It should come as no surprise to visitors that a rainy day or two comes with the territory that is Seattle. After all, the vivid green landscape that has earned Washington state’s largest city the nickname The Emerald City doesn’t come out of nowhere. There was rain.
Especially in late fall and winter, rain is a very good bet. In November, December and January, Seattle averages 14 rainy days per month, and February and March average 12 to 13 rainy days.
Once in Seattle, I was thrilled to realize that the rain seemed to heighten the fun at many Seattle attractions – from the spectacular Glasshouse at Chihuly Garden and Glass to the city’s iconic cafe scene.
Here are 9 amazing things to do in Seattle when it rains:
Several of my visits have been organized by Visit Seattle and Seattle CityPASSbut my opinions are my own.
1. Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market, Seattle’s wildly popular downtown market, not only offers a dizzying array of chocolates, fruits, seafood, and flowers, but it’s also wonderfully rainproof. Most of the market is closed and the outer parts tend to be protected by awnings and overhangs.
I’ve always loved strolling Pike Place, watching the fish vendors’ entertaining antics, tasting chocolate covered cherries, and browsing the gift shops with their beautiful fresh and dried flowers, vintage books, and unique handbags and scarves. . Rainy weather can draw larger than usual crowds, but it all adds to the bustling atmosphere of the market.
Pro Tip: Pike Place Chowder
For a taste of classic Seattle clam chowder, the award-winning Pike Place Chowder is the place to be. To avoid some of the crowds at the Pike Place Market location, head a few blocks northeast to the Pacific Place Center location.
2. Starbucks Reserve Seattle Roastery
Among Seattle’s many claims to fame is its famous café culture. The international Starbucks chain made its debut at Pike Place. Today, independent cafes are set up on street corners all over the city.
For a special and unique coffee experience, visitors should not miss the Starbucks Reserve Seattle Roastery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Described as “an immersive and dramatic expression of our passion for coffee”, the Torrefaction offers a wide variety of coffees, pastries and cocktails. It is also a beautifully designed space that offers customers a fascinating look into the roasting process.
3. Chihuly Garden and Glass
Glass artist Dale Chihuly got his start in nearby Tacoma, and Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass perfectly showcases the work of the world-renowned Washington artist.
The whole area is a perfect place to go on a rainy day, but I particularly love the magnificent Glasshouse, the centerpiece of the 40-foot-tall garden that covers 4,500 square feet and has massive windows offering a glimpse of space. Nearby Needle. The Glasshouse Sculpture never fails to take my breath away with its palette of reds, oranges, yellows and ambers. The splashes of rain on the arched windows only enhance the colors.
Pro Tip: Seattle embraces its rainy weather, and for a playful connection, check out Staypineapple’s colorful Maxwell Hotel — located steps from the Seattle Center and Chihuly Garden and Glass — for its “Kissing in the Rain” package.
4. Pop Culture Museum
From Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana and fantasy films to science fiction, the Museum of Pop Culture (or MoPOP) covers the pop culture scene.
The sprawling, multi-faceted museum features a dozen incredibly detailed and hands-on exhibits, some interactive, that touch on a variety of musical genres, from rock to punk to hip-hop. Exhibitions — like Worlds of Myth and Magic, The thrill of the horror movie, and the Science Fiction + Fantasy Hall of Fame – also provide insight into film genres.
A few highlights of MoPOP for me were the vintage photos in the new Contact High: A visual history of hip-hopthe jaw-dropping factor of Sky Church’s huge HD-LED screen and the incredible guitar gallery featuring guitars from many music legends as well as music videos from nearly 30 musicians including Poison Ivy, Slash, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bob Dylan.
Pro Tip: Seattle’s iconic Space Needle is right next to Chihuly Garden and Glass and MoPOP, and all three make for a great trio of outings in the Seattle Center area, though it’s probably best to wait for a sunny day to check it out. views from space. Needle.
5. Dim sum brunch at Din Tai Fung
For something warm and comforting on a rainy morning, what could be better than soup dumplings, shrimp sticks and hot tea? I love dim sum brunches, and Taiwan-based chain Din Tai Fung has long been on my list of places to go. to have to to try.
Fortunately, Seattle has three popular restaurant locations. My family and I stopped by the beautiful five-level Seattle Pacific Place mall on a rainy Friday morning. We ordered a variety of dim sum choices such as the tasty – and photogenic – cucumber salad, the seaweed and bean curd in a dressing, the pork xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and the chicken noodle soup sliced. It was the perfect antidote for the wet and cold November day!
6. Bill Speidel Underground Tour
For a glimpse into Seattle’s distant past, consider peering into the underground passages that run beneath the sidewalks and streets of the Pioneer Square neighborhood.
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour takes tour groups deep beneath modern walkways into tunnels that were once the main roads and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle. Along the way, you’ll pass old signs, period skylights, and restored living rooms such as the interior of Doc Maynard’s public house, where the tour begins.
The tour passes by historic Pioneer Square on the surface before heading to three different sections of the subway. My tour included about 30 people and our guide regaled us with entertaining stories about the exploits of Seattle’s first inhabitants. The tour bills itself as “history with a twist” and it certainly lives up to the tagline.
7. Flight Museum
For the chance to travel through time and space, Seattle’s Museum of Flight is an experience not to be missed. From the beginnings of the airmail, through the Apollo space exploration of the 1960s and into the future, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the wonders of flight.
Billed as the “world’s largest independent, not-for-profit air and space museum”, the Museum of Flight is sure to amaze visitors young and old with its extensive collection of aircraft, spacecraft, artifacts, galleries and exhibits that touch on the past, present and future of flight.
The museum also currently features an interesting traveling exhibit from Walt Disney Studios that chronicles the contributions of the Allied war effort during World War II.
8. Smith Tower
For a bit of early 1900s glamour, head to the 484-foot-tall Smith Tower, which was Seattle’s first skyscraper and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River when it was built in 1914.
Today, visitors can browse historic exhibits on the ground floor that tell the stories of the culturally iconic tower through the decades, before taking a vintage elevator to an open-air observation deck . While the observation deck is probably best experienced on a clear day, the elevator also offers a nice walk on a rainy day to the speakeasy-style bar where visitors can sip a classic cocktail.
During my visit, I had the chance to take a break from the rain, which allowed me to admire the fantastic 360 degree views of the Smith Tower over Seattle.
9. Capitol Hill
Any visit to Seattle should include a stroll around Capitol Hill, the neighborhood that Visit Seattle describes as “arguably Seattle’s coolest neighborhood.” The many bars, cafes, breweries, and cider houses make Capitol Hill a natural for some food or drink exploration, and many spots are cozy on a rainy afternoon or evening.
On my recent trip, I visited quirky and fun Montana to try the bar’s famous Montana Mules. I then popped over to Dino’s Tomato Pie for a slice of the signature square pizza pie. Other fun places to try on Capitol Hill are Capitol Cider for a flight of cider, Southern influenced Wandering Goose Cafe for fried chicken and chili mac and cheese, Elysian Brewing Company for a range of craft beers and the local favorite Rachel’s Ginger Beer for a tangy blood orange soft drink.
Pro Tips: Exploring Seattle
In addition to the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and MoPOP, the Seattle CityPASS includes the Seattle Aquarium (another great rainy-day activity), where visitors can check out sea otters, giant Pacific octopuses and tufted puffins. The CityPASS also includes the excellent Woodland Park Zoo near the Ballard neighborhood and the exhilarating Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. The pass includes a choice of five attractions in total: the Space Needle, the aquarium and three more.
Art, gardens and chocolate
Seattle also offers many other must-do activities on a rainy day, including the Seattle Museum of Art; the Volunteer Park Conservatory, a historic greenhouse and botanical garden on Capitol Hill; and tours of Theo Chocolate’s Chocolate Factory, located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
To make your adventure in the rain as comfortable as possible, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket, waterproof boots and an umbrella. Purchasing an ORCA card is also convenient for taking the convenient light rail system that connects Puget Sound.