Seattle is a fantastic city in the Pacific Northwest that you’ll love to visit. The only thing that might be holding you back is the weather. While people sure love to talk about how rainy the Emerald City is, if you come prepared, you’ll see the rain won’t hold you back.
Your view of the Seattle weather may depend upon your frame of reference. If you are native to Southern California, you might not get the hype. If, like us, you are from a more mercurial climate like the Northeast U.S., you will find Seattle to be superior nearly all times of year.
Although you won’t want to forget a rain jacket for those rainy days any time of the year, the rest of your packing list will depend on the season you’ve booked your vacation rental home. With this though, you’ll be ready to enjoy a great Seattle trip any time of the year!
Packing for Winter
Our winters are mild. Snow is a once-every-few-years phenomenon (the region becomes paralyzed with each infrequent dusting). Andy and Lynne, your Seattle Vacation Home hosts agree to disagree on what to wear in the winter in Seattle. Andy rarely wears a jacket, but Lynne thinks this is ridiculous bravado. Still, you will rarely need a down parka and woolen hat.
This is a casual city, so you’ll just need to dress in layers, including a sweater, and you should be fine. Due to our northern location, the sunlight hours are very short in the winter months. Add a beanie, leggings, and waterproof boots to your bag alongside your typical items and you’ll be good to go.
Packing for Summer
Our summers, meanwhile, are also better than those in most parts of the U.S.. Sunlight extends beyond 9 p.m. The skies are clear and there is rarely oppressive heat or humidity. You’ll be able to enjoy plenty of sunny days when you visit in the summer months.
Temperatures are comfortable, often between 70 and 85 degrees (21-29 Celsius). Summertime in Seattle is magical, with people flocking to the beach, the lakes and the mountains, greedily lapping up every moment of the season. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit so you can hop in the water, too!
Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes because you’ll want to spend a fair amount of time outside on your visit. In a lot of areas, the city is quite walkable, so pack your sunscreen and sunglasses, too.
Packing for Fall & Spring
Fall and spring are quite variable and you are subject to luck. We have worn shorts as early as March, yet there can be days in early June that mirror those in February. Temperatures are usually comfortable, say 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit (10-18 Celsius).
Our best packing tips we can give you for a visit in fall and spring are to check the weather, dress in layers, and be prepared for anything. With so much variety in your suitcase during these months, we suggest using packing cubes. That way you can fit far more in your carry-on while still staying organized.
You’ll want to bring long sleeves, t-shirts, and a hoodie, cardigan, or light jacket. Pair it with jeans and shorts or a dress or two, and you should be good to go.
What About the Rain?
What about the rain that everyone talks about? It turns out that Seattle is not really that rainy – in fact Washington, D.C. gets more rain each year than Seattle.
Nevertheless, while the volume of precipitation is moderate, Seattle can be dark and overcast for a long stretch (from November through April). You’ll rarely face a downpour, but will often feel wet, with a persistent mist.
Seattleites deal with this and you’ll see people outside in all weather. Most of us rarely carry an umbrella. The saying goes that if you see people in Seattle umbrellas, they are not locals. That said, Lynne happily discards her “local” status and often has an umbrella, along with some explanation concerning what water does to her hair.
A lightweight hooded windbreaker/raincoat will usually do the trick, and should definitely be on your packing list, regardless of the time of the year you visit.
Other Items to Pack
As to other items to pack, few restaurants require more than business casual dress (and often far less formal than even that!). This is the city of grunge after all!
Jeans and sneakers or hiking boots are generally favored over designer handbags and high heels. Bring some sweaters, a sweatshirt, jeans, that windbreaker noted above, and a small collapsible travel umbrella if you insist.
In the summer, consider bathing suits if you want to go to the beach. Don’t forget your sunglasses – which you might need at the same time you’re using your umbrella! Our homes are equipped with hair dryers, irons, and all the kitchen and laundry basics.
If you plan to head to Vancouver or Victoria for a day trip, don’t forget your passport.
We also suggest bringing a daypack to carry your goods throughout the day and a reusable water bottle so you don’t have to buy plastic bottles while you’re out. This is especially helpful if you plan to do some sightseeing outside of the city at our national parks.
Lastly, be sure to pack your toiletries, minimal makeup, and any electronics (and chargers!) you might need.
What You’ll Have at Your Vacation Rental Property
Your vacation rental house will be stocked with most of what you need for your stay. Bring your clothes and your toiletries, and just about anything else you need will be here and we’ll take care of the household goods. Keep in mind that you’ll have access to laundry so if you’re staying longer than a day or two, you can pack less and do a load of wash while here.
Items we provide include:
- All bedding (linens, blankets, pillows)
- Ironing board
- Body soap
- Hand soap
- Hair dryer
Our kitchen comes fully equipped with the basics to cook and enjoy most meals. This includes:
- Salt and pepper
- Pots and pans
- Drip coffee machine
We also provide a starter supply of the following items:
- Laundry detergent
- Dishwasher detergent
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Coffee filters
- Trash bags
Note that at present, we are not providing coffee, tea or cooking oil. If you wish to make coffee, we use a drip coffee maker and we provide filters.
You’re Ready to Pack for a Great Trip to Seattle
With this, you’re more than ready to start packing for everything you need on your next visit to Seattle. Regardless of the season you visit us in, you’re in for a great time, just don’t forget the basics!
As such a laidback city, you can pack lightly and stick to the basics. Just be sure to throw in any water-resistant clothing you might have so you stay extra dry while exploring our city on foot.