Seattle is a hip, fun town with lots to offer, including great food, outdoor activities, local attractions, and a vibrant nightlife scene.
The Emerald City is also home to some of the best coffee in the world, so coffee lovers will want to add Seattle to their list of must-visit destinations. But if you’re planning a trip, it’s crucial to know the best time to visit Seattle, especially since it has quite a rainy reputation.
We’ll explain the best times to go to Seattle depending on your specific preferences, budget, desired activities, and overall trip goals.
We’ll also inform you when it might be best to avoid heading to Seattle so that you can make the most of your trip — even if you must postpone it for a bit!
Why You Should Visit Seattle
No matter which time of year you visit Seattle, there will always be something to do. The Emerald City is home to various attractions, activities, and events that appeal to all types of travelers.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love all the hiking and skiing opportunities in and around Seattle. Some of these options include:
If the outdoors isn’t your thing, there’s no reason for concern. Foodies will enjoy exploring the city’s diverse culinary scene, and coffee lovers won’t want to miss out on the chance to visit some of Seattle’s world-famous coffee shops.
Those interested in art and culture will appreciate the city’s many museums and galleries, like the Seattle Art Museum. And, of course, Seattle is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of some iconic landmarks like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market.
Ultimately, Seattle is a great destination for any traveler. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that the city is becoming increasingly popular.
Overall Best Time to Visit Seattle
The best time to visit The Emerald City is generally between June and September, when the weather is the warmest and driest.
More specifically, July and August are the driest and sunniest months of the year for Seattle. The average rainfall in July is 0.93 inches and in August is 1.16 inches. However, these months are also the peak tourist season, so accommodation and flight prices will be at their highest.
Despite its reputation for heavy rain throughout the year, Seattle has a relatively mild climate, especially compared to other cities in the Pacific Northwest.
Therefore, if you want to avoid too many crowds and keep your budget low, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to head to Seattle in the shoulder months of April-May or September-October.
Cheapest Time to Visit Seattle
The Cheapest time to fly to Seattle is usually during the winter months of December through February. However, accommodation costs might still be high, as hotels expect family and friends to visit for the holiday season.
Therefore, if you want to have a good deal on flights and find a bargain on accommodations, try visiting Seattle during the shoulder months, such as March, April, and October.
You can also use Skyscanner’s Whole Month Search tool or Hopper to help you find the best flight deals for your trip to Seattle. Skyscanner helps you compare flights across different airlines to find the cheapest options for your desired travel dates.
Hopper also uses historical flight data to predict future flight prices so that you can book your tickets in advance and save even more money.
Least Busy Time to Visit Seattle
The least busy time to visit Seattle is generally during the winter months of December through February. Of course, this period is also the time when flights and accommodation are relatively cheap.
If you’re going to Seattle for nightlife, events, and festivals, you might enjoy the bustling urban environment and should visit in the summer.
However, the winter months are optimal if you’re looking for a quieter time with less hustle and bustle. There won’t be as many tourists, which is better for people who prefer a more relaxed pace and families.
Keep in mind that the weather is usually colder and wetter during this time, so be sure to bring appropriate clothing and plan your activities ahead of time.
Finally, if you would like to enjoy the surrounding national and state parks without too many crowds but don’t want to visit in the winter when outdoor recreation is closed, dangerous, or simply not as enjoyable, try visiting in the Spring instead of the summer.
Worst Time to Visit Seattle
The worst time to visit Seattle is similar to the best time in that it genuinely depends on your trip objectives and personal preferences.
November and December are arguably the worst months to visit Seattle because they’re the rainiest months of the year in the city. You can expect around 5.67 inches of rain in November and 6.06 inches in December.
If rain doesn’t bother you, and you’re more interested in getting great deals on flights, accommodations, tickets, shopping, and more, then you may consider November or December the best time of year to go!
Additionally, suppose you’re visiting the city and surrounding area for hiking, camping, and climbing. In that case, the winter months of December, January, and February are the worst times to visit Seattle because it will be rainy and the weather will be freezing.
Outdoor enthusiasts may prefer to visit during this time to enjoy all the popular winter pastimes in the area. These activities include:
- Downhill skiing
- Cross-country skiing
- Ice climbing
If you decide to go during this time, it’s best to stay in a hotel, Airbnb, or lodge rather than at a campsite.
Things to Consider
There are several factors you may want to consider before taking a trip to Seattle. Choosing the perfect time to go for your preferences requires some careful planning.
Some things to keep in mind are the weather, price of flights and accommodation, events and festivals happening in the city, and how busy it will be.
It’s imperative to do some research to have the best experience possible and make the most of your time and money. But here are a few tips to get you started.
Things to Do
The best things to do for a short stay in Seattle include:
- The Pike Place Market
- The Seattle Art Museum
- The Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Kerry Park
- The Museum of Flight
Visit popular attractions like Pike Place Market or the Space Needle as early as possible to avoid crowds. It also helps to take public transportation as this will allow you to avoid traffic and help the environment at the same time.
If you plan on spending several weeks or months visiting multiple national parks, consider buying an annual National Park Pass to get more bang for your buck.
For adventurers, visiting Snoqualmie Pass is an excellent option if you plan on doing fun winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
What to Pack
Pack walking shoes because Seattle is a very walk- and bike-friendly city. Bring a light jacket, even if you’re going in the summer, because the weather can still get a bit chilly in the evenings. You should also bring a raincoat, no matter what time of the year you’re visiting, just in case!
Where to Eat
If you have a short amount of time in Seattle, make sure to drink coffee from a small cafe and eat fresh seafood! Some of the best restaurants in Seattle include:
- Shaker + Spear – a chic seafood restaurant
- The Pink Door – a popular Italian spot
- Shuckers – an upscale oyster bar
If you’re looking for more casual restaurants, check out:
- Tilikum Place Cafe – an eclectic bistro
- Tacos Chukis – a casual Mexican spot
- Marination – an incredible Hawaiian joint
As you can see, Seattle is a food lover’s paradise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Planning a trip to this popular city may be fun at first but can quickly turn overwhelming. If this is the case for you, we’ve got your back. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about visiting Seattle.
What is the rainy season in Seattle?
The rainy season in Seattle is relatively long. It generally lasts from October to March. The rainiest month tends to be November, with December being the second rainiest month.
What month is the warmest in Seattle?
In August, there is an average high temperature of 77°F and an average low of 58° F. in Seattle. This factor makes August, on average, the warmest month, which is also why it tends to be one of the most popular months to visit The Emerald City.
How many days do you need in Seattle?
This answer depends on what you want to do and see while in Seattle. If you’re only interested in visiting the most popular tourist locations in the city, then 2-3 days should be enough time. However, if you want to get a more in-depth feel of the city, have a leisurely itinerary, or want to explore outside of the urban area and visit surrounding national parks, then you may want to extend the trip to at least 1-2 weeks.
What is the least rainy month in Seattle?
July is the least rainy month in Seattle. Since July has the fewest number of rainy days, it competes with August for being the most popular month to visit the city. This month is a great time to visit Seattle if you want to avoid the rain at all costs. However, you will have to compensate with crowds and higher prices.
Is Seattle worth visiting?
Yes, Seattle is worth visiting! The city has a lot to offer in terms of culture, food, nightlife, outdoors, and more. Additionally, Seattle is a great base for exploring the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.
What is the coldest month in Seattle?
December is the coldest month in Seattle, with an average low of 36.1°F and an average high of 46.5°F. You should refrain from going at this time if you want to visit Seattle for festivals, city exploration, or warm-weather hiking.
What is Seattle best known for?
Some of the things that Seattle is best known for include its coffee culture, being the birthplace of grunge music, and being a major technology hub. Seattle is also known for its scenic beauty, with the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound serving as a backdrop to the city.
What is the off-season in Seattle?
The off-season in Seattle generally refers to the months of January and February. This time is when the weather is at its worst, with both cold temperatures and rain, making it a less ideal time to visit. However, you can often find cheaper rates and smaller crowds during this time. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly trip or want to avoid the tourist crowds, visiting Seattle during the off-season may be a good option.
What is the snowiest month in Seattle?
The month when Seattle receives the most snow is February. February is an excellent time to go to Seattle and the surrounding areas for snow activities such as snowboarding, skiing, tubing, and more.
How safe is Seattle?
Seattle is generally a safe place to visit and arguably one of the safest urban environments in the country. However, as with any major city, some areas are best avoided, especially at night.
Is April a good time to visit Seattle?
Yes, April is a great time to visit Seattle! The weather is starting to warm up, and the rain begins to taper off. Additionally, this time is when outdoor events and festivals begin to kick back off. You can also find some great deals on hotels and flights during this time. Just be sure to pack your rain gear just in case!
What food is Seattle most known for?
Besides Seattle’s famous coffee culture, the city offers access to plenty of delicious eateries. Foods that the city is known for include but are not limited to oysters, sushi, pho, seafood, and the “Seattle Dog” – a Seattle-style hot dog topped with cream cheese and sautéed onions. Don’t knock it until you try it!
Is there skiing near Seattle?
Stevens, Crystal, and Snoqualmie Pass are all relatively accessible from Seattle by car.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Seattle?
No matter when you decide to visit Seattle, you’re sure to have a great time! Some say the best time to visit Seattle is in the summertime, specifically in July and August.
But in reality, the best time to visit Seattle depends on what you’re looking to do and what your preferences are. The best time to visit Seattle is in July if you want to avoid the rain.
But, you will have to deal with large crowds and higher prices. If you don’t mind the rain and want to avoid the crowds and get better deals, the best time to visit Seattle is during the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October.
Keep in mind that the weather during these months can be unpredictable, so be sure to pack a raincoat!