The Very Best Time to Visit Seattle

01/31/2024 | by Andy | Travel Tips

Whether you’re already nestled in one of our cozy vacation rental homes or contemplating a booking, Seattle has something unique to offer in every season. Seattle is perfectly positioned for an incredible location–from the breathtaking mountains and seascapes to the deep-rooted coffee culture (it is where Starbucks started, after all) to its highly international dining scene.

There’s no bad time to visit Seattle, but with this seasonal guide, you can get an idea of what kind of experience you want to plan for. But no matter what time of the year–you won’t be disappointed! Let’s dive in!

Spring in Seattle

Spring in Seattle is a wonderful time when the city starts to break out of the colder winter months, and the diversity of outdoor activities comes alive. Nature is bursting, and people are eager to get out into Seattle’s nature, so there are multiple outdoor festivals. The Pacific Northwest sees periodic spring showers, so pack your lightweight raincoat and get ready to enjoy some of Seattle’s best spring events!

Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival

Photo Credit: Vikki Kh

This three-day celebration celebrates spring through the lens of Japanese culture by putting on programming of martial arts, exhibits, culinary stands, children’s activities, and more! It also honors the significant part Japanese culture has played in Seattle’s history. Once held in Seward Park, you can now make your way to the Seattle Center for this ethnic festival.

 If you’d like to see more cherry blossoms, visit the University of Washington’s main campus or visit some of Seattle’s best Japanese gardens!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Photo Credit: Ganeshkumar Durai

Just a short drive north of Seattle, this beloved festival is definitely worth the day trip! Every year, thousands of visitors come to see the spectacle of Skagit Valley’s bursting tulip fields that some say look like a mini-Netherlands! After you’ve filled your camera roll with pictures of the vibrant scenes, stop off in the quaint historic city of Mount Vernon for lunch at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op for a taste of organic offerings.

Summer in Seattle

Seattle may be famous for its gloomy and overcast weather, but that just means that there’s nothing more lovely than a Seattle summer’s day! When the sun finally bursts through the cloud cover, the whole city comes alive to make the best of it. Because of the picture perfect weather, this is high season in the city.

It’s one of the best months for lounging around Lake Washington, hiking, biking, or enjoying sunny ferry rides on a day trip to one of the surrounding islands of Puget Sound to do some ad hoc whale watching!  In addition to all that, here are some lively events you won’t want to miss!

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons via Google Images CCL
  • Dates: Typically runs from May to early June
  • Location: Various venues throughout Seattle
  • Website:

One of the crowning jewels of Seattle’s summer cultural calendar is the renowned Seattle International Film Festival. Movie theaters across the city show a diverse range of domestic, indie, and foreign films, providing a buffet for film enthusiasts. You can hear more about the behind-the-scenes work that went into your favorite films at special screenings and panel discussions, as well. And bonus–if Seattle’s wet weather reemerges, this is also the perfect way to hide from Seattle’s iconic rainy days. Grab your popcorn and enjoy!

Seattle Pride Festival

Photo Credit: Mario Hagen

Seattle is known for being incredibly LGBTQ+ friendly, and every summer, the Seattle Pride Festival explodes with joy and celebration. This vibrant event takes over Capitol Hill with a lively parade, live performances, and a multitude of food and craft vendors. Join in the festivities to support the LGBTQ+ community and revel in the city’s commitment to equality.

Fall in Seattle

Although the Pacific Northwest is famous for its verdant greens and moody hues, the explosion of autumn colors is also a lovely backdrop for your stay in Seattle. The fall months of the year bring cooling temperatures.

The ambiance makes for the perfect opportunity to hop between downtown Seattle’s best coffee shops or peep changing leaves at some of Seattle’s iconic parks and gardens, such as Discovery ParkWashington Park Arboretum, and Kubota Garden.

Bumbershoot Festival

Photo Credit: MPH Photos
  • Date: Early to mid September
  • Location: Seattle Center
  • Website:

Kicking off the shoulder season with a bang, the Bumbershoot Festival is a celebration of music, art, and culture. Featuring a diverse lineup of artists, this Labor Day weekend event is anticipated all year long and aims to uplift and amplify artists from the Pacific Northwest and environs.

During the music festival, the Seattle Center becomes a hotspot for music lovers in this perfect farewell to summer event. (If you’re in town a bit later but still are craving live music, check out the Cloudfest music festival, which takes place in November at venues all over the city!)

Seattle Restaurant Week

Photo Credit: Daniel Gasienica via Flickr CC 2.0
  • Date: Mid to late October
  • Location: Various participating restaurants
  • Website:

Seattle Restaurant Week is a can’t-miss event for established or blossoming foodies. This is a great chance to try a wide range of Seattle’s diverse cuisine and support community dining initiatives. Since the restaurants offer fixed-price menus (between $20 and $65), there’s something for every budget. And it’s not just limited to restaurants–find deals at food trucks, bars, cafes, and pop-ups as well!

Winter in Seattle

While the weather may be cooler, Seattle’s winter season is a magical time to visit with fewer crowds but full on PNW ambiance. Seattlites take the festive season seriously, and the city lights up with Christmas displays and festive cheer.

Not to mention, it’s the perfect time to cozy up in one of the famous cafes, catch views of snow capped Mount Rainier from the Space Needle, or stroll through the vibe that is Pikes Place Market in the winter. Bundle up and get ready to enjoy the city during the low season!

Winterfest at Seattle Center

Photo Credit: vmax137 via Flickr CC 2.0

Kicking off the winter season is the iconic Winterfest at Seattle Center. This five-week event draws visitors searching for a winter wonderland. You can enjoy dazzling lights, festive decorations, and live performances. The Winter Train and Village even offers a scavenger hunt to keep inquisitive minds busy!

WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz
  • Dates: Late November to early January
  • Location: Woodland Park Zoo, 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA
  • Website:

WildLanterns is a favorite way for locals to illuminate the long winter nights! Starting at the Land of Winter Wonders, you can walk your way through hundreds of thousands of LED lights crafted into breathtaking displays. See light sculptures of flora, fauna, and everything in between–there’s even an interactive area to add to the festive atmosphere!

If you need a cozy indoor escape during this wet and rainy season, try spending an afternoon at the Seattle Art MuseumSeattle Aquarium, or MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture), which are all prime indoor activities.

Enjoy Seattle Year Round

The city of Seattle is a wonderful vacation destination for any time of the year. Whether you want to catch the blooming flowers of spring, the lively summer festivals, the colorful foliage of fall, or the enchanting winter lights, Seattle welcomes you with open arms. Get ready for your Emerald City adventure, and book a stay with us today!