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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Seattle in 2024 (Our Take)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Seattle in 2024 (Our Take)

What's the best time to visit Seattle?

Summer is the ideal time to visit Seattle, with its sunny, rain-free days perfect for outdoor adventures and sightseeing. It’s the best season for enjoying clear views from the Space Needle and attending vibrant festivals. However, prepare for larger crowds and higher prices, and remember to book accommodations early.

Want to visit one of the coolest cities in the United States? Then Seattle is the place for you. The birthplace of grunge, Starbucks, and the tech boom, this storied city has something for everyone.

You can out the famous Pike Place Market, including the famous first Starbucks. Visit some of the city’s iconic landmarks, from the Space Needle to the Museum of Pop Culture. The nature around Seattle is beautiful, so make sure you budget time to visit Puget Sound and other areas.

Seattle is a wonderful getaway within the United States, but the experience of visiting it does differ from season to season. Here is a guide to help you figure out when is the best time to visit.

Overall Best Time to Visit Seattle

Photo of the Great Wheel and Puget Sound pictured next to the pier with the downtown skyline towering over the water for a guide titled best time to visit Seattle

Seattle, Washington USA – May 7 2023: View of the skyline and waterfront harbor tourist area including the Great Wheel from a cruise ship in the Puget Sound/Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Seattle is the summer, when the weather is the best for exploring and you have the lowest chances of getting rained on.

Seattle weather is infamously rainy. Although in terms of volume of precipitation, Seattle isn’t as rainy as many other big cities in the United States, it does have some of the most rainy days. Expect frequent drizzles and showers.

In the summer, the weather clears up and warms up. According to U.S. Climate Data, July and August only experience about five or six days of rain, with average high temperatures in the mid-70s.

This is different from the rest of the year, when the weather is often chilly and rainy. A lot of Seattle’s finest attractions are best enjoyed when skies are clear. The whole point of going up the Space Needle is to get good views of the city, which is hard to get on a rainy day.

If you are planning on hiking Mount Rainier, then you also want clear skies and a low chance of rain. The summer is one of the only times when you can have reasonable chances of several clear days in a row.

The summer is also one of the best seasons to explore the beautiful nature all around Seattle. According to the official Visit Seattle site, whale watching in the San Juan Islands is best in the summer (although you have some chances of spotting whales any time of year).

Salmon spawning season also begins in the summer in the Seattle area. The weather is perfect for a stroll along the beach or in nature. Seattle residents and city authorities take advantage of the beautiful weather to plan plenty of outdoor activities.

Expect outdoor film festivals, street fairs, and much more around town. Cafes and restaurants bring their tables to the street and you can dine al fresco.

Summer is also festival season in Seattle, including:

Do keep in mind that summer is the high season in the city. Expect lots of crowds and higher prices for hotels and other attractions. Reserve accommodation and important tickets ahead of time so your travel plans don’t fall through.

Cheapest Time to Visit Seattle

Photo of people walking along and holding hands in Pike Place Market during winter, the cheapest time to visit Seattle

Seattle, Washington – January 21, 2018: Editorial Image of the historical Pike Place Market near Seattle Waterfront on a quintessential winter day in Seattle/Sara Hahn/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Seattle is in January and February, when the off-season means that you can snag some great deals. The best time to travel anywhere in the United States if you are looking for good deals on flights is January.

Seattle is no exception. Most airlines offer discounts after the holiday travel season is over, when fewer people are traveling. Less expensive flight prices tend to last into February, although avoid popular holidays such as Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

January and February are the least expensive months to find accommodation in Seattle. Not that many tourists visit town during this time, so hotel operators and vacation apartment owners offer discounts to attract travelers in the off-season.

Besides discounted room rates, many hotels also offer packages including such things as spa treatments to attract off-season visitors. February is the least expensive month to visit many of Seattle’s attractions.

During the entire month, guests staying in one of the city’s hotels receive 50% off admission in all participating museums, including some very famous institutions such as the Pacific Science Center.

Least Busy Time to Visit Seattle

Pictured during the least busy time to visit Seattle, people walking along the street with umbrellas in the rain

Seattle, WA/ USA-February 7 2020: People walking in the rain commuting to work with umbrellas change anti-umbrella culture no rain jackets/JamesWM.foto/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Seattle is in the winter, but you can also avoid the crowds in the fall while enjoying the last of the good weather.

Not that many people visit Seattle once the holiday season is over, mostly because they are put off by the cold weather. If you decide to visit, you will have popular attractions such as the Space Needle mostly to yourself.

If you want to beat the summer crowds but still want to have some nice weather, then the best time to visit is during the fall. The crowds tend to leave by mid-September, but if you’re lucky, you can have warm weather well into October.

You can enjoy some of the best outdoor activities well into fall, such as whale watching and hiking. Fall is also one of the best times to visit Seattle for lovers of culture.

There are plenty of cultural festivals still going on. Regular cultural establishments such as the theater and concert venues also restart their normal programs, so you have even more choice over what to enjoy.

Some popular fall events in Seattle include:

Worst Time to Visit Seattle

Parade of boats sailing on Puget Sound during the winter at Christmas time, one of the worst times to visit Seattle due to the cold

John Morris Photography/Shutterstock

Many people say that the worst time to visit Seattle is the winter, but this season also has its charms. There’s no way around it — between November and early March, Seattle weather can be really dreary.

December and January average a whopping 19 days of rain per month. Although temperatures aren’t very cold, they usually hover just above freezing. The rain and the wind make it feel even colder.

It is possible to visit Seattle in the winter and still have a good time. You can even explore the surrounding nature. Activities such as whale-watching are popular all year round and you can book cruises in the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands any month of the year.

The most important thing you can do to prepare for a winter trip to Seattle is to dress appropriately. You won’t see the locals hunkering indoors for four months out of the year, and that’s because they know how to prepare for the rain.

Bring rain boots, a rain jacket, and waterproof gear. Dress in well-insulated layers to stay warm. Winter is also a good time to explore the many indoor attractions that Seattle has to offer.

Museums are open all year round. The most indoor concerts and plays happen between November and March. You can also do what the locals do and get cozy in one of Seattle’s many independent cafes.

Winter has some additional benefits, such as fewer crowds and lower prices. If you are on a budget or just don’t like waiting in line, you’ll probably think that summer is the worst season to visit Seattle.

Between June and early September, the city is crowded with tourists. If school vacations are not limiting you to visiting in the summer, you’ll want to come some other time.

Seattle by Month: Climate & Activities

Ferry crossing the water going toward downtown during the best time to visit Seattle

Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock

Still unsure about the best time to visit Seattle? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


Winter temperatures in Seattle range from 37-47°F. It’s a rainy season, providing a cozy atmosphere for exploring the city’s museums, coffee shops, and attending cultural events.


Similar to January, Seattle in February maintains cool temperatures between 37-49°F. Visitors can enjoy the city’s diverse culinary scene, visit local markets, and explore neighborhoods like Pike Place Market.


As spring begins, temperatures range from 39-53°F. Cherry blossoms bloom, and outdoor activities, such as hiking in nearby parks and exploring waterfronts, become popular.


Spring continues with temperatures between 42-57°F. April is an ideal time for attending festivals, such as the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, and enjoying the emerging greenery in the city.


In may, Seattle sees temperatures ranging from 47-63°F. It’s a great month for outdoor exploration, with blooming flowers in city parks and opportunities for kayaking on Puget Sound.


Summer arrives with temperatures between 52-69°F. June offers long days of daylight, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking in the nearby mountains or attending outdoor events such as the Make Music festival.


July maintains mild temperatures from 56-74°F. Summer is in full swing, with outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and water activities in Puget Sound attracting locals and tourists alike.


In August, Seattle sees temperatures between 57-75°F. It’s an ideal time for exploring nearby islands, like Bainbridge or Whidbey, and enjoying the city’s parks, such as Discovery Park or Green Lake.


As fall begins, temperatures range from 53-68°F. September offers a pleasant transition, with outdoor events, harvest festivals, and opportunities to explore the city’s neighborhoods.


Fall temperatures range from 47-59°F. October is perfect for admiring fall foliage in city parks, attending Halloween events, and experiencing the city’s vibrant arts and music scene.


November sees temperatures between 42-52°F. It’s a cozy month for coffee lovers, with plenty of local coffee shops to explore. Indoor activities, like visiting museums and art galleries, become popular.


Winter returns to Seattle with temperatures ranging from 37-47°F. December brings holiday festivities, Christmas markets, with the city adorned in lights and decorations. Visitors can enjoy holiday markets, seasonal performances, and the festive atmosphere of downtown Seattle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gorgeous view of a long exposure image of Seattle's waterfront with cars driving by and cloudy skies overhead, seen at dusk

Seattle, Washington – April 27, 2022: Seattle waterfront skyline with a view over the Great Wheel, the Puget Sound and traffic light trails at sunset/SvetlandSF/Shutterstock

Here are some other questions that can help you find the best time to visit Seattle:

What is the best month to visit Seattle?

The best month to visit Seattle is September, when the weather is still warm but the worst of the summer crowds are thinning out.

What are the least expensive months to go to Seattle?

January and February are usually the least expensive months to go to Seattle. You can find good deals well into spring, in March and April, as well as the late fall.

When is the rainy season in Seattle?

Seattle doesn’t have a rainy season per se because it has wet weather all year round. It rains the most between mid-October and mid-April.

How many days in Seattle is enough?

For the city of Seattle itself, you need three or four days to explore. If you want to also explore some of the surrounding nature, add a few more days.

Do you need a car in Seattle?

No, you don’t need a car in Seattle as it has decent public transportation, unless you are planning hikes outside of the city. Keep in mind that the traffic is notoriously bad.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Seattle?

Seattle may be rainy, but the rains peter out in the summer for glorious weather in June, July, and August. If you want to avoid crowds but still have good weather, then visit in the fall.

So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Seattle has to offer. Happy travels!