Located on Puget Sound, the city of Seattle, Washington lies just south of Canada between the Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Wenatchee National Forest, and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Breathtaking natural scenery combined with the bustling, urban environment makes Seattle appealing to both nature enthusiasts and city slickers. Look forward to attending a foodie festival after hiking Mount Rainier, going whale watching, and attending concerts. Browse through numerous Seattle vacation rentals, and check out the city’s seasonal highlights.
Visiting Seattle in the Summer
With its far-north location, just shy of the Canadian border, Seattle doesn’t get that hot, even during those summer months of June, July, and August. High temperatures barely brush the mid-70s with lows in the 50s. With low humidity, mild temperatures, and .5 to 1.5 inches of rain, the summer weather is pretty perfect. Bring a light jacket for those cool summer nights, some shorts and pants, and you’re set. At this time, the wildflowers in the nearby national parks (which pretty much surround Seattle) are at their prettiest. Setting out on a hike at Mount Rainier or in the Olympic National Forest is one of the most popular activities. As long as you’re getting into nature, do some whale watching; summer is the season with orcas, humpback whales, and gray whales migrating through the waters. If you’re staying within the city limits, go to one of the many festivals. Seattleites like to take advantage of the weather, and outdoor festivals from the Seattle International Film Festival to Seafair are prevalent. Seattle in the summer fairly hums with activity.
Visiting Seattle in the Fall
While tourism peters out once fall sets in, it takes a little bit longer to get up to speed. September gets under 2 inches of rain, and October usually has under 3.5 inches. Temperatures are also still fairly mild with lows of 41 F and highs of 67 F. Pack a light jacket, long sleeve shirts, and long pants (and maybe some short-sleeve shirts and shorts for those warm afternoons). Not only is the city less crowded, but musical events pick up. The Earshot Jazz Festival and Bumbershoot both take place during the autumn season. If you want to go whale watching, humpbacks have their greatest showing during October and November. While events start to move inside, the foliage takes on the crisp, golden hue, making a hike at Mount Rainier a magical event. If you go before November, you’re unlikely to have to deal with snow.
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Visiting Seattle in the Winter
Winter brings rain. Temperatures drop to lows of 36 F in January with highs of 52 F in March. While cooler than fall, the winter months are usually above freezing. The rain picks up, averaging about 5 inches of precipitation per month. What to pack for this weather includes a raincoat or heavy jacket and umbrella. While the bustle in the city slows to a crawl, the Cascade Mountains are at their height of activity with skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Alpental, Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass, and the Summit at Snoqualmie all offer ski and snowboard rentals and access to their lifts up the mountains. Back in the city, festivals move indoors with the Seattle International Comedy Competition and Seattle Festival of Improvisational Theater. December features the Christmas Ship Festival followed by the Seattle Boat Show in January.
Visiting Seattle in the Spring
The rain tapers off come spring. Both April and May have less than 2 inches of snow per month. Temperatures range between 47 F and 64 F, so you can shed the heavier coat and go for something lighter. Just keep the umbrella close at hand for spring showers. Get a Seattle vacation rental close to the University of Washington where blossoming cherry trees will greet you every time you walk out your door. The Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival are two of the biggest draws during the spring months, making a stroll the perfect afternoon activity. Seattle starts to stir along with the blossoming flowers, but nature further afield, such as at Mount Rainier, isn’t as welcoming to visitors. Not enough snow for skiing and too much for hiking makes it better to stick closer to home.
When Is The Best Time to Visit Seattle?
While summer is the peak tourist season, the best time to visit Seattle is in the early fall. September and October offer mild weather, little chance of rain, and low humidity. A light jacket and an umbrella protect you from any inclement area, while plenty of sunshine is available. Furthermore, the crowds of the peak season have dwindled. With people back at work and kids back in school, you have space. Add to this plenty of festivals, fall foliage, and a plethora of humpback whales, and there’s no downside to a Seattle vacation during the autumn.
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