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Seattle is an amazing place to visit for all types of indoor and outdoor attractions. Picking the best time of year to visit Seattle is no easy feat but we hope this guide will help you along the way.
When is the best time of year to visit Seattle?
Best Time to Visit Mt. Rainier
Rich with views of glaciers, a history with its beginnings as a volcano, and sure to give you some jaw-dropping views, Mt Rainier is one of those sights that you are going to want to make a “must-see” on your trip to Seattle. The perfect day trip activity, combined with other interested visitors on a tour and taken by shuttle while educated on Mt Rainier’s rich history.
Guides are friendly and informative to ensure each visitor gets the best experience possible. This site is best explored between July and August insuring warm temperatures and sunny, dry weather. However, if you want a winter wonderland experience, you’ll find November to March are great months, though some of the paths will be closed.
Best Time to Visit Pikes Place Market In Seattle
Another hotspot for a cultural immersion is Pikes Place Market. Open every single day until 6 PM, this is best enjoyed first thing in the morning (8 AM ) if you want to get to every vendor before the crowds hit. The market is bustling after 10 AM or mid-afternoon and a perfect place to grab a delicious bakery item or a cup of famous Seattle coffee. You will find all sorts of food here, such as fresh fish and seafood (including world famous delicious chowder), flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and even arts and crafts that have the flavor of Seattle.
Best Time for Whale Watching in Seattle
If whale watching is your thing, a great place to try is San Juan Safaris. Experienced in the art of it, you’ll see everything from harbor seals, orcas, to porpoises and maybe even a minke whale! Sightings are evenly dispersed throughout the day itself, so you can go at a time that best suits your schedule. In order to get the best chance for the most viewings try to go between June-September, when they are most active. As far as sightings are concerned, use a well reviewed company to get you where the whales go. Do it safely and environmentally friendly and your likelihood of seeing these amazing marine animals is high.
Best Time for Food Tours in Seattle
Foodies rejoice, Seattle is your kind of town, there are all sorts of food tours available to you in Seattle. There is the well-loved Gourmet Seattle Walking Tour, that takes you around some of Seattle’s best tasting spots for a little bit of everything. Highlights include chowder, wine, pie, chocolates and more. Always consider your food options when planning for the best time of year to visit Seattle. You’ll wander through downtown Seattle and, of course, the beloved Pike Place Market. Since this is a walking tour, it’s best enjoyed between May-September for seasonal comfort.
Best Time for Hiking in Seattle
Specifically for hiking you’ll want to try to be in Seattle between July and September. This guarantees that those high elevation spots will be open and accessible for those who really want to take on popular spots such as Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Range or the Olympic National Park.
Best Time for Skiing in Seattle
The black diamond runs and extreme terrain may not be for everyone (especially beginners or kids), but fortunately skiing in Seattle has something for every level. November to February make for some great skiing, especially near Olympic National Park and Cascade Range. Be sure to check out Steven’s Pass Ski resort, its one of the most popular in the region. While the weather can turn rainy, you also can get some great snowfall to make for happy and fun skiing for experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Remember to bundle up!
Best Time for Kids in Seattle
Taking place in June, the Art on the Fly festival is a great festival focused on dance and exploration of the arts itself. This is a great rich experience that little ones and parents will love for their own reasons. There are even two free afternoons if you don’t want to pay for the whole festival! For the creative genius, the Seafair Milk Carton Derby — taking place in July — is going to be a must-see! This is a boat race involving milk cartons and it’s great to partake in or watch, depending on your preference!
Best Time for Sports in Seattle
Sports are a core part of the culture in Seattle, and you’ll find some great options if you are looking to take in some sports glory, Seattle is your place. If you want to see the Seattle Mariners, you can find a games running from July through October but be sure to check the schedule for home games.. If you want to take on something more…impactful — see what we did there? — The Seattle Seahawks are playing their regular season between September and January. You can also find many university teams playing within these same time frames if you want to take in the pros and the pros-in-training!
Seattle Weather Month By Month
Knowing what to expect is crucial to making sure that you can plan accordingly for the best time to visit Seattle. There is no better example of this than through understanding the weather in as much detail as possible. If you’re looking to have a complete and helpful understanding of Seattle’s monthly weather, you’re in the right spot!
January Weather In Seattle
This is often considered to be the coldest month of the year. Temperatures range from 35-44 degrees F. You can expect many cloudy days and small amounts of snow. If you are looking to enjoy your time in Seattle during this time, try skiing or huddling inside where it’s warm — such as at museums.
February Weather In Seattle
This is slightly warmer than January, with lows ranging from 37 degrees F and highs at a “balmy” 50 degrees F. There is still some snow and a lot of clouds, though there is a drop in humidity. Generally, many people enjoy this time of year for exploring parks and outdoor sights, as well as inside hits like museums.
March Weather In Seattle
The low for this month stays the same at 37 degrees F and it can rise up to about 54 degrees F, allowing for more room for enjoyment outside. You can expect a lot more sunshine during the month and much less snowfall as the weather transitions to spring. With the sun, this is the perfect time to visit those restaurants with a view!
April Weather In Seattle
Heating up even further. The temperatures often sit, at lowest, around 41 degrees F and go up to 59 degrees F. This is when the grass starts coming out and flowers bloom. This is a popular time for tourists to enjoy time outdoors. With rain only once every 14 days, this is a favorite time of year for locals and visitors to be outdoors!
May Weather In Seattle
This is where the calming warm temperatures start to come forward. Ranging from the 48 degree mark to up to an impressive 65 degrees F, this is the most enjoyable month for outdoor tourism. There are 8 hours of sunshine on average and you can also enjoy the least amount of rain both in timing and amounts!
June Weather In Seattle
Hovering between 53 to 70 degrees F, the main change with this month is in the amount of sunshine! You’ll get 9 impressive hours and lots of warmth. This is a popular time for most regular travellers to enjoy the outdoor shops and other popular outdoor tourist attractions such as Pikes Place Market.
July Weather In Seattle
Thought to be the warmest month in Seattle weather, July’s temperatures range from 56 -75 degrees F with lots of 10-hour sunny days. While the heat can make it hard for long days walking outside, it’s perfect for touring the city and outdoor dining.
August Weather In Seattle
Hovering around the same as July, temperature wise, this is where you will start to see humidity starting to rise up a bit more. While you will only get about a week’s worth of rain throughout the month, the amount and the level of cloud can start to rise a bit as it trickles into fall. You’ll want to have a rain jacket as you tour outdoor spots, or plan a few days in the museum.
September Weather In Seattle
Starting to cool off, the weather ranges from 53-70 degrees F and you’ll want to make your raincoat a staple if you plan on doing sight-seeing outside. The rain tends to be more frequent and you can expect 2” or so with the rainy days.
October Weather In Seattle
Ranging from 46 – 60 degrees F, this is a wet month in Seattle that can sometimes leave up to 3.5” of water. While sunny, there is a beautiful golden glow to Seattle’s streets that make it popular for those who love photography!
November Weather In Seattle
Dropping further, temperatures range from 40-52 degrees F and there is a lot of cloud cover, as rain and snow fight to fall and often can be falling at the same time. You’ll want to skip the swim and explore some restaurants!
December Weather In Seattle
This is the month where the wind picks up. Ranging from 36-47 degrees, there tends to be a lot of rain and it can cause local flooding. Also, up to 1.7” of snow can fall, too. It is most likely the best time to explore restaurants and museums unless you bundle up tight!
Seattle has something to offer every month of the year, truth be told. It just depends a lot on whether you want to enjoy the world outside — best done April-August, or if you want to rebel and go for the blustery off-season.
Seattle Festivals and Events
January Festivals & Events In Seattle
“The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival” as performed by 14/48 is basically speed dating for theatre! This is a 2-day even in January where actors present 14 world premieres to a spellbound audience. A great hit for those who love theatre and live plays.
If you or a little one in your life have a thing for superheroes, Bellevue Art Museum’s event called “America’s Monsters, Superheroes, and Villans” is an absolute must! Portraying many important events through the “guise of superheroes, this display is great for exploring culture, media, and getting up close and personal with your favourite character!
February Festivals & Events In Seattle
While still cold in Seattle, the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival is a beautiful work of art for avid botanists and gardeners alike. This shows 30 display gardens that you can wander through freely, and 100 seminars, workshops and more.
For musicians and toe tappers, Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival is perfect for getting in tune — see what we did there? — with your bluegrass roots. Serving as a classic music festival, you can listen to as many vans as you want and get your fill.
March Festivals & Events In Seattle
Need some Comicon? Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon is a huge hit in the month of March that is open to anyone who loves the world of cosplay, comic books and anything else graphic-related. With plenty of displays and exhibitions to look at, this is a wonderful and popular spot for comic book lovers.
For something a bi tmore cultured — literally — the Bellevue Arts Museum offers a Yellow No. 5 exhibit that helps connect culture with consumerism and how one plays off of the other. A great hit for those who love diving deep into those kinds of topics.
April Festivals & Events In Seattle
For some toe-tapping music, you can enjoy smooth jazz at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley by taking in Kenny G. Working in everything from R&B to pop and Latin, to contemporary jazz, this saxophonist is going to treat your ears right.
At the Frye Art Museum, you’ll also want to consider Anastacia-Renee: (Don’t Be Absurd” Alice In Parts. This is a beautiful version of her character, Alice, coming to you in the form of poetry, video and other mediums to treat you to full immersion in her popular character.
May Festivals & Events In Seattle
If you’re looking at really getting into the music scene, you won’t want to miss the World Rhythm Festival that is put on by the SWPS. Bringing you irresistible rhythms from all over the world and showing you just how diverse yet unifying rhythm can be, this is sure to get the blood pumping.
For those who enjoy ethnic festivals and immersion, the Japanese Seattle Cherry Blossom is another well attended event that helps kids, adults and everyone in between understand Japanese culture and how it intersects with American culture.
June Festivals & Events In Seattle
For more musical adventure, this free street-based event is focused on bringing understanding of, and appreciation for, the art form of community street band culture. Kids, musicians and adults will enjoy roaming from display to display. Love beer? You won’t want to miss the Washington Beer Brewers Festival. This is one of the events that can help you determine the best time of year to visit seattle. You can explore different local vendors and enjoy different beers, while educating yourself on the brewing process at the same time!
July Festivals & Events In Seattle
For those that love everything related to maritime-related life, you’ll want to check out the Ballard SeafoodFest. Staying focused on its roots as a barbecue celebration, this is going to give you seafood, beer tastings and some great live music.
Gardeners and floral arrangers alike will enjoy the Sequim Lavender Weekend. It will offer you everything from a u-pick to a shop with lavender products and even a petting zoo for the little ones to enjoy.
August Festivals & Events In Seattle
An education on art and society — and the interplay between them — the Black Refractions exhibit at the Frye Art Museum is a wonderful option for those who are looking at the black perspective. Perfect for those young and old, this is immersive and ideal for deep thinkers.
Another twist on the classic way of looking at the world, Julie Green’s The Last Supper display at the Bellevue arts Museum displays art of the death row convicts’ last suppers the night before their executions. With over 800 hand painted-plates, this is mesmerizing and a unique take on the human experience.
September Festivals & Events In Seattle
Taking place over Labor Day weekend, traditionally, Bumbershoot is a wonderful international festival that combines all of the most innovative music and arts professionals on display. You can find dance, art, theatre and comedy, and more.
PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) is a must-see for gamers. Displaying all sorts of indie and underrated games for everyone to look at and try out, this includes table top, video and arcade games for the true gaming enthusiast.
October Festivals & Events In Seattle
For photographers, Imogen Cunnigham: A Retrospective, on display at the Seattle Art Museum, is going to be a wonderful and insightful option when looking at broadening your own lens and learning from the greats. From nudes to elegant flowers and everything in between, there’s something here for all budding photographers.
If you’re looking for something fun and exciting for kids, you can take a look at the Ferry Ride to Bainbridge Island. There are plenty of little shops to pop in and out of, and even some great views of Seattle from the ferry itself for those who want to get some great Christmas card shots!
November Festivals & Events In Seattle
If you need to get into the Christmas spirit a little early, this maze and public display of lights, Enchant Christmas, is a great spot. Perfect for getting some Christmas shopping done and generally feeling merry and in the spirit thanks to its impressive display of lights — your kids will love it!
For some Mexican tradition and culture, the Dia de Muertos Festal is going to be a great experience. From kids to adults, you’ll be able to learn about this celebration of death and life through traditional Mexican song and dance.
December Festivals & Events In Seattle
To broaden your horizons, you can look at Vietnam in the Rearview Mirror. A beautiful story of the life of immigrants throughout 40 years, this is perfect for an immersive education.
For those loving the commercial hunt, you can’t miss the Urban Craft Fair Uprising. Open-air and fantastic for last minute shopping, it’s a wonderful place to find all sorts of beautiful arts and crafts.
I hope this guide helps you find the best time of year to visit Seattle, if you have any tips be sure to share with your fellow travelers in the comments below.