A Girl's Guide to Packing for Seattle

Seattle is a tricky place for visitors. It is overcast 62% (~200 days) of the year, but the weather is generally mild and, yes, occasionally it does rain here. If you are from places like the Midwest or the South where the skies open up and drench everything, you will be pleasantly surprised. Our rain is more like a light mist 99% of the time, just enough to be annoying, but not enough to ruin your leather bag/shoes. We locals have come to be very comfortable going out and about when it's raining, because if you didn't you really wouldn't get out much! 

Besides the rainy days there are the other 165 days of the year when it's sunny. These days are cold in the winter and in the summer they feel like a gift straight from Mother Nature herself. 

So what should you pack when you come to Seattle? Here are our general recommendations for what should be in your suitcase depending on which season you are heading to The Emerald City.

Spring/Fall 

Spring and Fall are usually very mild. Think 40-50 degrees with unpredictable weather. Seattleites know that even if you check the forecast day-of, it will likely be wrong. Days that are supposed to be rainy will be clear and vice versa. So if you are visiting in these months, make sure to pack for a variety of weather patterns. Rain jacket and closed-toe shoes for when it rains and then a jacket and layers for when it's cloudy/sunny. 

These items will keep you comfortable: 

  • Sweaters
  • Winter dresses or dresses that layer
  • Scarves
  • Closed-toe shoes/boots
  • Jeans
  • Shirts that layer
  • Rain jacket
  • Normal jacket/coat
  • A mid-sized tote

Summer 

Summer in Seattle truly starts at the end of June or beginning of July and runs through September. If you are coming during our peak season you'll witness the PNW at it's finest. The days are long, with sunlight sticking around until 9PM and clear blue skies with perfect temperatures for hiking, biking, and kayaking. When you visit pack for the activities you are likely to do. Most people can accomplish some great hikes in just Nikes, so don't feel the need to throw down $200 on a pair of hiking boots. We also love just going to the parks in the city to experience the beauty in the summer, which all have nice paths and you can visit in normal clothes. 

The evenings still get a little chilly sometimes so pack a jacket to throw over your sundresses or jeans to change into for nights out. 

IMG_7294.JPG

These items will keep you comfortable: 

  • Jeans
  • Shirts that layer
  • Sun dresses
  • Light cardigan or Jacket
  • Scarves
  • Short sleeve t-shirts/tank tops
  • Sandals & closed-toe shoes
  • A mid-sized tote
  • Activewear for outdoorsy outings 
    • Tennis shoes, athletic wear for beginner hiking 
    • Swimsuit and casual coverup, clothing for kayaking/paddleboarding

Winter

Winter in Seattle is still beautiful; as long as you aren't made of sugar you should still have a fantastic time visiting. Obviously, the number one thing you need to pack for is rain. And wind. And probably chill. The odds are low it will be below freezing, but don't let a 45-degree weather forecast fool you - once you get near the water and the wind picks up it can feel very cold (or maybe we are just really weak after living here so long). You also don't want to commit to an umbrella. Those little guys will flip inside out and be way more trouble than they are worth. Bring a coat that is water resistant, has a hood, and that hopefully has some down lining to keep you warm. Hats and scarves will also help and are easy to take or leave depending on the weather situation at the time. 

These items will keep you comfortable: 

  • Beanie/hat
  • Wool scarf
  • Waterproof/resistant coat
  • Jeans
  • Boots
  • Sweaters
  • Shirts to layer w/cardigans
  • Dresses w/tights
  • Rain boots

Here are some specific items we couldn't live without as Seattleites. Feel free to check them out before you visit. 

  • Longchamp tote - These bags are awesome because they resist water, they can fit a TON of stuff inside them and will remain relatively lightweight. Plus they are durable! Seattle charges for bags when you shop, so having a great tote to throw things will save you money too!
  • Eddie Bauer Rain Jacket - Getting a longer, fitted rain jacket means you don't have to look frumpy when you throw on your raincoat. We like this one because it's trendy, but it also covers a lot and keeps you dry. 
  • North Face Insulated Parka - This can be thrown over almost anything in the winter and work well. It's great for the PNW, with a climate that doesn't go below zero and has a lot of rain.
  • Hunter short rain boots - Tall rain boots look good on paper, but often we want to change into other shoes when we get to our destination. These are easy to throw into a tote or under your desk and still do a great job of keeping your feet dry. 
  • H&M Hoodie - Layering is the name of the game! We love to be able to throw on a hoodie under a jean jacket for added warmth and of course, the hood! 
  • Casual hat - Sometimes the rain is light enough you can get away with wearing a cute hat instead of a full on rain jacket getup. 
  • Tom's Booties - These are comfortable enough to walk around town in and they keep your feet warm and dry. Get 'em for Fall/Winter and have the confidence of knowing they will go with everything in your bag! 

What are some of your favorite items that helped you get around the PNW? We would love to hear in the comments!