The Best Times to Visit Seattle, According to Locals

These are the best times to visit Seattle for every type of traveler.

Flying fish in Pike Place Market, whale watching in the Puget Sound, and a diverse art scene are just a few reasons that travelers flock to Seattle. The city is an outdoor lover’s paradise packed with plenty of culture thanks to excellent restaurants and world-class museums.

There are reasons to visit in all four seasons: hiking in the summer, leaf-peeping in the fall, snow sports in the winter, and ambling around downtown in the spring. The best time to visit Seattle really depends on your travel goals, but these are the main tourist seasons:

  • High Season: May to August

  • Shoulder Seasons: September to October and March to April

  • Low Season: November to February

Jewelia Rosenbaum, director of the Stonington Gallery, which showcases contemporary works by Indigenous artists of the Pacific Northwest Coast and Alaska, says that the mid-autumn weeks are her favorite around the city. “The rain is back, and the city becomes lush and green again. If you head up into the foothills, you can still catch the last of the salmon spawning in the streams and rivers of the Cascades,” Rosenbaum says. “Though Seattle shines brightest in its neighborhoods. Each has its own history and flavor and showcases the idiosyncrasies that make Seattle cool.” She recommends visiting Stonington in Pioneer Square, “Seattle's oldest existing neighborhood and center of its vibrant arts scene.”

<p>Gautier Houba/Travel + Leisure</p>

Gautier Houba/Travel + Leisure

Ready to plan your trip? These are the best times to visit Seattle for every type of traveler.

Related: T+L’s Travel Guide to Seattle 

<p>Olga Kaya/Getty Images</p>

Olga Kaya/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Seattle for Smaller Crowds

Though the seasons are quite moderate, it does get cold in the winter months, with some snow in January and February. There are fewer crowds during the winter, which means it’s a cozy time to enjoy the indoor activities that abound in a rainy city like Seattle. “The gray skies offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy a warm beverage, explore a museum, take in a show, or enjoy a wine tasting by the fire,” says Cory O’Born, a representative of Visit Seattle.

Or as life-long Washingtonian and Lotte Seattle reservations manager Mikala Troupe puts it, “We locals thrive in the rainier months, in part because we know how to dress for it. As the saying goes, ‘There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes.’ For anyone visiting in the winter, I recommend bringing a good pair of rubber boots. I like to beat the Seattle chill and keep warm at Café Darte in Pioneer Square and enjoy a local marbled cold brew and people watch, then walk through the Occidental Square for winter tree lights.”

Best Times to Visit Seattle for Good Weather

Late spring through the summer is the best time to enjoy balmy temperatures, perfect for immersing oneself in the stunning natural splendors of the Pacific Northwest. “We have beautiful summers, and if you enjoy hiking or getting out of the city, this is a great time to visit,” Troupe says. “My favorite hikes include the North Bluff Trail (an easy 3-4 miles), North Meadow Carkeek Park, and Rainier Mountain trails, leading through beautiful meadows and breathtaking views.”

However, Phil Bevis, founder of Seattle's beloved Arundel Books, says that his favorite month is September for both Seattle and the San Juan islands. “The weather is often lyrically beautiful, and there are fewer visitors,” he says.

Related: 24 Best Things to Do in Seattle 

<p>RyanCSlimakPhoto/Getty Images</p>

RyanCSlimakPhoto/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Seattle for Lower Prices

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Seattle on a budget would be the low season, however, Bevis says that there are great deals on air travel and lodging most times of the year if you plan a little in advance.

February is Seattle Museum Month, and guests staying at participating downtown hotels receive 50 percent off tickets to Seattle's many museums. “It’s an excellent deal for families, couples, or travel buddies to take advantage of,” O’Born says.

Best Times to Visit Seattle for Art Lovers

Fall is a great time to check out the city, especially for art lovers. Seattle is the glass art hub of the United States, with over 700 artists in the region — something that might surprise most people. Check out their work during the Refract Glass Festival, which takes place every October (Oct. 12-15 this year). From Nov. 1-22, the Cloudbreak music festival gives guests staying at participating downtown hotels access to free music shows at over 20 venues across the city.

New this year, several massive troll sculptures are being built from reclaimed materials around Seattle by artist Thomas Dambo. The Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie have been involved in the project, which will be completed this month before Dambo moves on to the next portion of his Way of the Bird King tour.

<p>Yan Lu/Getty Images</p>

Yan Lu/Getty Images

Worst Times to Visit Seattle

The worst time to travel to Seattle really depends on what you are looking for. Of course, travelers hoping to hit the slopes will want to visit during the winter, while hikers hoping to trek up Mount Rainier should wait until summer. As Bevis puts it, “Seattle has pretty much everything — ranging from the outdoors and nature to sports and culture. If you, your family, or friend group have diverse interests, you'll find everything here. There is simply so much to see and do all year long.”

For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.