Your view of the Seattle weather may depend upon your frame of reference. If you are native to Southern California, you might not think much of it. If, like us, you are from a more mercurial climate like the Northeast U.S., you will find Seattle to be superior nearly all times of year.
Our winters are mild. Snow is a once-every-few-years phenomenon (the region becomes paralyzed with each infrequent dusting). Andy rarely wears a jacket, but Lynne thinks this is ridiculous bravado. Still, you will rarely need a down parka and woolen hat. Dress in layers, including a sweater, and you should be fine. Due to our northern location, the sunlight hours are very short in winter.
Our summers, meanwhile, are also better than those in most parts of the U.S.. Sunlight extends beyond 9 p.m. The skies are clear. And there is rarely oppressive heat or humidity.
Temperatures are comfortable, often between 70 and 85 degrees (21-29 Celsius). Summertime in Seattle is magical, with people flocking to the beach, the lakes and the mountains, greedily lapping up every moment of the season.
Fall & Spring
Fall and spring are quite variable and you are subject to luck. We have worn shorts as early as March, yet there can be days in early June that mirror those in February. Temperatures are usually comfortable, say 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit (10-18 Celsius). Check the weather, dress in layers, and be prepared for anything.
What about the rain that everyone talks about? It turns out that Seattle is not really that rainy – in fact Washington, D.C. gets more rain each year than Seattle. Nevertheless, while the volume of precipitation is moderate, Seattle can be dark and overcast for a long stretch (from November through April). It will rarely pour, but will often feel wet, with a persistent mist. Seattleites deal with this and you’ll see people outside in all weather. Most of us rarely carry an umbrella. The saying goes that if you see people in Seattle umbrellas, they are not locals. (That said, Lynne happily embraces her “local” status and often has an umbrella, along with some explanation concerning what water does to her hair.) A lightweight hooded windbreaker/raincoat will usually do the trick, and should definitely be on your packing list.
As to other items to pack, few restaurants require more than business casual dress (and often far less formal than even that!).
Jeans and sneakers or hiking boots are generally favored over designer handbags and high heels. Bring some sweaters, a sweatshirt, jeans, that windbreaker noted above, and a small collapsible umbrella if you insist. In the summer, consider bathing suits if you want to go to the beach. Don’t forget your sunglasses – which you might need at the same time you’re using your umbrella! Our homes are equipped with hair dryers, irons, and all the kitchen basics. If you plan to head to Vancouver or Victoria, don’t forget your passport.