Seattle is at the top of my list of favourite cities on the planet. It’s a city obsessed with fantastic beer, coffee, music, and spectacular outdoor experiences, and it grabbed my heart with its easy cool throughout my year there. Seattle, unlike New York or San Francisco, isn’t overtly trendy, which adds to its allure.
Seattle, on the other hand, has one drawback: rain. While Seattle sees a lot of rain, the summer months are the exception. From June through August, the weather is normally sunny, with temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees and 14 to 15 hours of sunshine.
When you add in a temperate rainforest or a mountain full of wildflowers, the Seattle region becomes pretty much the ideal summer destination.
Even so, there’s still a lot to enjoy about Seattle at any time of the year. Whether you’re heading to Washington in January or June, here are some things to pack for Seattle.
What to Pack for Seattle?
For any trip to Seattle, be sure to pack:
- Rain jacket
- Gear for outdoor adventures
- A concert/show outfit
Rain Jacket or Shell
Umbrellas are rarely used in Seattle. Yes, “but it’s America’s rainiest city!” Actually, it isn’t the case. “How do they stay dry when they don’t have umbrellas?” With raincoats, of course.
Rain coats are usually enough to keep you dry in Seattle’s rain, which is usually a moderate drizzle rather than a violent deluge. Plus, on any of the climbs within an hour or two of Seattle, they’re far more useful than an umbrella.
If you don’t have a nice rain jacket, REI is located in Seattle. Use it as a reason to pay a visit to REI’s flagship location.
Outdoor Adventure Gear
Given the abundance of The North Face and Patagonia coats in downtown Seattle, it may appear that half of the city is ready to hit the trail at any given moment. You should be as well.
There’s plenty of wildness to explore in and around Seattle, from the coast to the Cascades. While in Seattle, make time to do something outside (even if it’s simply a morning walk at Alki Beach or Discovery Park) and bring:
- Trail runners (waterproof or water-resistant)
- Trekking poles (if you use them)
- (The waterproof sailcloth of the Outbreaker Daypack makes it ideal for Seattle)
- A bottle of water
- Winter hiking clothes and wool socks.
Hiking is ideal for travellers since it does not need a lot of cumbersome equipment. There are many of locations to rent equipment if you want to explore the environment surrounding Seattle via rock climbing, biking, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, or camping. For most items, REI is an excellent place to start. The Cascade Bicycle Club is the finest resource for riders.
One Outfit for Going to a Show
If you enjoy music, grunge or otherwise, Seattle has plenty to keep you occupied. After all, the city has been home to music legends such as Kurt Cobain and Macklemore.
Seattle is also home to KEXP, which, in my view, is the greatest local radio station in the country and does an excellent job of promoting concerts and music events in the city. If you’re in the area in July, I hear the Capitol Hill Block Party is a lot of fun.
With all of the dance parties, performances, and concerts taking place in Seattle, you’ll want to pack an outfit for going out (to watch a show). Jeans with rips and slouchy sweaters are welcome.
The waterproof travel backpack
Isn’t Seattle synonymous with rain? The Outbreaker Backpack is composed of waterproof sailcloth, so you won’t have to worry about a rain shower on your trip day. Your belongings will remain dry.
This backpack is exceptionally pleasant to carry thanks to its adjustable harness system and extra plush shoulder and hip straps. Everything has its place on the inside, thanks to the compulsive degree of order, and packing is a delight.
What to Pack for Seattle in September Through May
Seattle receives the most rain from September through May. October is when things truly start to chill down, and May is when the never-ending dreary overcast begins to lift. Bring the following items with you this time of year:
- Boots that are waterproof
- Jacket with a hood
- A layer of warmth
- The Perfect Book to read in one of Seattle’s Many Coffee Shops or Breweries
Boots that are rainproof or that will withstand rain are the best footwear to bring. These are a few of my favourites:
- Toms (women’s and men’s): The soles aren’t slippery, and they’re easy to walk in.
- Tretorn: I lived in Seattle for 6 months and wore their fleece-lined rubber boots every day, although the low boots are more practical for travel.
- Hunter (Women’s, Men’s): Another great range of rubber boots for men and women, including a low-cut Chelsea boot.
Instead of suede, choose a leather or rubber top.
What to Wear in the Winter in Seattle: Warm Layers with a Down Jacket
During the winter, Seattle isn’t quite as cold as New York or other parts of the northern half of the country, but you’ll still want to pack warm clothing like:
- If possible, a down jacket that is waterproof or resistant to water
- 1-2 sweaters
- Wool socks
If you’re not sure what to wear in Seattle, a pair of skinny jeans, a slouchy sweater, and boots will always work.
A Good Book
When the sun sets at 4:30 p.m. and you can’t stand being outside any longer, there are plenty of cafés and breweries in Seattle where you can bunker down and read a good book. Check out Elliott Bay Bookstore, a fantastic visit whether you’re looking for something to read or simply enjoy reading.
What to Pack for Seattle in the Winter
I packed the following items for a 3-day trip to Seattle in December:
- Boots that are waterproof
- Jacket with a down collar
- Rain jacket (My down jacket isn’t very waterproof. I didn’t use it.)
- A pair of yoga pants.
- There are two t-shirts.
- The infinity scarf
- (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, deodorant, eyeliner, chapstick)
- My phone arger
- Laptop and charger
- The bottle of Waphone
- Listening devices
- ID, wallet, etc.
I could fit everything in my Outbreaker Backpack. Also, I carried a small purse for my phone, wallet, keys, and chapstick.
What to Pack for Seattle in June, July, and August
Summer in Seattle is undoubtedly the best-kept secret in the city. If you’re visiting in June, July, or August, leave the sweaters at home and instead bring:
- Warm-weather clothing
- Bug spray
- Camping gear
Sandals and Sneakers for Seattle
A pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers are the perfect shoe option for a vacation to Seattle in June, July, or August, with excellent weather and minimal rain. Even if you plan on staying inside the city boundaries, I recommend packing hiking shoes because Seattle parks, such as Discovery Park, offer excellent trails.
What to Wear in June, July, and August in Seattle
Summers in Seattle are mild enough to wear shorts and attractive dresses throughout the day, but you’ll still want to layer up in the evenings with a sweater or light jacket. If you’re visiting during the summer, remember to pack the following items:
- Wear a dress, skirt, or pants
- Wear a pair of shorts or capris
- Top of a tank
- Wear a T-shirt
- Light jacket or sweater
If you’re going on a trek this time of year, don’t forget to carry (or buy) sunscreen and insect repellent. It’s also worth noting that temperatures in high-altitude camping areas can drop into the 40s at night.
Locals in Seattle will gather at Madison Park Beach, Madrona Park, or one of several other bathing beaches to take a dip in Lake Washington on those rare, really warm days. Join them by bringing a swimsuit – just in case!
Camping Gear As I previously stated, you can rent tents, sleeping bags, and other camping gear in Seattle if you don’t want to bring everything with you. If you’re on a budget and want to spend time in the Washington woods, pack your camping gear.
Seattle Packing List for Summer
This was my packing list for a 10-day vacation to Seattle in July of last year. I was there for the Seattle to Portland bike trip, therefore my bike, riding gear, and tent were left behind.
- Capri yoga pants
- Ankle-length skirt
- Shirts 2
- There is one tank top
- Jacket made of rain
- During the city, infinity scarves and hats are unnecessary, but while camping, they are required.
- Wear a bathing suit