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.
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 March 2021.
Spring in Seattle Travel Tips
Weather in Seattle in Spring
Yes, it does still rain 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 still being winter.
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. You’ll see average temperatures between 45° and 57° F in Seattle in April.
Visiting in April 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 in bloom during Seattle in spring.
Seattle in May
If you want sun, visiting Seattle in May will give you a higher chance of that. We only average 7 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.
Where to Stay in Seattle in the Spring
- 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.
- 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 summer, so book your room in advance.
Best Things to Do in Seattle in the Spring
These are some of my favorite Seattle spring activities to check out.
Go Whale Watching
Take a day trip to see grey and orca whales in the waters north of Seattle. 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 preventatively take Dramamine. I tend to get seasick when on the water so always take this right before getting on a boat.
Watch a Baseball Game
Nothing says spring in Seattle like going to see 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. This is one of the best cheap activities in Seattle when you’re saving money.
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’re interested in visiting the Mariners in March when they hold spring training, I have a whole post on Arizona spring training to check out.
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 what the latest ones are. Coming here on a rainy day in Seattle in spring is the best way to pass the time.
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. There are also plenty of 21+ events that take place throughout the year. Note – as of March 2021, this is temporarily closed, but they hope to reopen soon.
CityPASS before you go! It’s one of my favorite ways to see a new city on a budget.
Celebrate Northwest Folklife
For almost 50 years, Northwest Folklife has been the way many people in Seattle celebrate Memorial Day weekend. This outdoor festival celebrates music and art, and there are plenty of food vendors there.
The festival itself is free, but donations are encouraged to keep it going each year. Another unique thing about the festival is they allow street performers and buskers, so you may see a new talent that makes it big later.
They have not yet announced if Northwest Folklife will take place for 2021, but I’ll update this section when they do.
See the Cherry Blossoms
The University of Washington’s campus is a bustling place normally but becomes packed when the cherry blossoms bloom each spring. 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 when the best time to go is. Usually visiting Seattle in March gives you the best time to see them, particularly at the end of the month.
Shop at the Farmer’s Market
Seattle in spring means the start of local farmer’s markets all over the city. Almost every neighborhood has their own, but some of the more popular ones are the Ballard and Fremont Farmer’s Market.
Stock up on local produce, honey, healthy baked goods, and more. Food trucks are often parked at these too so you can try some local restaurants after shopping.
Get Lost in the Tulips
If you’re looking for things to do in Seattle in April, you have to take a day trip up to Mount Vernon to see the tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Thousands of colorful tulips bloom every year in this very popular festival.
If possible, go during the 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. However, tickets are timed this year so you can expect fewer people than usual.
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, cool and unforgettable installations, and even special exhibitions from all around the world.
The works that are displayed 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).
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 very interesting to learn about the history of the city.
See the Jimi Hendrix Memorial
Jimi Hendrix is one of the most popular guitarists and musicians of all time. Since his birthplace was Seattle, this memorial was created in his honor in the 1980s. If you’re in Seattle in the spring, it’s always nice to walk around the memorial, as it’s a very calm and serene spot.
Due to its location, it often has a lot of young people around. Sometimes, you might even find teachers from the nearby schools organizing scavenging hunts for their students.
Check Out an Arboretum
There’s no place better than the beautiful nature of Seattle in the spring than in 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.
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 bea spots in the arboretum.
Have an Adventure at Duthie Hill
Spring in Seattle means that all of the wonderful nature around the city is available for adventuring. Duthie Hill is one of the best spots for that as it has some of the finest mountain biking trails in the entire wider region. It’s very close to the city, too.
All of its trails are very well signed, and the park itself is excellently maintained. Among many unique and great trails, here you’ll find Grand Ridge Trail. It’s one of the most popular singletrack mountain bike trails near Seattle. Even though it’s quite long, it’s really fun to bike through it.
Learn About Bill & Melinda Gates
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center is an interactive center that’s entirely free to enter. This center is focused on the efforts of Bill and Melinda Gates from all around the world. This is a very thought-provoking spot, and you can even try your hand at helping to solve some of the issues that the Foundation is dealing with.
There are plenty of interactive displays and notebooks where you could jot down ideas on how to tackle important worldwide issues. Spring in Seattle always feels hopeful, and this Discovery Center is one of the pillars why.
Find Peace at Waterfall Garden Park
A lot of 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 very small place that works like 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.
Take a Free Boat Ride
Seattle has a long and rich history with boats of all shapes and sizes. Maritime activities have been its lifeblood for a very long time now. That’s why the Center for Wooden Boats is very proud of the way it’s protecting the heritage of the city. There are free boat rides every Sunday.
To sign up, all you have to do is show up in person around 10 am. 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.
Visit Sri Chinmoy Center
Spring in Seattle is just a positive time of the year. It’s when nature comes back to life and fun vibes are in the air. That’s why it might be the ideal time to start taking some free meditation classes.
Sri Chinmoy is a spiritual teacher that has been at the forefront of meditation, a positive lifestyle, and healthy living for over 30 years. His center is the spot to go to for some deep spiritual relaxation, which goes easily hand in hand with the stunning surrounding nature. Note – this is temporarily closed as of March 2021.
Relax at Kerry Park
There are few spots in Seattle where you can find such iconic views like the ones from Kerry Park. In fact, I would say it’s one of the top Instagram spots in Seattle.
If you’ve ever seen a stunning image of the city’s skyline, it’s most certainly taken from this park. It’s a wonderful 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. 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.
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.
- 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.