October – Feb
Before you decide to grab popcorn and settle in for Netflix binge dreading the wet winter months in Seattle, look below for all the things you can still do in winter. There’s fall colors, Winterfests, light festivals, and so much more going on to keep you outdoors like summer.
Starting October, you will notice the trees turning color anywhere from green to orange to deep read. There are so many places in and near Seattle that you can see fall colors (even at a random parking lot of Fred Meyer), but if you are really into fall, take a drive towards east, and you will start to see what I am talking about. The North Cascades loop spans over 440 Miles and covers some of the most scenic roads of Washington. Drive on this road early October to experience really beautiful fall colors.
You will come across the city of Leavenworth driving on this loop, where you can catch the Leavenworth Oktoberfest and try some local beer. If you are making a weekend trip, stay in the mount baker area and hike the Ptarmigan Ridge. Google lists this hike as the best fall hike in Washington, and having done this hike finally in 2019, I attest to this.
During November through late Feb, take a drive to Skagit valley to see the Birds of Winter. Some 50000 birds fly from Russia to Skagit valley every winter and if you do catch them flying in a field, it’s a sight to behold. In a few trips I have made to see these birds, I had the most luck on Fidalgo Island.
Thanksgiving weekend also marks the beginning of Snowflake Lane in Bellevue, near the Bellevue Square mall. The event goes from Thanksgiving through new years, and is a good one evening activity with kids.
Around the same time, is the Christmas lights festival in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. Make sure to check the roads before starting the drive, as highway 2 can close if there is heavy snow near Steven’s pass.
Spring is such a beautiful time in Seattle with the cherry blossoms blossoming everywhere, and the return of more sunny and warmer afternoons. You can very possibly run into hidden roads filled with Cherry trees, and by all means that’s the best way to experience it. But if you are still new and don’t know your way around, just visit the UW Quad for a surely mesmerizing Cherry Blossoms experience. It will be crowded mind you, so plan your visit for a quieter time if you want to enjoy the place better. UW posts the bloom report on their facebook and twitter handles so check often to catch the peak. The peak lasts about a week or two at best depending on rain and winds.
April marks the beginning of the Skagit Tulip Festival. You might think that the entire Seattle is driving to Skagit in those 3-4 weeks that Tulips bloom, and it might be true too. But don’t let that discourage you from visiting as there are so many fields, you will still be able to take pictures where it looks like you’re the only one there.
Starting May, you will see seasonal Organic fruit and vegetables markets to start popping up and some fruit farms open for U-pick experiences. You may have to look deeper to see which farms and schedule for picking as each year the harvest is different. We went to the Snohomish Blueberry Farm one weekend, and it was an amazing experience. We got carried away and picked soooo many blueberries which we later shared with neighbors as we couldn’t possibly eat so many blueberries in one weekend.
June – Sept
When I first moved to Seattle, my boss told me that people go through Seattle’s winters for the sake of the summer. I didn’t get what he meant back then but having experienced a few summers here, I totally get what he meant. Summers are so beautiful in Seattle, like in Shakespeare;s poetry. Warmer and longer days, but not too hot, and so much to do. I would just spend every evening out if I didn’t have kids to be sent to school the next day! And I couldn’t possibly list everything you can do in summer. Walk in the park, spend an evening anywhere waterside, put a campfire in the backyard and invite some neighbors for a taste of the local wine, ahh…those slow summer evenings…
There are a few seasonal things you can enjoy and check off your list in summer too. Sequim is known for its Lavender festival, which typically happens in the third weekend of July. You will need to take a ferry from Edmonds to get to Sequim and if you leave early, you can do this as a day trip. Neighboring Oregon has many events for Lavender season too if you want to take a weekend trip down south. If you are feeling lazy, you will see many local farms within the vicinity of Seattle that have some range of Lavender that you can still enjoy.
In August, spare a weekend for SeaFair Week , or drive to Long beach for the Washington International Kite Festival. If you’re into stars, find any dark spot a few miles from the city and enjoy the Perseid Meteor shower right here close to home. Typically it happens around August 11-15 every year but you should check the calendar for that year for exact day when the meteor shower peaks in your area.