10 Things to do in Seattle this Winter
After some rough times in 2020, Seattle is welcoming tourists back to its fabled city nestled among the mountains. If you’re eager to visit but are unsure about what it’s like to go in the winter, we have some good news for you. Winter in Seattle isn’t that bad. In fact, it has relatively mild winters, little snow, and lots of opportunity for fun.
I just got back from a trip there and enjoyed it even more than I did when I went three years ago, also in December. Sure, there is plenty of rain, but there are also days when it doesn’t rain, and plenty to be done in doors.
Additionally, December through February is about as off-season as you can get in Seattle, meaning great hotels are available at a reduced rate, and there aren’t nearly as many crowds around. I highly recommend visiting the Coffee Capital of the World during the winter, and here are 10 reasons why.
Visit Pike Place Market
Some say winter is the best time to experience everything Pike Place Market has to offer. From sticking gum on the gum wall, to tasting a bevy of tremendous street foods, to visiting Starbuck’s original store and tasting its special Pike Place reserve, you can easily spend hours at Pike Place Market. Usually, I visit the Market several times throughout my visit. It’s a convenient place to stop especially for breakfast or lunch because everything is still open around that time. However, there are plenty of spots to visit for dinner, as well.
Among my favorite places in the Market is the Crumpet Shop. Located conveniently along 1st Street, this restful tea/coffee shop offers a range of crumpets from sweet to savory depending on your taste, and gives you free refills on all your coffee/tea.
Take in the Sights from Sky View Observatory
Everyone thinks of the Space Needle when they think of Seattle. But did you know there’s a much higher vantage point for you to take in the sights from? It’s called the Sky View Observatory, and it is several hundreds of feet higher than the Space Needle, offering even more idyllic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.
The Observatory offers speciality cocktails and a full bar, along with a few food items to help you pass your time. You can even reserve a table and get excellent seating by the window while you dine and drink.
Weather permitting, you can also add the Bavarian style village of Leavenworth to your itinerary. Particularly gorgeous leading up to Christmas, Leavenworth has a dazzling array of Christmas lights, specialty holiday beverages, shops and great dining options!
To get there, however, is an event of its own. The road I took led us over and through the breathtaking Cascade Mountains. Because it’s a mountain pass, however, it can get quite snowy up there. Make sure to checkout current road conditions before you take the trip, or book passage on Amtrak from Seattle in advance.
Visit the Museum of Pop Culture
I was pleasantly surprised by the Museum of Pop Culture. The exhibits are small but poignant. We happened to visit during a Disney exhibition focused on the costumes from favorite Disney movies. In addition, there was an incredible fantasy exhibit with real props from the Harry Potter Movies as well as from the Lord of the Rings. As if that weren’t enough, there was also an epic Nirvana exhibit focused on the legacy of Seattle’s most notable rock group.
Take a Ferry
I didn’t get around to taking a ferry this last trip, but I certainly have enjoyed taking ferries in the past. There are a number of fantastic destinations that you can access via ferry from Seattle’s port, my favorite of which being Victoria.
Visit the Waterfront
Here you can ride the Seattle Great Wheel for splendid views of the Puget Sound. I’ve taken this ride at sunset before and it is well worth the price of admission. Of course, there are other things to do on the water front including dining and walking. One of my old favorite things to do was to visit the traditional style arcade. However, that has been moved recently. We’ll just have to wait for it to reopen elsewhere to add it to this list!
See what the Fremont Troll is Up To
I love the Fremont Troll. He just hangs around, looking epic, minding his own business, and waiting for us to come and visit and take our picture with him. If you are in the neighborhood of Fremont, make sure to stop by and pay him a visit. Unlike other bridge trolls, he won’t take a toll from you.
Sneak a Peek at the Houseboat from “Sleepless in Seattle”
There’s plenty to do around Lake Union, including shopping, museums and public parks. See if you can spot the house boats from Sleepless in Seattle while you are in the area!
Go Book Shopping
Indie bookstores are thriving in Seattle. If you are a lover of books (and if you are on this website, you probably are) you’ll be happy to know that there are around 30 different independent book stores in Seattle for you to check out. Pike Place Market alone has several. Take a moment during your trip to browse through a few books, and maybe read a few pages over a cup of coffee at one of the many coffee shops!
Stay Inside/Explore the Outdoors
Seattle boasts plenty to do indoors as well as outside. World renowned for its hiking, there are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had, including skiing, hiking, snowmobiling and more. Of course, Seattle is also a great place for a staycation. If you love lounging around under cloudy skies, there are plenty of hotels and apartment rentals to choose from. And the best part is, they are at their cheapest during the rainiest months of the year!
It might sound funny to go somewhere for a staycation, but many of us who live in warmer, southern climates don’t really get a cloudy/rainy season. It can be quite refreshing to get out of our normal climate and enjoy something new!