How to survive Washington’s rainy season
Ah, the rainy season in Washington —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 over two years living here, we are still going strong with this promise!
So what’s our secret? Besides having a positive attitude (this is key!), the secret to surviving Washington’s rainy season is to find activities that are great to do, rain or shine. Need some inspiration? Here are our favorite rainy day activities in Washington!
PS: if you’re looking for more Washington ideas, check out the rest of our Washington guides and blogs!
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!).
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 25 Favorite Washington Hikes blog, 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, 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 nature lovers 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!
Learn a thing or two at a museum or on a tour
While not a free activity, a good go-to option on a rainy day is to visit a museum or go on a tour. 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, Future of Flight, and the Theo Chocolate tour (only $10 and you get tons of chocolate samples!)
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 blog to see what our must-visit coffee shops are in Seattle!
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.
So 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 gave you a few ideas of different ways to survive the fall and winter in Washington AND most importantly, made you a little excited about it!
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