Series: City Guides

What is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Seattle?

Posted on Aug 20, 2020

Are you ready to take a trip to the Emerald City but aren’t sure what the best time of year to visit Seattle is? While there’s no bad time to visit Seattle, it may be best to limit your trip to certain months of the year. Determining the best time of year for your visit will depend on why you are visiting Seattle and what you want to get out of your trip. With our helpful guide you’ll be all set to plan your trip.

Best Time to Avoid the Rain

If you’re apprehensive about an especially wet trip to Seattle then you aren’t alone. Most people wondering about the best time of the year to visit Seattle are concerned about a wet, soggy trip.

It’s true, it rains a lot in Seattle. Seattle receives an average of 37.49 inches of rain each year. That means while it doesn’t rain every day, it does rain quite often. If you’re planning activities that bring you outdoors, such as going on local hikes or exploring the city, you’ll probably be more comfortable visiting when it’s not raining.

When is the best time of year to visit Seattle if you want to experience warm, dry weather? In a typical year that will be between June and September. June, July, August, and early September are the warmest months for the city, and the months with the least precipitation on average. The average daily temperature during those months is pleasantly in the 70’s.

There’s no guarantee that you won’t run into a bit of rain when you are in Seattle, so it’s best to prepare by bringing a light rain shell at a minimum. The summer months average about 5 rainy days each month, so planning ahead will ensure that you’re never left stuck indoors.

Best Time to Avoid Crowds

As you might expect, the best time to visit Seattle if you don’t want to run into crowds is not going to be the summer months. The driest months from June to September also happen to draw in the biggest crowds of people looking to take advantage of the great weather to explore the city.

The shoulder months tend to give a good balance between crowds and weather if you are willing to accept it might be cooler or slightly wetter than visiting in July and August. April–May and later September into early October still have great weather and lots to do. If you do go in April–May or September–October, be sure to pack some layers. While the days tend to be warm and pleasant, the evenings can become cool in the spring months and crisp in the fall months.

Of course, the best time to go to Seattle to avoid crowds is during the rainier months. The rainy season in Seattle doesn’t start until late-October and runs through late-March. While the summer months tend to have higher rates for airfare and hotel prices alongside the crowds, the winter months tend to have lower rates. If you want to save even more while you are on your trip, check out our guide on free things to do in Seattle .

If you’re wondering, “should I move to Seattle?,” you might consider visiting during the fall or winter months. You’ll get a chance to experience more of the rain Seattle is so well known for, but you’ll also have less crowds at popular attractions and sites.

Best Time of the Year for Whale Watching

Whale watching is one of the most popular things to do in Seattle. The vast and beautiful Puget Sound is home to a variety of whales, including orcas, gray, and humpback whales. There are no shortage of ways you can watch whales when you visit Seattle, including from multiple areas along the shore, guided kayak tours, more traditional boat trips, or more adventurous seaplane trips.

What is the best time of year to visit Seattle for whale watching? Whatever your preferred whale-watching route, the best months to visit Seattle for whale watching are during the summer. While there are whales that take up residence in the Puget Sound throughout the year, migrating pods of orcas travel throughout the San Juan Islands between the months of May and October. If you want to do a more adventurous whale-watching tour, such as from a kayak, it may be best to stick to July and August which are the warmest, driest months of the year.

If you are planning to go whale watching when you are in the Emerald City, be sure to bring layered clothing. The summer months can be quite warm, but the weather out on the water can also be chilly at times. Bring some snacks, wear sunscreen, and keep a light jacket handy.

When to Visit for Festivals

Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to the shuttering of festivals so far this spring and summer, the Seattle area normally hosts some great festivals and events throughout the year.

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) runs from mid-may to mid-June. The largest film festival in the United States, the SIFF offers the chance to view more than 400 films. You’ll have the opportunity to view feature-length films, short films, and documentaries. The festival is centrally located in the Seattle Center campus at the SIFF Film Center, making it easy to access from anywhere in Seattle.

The Emerald City Comic-Con is also a big draw to the area. This event occurs in March, so you may still experience some wet weather if you go. The good news is you’ll have less crowds to deal with.

Two of the largest music festivals in the Seattle area occur at the beginning and end of the summer months. The Northwest Folklife Festival typically occurs over Memorial Day weekend, while the Bumbershoot Festival takes place over Labor Day weekend at the tail end of summer. If you’re looking for how to make friends in Seattle , these two festivals offer a great opportunity to meet people.

If you are looking for big events during the wetter months, there are some great options in the Seattle area. The Earshot Jazz Festival takes place in October just as the air begins to take on that chill, crisp feeling associated with Fall. If you are a boat enthusiast you may want to visit during January for the Seattle Boat Show, which brings together thousands of boats and boat owners in one of the biggest watercraft gatherings in the United States.

If you need help navigating the area on your way to different festivals or music venues, check out our guide to getting around Seattle .

Visiting for Outdoor Activities

If you’re visiting Seattle to do some hiking in the breathtaking Mount Rainier National Park, you’ll want to plan your visit for the warmer summer months. While the Park is open all year around, the Park’s trails are closed during the winter due to rain and snow.

The downside of visiting during the summer months is it’s the busiest period of time for the Park. If you’re interested in seeing the sights but not too many people, consider making your trip to the Park during mid-week rather than the weekend. Alternatively, spring and late-summer or early-fall can be great times to go, but keep in mind the weather in the Park is unpredictable even during summer months.

Though many parts of the Park are temporarily closed currently due to the pandemic, it is typically very busy. The Park has provided some tips that can help you see unforgettable sights without waiting in long lines. On the Park’s Twitter feed you’ll see the status of the Park, as well as congestion updates you can use to better plan your trip.

Closing Thoughts

To make the most out of your trip to Seattle you’ll want to visit during the best time of year for the activities you plan to be doing. While it can be quite rainy in Seattle during the winter months, the weather tends to be warmer and drier from June to August. If you are planning to spend most of your time outdoors, whether whale watching or hiking on a trail in nearby Mount Rainier National Forest, keeping to the summer season months will ensure you only experience a minimal amount of rain during outdoor recreation.

Keep in mind the period of time between June and August also tends to be the most crowded in the Seattle area as tourists flock to the region. If you’re comfortable with cooler temperature or wetter weather, the shoulder months of April–May or September–October can be a perfect time to visit the Emerald City with fewer crowds.

There is no shortage of great things to do in Seattle, or beautiful sights to see. To make the most of your trip, book a home with Zeus. Our Seattle furnished homes are available throughout the city, from centrally located properties that give you ready access to downtown Seattle, or homes further from downtown for individuals looking for outdoor adventures in the nearby National Park. Whether you are planning on moving to the area, or just visiting for a month on business, Zeus has some great options available for you.

To learn more or to begin searching for rentals in the Seattle metropolitan area, visit Zeus today.

Sources
  • https://santorinidave.com/best-time-to-visit-seattle
  • https://thepointsguy.com/guide/seattle-best-times-to-visit/
  • https://visitseattle.org/things-to-do/outdoors/seattle-whale-watching-101/
  • https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm
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