In great American cities where active lifestyles intersect with delicious food, it’s possible to plan a trip that’s both healthy and extremely fun. Walking often provides leisurely exercise for travellers, but fantastic hotels are making it easier for guests to stop feeling like tourists and explore outdoor attractions like locals.
To take advantage of Portland, Oregon’s extensive bike paths, the trendy Ace Hotel established a free bicycle-lending program. The city also maintains an impressive variety of parks, from the world’s smallest (the 24-square-inch Mill Ends Park) to 5,000-acre Forest Park, where visitors can run, hike or mountain bike on 75 miles of trails. Wildlife watchers walk along the paved Interlakes Trail at Smith and Bybee lakes—the largest protected wetlands in an American city. Nearby, Alder Creek’s Jantzen Beach Store offers classes and rentals for kayaking on Columbia River.
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After spending all day paddling and traipsing through city parks, Portland visitors will find a thriving dining scene, where, as in many of the country’s buzziest restaurants, the emphasis is on local ingredients. Everything at Park Kitchen chef Scott Dolich’s tavern, The Bent Brick, is from the Pacific Northwest. Dolich focuses on vegetables in small plates, like parsnips and carrots with rye berries, brown butter and sage. Even his cocktail program relies on locally made spirits.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a serious winter-sport destination, is known for daredevil ski runs and powdery snow. Its deluxe spas and picturesque Teton Mountain setting make it a perfect spot for R&R as well. The boutique Hotel Terra couldn’t be better-located for active travellers: It’s an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park, less than a mile from Grand Teton National Park and nestled right near Jackson Hole’s major ski lifts.
For a warmer winter escape, Honolulu promises gorgeous lagoons, waterfalls and camera-ready beaches. Lost was filmed at Diamond Head, a must-climb volcano with amazing views of Waikiki Beach. Surfing beginners can test Oahu’s waves after taking lessons at Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf School.
Meanwhile, seafood is abundant for healthful meals. At the Royal Hawaiian hotel, Azure’s chefs hit the Honolulu Fish Auction at 5:30 every morning to choose from the daily catch, like opakapaka (pink snapper) roasted with white wine, Meyer lemon and fresh herbs.
This story was originally published by Food & Wine.
Lured by 300 sunny days a year, Denver residents and visitors swarm city parks, where they can ski, hike, mountain climb, bike and practice yoga. From June through September, the annual Yoga Rocks the Park series features weekly events with concerts and even yoga camps for kids.
Stay: The Ritz Carlton operates a 52,000-square-foot fitness club called FORZA, which houses a rock-climbing wall, a saltwater lap pool and studios for Pilates, spinning and yoga. It's owned by the assistant coach of the Denver Nuggets, which means basketball stars are fixtures on the gym's full-size court.
Eat: Alex Seidel, an F&W Best New Chef 2010, stocks Fruition's kitchen with vegetables and eggs from his own farm. Some of Seidel's lighter dishes include Alaskan halibut cheek en papillote with saffron-cioppino broth.
With its steep natural inclines, simply walking around San Francisco is an intense workout in itself. For a hard-core cardio session, the stairs are steep along the city's famously crooked Lombard Street; those who prefer a flat path can walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Stay: The boutique Hotel Palomar created the free People in Motion Running Program. Each weekday at 7 a.m., local runners lead group jogs catered to different fitness levels.
Eat: Plum, opened in 2010 by star chef and forager Daniel Patterson in nearby Oakland, emphasises grains and vegetables in dishes like bourbon barley risotto with celery root, lemon and kale.
Portland maintains an impressive variety of parks, from the world's smallest (the 24-square-inch Mill Ends Park) to 5,000-acre Forest Park, where visitors can run, hike or mountain bike on 75 miles of trails. Wildlife watchers walk along the paved Interlakes Trail at Smith and Bybee lakes--the largest protected wetlands in an American city. Nearby, Alder Creek's Jantzen Beach Store offers classes and rentals for kayaking on Columbia River.
Stay: To help guests take advantage of Portland's extensive bike paths, the trendy Ace Hotel established a free bicycle-lending program.
Eat: Everything served at Park Kitchen chef Scott Dolich's tavern The Bent Brick is from the Pacific Northwest. Dolich focuses on vegetables in small plates, like parsnips and carrots with rye berries, brown butter and sage. Even his cocktail program relies on locally made spirits.
Green space is abundant in Austin; there's the 351-acre Zilker Park and 200 biking, hiking and running trails. Lush championship golf courses are a big draw for visitors: Barton Creek Resort has four on its property alone, and the public, 18-hole Avery Ranch overlooks Hill Country.
Stay: The calendar at the Lake Austin Spa Resort is packed with sporty activities like kickboxing and paddleboarding. There are also monthly food demos, during which cookbook authors like Corinne Trang and Melissa Clark drop in to share healthy tips.
Eat: Barbecue may be big in Texas, but Uchi chef-owner Tyson Cole makes a case for eating fish. The restaurant imports seafood daily from Tokyo's Tsukiji market, using it in sushi and inventive dishes like Uchiviche (salmon and striped bass with tomato and bell pepper) and Yokai Berry (Atlantic salmon with dinosaur kale, Asian pear and yuzu).
The US capital is a walking city--how else to cruise the sights on the National Mall, from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial? It's also a running city: City Running Tours leads groups (or individuals) on five-mile jogs around Georgetown or Capitol Hill.
Stay: After a two-year renovation, the Beaux-Arts landmark Jefferson Hotel reopened with modern glass-roofed atriums and a water-purification system (bottles are sealed onsite). Spa treatments incorporate herbs and botanicals grown on Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate and winery in Virginia.
Eat: At the buzzy Penn Quarter spot Proof, chef Haidar Karoum's Mediterranean-inspired menu highlights vegetables in dishes like buttercrunch lettuce with avocado, grapefruit, Valencia orange and toasted quinoa; and a napoleon of crispy tofu with wild mushrooms and root vegetables.
Minneapolis is home to more golfers per capita than any other US metropolis, and nearly 20 lakes make it a great destination for water sports. Rock climbing also has a devout following. In Fall 2011, the city scored one of the country's biggest rock-climbing facilities: Vertical endeavours now has 25,000 square feet of climbing walls.
Stay: The boutique Grand Hotel puts a premium on exercise: Its 58,000-square-foot gym has more than 30 treadmills and a six-lane lap pool, plus racquetball and basketball courts.
Eat: Piccolo's chef-owner, Doug Flicker, serves small plates like roasted pumpkin and golden beets with burrata cheese and persimmons.
Since hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City has become a top skiing destination with several popular resorts in the Wasatch Mountains, including Snowbird.
Stay: Hotel Monaco, an Art Deco-inspired hotel housed in a 1924 bank, lends guests bicycles so they can take advantage of nearby Farmington Flats and Bonneville Shoreline trails, which promise gorgeous scenery and heart-pumping turns along the mountains.
Eat: At Forage, F&W Best New Chefs 2011 Viet Pham and Bowman Brown have turned an old bungalow into a minimalist restaurant with refined, modern cooking. A sample dish on the three-course menu: slow-cooked diver scallop with sunchoke puree, edamame, Earl Grey and toasted almond.
Seattle is known for being green, both in terms of eco-friendliness (great air quality) and landscape (400-plus parks explain its nickname, the Emerald City). It's also home to the REI flagship store, which rents equipment for nearly any outdoor pursuit you can think of (mountaineering gear, snowshoes). National Park Service and Forest Service employees at the in-store info booth can help map out excursions.
Stay: The aptly named Edgewater Hotel sits at the end of Seattle's Pier 67, making it easy to hit the beach for a run.
Eat: Spring Hill's Mark Fuller, an F&W Best New Chef 2009, sources produce from his own backyard garden. Another highlight: seafood, like mussels from Totten Inlet (served with young coconut water, chiles, cilantro and tomatoes) and sea scallops from British Columbia (served with caramelized brussels sprouts, apple jelly and smoked almonds).
A historical mecca, Boston is fun to explore on foot: The 2.5-mile Freedom Trail covers 16 important sites, including the Paul Revere House and the setting for the Boston Massacre. For those who want to admire the city by water, Charles River Canoe & Kayak lets customers pick up and drop off between its Boston and Cambridge locations.
Stay: Fitness perks are plentiful at the Liberty Hotel, which offers complimentary bikes, weekend yoga classes and guided running tours around the city.
Eat: Set in a former firehouse, O Ya is run by F&W Best New Chef 2008 Tim Cushman, who puts ingenious spins on Japanese fare, like grilled sashimi of chanterelle and shiitake mushrooms with homemade soy, and Kumamoto oyster with watermelon pearls and cucumber mignonette.
Atlanta's 189-acre Piedmont Park, which is lined with biking and walking paths, expanded earlier this year, adding a bocce-ball court and a pool.
Stay: Loews Atlanta's Exhale Spa holds yoga and calorie-torching CoreFusion classes.
Eat: Shortly before unveiling Miller Union in 2010, chef Steven Satterfield interned at California's Chez Panisse. The stint inspired his locally driven menu, which features dishes like roasted butternut squash and apples and seafood like Carolina grouper with leeks, fennel, radish and celery in a smoked tomato broth.
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