduled classes for children and adults of all skill levels. 222 Yale Ave. N, Downtown, Seattle, Washington, 98109. 206/223–1944; www.rei.com.

Schurman Rock. The nation's first man-made climbing rock was designed in the 1930s by local climbing expert Clark Schurman. Generations of climbers have practiced here, from beginners to rescue teams to such legendary mountaineers as Jim Whittaker, the first American to conquer Mt. Everest. Don't expect something grandiose—the rock is only 25 feet high. It's open for climbs Tuesday–Saturday 10–6. Rappelling classes for kids are offered year-round at Camp Long, which is also the site of the only campground in the city limits. Camp Long, 5200 35th Ave. SW, West Seattle, Seattle, Washington, 98126. 206/684–7434; www.ci.seattle.wa.us/parks/environment/camplong.htm.

Stone Gardens Rock Gym. Beyond the trying-it-out phase? Head here and take a stab at the bouldering routes and top-rope faces. Although there's plenty to challenge the advanced climber, the mellow vibe is a big plus for families, part-timers, and the aspiring novice-to-intermediate crowd. The cost is $16; renting a full equipment package of shoes, harness, and chalk bag costs $9. There are "Climbing 101" classes most evenings for $50. 2839 NW Market St., Ballard, Seattle, Washington, 98107. 206/781–9828; www.stonegardens.com.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Snow sports are one of the few reasons to look forward to winter in Seattle. Ski season usually lasts from late November until late March or early April. A one-day adult lift ticket at an area resort averages around $60; most resorts rent equipment and have restaurants.

Cross-country trails range from undisturbed backcountry routes to groomed resort tracks. To ski on state park trails you must purchase a Sno-Park Pass, available at most sporting goods stores, ski shops, and forest service district offices. Always call ahead for road conditions, which might prevent trail access or require you to put chains on your tires.

Ski conditions. 206/634–0200; www.skiwashington.com.

Road conditions. 800/695–7623; wsdot.wa.gov/traffic.

State Parks Information Center. For information on cross-country trails and trail conditions, contact the State Parks Information Center. 800/233–0321; www.parks.wa.gov/winter.

Alpental at the Summit. Part of the Summit at Snoqualmie complex, Alpental attracts advanced skiers to its many long, steep runs. (Giant slalom gold medalist Debbie Armstrong trained here for the 1984 Olympics.) A one-day lift ticket will run you $40–$60; equipment is another $28–$39. The resort is 50 miles from Seattle, but it's right off the highway, so you (mostly) avoid icy mountain roads. Exit 52 off I–90, Snoqualmie Pass, Seattle, Washington, 98068. 425/434–7669; www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.

Crystal Mountain. Serious skiers and boarders don't mind the 2½-hour drive here (it's about 75 miles from the city). The slopes are challenging, the snow conditions are usually good, and the views of Mt. Rainier are amazing. A gondola whisks riders—and visitors who simply want to check out the views and eat at The Summit—up quickly and comfortably. Lift tickets cost $66 for a full day, or $74 with gondola access. Full rental packages run $35. There are only three lodging options on or near the mountain (Crystal Mountain Hotels, Crystal Mountain Lodging Suites, and Alta Crystal Resort). They tend to fill up on busy winter weekends, so book ahead if you want to stay the night. 33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd., Seattle, Washington, 98022. 360/663–2265; 800/695–7623; 888/754–6199; www.skicrystal.com.

Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area. The cross-country trails here, in Olympic National Park, begin at the lodge and have great views of Mt. Olympus. A small downhill ski and snowboarding area is open weekends and holidays; lift tickets are $12–$32. There's also a tubing/sledding hill. The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center has a small restaurant, an interpretive center, and restrooms. Admission to the park is $15. Call ahead for road conditions before taking the three-hour drive from Seattle. Olympic National Park, 17 mi south of Port Angeles, Seattle, Washington, 98362. 360/565–3100; 360/565–3131; www.hurricaneridge.com.

The Summit at Snoqualmie. Chances are good that any local skier you ask took his or her first run at Snoqualmie, the resort closest to the city. With four ski areas, gentle-to-advanced slopes, rope tows, moseying chairlifts, a snowboard park, and dozens of educational programs, it's the obvious choice for an introduction to the slopes. One-day lift tickets cost $60 for adults; equipment packages are $39 a day. The Nordic Center at Summit East is the starting point for 31 miles of cross-country trails. Guided snowshoe hikes are offered here on Friday and weekends. The $19 trail pass includes two rides on the chairlifts. Exit 52 off I–90, Snoqualmie Pass, Seattle, Washington, 98068. 425/434–7669; 206/434–6708; www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.

Whistler Blackcomb. Whistler, 200 miles north of Seattle, is best done as a three-day weekend trip. (Just make sure your car has chains or snow tires.) And you really can't call yourself a skier here and not go to Whistler at least once. The massive resort is renowned for its nightlife, which is just at the foot of the slopes. When you arrive, you abandon your car outside the village—you can reach the entire hotel/dining/ski area on foot. A one-day adult lift ticket costs about $90 at the window, which includes access to the famous Peak 2 Peak gondola, a hair-raising ride between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains; you'll save if you buy a multi-day pass in advance online. The area includes more than 17 miles of cross-country trails, usually open November–March. For diehard skiers and boarders who want an extended season, there's summer skiing on Blackcomb Glacier through July. Hwy. 99, Whistler, British Columbia, V0N 1B4. 866/218–9690; www.whistler-blackcomb.com.

Tennis

Citywide Athletics Office. There are 151 public tennis courts in Seattle's parks. To reserve a court, call the Citywide Athletics Office. The rate for outdoor courts is $12 per 90 minutes. Indoor courts are $32. 206/684–4062; www.seattle.gov/PARKS/tennis.asp.