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2013 Convention News

Sleepless, and Spectacular, in Seattle!

If you attended the 1994 NASP convention in Seattle, you know what a great convention city it is. And, it's only improved since then. Come (or come back) to see why it's been continually voted among the most livable cities in North America for more than 30 years. There's no better reason to visit Seattle than the NASP 2013 Annual Convention, February 12—15, at the Seattle Sheraton and the Washington State Convention Center. Why should you come?

The Program

The convention theme, Building Leaders, recognizes the important leadership role that school psychologists play and should be playing in both the educational and mental health development of children and youth.

The Location

The Emerald City is a beautiful and exciting place any time of the year. The convention hotel is only a block from two of Seattle's major theaters, two blocks from the Benaroya Concert Hall and Seattle Art Museum. It's also in the heart of an area of great restaurants, pubs, and other nightlife. The worldfamous Pike Place Market is only five blocks away and the Seattle Waterfront only a block past the Market. Walking east takes you to Capitol Hill, another trendy area that is home to Seattle University, great eateries, shopping, and nightlife. Or take the Monorail (yes, the original iconic Monorail from the 1962 World's Fair) to the Space Needle, Experience Music Project, and Science Fiction Museum at the Seattle Center. The brand-new headquarters of the Gates Foundation is right next door. Or take the trolley to South Lake Union, the hottest new development area in Seattle and home to Amazon as well as Seattle's vibrant biotech industry.

If you attended the 1994 convention, you remember that the two convention hotels were about three blocks apart (although some liked this, as the route took you past/through the Nordstrom flagship store!). You won't need to trek this year. The Seattle Sheraton is our exclusive headquarters hotel, and it has recently been expanded to double the number of rooms and meeting spaces since 1994. And many of the sessions will be held in the Washington State Convention Center, a beautiful structure that is only about 100 feet from the Sheraton! This architectural wonder is built over the freeway, but any traffic sounds are masked by the multiple cascades of the adjacent Waterfall Park, a relaxing location for a break between sessions.

The Climate

Yes, the climate! Our climate is temperate all year 'round, and so it's unlikely that you'll need to bundle up as much as you did in Chicago or Boston. We know you've heard that it rains frequently here, but it's typically a gentle rain and not the downpours that you experience if you live in the Northeast, Southeast, or Midwest. And we typically get sun breaks in February that provide breathtaking views. From the Sheraton, you can look south to Mt. Rainier, north to Mt. Baker, east to the Cascade Range, and west across Puget Sound to the Olympic Range. If you're worried about getting your posters wet, you should know that a skylight soars stories above the entire block fronting the convention center, keeping you protected from the elements.

The Food

Anything you want, from the kitchens of James Beard Award winners (several restaurateurs in Seattle have won this prestigious award) to a host of casual eateries and a fleet of food trucks. You want fresh fish? Seattle is the homeport of the Alaskan fishing fleet. Does your taste run to Asian? East Asian? Mexican? Central or South American? Okay, so maybe it's not the best place for barbeque, but you can get the best of just about everything else. Artisan pizza? Artisan pretzels? Salmon? Ice cream? We've got it all!

The Drink

Thirsty? You needn't be here. Yes, we're home to Starbucks, but there are so many independent coffee roasters that we define an economically depressed area as a block that does not have a coffee house. Coffee not your cup of tea? Washington is also second only to California in production of wine, and you can find a broad array of outstanding whites and reds from the Northwest to suit any palate. Seattle is also the home to countless microbrews, and you can find many spots for sampling the local suds as well as finding your own favorite brew within a few blocks of the Sheraton. Or just drink the water. Seattle's tap water is regularly rated as among the tastiest in comparison to other U.S. cities.

The Entertainment

Book some entertainment while you'll be here. The Broadway touring cast of War Horse and a revival of Music Man will be among the theater offerings in town during the convention. And there's the unique and crazy Teatro Zinzanni dinner theater, like having a four-course gourmet dinner on stage at Cirque du Soleil!

The Adventure

Between the mountains and Puget Sound, Seattle is the perfect location for short adventures if you'd like a break from sessions or want to extend your stay. You're just 90 minutes from several downhill skiing areas. Seattle's multiple bike trails and waterfront offer opportunities, and short bus routes can take you to one of several city parks that let you feel like you've really escaped the city. Don't be surprised at all to see eagles or osprey! Go kayaking or rowing on Lake Union. Want a more relaxed break? Pick up picnic fare and board the Washington State Ferry for the halfhour trip over to Bainbridge Island.

It's Easy to Get Here

Seattle is a major hub for a number of airlines, and the newly expanded and renovated airport makes for easy access. A new light rail service has opened between the airport and downtown, making the trip in from the airport easy and inexpensive. You won't be confused about the system: There's only one route, with its first stop at the airport and its last stop at the Washington State Convention Center! Seattle is also a major terminus for both north–south and east–west Amtrak routes. If you're driving, the Sheraton and convention center are adjacent to I-5, but the city is also ringed by park-and-rides with quick connections to downtown if you don't want to drive into the city.

And There's More!

Look for articles in upcoming issues of Communiqué for more information on night life, specific restaurants, events, and information about making the most of your trip to the 2013 NASP convention a great experience. We're so looking forward to hosting you!