Best Times to Visit Seattle

Travel Tips — By Michelle Schusterman on May 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Whether you’re into shopping or hiking, Seattle and the surrounding area is an excellent place to visit when it’s vacation time. But with a reputation of rainy, chilly weather most months, is summer really the only ideal time to visit Seattle? That all depends on what you want out of your visit. Check out this breakdown of the Seattle seasons to help plan your trip.

[image courtesy of bala]

Summer (June, July, August)

The positive: Mostly sunny, warm and mild, with chilly nights; for many, this is the best time to visit Seattle. This is a great time to head to the beach, go hiking or just walk the city. Views from the top of the Space Needle are also excellent.

The negative: Be aware that the city does experience occasional days over 90 degrees; before booking a hotel or B&B, check to make sure air conditioning is available. This is also high-tourist season; with cruise ships docked almost daily in the Puget Sound, the Waterfront, Pike Place Market and downtown can get pretty swarming.

[image courtesy of yarra64]

Fall (September, October, November)

The positive: This is my personal favorite time of year in the city. Not too rainy, lots of sun, slightly cooler weather and significantly less tourism traffic. You’ll have a much easier time booking accommodations, transportation and tours this time of year as opposed to summer.

The negative: Early fall is best; later fall means increased chances of rain.

[image courtesy of scorbette37]

Winter (December, January, February)

The positive: There’s nothing like downtown Seattle around the holidays; the city just sparkles. Groups of carolers gather on the streets, everything is cheery and the chill outside just heightens the amazing lattes and other espresso drinks you can find inside any one of dozens of cozy cafes.

The negative: Snow isn’t too common in Seattle, but when it happens the city all but comes to a halt, so transportation is a beating. (However, if you are stuck here on a snow day, grab a garbage can lid and join the locals sledding down all the hilly streets downtown!)

[image courtesy of Maralinga in WA]

Spring (March, April, May)

The positive: After a cold winter, the city blooms; it’s cherry blossoms and tulips galore. And while summer is officially “festival season” in Seattle, there are several in the spring as well.

The negative: In my experience, this is the rainiest time of year in Seattle. Because of leftover frost and continued rain, this isn’t the ideal time for camping, hiking and other outdoor pursuits.

So you’ve figured out when you want to come, but do you know what to bring? Check out our packing tips for travelers heading up to Seattle. And hey, bad weather can happen in any season – here’s a few suggestions on things to do on a rainy day in Seattle.

Tags: seattle, tips, tourism, travel, visit, weather