Every time I talk to someone about living in Seattle, they always ask the same question – “doesn’t it rain all the time there?” Sure, it rains more than it might in other parts of the country, but it’s not all the time. There are plenty of fun rainy day activities in Seattle to distract you from the weather.
I never use the winter as an excuse to stay indoors, so I’ve compiled a list of what to do in Seattle when it rains. From exploring the underground of Seattle to sampling chocolate, I’ve found many enjoyable Seattle rainy day activities.
Whether it’s the middle of winter or the occasional rainy day in the summer, there’s always something to do. So grab your rain jacket and rain boots and learn about some of the best things to do in Seattle on a rainy day.
1. Explore the Seattle Central Library
The Seattle Central Library is one of my favorite things to do on a rainy day in Seattle. This unique building is a great place to escape the rain and find a new book to read in downtown Seattle. You can stop in, grab a coffee from the cafe, and slowly make your way up each floor.
Thanks to the glass and steel structure, this is also one of the most Instagrammable spots in Seattle. The building is 11 stories tall, so you have plenty of room to explore. They also have different storytimes and other kid activities during the week, making it a perfect Seattle indoor activity.
2. Go Up in the Space Needle
You don’t have to save the Space Needle for your list of things to do in Seattle when it’s raining, but it’s not a bad time to go. I love watching the rain pour down over the city as I look out over the city through the glass. If you have 3 days in Seattle during your visit, you’ll want to put this on your list.
The Space Needle recently went through an extensive renovation which includes a glass floor so that you can see even more of the city. While you’re there looking for things to do when it rains in Seattle, check out the cafe for a snack or a glass of wine.
The Needle is one of the more popular rainy day activities in Seattle, especially on the weekends. Due to that, I recommend buying tickets online no matter what time of year it is. You can now get timed tickets so you know exactly when you should show up. The advantage of this is you don’t have to wait for hours in line anymore, even at the busiest times when others are looking for what to do in Seattle on a rainy day.
If you plan on going to multiple attractions in Seattle over a week, consider buying a CityPASS to save you money!
3. Eat Chocolate on the Theo Chocolate Tour
Nothing will cheer you up more in Seattle when it rains than touring a chocolate factory. Located in the Fremont neighborhood, this is like your own mini-tour of a Willy Wonka chocolate factory.
You’ll have the chance to see how some of the most popular chocolate in the area is made during one of the tastiest Seattle rainy day activities. Theo Chocolate has daily tours where you’ll see how chocolate goes from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar. It’s a great idea for groups looking for things to do in Seattle in the rain.
The best part of this tour is how much chocolate you’ll get to taste along the way. At the end of the tour, you’ll have a chance to buy as many chocolate bars as you want. You’ll find some flavors here that you can’t find in stores, so make sure to stock up during one of the most delicious indoor activities in Seattle.
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4. Walk Around a Conservatory
Volunteer Park Conservatory has been on Capitol Hill since 1912 and is one of the most scenic ideas of what to do on rainy days in Seattle. If you go on the first Thursday or first Saturday of the month, you’ll even be able to get in for free. This is a great place to go when you’re looking for what to do on a rainy day in Seattle while in Seattle on a budget.
There are five different houses to go through at Volunteer Park Conservatory, including the Seasonal, Cactus, Palm, Fern, and Bromeliad houses. You’ll warm right up if you come here on a cold day looking for indoor things to do in Seattle.
5. Learn About Underground Seattle
Book a spot on the Seattle Underground tour when you need an indoor Seattle fall activity due to the weather. I always take my friends in town for the weekend on this, as it’s such a unique way to see the city.
The current city of Seattle was essentially built on top of the old town from the 1800s. While most of it is closed to the public, you can still see parts of the original buildings when you go on this tour. You’ll also learn a ton of history about how Seattle came to be.
Book your tour online before you go.
6. Watch a Show at the Ballet
One of the most popular ballets in the country is the Pacific Northwest Ballet, so you’ll want to book tickets to a show when you need a Seattle indoor activity. They put on various performances throughout the year at McCaw Hall in Seattle, and it’s also one of the best rainy day date ideas in Seattle.
During the winter in Seattle, the most popular show is The Nutcracker. I highly recommend booking tickets in advance if you plan on attending this, as it’s a beloved local favorite.
Booking a show at the Pacific Northwest Ballet is also a great Seattle date night idea when you need indoor Seattle activities.
7. Buy Local Goods at a Farmer’s Market
While Pike Place Market tends to be the most crowded during the summer months, the rainy season in Seattle is a great time to go. The area is less crowded, and it’s all covered, so you’ll stay dry and warm when looking for what to do on a rainy day in Seattle.
There are plenty of local vendors to buy fresh produce, flowers, and more from on the main level of the market. There are also tons of shops hidden away in the lower level, so make sure to check these out for things to do in Seattle when it rains.
You’ll also find other farmer’s markets throughout the area that may be closer to where you live. This is one of my favorite indoor activities near Seattle, as you can stock up on seasonal fruit.
8. Observe Native Sea Life
Going to the Seattle Aquarium is one of the best rainy day activities in Seattle, as there’s something fun about being surrounded by water while watching the rain pour outside. This is located on the Seattle waterfront and the perfect way to start your morning, especially when you need indoor activities for kids in Seattle.
You’ll see various Pacific Northwest sea life, including a giant octopus, puffins, seals, otters, and more. There’s an indoor and outdoor exhibit, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see a diver coming into the tank to feed the sea life.
The Aquarium is also part of Seattle’s CityPASS if you’re looking to save money on multiple attractions.
9. Try Out Your Bouldering Skills
Need a little adventure on a rainy day? Head to the Seattle Bouldering Project to try your hand at indoor rock climbing.
Many rock climbers in the area come here to keep up their bouldering and rock climbing skills while waiting out the rainy weather until they can get outside again. This is one of the more active things to do in Seattle on a rainy day.
There are several indoor climbing gyms in Seattle, but I like this one because of how early and late they’re open (6 am to 11 pm daily). Depending on the time, they also have a cafe where you can grab a latte or a beer.
10. Taste Local Beer
You don’t have to convince many people in Seattle to head to a brewery no matter what the weather is. Brewery tours make for a particularly great thing to do on a rainy day in Seattle, and there are plenty of kid-friendly breweries in Seattle.
You could do your own walking brewery tour, especially in places like Ballard, where over a dozen breweries are close to each other. Some of the top breweries in Seattle are based there.
There are also plenty of guided brewery tours in Seattle to go on:
- Pike Place Market Food Tour – Join a tour to see some of the best places to eat around Pike Place Market.
- Georgetown Brewery Tour – Georgetown is the new place in Seattle to go for food and beer, so you’ll get a chance to sample some of the best beer in Georgetown.
- Fishermen’s Terminal Brewery Tour – Learn about the importance of Seattle fishermen while trying out beer at several different breweries.
11. See How Airplanes Are Made
Seattle is known for many large companies, such as Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft – and Boeing. If you’ve always wanted to go behind the scenes of how these massive planes are built, you’ll love the Boeing Factory Tour. You can spend hours here, making it one of the best rainy day activities in Seattle.
You’ll start with a video of the history of Boeing before heading to the factory. From there, you’ll go to different sections of the factory to see how various parts are made. Even if you’re not big into aviation, you’ll likely find it fascinating to see how an airplane is put together.
Book your Boeing tour online before you go.
12. Admire Stunning Glass Sculptures
One of the most impressive museums in the city is the Chihuly Museum, so put it on your list of things to do in Seattle when it’s raining. You’ll walk by and under some beautiful glass-blown pieces. I’m always in awe of how beautiful these pieces of art are every time I’m there, and it’s great for things to do when it’s raining in Seattle.
In addition to the central part of the museum, the garden outside has more beautiful pieces, and the glasshouse is one of the most photographed places in Seattle.
They always have different events going on in the glasshouse, such as yoga classes or cocktail hours. I would check out their calendar when you’re visiting to see if you can get tickets to any special events.
Make sure to stop at the gift shop to get some beautiful Seattle souvenirs for yourself or a friend.
13. Learn About Seattle’s Nordic History
The National Nordic Museum is located in the Ballard neighborhood and is great for rainy day things to do in Seattle. This is the best place to learn about the Nordic influence of this area on a rainy day in Seattle. You’ll see exhibits from Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden throughout the museum.
I always stop at the Freya Cafe to try Nordic food like Danish Dogs, Smørrebrød, and more. They also hold the Yulefest Festival every December, where you can buy traditional Nordic arts and crafts as well as homemade food.
14. See Famous Music Memorabilia
Music lovers will love visiting the Museum of Pop Culture when figuring out what to do in Seattle in the rain. You’ll see everything from Britney Spears’ dance outfits to handwritten lyrics from Kurt Cobain at this museum. There’s a significant focus on artists from the Pacific Northwest, but they also have exhibits on other big stars.
You can visit the interactive Sound Lab, where you’ll have a chance to try out various instruments. There are soundproof rooms where you can jam with other people or learn to DJ on turntables.
Visiting the Museum of Pop Culture is one of the more popular Seattle indoor activities, as you can spend hours here warm and entertained.
15. Check Out Old Airplanes
Heading to the Museum of Flight is one of the best things to do in Seattle on a rainy day. You can easily spend a whole day here with how many exhibits there are.
If you like old airplanes, make sure to check out the Aircraft Restoration section. You’ll be able to see cars and planes from decades ago being worked on.
My favorite parts, personally, are where you can pretend you’re a pilot. You can “fly” an airplane from the cockpit as well as take a shuttle trainer tour.
16. Observe Local Art
Visiting the Seattle Art Museum is one of the more popular rainy day activities in Seattle, especially for tourists. The museum is located downtown by the waterfront, so it’s close to many hotels and restaurants you might already plan on visiting.
There are over 25,000 different pieces of art here, so it’s safe to say a visit could easily take up a day. They have a variety of permanent collections, such as Native American pieces. There are constantly rotating exhibits as well, so there’s something new almost every time you visit.
17. Explore All Things Science
One of the most kid-friendly places in Seattle is the Pacific Science Center, although all ages are welcome. That makes it one of the best Seattle indoor activities when it’s raining outside. The center is large enough that you could spend a good part of the day here.
There are exhibits for all ages, including a toddler exploration area. One of my favorite areas to stop in is the planetarium, where you can learn all about space.
Be sure to check out what the IMAX theater is playing so you can get tickets in advance for the latest shows. They always have something fun and educational, such as “Dinosaurs of Antarctica.”
The Pacific Science Center isn’t just for kids; however – the laser shows at night make for a great date night. The Laser Dome puts on themed music for each show, such as Elton John or Pink Floyd, so it’s perfect when looking for things to do indoors in Seattle.
18. Have Your Kids Play Pretend
Looking for things to do on a rainy day in Seattle is especially challenging when you have kids who need to get energy out. The Seattle’s Children Museum solves this problem, as it has over 18,000 square feet for children eight and under to explore.
The museum has numerous “adult” scenarios that kids can re-enact, such as grocery shopping or doctor visits. They can also pretend they’re working at a construction zone, waiting for the bus, and more, making it one of the best indoor kids’ activities in Seattle.
19. Run Around a Playtorium
If you need somewhere safe for your kid to bounce off the wall, head to Funtastic Playtorium. They have locations in Lynnwood and Factoria and are one of the easiest things to do in Seattle during rain.
Kids 10 and under can crawl, jump, bounce, and slide their way around this giant indoor playground. This is also a great place to throw a birthday party if your kid’s birthday occurs during the rainy season in Seattle.
20. Take a Ferry Ride
One of my favorite things to do on a gloomy day is walk on the ferry to take a trip across the water. There are plenty to choose from, such as the ferry that’s downtown and goes to Bainbridge Island, where you’ll be able to walk to multiple restaurants and shops once you reach the other side.
You could also take the ferry to explore all the things to do on Vashon Island, south of the downtown area. However, you will need to drive your car on the ferry for this one, as there isn’t much when you first get off on the other side.
21. Take a Drive
Sometimes when I’m going a little stir crazy in the house after a period of multiple rainy days, I love getting up, making coffee to go, and heading out on the road. We have some beautiful places for scenic drives in Washington, making it one of the easiest rainy day Seattle activities.
Some of my favorite places for a road trip from Seattle include:
- Olympic National Park
- Whidbey Island
- North Cascades Highway (only part of the highway is accessible in the winter so check reports first)
As you can see, there are many rainy day activities in Seattle you can enjoy! Save this post to refer to for the next time you’re looking for what to do in Seattle when it rains.