Seattle in All Seasons: The Best Times to Visit the Emerald City
Whether you want to take the kids to world-class museums or spark their appreciation for the outdoors, you'll find plenty to keep your family busy when you visit Seattle. Depending on what you're looking for—the least tourist traffic, the best hotel rates or the most pleasant weather—there's a best time for each in the city.
Seattle's Sweet Spot: Autumn
September and October are the best months to visit Seattle for an autumn break getaway. Tourists crowds decline after the busy summer season, and the first two months of fall offer the best weather of the year. These months experience less than 3 inches of rain each, and winds are at their calmest. Temperatures in the low 70s are nice for getting outdoors in the daytime, but nights cool down to the 40s by late October. Look for deals on hotels, tours and attractions during this traditionally slow tourist time.
Check out fall foliage at Seward Park (5900 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle, WA) as you stroll its 2.4-mile walking path. The paved trail is suited for strollers and wagons, and there are lots of benches for little legs to take a rest. Keep kids on the path to avoid itchy encounters with poison oak. Check out exhibits about the park's plant and animal life at the Audubon Center. Here you'll find restrooms, dog-waste bags and a children's playground.
Springtime in Seattle
Springtime is a beautiful time to visit Seattle. The city is awash in cherry blossoms from late March through mid-May. Drive along Lake Washington Boulevard on the lake's western shore or stroll a 2.8-mile lakeside path at Green Lake Park (7201 E. Green Lake Drive N., Seattle, WA). Rainy winter weather tapers off with an average of 4 inches of rain in March and 3 inches in April. Daytime temperatures rise above 60 F, but dampness after the rain combined with a 7 mph breeze can make it feel cooler on overcast days.
The Height of Tourist Season
There's no way around it: If you visit Seattle in summer, it's crowded. Don't let that deter you as the sights are well worth seeing. Experience the best of Seattle's farm-to-table scene at the Pike Place Market. Check out the Pike Place Farmers Markets Tuesday through Friday at various locations in the historic district. Summer weather is ideal for getting out in one of the city's natural spaces too. Enjoy mostly dry weather and temps in the upper 70s that make it perfect for taking a dip at a beach or hiking forested trails.
Winter Weather in Emerald City
Winter brings gloomy weather in Seattle, with about 5 inches of rain and up to 7 inches of snowfall in January, the snowiest month. Daytime temperatures in the mid-40s and nights near freezing mean the city landscape is often slushy. Don't despair if this season brings you to the city. Visit indoor sights like the Seattle Art Museum (1300 First Ave., Seattle, WA), Seattle Aquarium (1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA) or the Pacific Science Center (200 Second Ave. N., Seattle, WA). For outdoor snow sports, head up to Snoqualmie Pass east of the city to access areas where you can snowshoe and ski.
- Google Travel Guide: Seattle
- City-Data: Seattle, Washington
- Premera Blue Cross: 5 Best Places in Washington to See Fall Colors
- Washington Trails Association: Seward Park
- Fodor's Travel: Seattle Travel Guide
- Greater Seattle on the Cheap: Where to View Cherry Blossom Trees in Seattle
- Pike Place Market
- KOMO News: Never-Ending Gloom?
Indulging her passion for vacation vagary through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, travel funster Jodi Thornton-O'Connell guides readers to the unexpected, quirky, and awe-inspiring.