The Best Time To Go To Seattle
The Best Time To Go To Seattle
- Best time for outdoor recreation: Seattle has consistently dry, sunny, and warm weather from mid-July through September – perfect for local hiking, biking, and boating. Puget Sound waters are not ideal for swimming, as they rarely get above 13°C. October through June is generally cold and damp, and many Mount Rainier hiking trails are closed for the winter. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing season in nearby mountain areas usually lasts from late November until April or May.
- Best time for food and wine: Seattle restaurants and the winery tasting rooms in nearby Woodinville are great to visit at any time of year (though they can be very busy in the peak season months of July and August). The region’s famous Copper River salmon arrives in Seattle’s restaurants and markets in May and is generally available through mid-June. Many of Seattle’s best restaurants create and sell special three-course dinners at a discount during Seattle Restaurant Week, held twice-yearly in April and October. The Bite of Seattle, Seattle’s biggest food festival, takes place under the Space Needle in mid-July. Taste Washington, a regional wine and food event, is held in late March or early April.
- Best time to visit Pike Place Market: With dozens of covered stalls, restaurants, bars, and galleries, any time of year can be a good time to visit Pike Place Market. Blooming flowers and blue skies mean that the Market is at its loveliest (and most crowded) during the warm, sunny days of late spring, summer, and early fall. Winter months at the Market are just as charming, without being as busy. Generally pleasant weather and the thinner non-summer crowds make the months of May and September a best bet.
- Best time for whale watching: Whale watching season near Seattle falls between March and October, with the species of whale you’re likely to see varying by month within that range. The first gray whales appear in the region in March and April. Orcas are common in the summer months of May through September, and humpback whales are most often seen in October and November.
- Best time to view flowers: Seattle is abloom in the springtime, making it the perfect time of year to see beautiful flowers during your visit. The University of Washington’s famous blossoming cherry trees bloom yearly in March, and April brings the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Prime blooming season at the Rhododendron Species Garden is mid-March through mid-May, and of course bright bouquets of blooms can be found year-round in the stalls of Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
- Best time for music fans: Summer in Seattle is bookended by two large and popular music festivals that take place in the shadow of the Space Needle: The Northwest Folklife Festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend (the last weekend in May), and the Bumbershoot Festival happens over Labor Day weekend, the first weekend of September. October brings the Earshot Jazz Festival. The Seattle Symphony’s season runs from mid-September through mid-June, and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival takes place annually in January.
- Best time to visit Mount Rainier: July, August, and September are the best months to visit Mount Rainier National Park, when the snow has melted and hiking trails are open. Mountain wildflowers are at their peak around early August, and fall colors are best in the first half of October. Many park areas and roads are closed throughout the winter (mid-October/early November through June), though the road to Paradise stays open year round for those who wish to see the mountain by car.
Seattle Travel Seasons
- High Season (June to August): Sunny, dry, and warm, with daytime highs generally around 24°C and low humidity. Flights, ferries, and tours all run with greater frequency during this time. Hotel and travel prices will be higher, and availability will turn scarce — make reservations well in advance. This is cruise ship season, with many sea-going tourists in town as they journey to and from Alaska via the Port of Seattle. Expect crowds, especially on weekends, as local music and art festivals mean that both tourists and locals are out en masse.
- Shoulder Season (April to May, September to October): Crowds dwindle with the possibility of rain, though the weather is often wonderfully pleasant – especially in May and September – with plenty of sun and daytime highs around 15-20°C. The combination of lower travel prices and the lack of summer sightseers can make shoulder season an ideal time to visit Seattle if your plans do not require a guarantee of dry weather.
- Low Season (November to March): Tourists generally stay away from Seattle during the colder months. The weather is consistently wet, breezy, and cold (usually around 4-10°C.), so it’s not a great time for sightseeing. Museum lovers and those heading to the mountains to ski, however, can find some great deals on airfare and hotel rooms during this period.
Seattle Weather by Month
The best weather in Seattle is from late June to early September. July and August are the busiest months when hotels are full and restaurants are crowded. May, June, September, and October usually have nice weather and fewer tourists making them great months to visit if you’re not after hot summer weather. Most of Seattle’s best attractions lend themselves to enjoying even with a little rain which makes Seattle a good year-round destination.
Seattle Temperature by Month (daily high in celsius)
Seattle Rain by Month (mm)
- January weather in Seattle: January falls squarely in the middle of Seattle’s rainy season. Temperatures are cold (though usually not cold enough for snow), it’s raining much of the time, and the air is damp. Most locals choose to stay indoors or escape to the mountains for snow activities. (Average Max Temperature: 8.3°C. Average Rainfall: 142mm.)
- February weather in Seattle: Temperatures in Seattle remain chilly in February, though rainfall tends to be a bit lighter and we begin to see a few more dry days. Nevertheless, Seattle remains grey and windy, and everything is usually wet. It’s a great time to visit Seattle’s many museums and restaurants. (Average Max Temperature: 9.4°C. Average Rainfall: 89mm.)
- March weather in Seattle: March sees about the same amount of breezy rain as February, but daytime temperatures begin to creep above 10°C. The sun also begins to poke through the clouds a bit more on dry days and bits of blue sky are seen amid the grey. Daffodils and cherry trees are in bloom, making March a good time to explore Seattle’s charming neighborhoods and parks. (Average Max Temperature: 11.6°C. Average Rainfall: 94mm.)
- April weather in Seattle: Temperatures continue to rise in April, and we start to see a significant drop in rainfall compared to the previous two months. The sky is more often blue, but breezes remain chilly and the air can be damp, so you’ll want to pack layers. (Average Max Temperature: 14.7°C. Average Rainfall: 68.5mm.)
- May weather in Seattle: May is generally a beautiful month in Seattle, with temperatures into the late teens and more days of sun and blue skies than rain. Even so, the evenings in May are chilly, and periods of rain are not uncommon, so a jacket and an umbrella are still a good idea. (Average Max Temperature: 18.2°C. Average Rainfall: 48mm.)
- June weather in Seattle: Seattle’s fickle June weather marks the change from the rainy to dry season. While some days are sun-filled, warm, and summer-like, others can feel more like March or April: gloomy, cold, and damp. Approaching the solstice on the 21st, the sun doesn’t set in Seattle until almost 10pm, providing long days perfect for outdoor recreation. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Rainfall: 40.6mm.)
- July weather in Seattle: Summer truly arrives in Seattle in July. A pleasant and predictable pattern sets in with little rain, daytime temperatures in the mid-20’s, low humidity, and plenty of sun (especially in the middle and latter part of the month). Outdoors is the place to be. High tourist season is well underway, so expect crowds on dining patios and hiking trails, and book outdoor excursions well in advance. (Average Max Temperature: 24.3°C. Average Rainfall: 17.8mm.)
- August weather in Seattle: Dry, warm, sunny summer weather continues throughout August, traditionally Seattle’s warmest month. Daytime temperatures hover pleasantly around the mid-20’s, rarely getting above 30°C. Marine air cools the city at night, so packing a light jacket is advisable. And while the sun may shine hot, Puget Sound water temperature hovers at a brisk 13°C during the summer months, so most folks enjoy being on the water, rather than in the water. (Average Max Temperature: 24.6°C. Average Rainfall: 22.8mm.)
- September weather in Seattle: Days shorten and the air begins to feel crisp at night, but Seattle Septembers still feel summerlike. Expect warm temperatures, little rain, and plenty of sunshine this month. Tourism begins to slow after Labor Day Weekend, and the combination of thinning crowds and pleasant weather make September an ideal time to visit Seattle. (Average Max Temperature: 21.4°C. Average Rainfall: 38mm.)
- October weather in Seattle: Late October is traditionally the beginning of Seattle’s rainy season. While the beginning of October is often sunny and dry, the average air temperature cools significantly throughout this month, and we begin to see the return of clouds, fog, and wet weather. Leaves turn colors and autumn begins: early October is the best time to view the fall foliage on Mount Rainier. (Average Max Temperature: 15.4°C. Average Rainfall: 89mm.)
- November weather in Seattle: Seattle’s wettest month is November, with heavy rain and winds. While not ideal for outdoor activities, the discounted hotel and travel rates that accompany the rainy season can make October a great time to visit – staying warm and dry in Seattle’s many museums, galleries, and restaurants. (Average Max Temperature: 10.5°C. Average Rainfall: 167.6mm.)
- December weather in Seattle: December in Seattle is dark and windy, with almost constant rain. Days grow shorter, and the sun sets before 5pm around the mid-month. Temperatures have dropped significantly, and though snowfall is rare in the Seattle area, the surrounding mountain peaks are newly coated in the white stuff. Nearby ski resorts are now open and busy – it’s a good time to head for the hills. (Average Max Temperature: 7.6°C. Average Rainfall: 137.2mm.)