Seattle Travel Guide › When to Visit
Updated: September 21, 2022
When is the best time to visit Seattle?
The best time to visit Seattle is from June to September for sunny skies, minimal rain, and numerous outdoor events and festivals. April, May, and October offer great deals and consistently pleasant sightseeing weather. From November through February, you’ll likely find the city chilly, gray, and wet – but great for museums, restaurants, and the covered shops at Pike Place Market.
- Best time for outdoor recreation: Seattle has consistently dry, sunny, and warm weather from early July through September – perfect for local hiking, biking, and boating. April, May, June, and October are often unpredictable and swing from rainy and chilly to warm and sunny so be prepared for anything if visiting. November through March is generally cool and damp, and many Mount Rainier hiking trails are closed for the winter. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing season in nearby mountain areas usually lasts from late November until April or May. Even in summer Puget Sound waters are not ideal for swimming, as they rarely get above 13°C.
- Best time for food and wine: The best Seattle restaurants and the winery tasting rooms in nearby Woodinville are great to visit at any time of year (though they can be very busy in the peak season months of July and August). The region’s famous Copper River salmon arrives in Seattle’s restaurants and markets in May and is generally available through mid-June. Many of Seattle’s best restaurants create and sell special three-course dinners at a discount during Seattle Restaurant Week, held twice-yearly in April and October. The Bite of Seattle, Seattle’s biggest food festival, takes place under the Space Needle in mid-July. Taste Washington, a regional wine and food event, is held in late March or early April.
- Best time to visit Pike Place Market: With dozens of covered stalls, restaurants, bars, and galleries, any time of year can be a good time to visit Pike Place Market. Blooming flowers and blue skies mean that the Market is at its loveliest (and most crowded) during the warm, sunny days of late spring, summer, and early fall. Winter months at the Market are just as charming, without being as busy. Generally pleasant weather and the thinner non-summer crowds make the months of May and September a best bet. And keep in mind: there are several great hotels near Pike Place Market.
- Best time for whale watching: Whale watching season near Seattle falls between March and October, with the species of whale you’re likely to see varying by month within that range. The first gray whales appear in the region in March and April. Orcas are common in the summer months of May through September, and humpback whales are most often seen in October and November.
- Best time to view flowers: Seattle is abloom in the springtime, making it the perfect time of year to see beautiful flowers during your visit. The University of Washington’s famous blossoming cherry trees bloom yearly in March, and April brings the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Prime blooming season at the Rhododendron Species Garden is mid-March through mid-May, and of course bright bouquets of blooms can be found year-round in the stalls of Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
- Best time for music fans: Summer in Seattle is bookended by two large and popular music festivals that take place in the shadow of the Space Needle: The Northwest Folklife Festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend (the last weekend in May), and the Bumbershoot Festival happens over Labor Day weekend, the first weekend of September. October brings the Earshot Jazz Festival. The Seattle Symphony’s season runs from mid-September through mid-June, and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival takes place annually in January.
- Best time to visit Mount Rainier: July, August, and September are the best months to visit Mount Rainier National Park, when the snow has melted and hiking trails are open. Mountain wildflowers are at their peak around early August, and fall colors are best in the first half of October. Many park areas and roads are closed throughout the winter (mid-October/early November through June), though the road to Paradise stays open year round for those who wish to see the mountain by car.
Seattle Travel Seasons
- High Season (June to August): Sunny, dry, and warm, with daytime highs generally around 24°C and low humidity. Flights, ferries, and tours all run with greater frequency during this time. Hotel and travel prices will be higher, and availability will turn scarce – make reservations well in advance. This is cruise ship season, with many sea-going tourists in town as they journey to and from Alaska via the Port of Seattle. Expect crowds, especially on weekends, as local music and art festivals mean that both tourists and locals are out en masse.
- Shoulder Season (April to May, September to October): Crowds dwindle with the possibility of rain, though the weather is often wonderfully pleasant – especially in May and September – with plenty of sun and daytime highs around 15-20°C. The combination of lower travel prices and the lack of summer sightseers can make shoulder season an ideal time to visit Seattle if your plans do not require a guarantee of dry weather.
- Low Season (November to March): Tourists generally stay away from Seattle during the colder months. The weather is often wet, breezy, and chilly (usually around 4-10°C.), but breaks in the gloom are common and it’s not unusual to have gorgeous days (though still cool) throughout winter. Museum-lovers and those heading to the mountains to ski can find some great deals on airfare and hotel rooms during this period.
Seattle Weather by Month
The best weather in Seattle is from late June to early September. July and August are the busiest months when hotels are full and restaurants are crowded. May, June, September, and October usually have nice weather and fewer tourists making them great months to visit if you’re not after hot summer weather. Most of Seattle’s best attractions lend themselves to enjoying even with a little rain which makes Seattle a good year-round destination.
Seattle Temperature by Month (daily high in celsius)
Seattle Rain by Month (mm)
- January weather in Seattle: January falls squarely in the middle of Seattle’s rainy season. Temperatures are cold (though usually not cold enough for snow), it’s raining much of the time, and the air is damp. Most locals choose to stay indoors or escape to the mountains for snow activities. (Average Max Temperature: 8.3°C. Average Rainfall: 142mm.)
- February weather in Seattle: Temperatures in Seattle remain chilly in February, though rainfall tends to be a bit lighter and we begin to see a few more dry days. Nevertheless, Seattle remains grey and windy, and everything is usually wet. It’s a great time to visit Seattle’s many museums and restaurants. (Average Max Temperature: 9.4°C. Average Rainfall: 89mm.)
- March weather in Seattle: March sees about the same amount of breezy rain as February, but daytime temperatures begin to creep above 10°C. The sun also begins to poke through the clouds a bit more on dry days and bits of blue sky are seen amid the grey. Daffodils and cherry trees are in bloom, making March a good time to explore Seattle’s charming neighborhoods and parks. (Average Max Temperature: 11.6°C. Average Rainfall: 94mm.)
- April weather in Seattle: Temperatures continue to rise in April, and we start to see a significant drop in rainfall compared to the previous two months. The sky is more often blue, but breezes remain chilly and the air can be damp, so you’ll want to pack layers. (Average Max Temperature: 14.7°C. Average Rainfall: 68.5mm.)
- May weather in Seattle: May is generally a beautiful month in Seattle, with temperatures into the late teens and more days of sun and blue skies than rain. Even so, the evenings in May are chilly, and periods of rain are not uncommon, so a jacket and an umbrella are still a good idea. (Average Max Temperature: 18.2°C. Average Rainfall: 48mm.)
- June weather in Seattle: Seattle’s fickle June weather marks the change from the rainy to dry season. While some days are sun-filled, warm, and summer-like, others can feel more like March or April: gloomy, cold, and damp. Approaching the solstice on the 21st, the sun doesn’t set in Seattle until almost 10pm, providing long days perfect for outdoor recreation. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Rainfall: 40.6mm.)
- July weather in Seattle: Summer truly arrives in Seattle in July. A pleasant and predictable pattern sets in with little rain, daytime temperatures in the mid-20’s, low humidity, and plenty of sun (especially in the middle and latter part of the month). Outdoors is the place to be. High tourist season is well underway, so expect crowds on dining patios and hiking trails, and book outdoor excursions well in advance. (Average Max Temperature: 24.3°C. Average Rainfall: 17.8mm.)
- August weather in Seattle: Dry, warm, sunny summer weather continues throughout August, traditionally Seattle’s warmest month. Daytime temperatures hover pleasantly around the mid-20’s, rarely getting above 30°C. Marine air cools the city at night, so packing a light jacket is advisable. And while the sun may shine hot, Puget Sound water temperature hovers at a brisk 13°C during the summer months, so most folks enjoy being on the water, rather than in the water. (Average Max Temperature: 24.6°C. Average Rainfall: 22.8mm.)
- September weather in Seattle: Days shorten and the air begins to feel crisp at night, but Seattle Septembers still feel summerlike. Expect warm temperatures, little rain, and plenty of sunshine this month. Tourism begins to slow after Labor Day Weekend, and the combination of thinning crowds and pleasant weather make September an ideal time to visit Seattle. (Average Max Temperature: 21.4°C. Average Rainfall: 38mm.)
- October weather in Seattle: Late October is traditionally the beginning of Seattle’s rainy season. While the beginning of October is often sunny and dry, the average air temperature cools significantly throughout this month, and we begin to see the return of clouds, fog, and wet weather. Leaves turn colors and autumn begins: early October is the best time to view the fall foliage on Mount Rainier. (Average Max Temperature: 15.4°C. Average Rainfall: 89mm.)
- November weather in Seattle: Seattle’s wettest month is November, with heavy rain and winds. While not ideal for outdoor activities, the discounted hotel and travel rates that accompany the rainy season can make October a great time to visit – staying warm and dry in Seattle’s many museums, galleries, and restaurants. (Average Max Temperature: 10.5°C. Average Rainfall: 167.6mm.)
- December weather in Seattle: December in Seattle is dark and windy, with almost constant rain. Days grow shorter, and the sun sets before 5pm around the mid-month. Temperatures have dropped significantly, and though snowfall is rare in the Seattle area, the surrounding mountain peaks are newly coated in the white stuff. Nearby ski resorts are now open and busy – it’s a good time to head for the hills. (Average Max Temperature: 7.6°C. Average Rainfall: 137.2mm.)
Seattle Special Events by Month
- The Seattle Boat Show – Thousands of watercraft and marine-related seminars at the West Coast’s biggest boat show.
- Seattle Chamber Society Winter Music Festival – Two weekends of world class chamber music and visiting artists, with nightly free recitals.
- Northwest Flower and Garden Show – Stunning exhibition gardens, seminars, and vendors, all warm and dry in the Washington State Convention Center.
- Wintergrass Music Festival – A celebration of American bluegrass music, with dozens of performances and workshops for all ages.
- Emerald City Comicon – The Pacific Northwest’s premier comic book and pop-culture convention.
- Seattle Irish Fest – Music, dance, and vendors galore to celebrate St. Patrick and all things Irish.
- Taste Washington – Local wineries and award winning restaurants sample their wares at the nations largest regional food and wine event.
- Moisture Festival – An annual celebration of Vaudeville, comedy, burlesque, and all things weird and wonderful. Lots of fun performances, a few of them kid-friendly, most adults only.
- Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival – Traditional and contemporary Japanese cultural performances and cuisine.
- Skagit Valley Tulip Festival – Acres of tulips and daffodils abloom in the charming rural farmland north of Seattle.
- Opening day of Boating Season – Sailboat races, boat parades, and the University of Washington’s Windermere Cup regatta.
- The Vigor Seattle Maritime Festival – A celebration of Seattle’s working waterfront, with demonstrations, tours, and kids’ activities.
- Seattle International Film Festival – A month of independent, International, and documentary films at one of the top film festivals in North America.
- Northwest Folklife Festival – Music, dance, food, and crafts from local and international cultures. A bit like Bumbershoot, but free and not nearly as commercial.
- Fremont Solstice Fair – A whimsical summer celebration of music, food, and art, featuring a free-spirited parade with over 1,000 nude-but-painted cyclists!
- Seattle PrideFest – The largest LGBT gathering in the Pacific Northwest: bands, DJs, drag queens, and Seattle’s annual Pride Parade.
- Seafair Summer 4th – Fireworks, food, and family fun on Lake Union.
- Seattle International BeerFest – Exotic beers and bands under the Space Needle.
- Sequim Lavender Festival – Annual street fair and self-guided tour of area lavender farms in full bloom.
- Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival – World-class chamber performances at Benaroya Hall, with free pre-concert recitals.
- Ballard SeafoodFest – Traditional salmon barbecue and local music, arts and crafts, and family entertainment.
- Bite of Seattle – Seattle’s biggest food festival, featuring local chefs, restaurant tastes, entertainment, and wine and beer gardens.
- Capitol Hill Block Party – Three-day music and arts festival, with food, beer gardens, and over 100 local and national artists in indoor and outdoor venues.
- Chinatown DragonFest – Pan-Asian cultural performances and $3 restaurant tastes in Seattle’s International District.
- Seafair Torchlight Parade – Balloons, bands, and swashbuckling pirates parade through the heart of Seattle’s downtown.
- Hempfest – Political rally, concert, and arts and crafts fair celebrating marijuana on Seattle’s downtown waterfront.
- Seattle Seafair Weekend – Air shows, picnics, and hydroplane races on Lake Washington.
- Bumbershoot – Expect crowds, along with concerts, comedy, food, and film at this monster-sized music and arts festival under the Space Needle.
- Washington State Fair – Animals, rides and games, fair food, concerts, and a rodeo, held annually in nearby Puyuallup, WA.
- PAX Prime Gaming Show – A celebration of gamer culture, with concerts, panels, an exhibition hall, and digital and tabletop game play.
- Fremont Oktoberfest – Beer gardens, live music, food and a 5K at this popular neighborhood festival.
- Seattle Children’s Festival – Global culture for kids, with live performances and interactive workshops.
- TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival – Annual celebration of queer film, accompanied by GLBT community parties and gala receptions.
- Earshot Jazz Festival – Dozens of local and international jazz acts perform at various local venues.
- Seattle International Auto Show – The lastest models from international automakers, featuring rare and high-end vehicles and on-site test drives.
- Sheraton Seattle’s Gingerbread Village – Local architects and baking teams unite to create and display holiday scenes made entirely of candies and treats. Runs through early January.
- Macy’s Holiday Parade – Floats, costumed characters, and of course Santa Claus kick off the holiday season in downtown Seattle. The Parade usually kicks off at 9am on the Friday following Thanksgiving.
- Best of the Northwest Art & Fine Craft Show – Locally crafted jewelry, clothing, painting, and sculpture for purchase and perusal. Held in Magnuson Park in Northeast Seattle.
- Magic in the Market Holiday Celebration – Holiday treats and activities, caroling contest, and tree-lighting ceremony in historic Pike Place Market.
- Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition – Festive holiday team sing-off held annually in Westlake Center, benefitting Pike Place Market’s food bank and senior center.
- Argosy Christmas Ship Festival – Enjoy on-board or ashore as a flotilla of illuminated and choir-carrying ships visit local waterfront communities for caroling and bonfires.
- Winterfest – Seattle Center’s month-long seasonal celebration, featuring performances, ice sculpting, ice skating, and a model train exhibit.
All Seattle Hotel Reviews
- Seattle Travel Guide
- Best Hotels in Seattle
- Best Family Hotels in Seattle
- Best Boutique Hotels in Seattle
- Best Budget Hotels in Seattle
- Best Hotels near Pike Place Market
- Where to Stay in Seattle
- Best Things to Do in Seattle
- Seattle with Kids
- Maps of Seattle
- Best Restaurants in Seattle
- Best Bars in Seattle
- Best Books about Seattle
- Best Brewery Tours in Seattle
This info has been great! We are planning a trip in October. We are hoping to stay close to public transportation in the downtown area. We do not want to rent a car and have to drive in a strange city. Any suggestions regarding hotels in that area?
The Seattle Link light rail system runs from the airport into the heart of downtown. Any hotel near the Westlake Center station will be both convenient to public transportation and walkable to Pike Place Market, shopping, restaurants, and waterfront attractions like the Great Wheel, Aquarium, and harbor tours. A few hotels that I especially like in this area are Inn at the Market (wonderful boutique hotel located actually in Pike Place Market, surrounded by great restaurants), The Thompson (newer and modern, with a popular rooftop bar), and Mayflower Park Hotel (traditional and historic, right on top of the light rail station, with an excellent Italian restaurant and charming lobby bar). But there are many other great choices.
HI! I’m going to be visiting Seattle at the end of February through the first week of March for Comic-con. I’m from Hawaii and will be staying in the downtown area. I was wondering what kind of warm clothing and shoes (gloves, scarf, etc) would be appropriate for that time of year. Keep up the great work!
Be prepared for a bit of anything. Could be cold (even snow), could be sunny weather with temperatures in the 60s.
Seattle & Portland in May
Great page. My wife & I are planning 3-4 days in both Seattle & Portland in May. I like the train suggestion for moving from one city to the other. Any recommendation on which city to visit first?
Seattle and Portland are both great cities to visit, but they have different vibes to them. Which one you visit first will depend on what type of traveling experience you want. Do you want to jump in with both feet, visit the busier city first and then wind down with a mellower experience? Make your first stop Seattle. Alternately, if you want to begin at a slower pace and ramp up throughout the trip, Portland’s a good place to start.
Hi there! I’m planning a trip to Seattle for my girlfriend and I. We are from Southern California and have both never been to Seattle! Our plan is to spend a week, half in Seattle and half in Portland. I didn’t realize Seattle and Portland are in driving distance ! Do you recommend , flying to Seattle and then driving to Portland and then flying home as opposed to adding an extra flight from Seattle to Portland? (Maybe a train, or renting a car for a day to drive over there.) Also, were thinking dates from December 28 – January 3. Is there a lot to do in Seattle for New Years? We don’t drink by the way, so something not involving a bar or whatever. Thank you so much for your help! Also, any other suggestions on what to do and what to see are greatly appreciated!
My favorite way to get from Seattle to Portland is to take the train. It’s an easy, pretty ride, takes about four hours, you won’t have to worry about traffic, and its cheaper than flying. Additionally, Portland has a great public transit system so it’s really easy to get around without a car, and you won’t have to worry about finding parking (which is expensive and hard to come by). Amtrak’s Cascades and Coast Starlight lines run between the two cities; if it works with your timing, take the Coast Starlight down – it’s bigger and has a great Observation car with floor to ceiling windows that everyone has access to.
The Bolt Bus also runs multiple daily trips between Seattle and Portland, and can be a great option if you’re looking to save a few bucks and want someone else to do the driving. Tickets generally cost between $15 and $30 each way, with some trips being offered for a mere $1. The Bolt Bus has wi-fi and outlets to charge your devices, and while it’s not luxurious, it’s comfortable and clean. Just like traveling by car, though, taking the bus leaves you vulnerable to delays caused by heavy traffic.
Seattle’s biggest New Years event is the annual fireworks show at the Space Needle. You can buy tickets to one of the parties inside, join the crowd at the Needle’s base for free, snag a hotel room with a Space Needle view (The Westin, Pan Pacific, Hyatt House, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Hampton Inn & Suites – be sure to ask for a view room), or watch from another location. There are generally a host of special concerts, cruises, and whatnot – it’s too early at this point to know what’ll be happening this year, but here’s a good list of what was on last year so you can get a general idea. Many restaurants have special, prix-fixe menus for the evening, and if you’re up for it, there’s the Polar Bear Plunge on New Years’ Day, in which hundreds of hearty souls brave the frigid winter waters of Lake Washington to start the New Year off with a bang.
Love your page! I’m needing help planning and would love some tips on traveling with a little one (7 yr old) for the first time to Seattle. We will be flying in Saturday morning March 11th, and leaving Wednesday the 15th around midday. We are staying at the Green Tortoise Hostel and looking for places that are kid friendly and a mixture of indoor and outdoor things to do for first timers! We won’t have a car so anything that is accessible by local transportation or possibly taxi. Also any tips on what to pack and good places to eat on a budget would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
You’ll definitely want to visit Pike Place Market – just half a block from the Green Tortoise; it’s a great activity with kids, rain or shine. Pike Place highlights with a 7 year old include Daily Dozen Doughnuts, the Giant Shoe Museum (not a museum as much as it is a small attraction), and the Market Magic shop (ask nicely, and they’ll perform a trick for you). And no trip to the Market would be complete without a visit to the famous Gum Wall – which is kinda gross, but you certainly won’t find it anywhere else.
Other attractions I’d suggest for that age are the Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo, the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Pinball Museum in the International District (no experience needed – pay one cover and play for free all day), and the free Klondike Museum in Pioneer Square. If the weather is great, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, or the Water Taxi to West Seattle.
As far as packing goes, plan for chilly and wet. You’ll want a warm jacket, because even if the temperature isn’t too low, it can be windy downtown right off the bay. Jeans, layers, a good jacket, a hat, and good walking shoes should suffice.
My favorite budget eats downtown are all located within Pike Place Market: Pike Place Chowder, Piroshki Piroshki, Jack’s Fish Spot, LoPriore Pasta Bar, Ellenos Yogurt, Beechers Cheese, and Biscuit Bitch. Also, the food court at Seattle Center has lots of great, cheap, locally-owned options, and Green Leaf in Belltown and the International District serves up fantastic Vietnamese at a great price.
Have a great trip!
First off, thanks so much for your super informative and helpful website. You obviously put a lot of work into it.
My husband and I are interested in moving to Washington and would like to schedule an initial trip during off-peak to get a real feel for the Seattle area and Northwest region – so tourist meets prospective residents during the least pleasant weather. Any suggestions or recommended resources?
Visiting during the “off season” is a great idea – our summers are divine, November and December are our worst months for weather (though we’re all distracted with the seasonal lights and festivities), so planning a trip during the “blah” months of January through April is your best bet to experience the “real” Pacific Northwest weather that locals love but drives some out-of-towners mad.
The Seattle housing market is one of the most expensive in the nation right now, so you’ll probably want to look not only at Seattle proper, but also tour nearby communities that are just as lovely, but gentler on the pocketbook. If you’d like to be in/near Seattle, the general rule is that things get more expensive the closer you are to the city center, with north end neighborhoods being pricier than those to the south. I’d recommend looking at cities north and east of Lake Washington, as well: consider Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, and Woodinville – these areas won’t have the 100 year-old Craftsman homes that Seattle neighborhoods are prized for, but they have great communities, schools, and business centers. And there are always the islands! Some great deals can be found on Bainbridge and Whidbey Islands for those who don’t mind a ferry commute to the mainland.
If you don’t need Seattle to be your home base, but like the Pacific Northwesty Puget Sound/coastal vibe, other similar cities to look at would be Tacoma (45 minutes from Seattle without traffic, but there’s ALWAYS traffic), Olympia (90 minutes), And Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR (3 hours from Seattle). (Vancouver and Portland are super close – just across the Columbia river from each other.)
For trip-planning purposes, I’d schedule a few days in Seattle, sightseeing and touring the Seattle metro area (maybe four days if you’re considering islands), then head south, driving through and spending a bit of time in Tacoma and Olympia on your way down to the Vancouver/Portland area. Then spend a night in Portland to explore that area a bit.
Here are some resources you may have already come across, but that I find to be pretty accurate/helpful:
Best Places to Live in Washington
Redfin Moving to Seattle Guide
Metafilter Thread about Seattle area v. Portland area
Thank you for this great website about Seattle. Really very informative and complete.
I’m thinking about planning a tour starting from Seattle. This 8-days tour includes: Seattle – Olympia – Portland – Silverton – Woodburn – Astoria – Tacoma – Olympic National Park – Snoqualmie Falls – Leavenworth – Mt Rainier National Park.
I need your advice/comments about the tour/destinations and about the weather condition in Seattle and around during March. Are those places really worth to see, despite Seattle which has already been in my bucket list? Of course I also plan to stay in Seattle for a few more days to explore the city. Can I still see great things/places in Seattle during March?
Any advice/comments would be greatly appreciated.
This is a very ambitious itinerary for eight days! You can easily make the drive from Seattle to your Oregon destinations in a day, though I’d give yourself some time to poke around in Portland, maybe to spend the night. Your can’t miss cities in WA and OR will be Seattle and Portland, and Astoria for the ocean. From Oregon, I’d head up to Mount Rainier National Park, but keep in mind that much of the park will still be closed for winter. You may be limited to using the Carbon River and Nisqually entrances. Check here for more information on seasonal closings. Snoqualmie Falls is at its best in the spring, when the river’s full and running at greatest capacity. If you can swing a night at the Salish Lodge while you’re there, I would. Leavenworth is a cute Bavarian-type village, and worth a stop if it’s on your way, but if I were you I’d skip it and head from Rainier through Snoqualmie Falls, to Olympic. Spend a night there, and then back to Seattle to explore.
Weather in Seattle in March is a bit of a mixed bag. It won’t be cold, but might be rainy and breezy. Expect high temps to be in the low 50s C, though it’s not uncommon for temps to creep up toward 60 on a sunny day. Daffodils and cherry trees will be in bloom. And don’t worry, there are lots of great things to do in Seattle year-round.
I have already booked tickets for seattle and would be there from 22nd Nov to 28th Nov. I read on different sites about the seattle weather that is normally bad for tourists during Nov but I want to go to Mt. Rainier so can anyone tell me whether it is recommended to visit Mt. Rainier during Nov end? Thanks in advance!
November is one of Seattle’s rainiest months, and late November has the potential to be pretty dark and wet. You might get lucky and see some beautiful and sunny fall days, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Additionally, some areas of Mount Rainier National Park, including Sunrise, White River, Ohanapecosh, State Routes 410 and 123, and the Stevens Canyon Road close for the season in mid-October or early-November and do not reopen again until the summer months. All campgrounds and picnic areas in the park will have closed for the season by the time you arrive. Some visitor centers at the park have already closed for the season, but if you happen to hit some nice weather in late November, there are still a few that will be open. Here’s a regularly updated list that will tell you what’s open and closed. Here’s a link to current and forecasted weather conditions at the park.
My friends and I are going to Seattle November 18-20. I know its really rainy and lots of attractions are shut but what do you recommend to see or do you know of anything going on that weekend?
There’s still a lot to do in Seattle during rainy weather. Here are my rainy day recommendations: Pike Place Market (all the stalls are covered), the Pioneer Square Underground Tour, an Argosy boat cruise (I like the Harbor/Locks tour best), and museums: my favorites are Seattle Art Museum (they’ve got a great Yves Saint Laurent fashion exhibit on now), Chihuly Garden and Glass, EMP, and the Museum of History and Industry. If you and your friends appreciate a good cabaret show, check out the Can Can Kitchen or the Saturday night cabaret at the Pink Door – both located in Pike Place Market. Or go all out and do the dinner show at Teatro Zinzanni. And any time of year is good for a food or wine tasting tour.
As far as the specific weekend you’ll be in town, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox is in town at the Paramount Theatre on the 18th, doing vintage-style rendition of modern pop/rock songs (this is one of my favorite examples), the Museum of History and Industry kicks off its newest exhibit, Edible City, on the 19th, and there’s a cool Sherlock Holmes exhibit on now at the Pacific Science Center.
We have booked a trip to Seattle for February 9th – 12th.
Are there any attractions that close due to weather? Like the boat tours? What else would you recommend?
You can expect a few tours/attractions to be unavailable during the winter months (whale watching cruises don’t generally start up until February, for example, and Tillicum Village is closed for the season), but most of Seattle’s best attractions are designed to be enjoyed all year, even in the wetter months.
The stalls of Pike Place Market are covered, and much less crowded throughout the winter months, so that’s something you can definitely do. Below the market on the waterfront, the Great Wheel‘s pods are all entirely inclosed, and the new Wings Over Washington ride takes place indoors. The Seattle Aquarium, also on the waterfront, makes for a fun hour or two. The Underground Tour in Pioneer Square is great at any time of year. Argosy boat cruises are still running (I like the Harbor/Locks tour best), and it can be a great time to catch a ferry over to Bainbridge Island, and explore the museum and shops. There are lots of great museums in Seattle, as well: my favorites are Seattle Art Museum, Chihuli Garden and Glass (conveniently located next door to the Space Needle and EMP Museum), and the Museum of History and Industry. If many of these attractions appeal to you, consider saving some money by purchasing a CityPass.
More good news for you is that February is generally the month in which Seattle starts to dry up a bit. The heavier storms of November through January are done, and if there is rain it tends to be of the drippy or misty variety. February sees a bit more sun than the previous months as well, and the daffodils are beginning to bloom around the city.
Can we still take the ferry to the San Juan Islands in November? I just booked November 12th-19th for our golden anniversary. My hubby has never been there but I have and loved the ferry ride to Orca Island after a Seattle visit and tour. If I remember the 10+ years ago girlfriend trip we ended back somewhere near the original Dungeness crab restaurant, does that sound familiar? We will have a car rental. What about going up Mt. St. Helen’s? I was there in August and realize weather may be a factor trying to revisit these awesome places. Your assistance is greatly needed. You are a great resource for us travelers….. Sincerely, Donna White
You can definitely take a ferry to the San Juans in November (and you can even reserve your spot). Expect the weather to be chilly (50’s) and rainy at this time of year, though the ferry will be warm and dry, and the islands will be just as beautiful. An inn or lodge on Orcas Island would make a cozy anniversary getaway, and you’re likely to find some good deals on hotel/lodge rates in the San Juans at this time of year – I’d do a San Juan Island search on Booking.com to see what’s available. I don’t know the particular restaurant you’re referring to, but you’ll be spoiled for choice of great seafood in the San Juans.
Mt. St. Helens might be a different story, as that experience is more likely to be impacted by the cold and wet. If you’re set on going, it can be a good idea to take an organized tour and leave the driving to someone else. Evergreen Escapes offers a great Mt. St. Helen’s day tour – check it out (as well as other tour options) at Get Your Guide.
My wife and I will be visiting Seattle for the first time this year early December. According to my readings December is not a popular time of the year to be visiting, but the Carolina Panthers vs Seattle Seahawks seem like a super exciting match up! I would like to know what are we in for on this trip weatherwise? Any other tips and places you recommend would be appreciated!
Weather wise, December in Seattle is not great. It’s wet and chilly (daily max temperature are in the upper 40s), and windy at times. We rarely get snow, but some people find the damp chill worse. You’ll want to pack warm clothes and waterproof shoes.
There’s lots to do inside when the weather’s lousy. Pike Place Market is entirely covered, and a great spot to visit year-round – take a tour (and drink a pint) at Pike Place Brewery. Down on the waterfront, a trip to the Seattle Aquarium makes for a great afternoon, and Seattle’s newest attractions, the Great Wheel and Wings over Washington, are both completely enclosed. Just north of downtown, Seattle Center is home to fantastic museums (Experience Music Project, Chihuly Museum) and the Space Needle. The Underground Tour in Pioneer Square is a good option for bad weather because it’s, well, underground. (And also Seattle’s best and most fun historical tour.)
Quick note, Emerald City Comicon is happening in March next year, 2nd-5th, not April.
Good to know – I’ll update the page.
What a great and through resource. I’m going to bookmark it so I can send it to our (frequent) visitors. I did notice one error – the Seattle International Auto Show is listed as occurring n October. This year it’s actually in November. Could you please make that change? I do the PR for the Auto Show as well as the January Boat Show, so if you have questions about either of those events, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks!
Thanks so much for letting me know, Lisa – I’ll get that updated ASAP!
Thanks so much!
Husband and I visiting Seattle for 1st time in early October. Wanting to visit Pikes’ Market, Needle and take a tour of Mt. Rainer. Staying in downtown area. How convenient is the monorail for airport? Other public transportation for getting around the town/ downtown area? Not familiar with Seattle at all, but would like to visit interesting neighborhoods. Pedestrian friendly areas? Proper attire for October 3rd-7th?
Link light rail is the train system that runs from SeaTac Airport through downtown and up to the University of Washington in Northeast Seattle. It has station stops at the sports stadiums, the International district, Pioneer Square, downtown, and Capitol Hill. The airport station is about a 5 minute walk from the main terminal and baggage claim, trains depart every 5-10 minutes or so, and the trip into downtown takes about 35 minutes. (This is longer than a taxi ride in the best conditions, but can be quicker if there’s heavy traffic – which there often is, nowadays.) You didn’t mention which hotel you’re staying in downtown, but most are within a few blocks of an underground light rail station. You can find a downtown station map here (you’ll have to zoom in to see downtown. I think it’s a pretty convenient way to go, and you can’t beat the price – $3/person.
Other transit: The Seattle Street Car has two different lines, one running from downtown to South Lake Union, and one from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill, via the International District. The Monorail runs from Westlake Center in downtown Seattle to the base of the Space Needle in Seattle Center. Buses go everywhere. You’ll likely want to use a combination of all of these options to get around Seattle, and it’s easy to do so. Payment is coordinated between transit lines through an Orca card – you can use it for just about all Seattle public transit, including ferries. With an Orca card, you won’t have to worry about having exact change, and transfers are free within a certain time frame. The one exception to this is the Monorail, which is privately owned and you’ll have to pay for separately. You can pre-load your Orca card with funds use like cash, or with a regional day pass, good for unlimited rides under $3. Having an Orca card will save you money; you can use it to transfer across transit lines for free – without one, you’ll pay multiple fares. You can buy one in advance online, or at the airport light rail station prior to boarding. You can find lots more information and links to maps here.
Most of downtown is pedestrian friendly, and it’s pretty easy to get around. If you want to get outside of downtown into the neighborhoods, two of the easiest to get to (and most interesting) are the International District and Capitol Hill – both can be reached via the Seattle Street Car line that begins in Pioneer Square. The 62 bus will take you directly to funky Fremont, and the D Rapidline bus goes to charming old Ballard. You can plan your transit route to/from any point easily here.
As for weather, the beginning of October tends to be sunny and dry, with temps in the 60s Fahrenheit. While it will feel quite pleasant in the day, you’ll want a light jacket or heavy sweater for the evenings or cooler mornings. And as October is a transitional month for us, it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella along – you might encounter some early season rain.
Hi. My two teenage kids and my mom and I will be traveling to the Seattle area from 10/8 through 10/15 this year. We currently have a hotel in Renton and will only be renting a car for a few days. This will allow us to take the train into Seattle as well as rent a car for Mt. Ranier and hopefully Mt. St. Helens too. We are also interested in checking out the Hurricane Ridge area and maybe take the ferry to Victoria as well. Would it be better to stay in a hotel in that area for a night to see both of those? How doable is this and what kind of weather might we be hitting in this time frame? Any other suggestions would be welcome.
You can do just the Hurricane Ridge area in a day, especially if you’re willing to leave early in the morning. Likewise Victoria (the Clipper passenger ferry is an easy way to get up and back in a day). To hit both, a hotel will be required.
It’ll take about 3-4 hours to get up to the Hurricane Ridge area from Renton, and it’s a 90 minute ferry from there to Victoria. This is what I recommend if you want to see both: leave Renton early in the morning to arrive at Hurricane Ridge by late morning/mid-day. Spend the early afternoon doing an easy hike and perhaps checking out the views around Lake Crescent. Drive back down to Port Angeles in late afternoon, to take the 5:20 Coho ferry to Victoria. Spend the night in at a hotel in Victoria (maybe splurge a little: the monetary exchange rate is currently working in our favor) and explore Victoria the next day (Butchart Gardens, maybe high tea at the Empress Hotel) before catching the 3pm ferry back to Port Angeles and making the drive home.
As far as the weather in mid-October goes, expect highs in the mid-upper 50’s Fahrenheit, with a mix of sun and some light to moderate rain. This is right around the time the weather begins to turn, so you could luck out and hit a late-season patch of sunny days, or lots of cloud cover and light rain. You shouldn’t hit any major storms, though – those don’t generally begin until late November.
Take care, and have a wonderful trip.
If you want to visit Canada, make sure everyone including the kids brings a passport.
Good point, Michael. Travel between the US and Canada requires a passport these days – even for the very little ones.
Thanks for your post, it’s very helpful.
Can you pls let me know when it will the autumn starts in this October? I planned to go to Seattle at the middle of Oct, is it good for sight-seeing?
Autumn usually arrives in Seattle around the middle of October. October generally starts sunny and dry, with leaves just beginning to change color. The air temperature cools throughout this month, and by the end of the month we begin to see the return of clouds, fog, and wet weather. Mid-October is usually lovely. The air will be crisp, with temperatures in the 60’s Fahrenheit (Mid 15’s Celsius) – great for sightseeing. Still, the possibility of rain will increase as the month wears on, so bringing an umbrella is a good idea.
I will be traveling solo to Seattle from the USVI in January of next year. I know it will be colder than I’m used to, but I’m having a hard time knowing what to pack. Will I need a scarf and hat? Will I see snow? What do you recommend I pack so that I can don’t freeze my tush off?
Snow is rare in January, but expect cold – temperatures average around 50 degrees Fahrenheit at that time of year. And rain – January is one of Seattle’s rainiest months. In addition to a parka or well-lined overcoat, you’ll want waterproof boots or shoes that can take some puddles. A scarf and hat are a good idea as well, especially downtown where the breeze comes in off the sound.
We are coming Spokane in August and staying with friends till 9th, then I’m considering either Seattle or Vancouver till 12th. Our ship leaves from Seattle on 12th to Alaska. Not sure which is better to spend few days in before the cruise. We are from Australia so have no idea about hotels,food,bars things to do.
Since you’ve only got a couple of days, I’d definitely stay in Seattle. In addition to the extra time it would take to get up to Vancouver from Spokane, you’d be heading back down to Seattle on a Friday in the summer – and that means lots of heavy traffic on the interstate. Probably not something you want to deal with when you have a cruise ship to catch. You could take the Clipper ferry down to Seattle from Victoria BC, but it’ll take you 3 1/2 hours just to get from Vancouver to the ferry terminal, and you wouldn’t get into Seattle until mid-afternoon.
Seattle is a walkable city with decent public transit, so you won’t need a car. (Parking is expensive, anyway.) Stay downtown if you can, see the Space Needle, and be sure to visit Pike Place Market. Maybe take a ferry to Bainbridge Island.
We will be visiting Seattle in August. Will the temperature at night be cool enough for us to be sleeping in a non air conditioning room? Or you think it would be better if we book a room with air conditioning.
Seattle does cool down at night, but a few consecutive days of really hot weather can heat a room up enough that getting it back down to a comfortable sleeping temperature can be tough without air conditioning. I can’t say at this point what the weather’s going to look like this summer, but the past few summers have each had at least a few spates of really hot weather (90’s F).
Additionally, most hotels without AC are located downtown, so fully open windows at night will mean that you’ll be dealing with a considerable amount of street noise that will also make sleeping difficult. In August, I would book a room with air conditioning, if possible.
I’m a midwesterner visiting Seattle for the first time this August, driving up the Pacific Coast from California with my daughter. I’m having a hard time knowing what to pack. I know it doesn’t rain as much in the summer months, but will it still be chilly and damp? Should I pack an umbrella? Will it be noticeably colder than California, because it’s further north? Will I need a jacket? Thanks.
You most likely won’t need an umbrella in August in Seattle – that’s right in the middle of our annual summer drought. Think warm, sunny, and dry; average high temps in Seattle in August are in the mid 70s F (low/mid 20s C). Seattle weather is not quite as warm as California at any time of year – you’ll most likely notice a slight cooling as you travel up the coast.
As for whether to pack a jacket, a light one is definitely a good idea. There’s a cooling off in the evening that occurs all up and down the Pacific Coast (we get down into the mid/upper 50s F here in Seattle), and our Seattle summer days often begin under a cloud cover that burns off by around noon.
Planning a trip to Seattle. It will be a 2 or 3 night visit and our main interest is exploring Pike Place Market. Is there a best time or month to experience the market?
Pike Place Market is great at any time of year; there’s always something going on, and it remains vibrant and charming in even the most dreary of weather. That said, it’s easiest and most fun to explore when the weather is pleasant and you can wander Post Alley and the outside shops without worrying about getting wet. In the dry summer months, you’ll pay for the great weather with heavy crowds of tourists, though, which can be just as unpleasant. The shoulder season months of May and September (even into early October) offer your best chances for the hard-to-come-by combination of pleasant weather and thinner crowds that can make exploring the market much more enjoyable.
Looking to avoid the rain as much as anything. We are from New York and planning a 10 day trip that includes Vancouver, BC and Portland. When would you recommend visiting Seattle for the best weather and smallest crowds (with the priority being on good weather)?
Either May or September would be a great choice for your trip. Both fall during shoulder season, so the city will be quieter than in the height of summer, and both have generally great weather with more sun than rain. That said, the two months are different enough that the question is worth exploring a bit further.
May: You’re a bit more likely to encounter rain, but most likely just a passing shower. At this time of year we’ll have just come off the rainy season, to lovely result; grass and trees will be a brilliant green, flowers will be blooming like mad, and the surrounding mountains will still be wearing a stunning mantle of snow.
September: The hallmarks of Seattle summer – warm (but not hot) temps, sunshine, and low humidity – are still very much in effect. September’s generally warmer than May, and with a lower likelihood of rain, but it also marks the end of the dry season, and that’ll show: much of the city’s characteristic green will have browned over the summer, and the haze in the air is yet to be washed away.
Bottom line? If it’s drier, higher temperatures you’re looking for, I’d go with September. But if you’re willing to compromise on weather (just a bit) in order to see the city at it’s most breathtaking, for my money it’s tough to top May.
Considering a visit to Seattle in late February. Will it be nothing but rainy and grey? We don’t mind a little rain but the thought of being stuck indoors for our weekend is not appealing. Thoughts?
While February is typically a wet grey month it’s rare that it rains all day – or even most of the day. I’m a walker and there are few days (even in winter) when I’m not out for a good walk. And with a little luck you could get a few very nice days – sunny and balmy – they’re not common in February but they’re not unheard of either.