Best Time to Visit Seattle for Weather, Prices, and Crowds

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A city with high buildings and trees with a mountain in the background
Seattle offers a variety of activities for visitors depending on the season

Seattle is a popular tourist destination for its vibrant music scene, unique artistic flair, and energized coffee culture. But your experience in the city can vary based on what time of year you come.

From the cold, wet winters to the warm, dry, summers, every month and season in Seattle offers visitors something different.

Seattle is the largest city in Washington State and one of the most popular spots in the Pacific Northwest.

As such, the city is home to countless festivals and outdoor events during the drier months, with well-known attractions like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market welcoming visitors all year round.

Before you plan your trip, you need to know a little bit about what to expect when you come. This will ensure you get the most out of your vacation.

After reading this article, you will know all about the best time to visit Seattle for great weather, the lowest prices, and the fewest crowds.

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Seattle Vacation Planning Questions

A Ferris wheel by a body of water with buildings in the background
The best time to visit Seattle depends on the activities you want to experience
A tall tower in Space Needle surrounded by buildings and trees
Many people choose to visit the Space Needle in Seattle during the summer

When is the best time to visit Seattle?

Most people choose to visit Seattle in the summer (June-September). The combination of great weather and school being on break brings a substantial number of tourists to the city.

There's plenty to do and see during the summer months, from visiting the Space Needle to enjoying the many seasonal festivals. The downside is that hotel and travel costs will be at their peak.

That's why the best time to visit Seattle is often considered April or October. This allows you to experience the city's outdoor attractions and events without the hectic summer crowds or inclement winter weather.

If you're planning to visit Mt. Rainier for skiing or snowboarding, the winter (December-March) months offer the most favorable conditions for enjoying the snow-laden mountain.

The best time to visit Seattle is January to February if you enjoy indoor activities
Prices for visiting Seattle are lowest in January and February

When is the cheapest time to go to Seattle?

Budget travelers often choose to go to Seattle during January and February. The tourist season doesn't begin until the spring (March-June), and hotel and airfare costs have fallen from December's holiday levels.

This is the best time to see Seattle if you're alright with spending most of your trip indoors. You won't be bored though--there's no shortage of museums and theatres to enjoy. Plus, the covered stalls of the Pike Place Market make it a year-round attraction.

If it's convenient, you might consider planning your trip in March when prices are still relatively low. The weather will be better and you'll have more outdoor activities to choose from.

Sergii Figurnyi/
The silver, purple, and blue exterior of the Museum of Pop Culture on a sunny day
January and February are the cheapest times to fly to Seattle

When is the cheapest time to fly to Seattle?

From most locations, the mid-winter months of January and February are the cheapest times to fly to Seattle.

Tourism is at its lowest during this period. The daytime Seattle average temperature rarely tops 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also the rainy season, although February is slightly less wet.

There are some great hotel and flight deals to be had but you should plan for indoor activities like exploring the Museum of Pop Culture or sipping a latte at the city's many coffee shops.

Or you could take a food tour of Pike Place Market--one of Seattle's most popular attractions.

November and March have better weather and are still value-priced, although not at the rock-bottom fares seen in January and February.

A city skyline with a tall tower and dark clouds
November, December, and January are the wettest and coldest months in Seattle

When is the rainy season in Seattle?

The rainy season in Seattle begins in October and continues until March.

November, December, and January are the wettest. They're also the coldest. Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit are typical beginning in mid-November.

Both locals and tourists usually spend these months indoors. Don't worry though, you'll still find plenty of unique things to do in Seattle during its rainy season.

You can check out the indoor art gallery at Chihuly Garden and Glass or stop at the family-friendly Pacific Science Center.

If you visit in December, you can't miss the Christmas Ship Festival. Be sure to cruise on the brightly lit and decorated "Spirit of Seattle" while you are there.

A beach with buildings and trees in the background
Whale watching in Seattle can be done from land with prime spots being Alki Beach

When is the best time to visit Seattle for whale watching?

Whales are seen in Puget Sound all year long, but the best time of year to go to Seattle for whale watching is the warmer months of May through October.

Most visitors travel to the area to spot the famous orcas but you're likely to catch a glimpse of humpback and gray whales, too.

If you're coming to Seattle to see the whales, you have a few choices. The cheapest is to keep watch from land, with prime spots being Alki Beach and Discovery Park's beach.

But the most popular option is to take a whale-watching boat tour. These put you as close as 200 yards from the giant marine mammals. The top tours go to the San Juan Islands where many of the region's best whale sightings occur.

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Fall-colored trees in a park with the Space Needle in the background
Visiting Seattle in the fall means fewer crowds and a less expensive trip

When is the best season to visit Seattle?

In general, summer (June-September) is the best season to visit Seattle. The weather is warmest--peaking comfortably in the 70s degrees Fahrenheit. Rain is almost non-existent, especially in the dry months of July and August.

The summer season brings the crowds to the city, and as a result, attractions are at their busiest and hotel prices the highest.

If you're willing to deal with the occasional rain and slightly cooler temperatures, you might want to consider visiting in the fall (September-December).

Fall in Seattle--at least before the rainy season hits in November--brings mild weather with highs in the 60s degrees Fahrenheit and moderate rainfall.

Crowds die down after Labor Day, allowing you to explore the city more cheaply and with less waiting for service and in queues.

A body of water with a bridge and buildings in the background
Seattle experiences the best weather from May to October to enjoy the waterfront

When is the best weather to visit Seattle?

Seattle sees its best weather from May to October, although the peak season July and August months have the warmest temperatures and lowest chances of rain.

The city begins to get out on the water in May with the weeklong Seattle Maritime Festival. You can go on a ship tour or take a shot at welding like the boat builders.

If sitting back and relaxing is more your style, the great weather is ideal for exploring Seattle's waterfront with a boat tour of Elliot Bay.

From the end of October until late March, Seattle's weather turns cold and rainy. If you're looking for blue skies and warm winds, avoid January and February for sure.

Darryl Brooks/
A walkway to a blue building with the sign "Seattle Aquarium"
Seattle Museum Month offers deals for Seattle's most popular attractions in February

When is the worst time to visit Seattle?

The beginning of the year is generally the worst time to visit Seattle. January and February are cold, wet, and often devoid of sunshine.

It's not all doom-and-gloom though--these months still offer plenty of indoor attractions for visitors.

Flights and hotels are at their lowest prices during these months and budget-conscious travelers can save even more with Seattle Museum Month in February.

Throughout the entire month, tourists staying at select downtown hotels get half-price admission to two dozen of Seattle's most popular spots like Frye Art Museum, the Museum of Flight, and the Seattle Aquarium.

The winter (December-March) months are, however, the best times to visit Seattle if you want to go skiing on Mt. Rainier.

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Seattle

A pier next to a body of water with boats and buildings in the distance
The best and worst times to visit Seattle based on weather, prices, and crowds

Seattle in January

Visitors can expect no shortage of cold weather and rainy days in Seattle in January. High temperatures average around 45 degrees Fahrenheit and six inches of rainfall is typically experienced during the month.

Inclement weather during the first part of the year means most locals--and the few visitors who brave the city--spend a large portion of the day indoors.

This makes January the perfect time to take in the famous landmarks in Seattle while the crowds are at a minimum. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, museums and other area attractions offer free admission.

Ringing in the New Year with a trip to Seattle? Start January off by dipping into the frigid waters of Matthews Beach at the Polar Bear Plunge.

Seattle in February

The rain begins to let up a little in February. Showers are still frequent though, and the average temperature will barely top 50 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the month.

Even though the city is beginning to come back to life, there are few out-of-towners. Airfare and hotel pricing is low so take advantage before the inevitable rise in March.

For those who do venture to Seattle in February, events like the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival and the Seattle Boat Show are popular draws for locals and tourists alike.

February is also a great time to check out the covered stalls of the famous Pike Place Market and take a chef-guided food tour.

Seattle in March

Spring (March-June) showers are common in Seattle in March, though not the intense downpours seen in December and January. The weather is warming with average highs in the 50s degrees Fahrenheit.

Events are kicking off around the city. One of the largest is the Emerald City Comic Con which draws 100,000 visitors to the Seattle Convention Center.

Then there's Taste Washington, a celebration of food and wine from the region. This event brings foodies and connoisseurs for curated dinners, fine wine samplings, and educational seminars.

March is also the best time of year to visit Seattle for the cherry blossoms. Most trees are in full bloom by the middle of the month. Great spots to see them include the Washington Park Arboretum and Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill.

Seattle in April

The weather in Seattle begins to improve in April. Daytime temperatures reach the 60s degrees Fahrenheit and rain is less frequent than so far in the year.

Crowds are beginning to pick up, with airfare and hotel costs rising concurrently. April does, however, still offer great value and fewer visitors than in the busy summer (June-September) months.

Flowers are everywhere across the city. One of the biggest events in Seattle in April is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Visitors take a driving tour of more than a million blooming flowers--a feast for the senses.

April also hosts Seattle's Moisture Festival, an annual comedy and performing arts affair billed as the largest in the world. Events also take place at the Broadway Performance Hall and Hale's Palladium.

Seattle in May

May in Seattle means comfortable highs in the 60s degrees Fahrenheit and the occasional light rain. The busy summer (June-September) season hasn't quite arrived making this a wonderful time to visit.

Crowds start picking up later in the month, however, as schools across the country begin to let out for summer break.

One of the biggest Seattle cultural draws of the year, the Northwest Folklife Festival brings more than a quarter-million visitors to the Seattle Center. The event, held over Memorial Day Weekend, is a celebration of the region's cultural arts and traditions.

The Seattle International Film Festival also returns every May, bringing together the best independent filmmakers from across the world.

Seattle in June

June is the best time to travel to Seattle, Washington, for families looking to visit ahead of the peak months of July and August.

Rain is uncommon this month and the daily highs are typically in the 70s degrees Fahrenheit. It's not quite as nice out as the weather you'll experience in the coming months, but prices are slightly lower, and crowds are a little sparser.

Seattle Pride takes place every June, celebrating Seattle's LGBTQ community with Pride Month events featuring throughout the city. It culminates with a parade through Capitol Hill followed by a huge after-party at the Seattle Center.

If you like craft beer, don't miss the Washington Brewers Festival with around 100 regional breweries participating in the weekend event.

Seattle in July

The peak summer (June-September) season is roaring by July with the best weather of the year. This also brings the biggest crowds.

Summer in Seattle means temperatures in the 70s degrees Fahrenheit and beautiful clear, blue skies--the perfect time to take a break from other travelers and go on an intimate tour of the city by air.

If staying on the ground is more your style, July's multiday Capitol Hill Block Party features some of the world's most famous musicians.

The Seattle Art Fair hosts nearly 100 galleries from the city and beyond to showcase the best contemporary and modern art exhibitions.

Budget-conscious tourists would be wise to avoid Seattle in July as prices are at their highest.

Seattle in August

August is the warmest month in Seattle, with temperatures in the high 70s degrees Fahrenheit most days. The evenings average around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for exploring so many of the things to do at night in Seattle.

Rain is uncommon this time of year, although August sees slightly more rainy days than July. Showers rarely last long, however, and aren't likely to interfere with your plans.

The Seafair Celebration and its roster of maritime and land-based events wrap up in August with the Seafair Weekend Festival. One of the most popular attractions is the Seafair Air Show featuring the Blue Angels, the second oldest formal flight acrobatic team in the world.

Watershed, at the Gorge Amphitheatre, is a popular country music festival attracting attendees from all over the nation for three days of performances and camping.

Seattle in September

Most insiders consider September the best month to visit Seattle if you want to enjoy the summer weather without the peak season pricing and crowds--with the exception of the Labour Day weekend festivities.

If music is your jive, you can't go wrong by being part of the long-running Bumbershoot festival gathers musicians and performers for one of the largest events of its type in the Pacific Northwest.

September also means it's time for the Washington State Fair. Held in nearby Puyallup since 1900, the fair remains ranked as one of the largest in the country with thrilling rides, livestock shows, and countless other exhibits.

The pleasant weather and reduced number of visitors to Seattle in the fall make September a smart time to take a scenic day trip to Mt. Rainier.

Seattle in October

Rain picks up again in October while the temperatures continue to drop. But Seattle isn't done for the year by any means.

There's still a lot going on around town for tourists and locals. The Earshot Jazz Festival is the city's biggest jazz event of the year, with performances at Seattle venues throughout the month.

The Seattle Queer Film Festival is an October tradition that showcases LGBTQ+ productions at curated screenings across more than a dozen different categories.

But perhaps the most popular reason tourists come to Seattle in the autumn (September-December) is for the changing of the leaves. October is the prime opportunity to be entranced by the trees showing off their foliage in all shades of yellow and red.

Seattle in November

The rainy season is underway in November, with rain putting a damper on outdoor activities more often than not. Temperatures are also dropping, meaning most people spend most of their time indoors.

Despite the rain, the Seattle Marathon, held late in November attracts thousands of onlookers and participants prepared to brave the inclement weather to watch or participate in its running and walking events.

There's also the Freakout Festival. This diverse weekend music event combines an outdoor street fest with performances at various concert venues in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

Seattle Restaurant Week takes place every year in October and November. If you're visiting at the beginning of the month, you can take advantage of the great offerings on the fixed-price menus at some of the city's top-rated restaurants.

Seattle in December

If you're thinking about visiting Seattle in December, bring a raincoat. You can expect frequent, heavy showers. On top of that, the temperature is chilly with highs typically in the 50s degrees Fahrenheit.

The outlook is not all gloomy though--the winter (December-March) is the best period to visit Seattle if you're into cold-weather sports. Nearby Mt. Rainier is a popular December attraction for anyone interested in skiing, snowmobiling, or tubing.

Although snow rarely falls in Seattle central, the cooler temperatures of Mt. Rainier ensure fresh and regular coatings in December.

There are still some events taking place around town for travelers to enjoy. WildLanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo offers an immersive experience of colorful lanterns depicting animals and nature scenes from around the world.

In Summary

The highest number of visitors choose to come to Seattle in the summer (June-September) to enjoy the warm, dry climate and a seemingly endless number of outdoor festivals, concerts, and attractions.

But many travelers prefer the shoulder months of May and October for fewer crowds and lower prices.

The winter (December-March) months are the slowest and cheapest, although Mt. Rainier draws crowds to its slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

No matter when you come, however, you'll find that Seattle has something to offer everyone. From world-class museums to up-close whale watching, Seattle is a unique destination sure to satisfy your travel itch.

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Written by Jonathan Davis

JDavis WRITER Jonathan is a Florida-based travel writer who can't seem to stay in one place for long. With more than two decades of trips under his belt, Jonathan has a wealth of information to share about travel within the United States and abroad.

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