As I mentioned in my Seattle Travel Guide, the Emerald City has something unique to offer in every season, whether you prefer a summer cruise on Lake Washington, a spring stroll through Pike Place Market or a cozy winter coffee flight in The Seattle Roastery, it’s all worth the trip. But something to consider is weather, appropriate layers and various essentials to ensure you have the best Seattle visit. To make things easy, I’ve created a Seattle Packing List so you’re prepared any time of year!
Seattle Packing List
It may seem cliche and local Seattleites joke that only tourists carry umbrellas, but don’t be fooled. We ALL have one in our car or backpack. In a city that rains 150 days a year, it just makes sense to be prepared. For the ease of your luggage space, I recommend the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella. It’s lightweight, windproof, and generously expands to a 42″ canopy, but only takes up 12″ when collapsed. It also comes in 7 colors with an automatic open and close.
In regards to the best season to pack a travel umbrella, honestly it could rain in the middle of summer and be dry for weeks in the fall. It’s a good idea to always bring it when traveling to Seattle.
I’d recommend rain boots if you plan on tromping through tulip fields in the spring, or have an adventurous itinerary in October or November. They can be a heavy addition to your suitcase, so really only bring them if you’re pretty sure you’ll wear them. I have a pair of the Hunter Women’s Original Tall Rain Boots that I love, and the best part is that they come in 36 colors!
I know there’s definitely a theme here but it’s the reality of a Seattle Packing List. Rain jackets, like the umbrella, are a good idea to pack, regardless of the season. And go for quality on this one. It could make or break your afternoon. I recommend The North Face Women’s Venture 2 Jacket. It comes in 40 colors, ultralight, weatherproof, breathable and 100% windproof. It’s also unlined for year-round use and has an adjustable hood.
In my Carry On Essentials For Long Flights post I mentioned I bring my 40oz Hydro Flask with me everywhere I travel, and I recommend you do the same when you visit Seattle. Especially in June, July and August when the temperatures can heat up, it’s just a good idea to bring your own water bottle. It’s handy for the airport, next to your bedside table in your hotel room or Airbnb, and fits nicely in the side pocket of a backpack.
One of the best travel tips I can give you is to pack a pair of tennis shoes. The Allbirds Wool Runners are super comfortable, lightweight and breathable. They’ll last through Pike Place Market, up the Space Needle, and in and out of every local boutique in town. They’re durable, cute and available in a variety of colors. Also, most adventure excursions require you wear close toe shoes…so it’s good to have a pair on hand.
There may not be as many sunny days throughout the winter, but UV rays can still penetrate clouds so it’s important to pack sunglasses. I love the sustainable fashion line by Kraywoods, with an entire collection of wooden sunglasses, and they plant a tree in your name with every purchase. Lightweight, comfortable and very on-trend with the PNW vibe. Use my code PORTIA15 to save 15% off your purchase!
In addition to sunglasses, sunblock is imperative to wear in Seattle 365 days a year. I like the Beautycounter Sun Protection line which includes a Mineral Sunscreen Mist, Mineral Sunscreen Lotion and SPF 30 Stick.
If you’re spending a handful of days in Seattle, consider bringing a baseball cap. It fits the laid back vibe of the city, allows you to extend your hair wash, and helps protect you on a rainy day (the ultimate trifecta!). Packing tip: stuff the cap with smaller items like undergarments, swimsuits, socks, etc. to keep the shape.
If you visit Seattle in the fall and winter months, you’re likely to see everyone wearing a beanie, especially on the weekend. It’s part hipster – part warmth motivated. They’re just comfortable, okay? Might as well pack one or pick up your own Seattle vibe when you arrive.
Despite my overwhelming rain convo, I promise you, there are sunny days in Seattle. As I mentioned before, it can warm up quite a bit in June, July and August so still include a swimsuit when you pack for Seattle. Plus, there are a handful of Seattle hotels that offer indoor pools to take advantage of.
Universal Travel Adapter
If you’re traveling from outside of the United States, don’t forget to bring a Universal Travel Adapter. I like the Seven Star Universal Travel Adapter with the USB ChargePack from Jet.com. It’s easy to use and works in more than 150 countries.
When you pack for Seattle, keep in mind the weather can fluctuate. It may be cool in the morning and heat up 20-30 degrees in the afternoon so pack layers. In the summer, include a jean jacket or sweatshirt. And in the winter, pack the parka because it can get chilly! If you plan to head to the mountains, bring your snow pants, gloves, scarves, and long underwear. Washington State has some of the best powder on the west coast, so if you have time, head to Snoqualmie Pass. It’s a short hour drive from Seattle, with incredible views of the Cascade Mountains.
Add this to your digital agenda – downloading a few travel apps are just as important as everything else on this Seattle Packing List. A few of my favorites include:
- TripAdvisor – For itinerary planning and reviews with real photos, by real people.
- Google Maps – You can pin drop and download maps to access offline.
- Uber, Lyft, Reach Now – Ride sharing at your fingertips! Use code PORTIAFREE to save $5 off your next Reach Now ride.
- Skyscanner – Find and compare the best deals on airfare, hotels and car rentals.
- Google Photos – An easy way to sync photos, especially when traveling in a group.
- Marco Polo – My favorite video messaging app that allows you to stay connected with friends and family. This is amazing when traveling in different time zones. Record a video message so they can watch and respond at their convenience.
- Apple Podcasts – Download your favorite podcasts ahead of time to listen offline and not use up any data. A perfect way to pass the time while en route.
- Audible – Download audio books that are in theme with your destination! One of my favorite ways to multitask. Libby is another great audiobook platform that allows you to check out books for free using your library card!
- Spotify – If you prefer music, sign up for Spotify Premium to download playlists and listen offline.
- Apple Wallet – Add your airline or event tickets or make purchases using Apple Pay.
- Voice Recorder – If you want to create a travel diary, the Voice Recorder app is a great way to document your adventures in the moment, so you can recap at a later time.
- StoryArt – A collection of Instagram Story templates to share your experiences in a curated way.
- Netflix – Need to unwind after a long day? Here’s your nighttime travel buddy that will let you chill and recharge for tomorrow’s adventures.
Make sure to also read my Carry On Essentials For Long Flights post, along with the Seattle Travel Guide for the best hotel, activity, and food recommendations.
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