One of the most exciting times in Seattle is during the spring season when we start to see the sun peek out more after a dreary winter. As a long-time local, I look forward to that first sunny, warm day that comes through in the spring. While there are still plenty of rainy days, there are also many more opportunities to enjoy the sun and be outside during spring in Seattle.
For example, spring is the best time in Seattle to go whale watching. This is also the start of the baseball season, which is personally one of my favorite ways to spend a spring weekend. The tourists haven’t quite flocked to the city yet either, which is something to consider if you don’t like crowds.
I love exploring springtime in Seattle, and I know you will too. Here are some travel tips for visiting the city this time of year and the best activities to do in Seattle in the spring.
The information in this post has been checked and updated as of January 2023.
Spring in Seattle Travel Tips
Weather in Seattle in Spring
Yes, it still rains in Seattle in the spring, but that shouldn’t discourage you from visiting. You’ll find us locals out every weekend exploring the area. Here’s a short breakdown of the weather each month so you can plan your Seattle spring activities.
Seattle in March
I’ll be honest – March is still a bit dreary, as it’s the end of winter. That means you’ll likely experience rain, but there are still sunny days. The average temperature is between 42° and 52° F, which is pretty warm for winter weather in Seattle.
There are tons of indoor activities to do during March. Another reason I recommend visiting Seattle in March is there are fewer crowds at tourist attractions. This is also the best time to see the famous cherry blossoms bloom.
Seattle in April
April is the month that really starts to excite Seattle-ites, as this is when we have a lot more sunny days. In April, you’ll see average temperatures between 45° and 57° F in Seattle.
Visiting in April in Seattle is also the best time to come if you want to see the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. This is usually when the tulips are most vivid and blooming during Seattle in spring. It’s also a fun time to take a ferry on a rainy day, such as to explore all of the best things to do on Bainbridge Island.
Seattle in May
If you want sun, visiting Seattle in May will give you a higher chance. We only average seven days of rain for the month, and the average temperatures are between 50° and 63° F. This is a popular time to visit if you want to get out on the water kayaking or boating.
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Where to Stay in Seattle in the Spring
- StayPineapple, Hotel FIVE – I love Hotel FIVE because it’s affordable while being in a convenient location downtown, and it’s one of the top places my readers end up staying at. This eco-friendly hotel is only minutes away from the Space Needle and Seattle Center. (rates start at $148 per night)
- Pan Pacific Seattle – The Pan Pacific is located in the middle of downtown, which makes it a good location if you’ll be exploring different neighborhoods. While it’s not by the waterfront, they do have a free shuttle that will take you there. The rooms are beautiful and complete with huge Japanese soaking tubs to relax in at night. (rates start at $180 per night)
- Inn at the Market – If you want to treat yourself, stay at the Inn at the Market. You’ll be right by Pike Place Market and by the waterfront, so it’s a good location if you plan on spending time there. You’ll also have amazing views of Puget Sound when you look out your window. This is a popular hotel during spring and Seattle in summer, so book your room in advance. (rates start at $300 per night)
Tips for Seattle Spring Break
Whether you’re visiting from out of town or just looking for ways to keep your kids occupied during spring break in Seattle, here are a few tips:
- Make reservations at places that accept them, such as restaurants or museums that let you buy tickets in advance. There’s nothing worse than showing up and having it full for the day when you have your kids with you. This tends to be a very busy time of year in Seattle.
- Consider going right at the opening time to attractions so you’ll have more of the place to yourself before the crowds come later. I always take my kids to places in Seattle as soon as it opens to not deal with lines.
- Buy a CityPASS to save money. You’ll likely be looking for several things to do in Seattle during spring break, so a Seattle CityPASS will get you into some of the most popular attractions around, such as the Aquarium, Space Needle, and more, all for one price.
- Book accommodations in advance if you’re planning a Seattle weekend vacation, as they can book up early.
19 Best Things to Do in Seattle in the Spring
These are some of my favorite Seattle spring activities to check out.
1. Go Whale Watching
One of the more common facts about Seattle is we’re a great place to go whale watching. Take a day trip to see grey and orca whales in the waters north of Seattle, as spring is a great time to go whale watching in Seattle. Also, most companies have a guarantee that you’ll see them, or you’ll get another free trip.
A few tips – the sun reflects off the water, so make sure to wear sunscreen when you’re on the boat. Also, the waves tend to be small to medium around Seattle, but you might want to take Dramamine preventatively. I tend to get very seasick when on the water, so I always take this right before getting on a boat.
2. Watch a Baseball Game
Nothing says spring in Seattle like seeing the Seattle Mariners play at T-Mobile Park. Get inexpensive tickets in the outfield and then head to the beer garden to watch part of the game while enjoying the sun. I absolutely love taking the light rail down here (you’ll want to get off at the stadium stop), having a beer or two, and walking around the stadium.
Every year T-Mobile Park gets new food vendors, so make sure to come hungry. They have everything from wontons to pasta to fried crickets (which surprisingly sell out often!).
They also have numerous event nights, such as Sandlot Night, so make sure to check out the schedule when choosing what game to go to.
If you really love baseball, you’ll want to take a tour of the stadium while you’re at it. This is especially fun to do when looking for what to do in Seattle in April, as it tends to be rainy this time of year.
3. Explore the Pacific Science Center
You don’t have to be a kid to visit the Pacific Science Center. They always have interactive exhibits that make science fun no matter what age you are. The exhibits are constantly changing, so check their website to see the latest ones.
Coming here on a rainy day in Seattle in spring is the best way to pass the time. It’s also an ideal place when looking for what to do in Seattle during spring break. My kids absolutely love the water exhibits outside, and the toddler area indoors is perfect for my youngest.
If you’re there at night, I highly recommend going to one of their laser shows in the Laser Dome. They pair music like Daft Punk or Pink Floyd with a laser show on the ceiling. I’ve been doing this since high school and still enjoy it. There are also plenty of 21+ events that take place throughout the year.
Buying a Seattle CityPASS is a great way to save money on ticket costs, as you’ll be able to see multiple Seattle attractions for one price!
4. Take a Day Tour
Since the weather gets sunnier in Seattle in the spring, it’s a good time to take a day trip out of Seattle to explore the state a bit more. There are plenty of tours that leave the city and do all the driving for you, and they’re perfect for both tourists and locals who want to go somewhere new.
Here are a few I recommend:
- A Mount Rainier tour is perfect to go on with a guide, as they can drive you to popular stops in the area and will take you to see the mountain up close to the Paradise area.
- Another fun tour is going to Olympic National Park, where the guide will take your small group in a luxury vehicle to the forests, mountains, and beaches of this beautiful peninsula.
- If you love wine tasting and waterfalls, you’ll want to book a spot on this Snoqualmie Falls and winery tour ASAP.
5. See the Cherry Blossoms
While seeing foliage in the fall is one of the best fall activities in Seattle, cherry blossoms rule the springtime. The University of Washington’s campus usually is bustling but becomes packed when the cherry blossoms bloom each spring, so you’ll want to come here when looking for things to do in Seattle in March.
It’s a beautiful place to walk around during the day, and you’ll see tons of photographers there trying to get the perfect shot. People travel here from all over to check it off their Washington bucket list.
This tends to be a pretty short season, so check the Twitter account to stay updated on the best time to go. Usually, visiting Seattle in March gives you the best time to see them, particularly at the end of the month.
6. Shop at the Farmer’s Market
Seattle in spring means the start of local farmer’s markets all over the city. I always look forward to the markets resuming again and stocking up each week. Almost every neighborhood has its own, but the more popular ones are the Ballard and Fremont Farmer’s Markets.
Stock up on local produce, honey, healthy baked goods, and more. Food trucks are often parked at these, too, so you can try some food Seattle is known for after shopping.
7. Get Lost in the Tulips
If you’re looking for things to do in Seattle in April, you have to take a quick road trip from Seattle up to Mount Vernon to see the tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Thousands of colorful tulips bloom every year in this trendy festival that takes place in 2023 from April 1 to 31.
If possible, go on a weekday when it’s not quite as crowded. Otherwise, you can expect to park pretty far away and deal with other people in your photos. They also have fun activities for kids, such as a trolley that goes through the fields (which my kids made me do three times in a row last time).
When you’re done, head west to explore some of the best things to do in La Conner, such as walking along the riverfront and visiting Pioneer Park.
Don’t want to drive? Join this full-day tulip tour that takes you to multiple tulip fields and La Conner.
8. Spend an Afternoon Viewing Art
Spring in Seattle is the best time to visit the city’s finest museums and a cheap thing to do in Seattle. The Seattle Art Museum is one of the most popular ones, and for a very good reason. Here you’ll find enormous collections, remarkable and unforgettable installations, and even special exhibitions from all around the world.
The displayed works are from the modern and contemporary periods, too. Anything from Aboriginal, Meso-American, African, Ancient Mediterranean, and Islamic Art is available here. This is located close to Pike Place Market, so you’ll have plenty of places to eat after (I recommend Pike Brewing Company).
You could also turn this into a romantic date night in Seattle by booking a reservation at a nearby restaurant, such as Von’s or The Crab Pot.
9. Learn About the Gold Rush
When you’re visiting Seattle in the spring, make sure to visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. It’s entirely free and is dedicated to the 1890s. Seattle wouldn’t have been the city it is today if it hadn’t been for those times, and that’s all thanks to the gold rush.
Even though the focus was on Alaska, more than 70,000 people passed through Seattle at the time. That was more than enough to kick-start a tiny town.
The museum’s exhibits are very family-friendly. Even though it’s a small museum, it has a lot of soul, and it’s exciting to learn about the history of the city. I loved stopping in here and learning new facts about our city’s history.
10. Celebrate Northwest Folklife
For almost 50 years, Northwest Folklife has been how many people in Seattle celebrate Memorial Day weekend. This outdoor festival celebrates music and art, and there are plenty of food vendors there when looking for what to do in Seattle in May.
The festival itself is free, but donations are encouraged to keep it going each year. Another unique thing about the festival is that they allow street performers and buskers to see a new talent that makes it big later.
Northwest Folklife will be from May 26th-29th, 2023 this year.
11. Check Out an Arboretum
There’s no place better than the beautiful nature of Seattle in the spring than the Washington Park Arboretum. It has a fantastic collection of plants and trees that you won’t find anywhere else in the entire Northwest.
The Arboretum is managed by both the City of Seattle and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, so expect a lot of beauty in the 230-acre grounds. I love walking around here in any season, but spring is when you’ll see plenty of flowers blooming.
You can even take guided tours if you want, but it’s perfectly fine to go about exploring for yourself. Make sure to stop by the Japanese Gardens, as it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the Arboretum and a popular thing to do in the spring in Washington.
12. Play Pretend at Dozer Day
One of my new traditions during spring in Seattle is attending the annual Dozer Day at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. For one weekend only, you pay a small fee to be able to see dozens of different bulldozers, excavators, and more, and you can even pretend to drive them.
I have two young boys and this has become one of the best things to do in Seattle in the spring with kids for us, as they walk around with their jaws hanging open all day. There are plenty of free giveaways from generous companies who sponsor this, and you can see a real life “worksite” with machines moving dirt around.
Dozer Day is on May 20th and 21st for 2023.
13. Go on a Wildflower Hike
I love this season because there are so many Washington spring hikes to go on, and many include wildflowers! While you’ll see some flowers around the city, it’s best to get out to the mountains to really be surrounded by the flowers.
I want to answer one question I get all the time – Mount Rainier is not the place to see wildflowers until July or August due to how much snow it gets, so don’t waste your time on a one-day trip to Mt. Rainier unless you want to go snowshoeing in the spring.
Some of my favorite spring hikes in Washington include the following:
- Sugarloaf (NW Washington, 2.5 miles RT)
- Sauk Mountain (4.2 miles RT)
- Big Huckleberry Mountain (SW Washington, 11.5 miles RT)
You should note that you’ll likely encounter rain, so I always encourage you to bring a raincoat along with you to keep you dry.
14. Walk Around Alki Beach
Head over on the West Seattle Bridge to visit Alki Beach, one of the few sand-only beaches you’ll find in the area. I always love taking a long stroll here on sunny spring days in Seattle and observing the people coming out of winter hibernation to play volleyball on the beach or rollerskate on the sidewalk.
There are also plenty of places to stop here if you’re hungry. For coffee or pastries, I recommend Ampersand Cafe on Alki, and if you’re ready for a meal, Cactus is my favorite for Mexican food, while Duke’s Seafood is a classic for any seafood dish you desire.
15. Find Peace at Waterfall Garden Park
Many people don’t know that there’s an actual waterfall hidden in downtown Seattle. It’s not that the Waterfall Garden Park is hidden, but rather it’s a tiny place that works as a pocket park. The waterfall itself is 22 feet tall, and it helps create a charming ambiance.
This spot is a great place to eat your lunch during the spring in Seattle. Just know that it’s open to the public only during the day.
16. Take a Free Boat Ride
Seattle has a long and rich history with boats of all shapes and sizes, and maritime activities have been its lifeblood for a very long time now. That’s why the Center for Wooden Boats is very proud of how it’s protecting the city’s heritage. There are free boat rides every Sunday.
All you have to do is show up in person around 10 am to sign up. After that, you will have to wait a bit for your ride to arrive, and then you’ll be off in the waters near the city. This is one of the most interesting things to do in Seattle in the spring.
17. See Seattle via Boat
Spring in Seattle is the perfect time to take a cruise around Puget Sound. I’ve lived here most of my life and never took one of these cruises up until a few years ago, but it gives you a completely different perspective of the city.
You’ll leave out of Pier 55 and take a short but informative one-hour tour of the harbor, where your tour guide will point out what you’re looking at. Even as a local, I learned plenty of new facts about the city. Afterward, stop by one of the waterfront restaurants for lunch or dinner.
Here are some short cruises to check out:
- This Seattle Harbor Cruise is a fun ride along Elliot Bay and the Seattle Waterfront.
- You’ll also love touring the famous Ballard Locks on this informative cruise.
18. Relax at Kerry Park
If you’ve ever seen a stunning image of the city’s skyline, it’s most certainly taken from this park. It’s a beautiful place to visit in Seattle in the spring, both day and night.
There are a lot of lovely benches that you could spend some time on, and it can be an ideal spot for a picnic or for a relaxing moment. The park is pretty popular, too, so you won’t ever feel like you’re too far away from civilization.
19. Enjoy Local Food
Seattle is full of delicious restaurants, but these are my favorite to hang out when the weather gets nicer.
- Ivar’s Acres of Clams – You’ll see Ivar’s restaurants all over the Seattle area, but this is the best, in my opinion. This is where the first one began in 1938 when it was just a small fish bar. Now, it’s expanded into a huge restaurant with an outdoor deck. Grab a seat outside to enjoy dinner and watch the ferry go by (a fun way to get around Seattle).
- Mbar – This is the perfect place for happy hour, as you can sit on the rooftop patio and have views of the Space Needle and Lake Union. Order one of their appetizers and a glass of wine, and you’ll be set.
- Marjorie – Get away from the bustle of Capitol Hill by hanging out on the patio of Marjorie. It reminds me of someone’s backyard with lights strung up and plenty of plants to make it feel secretive. They serve plantain chips and dips as an appetizer, which I’m obsessed with.
Whether you plan a jam-packed itinerary for your spring in Seattle trip or just pick a few of these Seattle spring activities, you’ll love exploring the city this time of year.