Let's face it: Seattle's weather has a bad reputation. As they say out here, "The rain in Spain stays mainly in Seattle." I wish I could tell you it isn't so, but I can't. It rains in Seattle -- and rains and rains and rains. However, when December 31 rolls around each year, a funny thing happens: They total up the year's precipitation, and Seattle almost always comes out behind such cities as Washington, Boston, New York, and Atlanta. So it isn't the amount of rain here that's the problem -- it's the number of rainy or cloudy days, which far outnumber those of any of the rainy East Coast cities.

Most of Seattle's rain falls between October and April, so if you visit in the summer, you might not see a drop the entire time. But just in case, you should bring a rain jacket or at least an umbrella. Also, no matter what time of year you plan to visit Seattle, be sure to pack at least a sweater or light jacket. Summer nights can be quite cool, and daytime temperatures rarely climb above the low 80s Fahrenheit (upper 20s Celsius). Winters are not as cold as they are in the East, but snow does fall in Seattle.

Because of the pronounced seasonality of the weather here, people spend as much time outdoors during the summer as they can, and accordingly summer is when the city stages all its big festivals. Because it stays light until 10pm in the middle of summer, it's difficult to get Seattleites indoors to theater or music performances. But when the weather turns wet, Seattleites head for the theaters and performance halls in droves.


Banks, government offices, post offices, and many stores, restaurants, and museums are closed on the following legal national holidays: January 1 (New Year's Day), the third Monday in January (Martin Luther King, Jr., Day), the third Monday in February (Presidents' Day), the last Monday in May (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day), the first Monday in September (Labor Day), the second Monday in October (Columbus Day), November 11 (Veterans' Day/Armistice Day), the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day), and December 25 (Christmas). The Tuesday after the first Monday in November is Election Day, a federal government holiday in 2012 and in all presidential-election years (held every 4 years).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.