Seattleites never let a bit of drizzle get in the way of fun. If you’re visiting the Emerald City during the rainy season, stay dry by museum hopping, browsing cool markets and enjoying long lunches in trendy restaurants. Or you can do as the locals do and grab your rain jacket or umbrella and head outdoors to explore all the city offers.
Gaze at Eye-Catching Art
Seattle is home to a stellar collection of art museums and galleries. Downtown, Seattle Art Museum displays centuries-worth of paintings, porcelain works and sculptures from across the globe. Pop into the museum shop to browse locally designed jewelry and original works by contemporary Northwest artists.
In the vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood, Seattle Asian Art Museum is housed in a 1933 art deco building in Volunteer Park. Inside, you’ll find well-preserved artifacts such as ancient Buddhas and intricately decorated ceramics. And don’t miss Chihuly Glass and Garden in the Seattle Center complex, famed for its kaleidoscopic array of installations created by Washington artist Dale Chihuly.
Embrace Seattle’s Nordic Heritage
The city has strong Scandinavian roots, with vast numbers of immigrants arriving from the Nordic countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the traditionally Nordic neighborhood, Ballard, National Nordic Museum celebrates this heritage with exhibits ranging from the Vikings to contemporary immersive art and architecture. You can also taste specialties like rømmegrøt (Norwegian sour cream porridge) and sweet Icelandic rye bread in the museum cafe to experience Nordic hygge.
For an overnight stay with a dose of hygge in downtown Seattle, Hotel Ändra epitomizes Scandinavian style. Sleek rooms feature pale woods, linen pillows and rattan chairs, plus deluxe FACE Stockholm bath amenities and works by Scandinavian artists.
A Legendary Music Scene
The ‘90s grunge scene put Seattle firmly on the music map, and artists in this dynamic city continue to make (sound) waves today. Kick off your musical education by riding the monorail to the Museum of Pop Culture. Here, in a shimmering metallic Frank Gehry building, you can get the lowdown on the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, then see guitars played by Howlin’ Wolf and Nancy Wilson.
Catch big-name acts live at Paramount Theatre, an ornate 1920s venue, or bag tickets to a gig at The Crocodile. This Belltown staple has been a favorite among concertgoers for more than three decades.
Linger Over A Meal
Duck out of the rain and indulge in lunch or brunch at one of the hottest spots in town. Lola, headed by chef Tom Douglas and tucked inside Hotel Ändra is a local hit. Delicious Mediterranean-inspired choices include Greek scramble and prosser pepper shakshouka.
Alternatively, settle in for lunch at The George, Fairmont Olympic Hotel’s chic brasserie. Revamped in 2022, the century-old dining room celebrates the Pacific Northwest by incorporating Puget Sound seafood and Washington farm produce into its menus. You might dig into a plateful of snow crab ravioli, or a hearty vegetable cassoulet.
Shop at Lively Indoor Markets
Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market is a great place to dodge a rain shower, and it’s just a short stroll from Hotel Ändra and Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Wander among the stalls for a fresh bouquet or lavender-infused bath products, then check out the shops selling eclectic items ranging from vintage comics to handmade shoes.
Another must-shop Seattle institution is Fremont Sunday Market, where you can rummage for antiques, crafts and clothing before grabbing a bite from the huge selection of food trucks. The market moves under the Fremont Bridge during the rainy season, with patio heaters to keep you cozy.
Channel Your Inner Kid
If you love an old-fashioned arcade game, your inner kid will love the Seattle Pinball Museum and its impressive collection of vintage machines. Your admission fee allows for unlimited play, and you can fuel up on old-school sodas and snacks while you battle to beat your last score.
In Belltown, Shorty’s bar dishes up loaded hot dogs and beers alongside classic video games like Pac-Man and Street Fighter II. Or, combine your trip to Fremont’s market with a visit to Add-a-Ball for retro games and air hockey.
Catch a Pro Sports Team
The city boasts six professional sports teams and a host of other organized teams. One of the newest and named for the mythical sea monster, is the Seattle Kraken. The Kraken are a rising NHL hockey star, joining the league in the 2021-22 season. Part of the Western Conference Pacific Division, they play their home games at Climate Pledge Arena, whose goal is to be the most sustainable arena in the world. Green initiatives include a “rain to rink” water-harvesting system, electric zambonis and a zero-waste pledge.
From late spring (Seattle’s raindrops tend to make an appearance through June), the arena also hosts women’s pro basketball team Seattle Storm. Winners of multiple WNBA championships, the Storm ranks consistently high in the league.
Embrace the Great Outdoors
Pack the right gear, and you can make the most of Seattle’s outdoor scenery, whatever the weather. For a taste of the wild west coast, head to Discovery Park to hike protected beaches, woodland and dramatic bluffs overlooking Puget Sound. At the park’s outermost tip, you’ll come across West Point Lighthouse, a 19th-century navigational aid that remains active today.
Closer to downtown, Elliott Bay Trail gently curls its way along the city’s shoreline. Stretching five miles, the paved route passes massive artworks dotted around the Olympic Sculpture Park.
Cocktails in a Glamorous Setting
Step into Fairmont Olympic Hotel and you’ll be immediately wowed by the sheer scale and grandeur of the lobby, meticulously renovated in 2021. The centerpiece is the Olympic Bar, an elegant hangout for creative cocktails, elevated bar snacks and people watching.
Equally glam yet more intimate is the hotel’s Founders Club, a speakeasy-style space with dark, cozy seating and moody lighting. Sink into a sofa to sip a citrusy Hemingway Daiquiri or pull up a bar stool and order a Sharpshooter, made with limited edition Alipus mezcal.
Inspired To Explore Seattle?