Seattle’s weather has a bad reputation. It rains in Seattle. However, at the end of the year, the year’s precipitation for Seattle almost always comes out behind such cities as Washington, Boston, New York, and Atlanta. Most of Seattle’s rain falls between October and April, so if you visit in the summer, you might not see a drop the entire time. Also, no matter what time of year you plan to visit Seattle, be sure to pack at least a sweater or light jacket. Summer nights can be quite cool, and daytime temperatures rarely climb above the low 80s Fahrenheit. Winters are not as cold as they are in the East, but snow does fall in Seattle. Because of the pronounced seasonality of the weather here, people spend as much time outdoors during the summer as they can, and accordingly summer is when the city stages all its big festivals. Because it stays light until 10pm in the middle of summer, it’s difficult to get Seattleites indoors to theater or music performances. But when the weather turns wet, Seattleites head for the theaters and performance halls in droves.
Rainy Season in Seattle
To find out the best time to visit Seattle, the number one factor to consider is: does what you want to do involve the weather? Seattle gets some rain in the winter. If you want to get out on a hike or walk along the shorelines or at the parks in the city, then consider visiting anytime other than the rainy season, which can start anywhere from September and can last until about March.
Popular Festivals and Events
Seattle has some awesome festivals and events and, with the exception of some holiday happenings, these take place largely in spring, summer and fall — with summer taking the lead. If you’re coming into town for one of the big festivals, like Seafair, and you want to stay right downtown, book well ahead. However, if you’re flexible about staying nearby, then you’ll have no trouble finding rooms even during huge events. But, be warned, Seattle traffic can be pretty bad so staying farther away during a large event means you’ll be sitting in it. This is especially true for games at T-Mobile Park at CenturyLink, July 4th at Gas Works Park, and some of the larger Seafair events where there is nowhere near enough parking for the masses. Either book well ahead to stay near the epicenter of these events, or look into public transportation.
Banks, government offices, post offices, and many stores, restaurants, and museums are closed on the following legal national holidays: January 1 (New Year’s Day), the third Monday in January (Martin Luther King, Jr., Day), the third Monday in February (Presidents’ Day), the last Monday in May (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day), the first Monday in September (Labor Day), the second Monday in October (Columbus Day), November 11 (Veterans’ Day/Armistice Day), the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day), and December 25 (Christmas). The Tuesday after the first Monday in November is Election Day, a federal government holiday in 2012 and in all presidential-election years (held every 4 years).
If you like hiking and you plan to go for hiking you may want to check our article about Long-Distance Wilderness hiking and Pacific Northwest Trail, Montana to Washington