What is there to do in Seattle when it rains? Despite being an outdoorsy city, there are still many fun things to do, even when the weather isn’t ideal. We’re sharing our favorite rainy day activities in Seattle that will help you survive (and enjoy!) those rainy days!
Ah, the rainy season in Seattle —you either love it or hate it! It means shorter days, grey skies, fall foliage, snow, less crowds, cooler temperatures, and of course, rain jackets. For us, it’s one of our favorite times of the year!
Coming from Texas, we didn’t get to experience true seasons for most of our lives and we still are in awe of the colors that fall brings, the sight of snow, and the calming sensation that the weather has on us.
We made ourselves a promise when we moved here that we would embrace the seasons in the PNW and never let weather stop us from having fun. And we’re happy to report that after three years of living in Seattle, we kept that promise!
So what’s our secret? Besides having a positive attitude (this is key!), the secret to surviving those gloomy days is to find activities that are great to do, rain or shine. Need some inspiration? Here are our favorite rainy day activities in Seattle!
PS: if you’re looking for more Washington ideas, check out the rest of our Washington guides and blogs! Some of our favorites are:
- Seattle Bucket List
- 11 Winter Hikes in Washington
- 6 Seattle Day Trips
- 30 Free and Cheap Things to do in Seattle
- Our Favorite Cheap Eats in Seattle
When is the rainy season in Seattle?
“But doesn’t it rain there all the time?” That is the question we got a lot when we decided to move to Seattle and told our family and friends. We, similar to most people, had this vision in our heads of nonstop pouring rain for months on end. But after living in Seattle for three years we’re going to let you in on a little secret: it’s actually not that bad!
The rain in Seattle is more like a drizzle. It’s light enough that you can walk outside with just a rain jacket (locals don’t use umbrellas). We were expecting thunderstorms (very rare in Seattle! We heard thunder maybe twice in our three years living there) and torrential downpours like we had in Texas. But it is a much lighter, misty type rain, with the occasional heavier rainstorm.
Sure, after an epic summer of outdoor adventures, the months of gloom can be a bit frustrating and depressing, but with a positive attitude, it really isn’t as bad as everyone says!
Seattle gets about 37.5 inches of rain a year. Cities like Houston and Atlanta actually get way more inches of rain per year than Seattle, so even though there may be more rainy days in Seattle, it’s a lot less rain overall.
The rainy season in Seattle typically runs from November to April. June through September are usually the sunnier months, with the very occasional rainy day, but once it hits the fall, the chances of rain gets a lot higher. As winter arrives, you can expect very few sunny days, but as it hits spring, the chances of having a sunny day starts to go up again.
The Best Rainy Day Activities in Seattle
The next time you wake up and it’s a bit gloomy and rainy out the window and you aren’t sure what to do, pull up this blog and embrace the rain instead.
We hope this list gives you a few ideas of different rainy day activities in Seattle to help you survive the fall and winter months, but more importantly, make you a little excited about it!
Go on a waterfall hike
DO go chase those waterfalls (sorry TLC)! Waterfall hikes are hands down our favorite fall and winter activity in Washington (and throughout the PNW).
First, more rain means more awesome waterfalls! And second, when you hike to a waterfall, it’s rare that fog or rain will obstruct the view, which means you’ll get to enjoy a nice reward at the end of your hike regardless of weather.
Also, if you go in the winter, you may get to see a frozen waterfall, which is a magical experience. Some of our favorite waterfall hikes in Washington are: Falls Creek Falls, Franklin Falls, Wallace Falls, Marymere Falls, Twin Falls, and Snoqualmie Falls (not much of a hike, but still beautiful!).
See our 37 Favorite Washington Hikes for more ideas!
Admire the fall foliage
This activity is a bit more specific to late September-early October, but one thing we love to do in the fall is go on hikes that are filled with fall foliage.
The nice thing about hiking with the goal of seeing larches and other colorful scenery, is that you focus less on the mountain or lake views you may be missing if it’s foggy out and instead focus on the leaves and trees around you, which is a doable activity no matter the weather.
Some of our favorite fall hikes include Heather-Maple Pass Loop and Blue Lake, which have lots of beautiful larches to admire.
If you’re looking for other hike ideas, check out our 11 Winter Hikes in Washington guide, which includes a handful of lower elevation hikes that are accessible during the winter as well.
Play in the snow
Rainy days in the city, especially during the winter, usually means that there is snow falling in the mountains.
Whether you’re into snowshoeing (we recommend Gold Creek Pond or Skyline Lake), skiing (check out Stevens Pass or Snoqualmie), snowboarding, tubing, or just a good old fashioned snowball fight, next time there is a cold and rainy day in the city, head to the mountains and play in the snow instead!
Explore a conservatory
If you’re a nature lover like us, we go crazy if we don’t get a dose of nature on the weekends. But if it’s just too gross out to hike, or you want to stay close to home, one good activity is to visit a conservatory!
Not only do you get to escape the rain, but you still get to be surrounded by all kinds of plants and trees! And the best part is they are always very cheap to access.
Our favorite is the Volunteer Park Conservatory, but there is also the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Tacoma too!
Enjoy a hot beverage at a coffee shop
Something about the rain makes us want to cozy up with a cup of coffee and get some work done. The rainy season is the perfect chance to explore new coffee shops around town and spend an afternoon reading or working in a warm and covered space.
Check out our 10 must-visit coffee shops in Seattle to plan your next coffee adventure! A few we highly recommend are La Marzocco, Anchorhead, and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery (for a unique experience!), but there are many other great options.
See a movie or watch a show
Note: Due to COVID-19, Cinerama is closed for the foreseeable future.
The rain usually makes us want to cuddle up and watch a movie. And if you’re feeling that way as well, head to Cinerama!
Cinerama has been a Seattle staple since 1963! They have a new state of the art sound, projector, and screen system, so movie viewing has never been so good. Make sure to try the chocolate popcorn! They also have a handful of local snacks as well. 🙂
If you’re looking for more of a live entertainment experience, check out one of Seattle’s theaters. The theaters bring in amazing shows, like Hamilton and other Broadway favorites!
Visit a museum
While not a free activity, a good go-to option on a rainy day is to visit a museum. We try to save any indoor activities like this for the fall and winter when we know there may be a few days where it’s just too rainy to hike, but we want to get out of the house.
While they may cost money, sometimes you can get discounted tickets through the library. Some museums and tours we really like are Chihuly Garden and Glass, MoPop, and Future of Flight.
Go on a chocolate tour
Do you love chocolate? Then you definitely don’t want to miss the Theo Chocolate tour! I (Kathryn) took my parents when they visited one time and it was not only delicious, but really informative too! My dad still raves about it 🙂
They teach you a lot about the chocolate making process and give you tons of samples along the way. You can even eat more samples in their store afterwards! Make sure to book your tour in advance, which costs $12 (and is totally worth it!)
Play board games
We love playing games! From Ticket to Ride, to Exploding Kittens, to The Settlers of Catan, to Cards Against Humanity, some of our favorite nights with friends have been spent just sitting around playing games.
Seattle is home to a few board game bars, like The Raygun Lounge, Mox Boarding House, and Zulu’s Board Game Cafe (a bit out of town). So if you need a change of scenery from your house and want to play some games, go check those out!
Hang out at a brewery
Even though we don’t drink, we have hung out with friends at breweries and Seattle is full of a bunch of cool ones. A few that we have enjoyed going to with friends are: Reuben’s Brews, Stoup Brewing, and Fremont Brewing.
To see a list of popular breweries (and bars!) in Seattle, download our Seattle Bucket List!
Go on an Underground tour
In 1889, there was a fire in Seattle that swept through 100 acres of Seattle’s business district and waterfront, destroying almost all of it. When they rebuilt the city, they rebuilt it on top of itself, which has created an underground tunnel system with old storefronts and sidewalks from before the fire.
On the Seattle Underground Tour you’re able to take 75 minute tour through these tunnels, while hearing the history (with a comedic twist). We have personally never been on the tour, but hear that is is amazing! And since it is partially underground, it’s perfect for a rainy day.
Note: some parts of the tour are above ground, so if it is rainy, make sure you have a rain jacket or umbrella!
Explore the Seattle Public Library
We love to check out bookstores and libraries whenever we travel. It’s fun to see the character and unique architecture that they can have. And the downtown location of the Seattle Public Library is no exception!
The architecture is really cool and if you go to the top, you can get an awesome aerial view of the floors below! If you want a unique place to read and relax, we suggest spending a few hours here.
While our goal is to always be outside, rain or shine, sometimes you just want a day indoors…and that’s totally okay! Lucky for us Washingtonians, there are quite a few fun indoor game and activity spots to spend a rainy day.
Our favorite of them all is Flatstick Pub, which is a local chain (Seattle + Kirkland) of indoor mini golf courses that also have a bar, food, and other games. It’s a super fun place to spend a couple hours with friends and escape the rain!
Some other indoor activities to check out include Granite Curling Club, Rock Box (karaoke), Garage or West Seattle Bowl (bowling), Whirlyball, Shorty’s (an arcade dive bar), SPIN (ping pong), and Seattle Bouldering Project.
Ready to survive the rainy season in Seattle?
Pin this blog with the best rainy day activities in Seattle!
Great ideas! Makes me want to move to Washington to experience even the rainy days!
Move here! 🙂 We’d love that!