The Ultimate Seattle Packing List for Spring

Seattle Packing List

I recently spent six weeks in Seattle for a training program. This meant I had to figure out how to pack for Seattle’s unique climate and various activities. Of course, I needed business casual attire for work days. But I also planned to take advantage of my time in Seattle by using weekends to explore downtown Seattle and the greater Seattle area. Needless to say, creating my Seattle packing list was a challenge. 

I fell in love with Seattle while there for training, and I didn’t want to leave. After all of this time exploring the Emerald City in Spring, I’m ready to give you my ultimate Seattle packing list. 

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Understanding Seattle Weather

The first thing I had to consider when packing for Seattle was the unpredictable weather that Seattle is known for. During my time, I encountered 80-degree blue sky days and 50-degree rainy days I was visiting in April and May.

Let’s break down what to expect from Seattle’s weather throughout the year to help you adjust your Seattle packing list accordingly.

Spring (March-May):

Seattle starts to warm up in the Spring, with an average high between 50°F and 65°F, although rainfall is still very common. If you’re visiting in the Spring, this is the perfect packing list for you. 

What to Pack: You’ll be set if you follow this packing list. But think about light layers so you can adjust as the weather changes. A lightweight waterproof jacket and waterproof boots (like Blundstones) are perfect for this time of year. 

Summer (June-August):

Everyone told me Seattle summers are the best time of the year, with long days and plenty of sunny days. I got a taste of a Seattle summer in May with a weekend of hot days and 80-degree temperatures!! Temperatures in the summer months remain mild enough to enjoy all of the outdoor activities the Pacific Northwest offers, ranging from 70°F to 80°F during the day. 

Insider Scoop: Many locals told me that over the last three summers, they’ve seen 100-degree days!

What to Pack: Lighter clothing is perfect for summer in Seattle. Think wide-leg linen pants, tanks, and lightweight jackets. Swap your winter beanie for a chic baseball hat to protect you from the sun!

Fall (September-November): 

Seattle starts cooling off in the Fall as the true rainy season settles back in. Temperatures range from 55°F to 70°F, with some fog in the mornings. That being said, Fall is the perfect time of year for a fall-color road trip in the PNW!

What to Pack: You’ll want to add warmer layers to your clothing packing list. Think cozy sweaters and scarves. Also, ensure your rain jacket can handle a torrential downpour or two. Pack comfortable walking shoes or boots (like Blundstones) that have good traction, as sidewalks will be slippery. 

Winter (December-February):

Seattle’s winter months are cold and wet, with a high likelihood of snow. Over the last few years, Seattle has seen an increase in snowfall, so bundle up, as average highs are between 40°F and 50°F. 

What to Pack: For winter, pack a thermal base layer, fleece-lined leggings, and a wool overcoat or insulated rain jacket (like this one) to stay warm. Also, pack gloves and a warm hat to protect yourself against cold winds. Wool socks will keep your feet warm and dry in your waterproof boots!

What to Wear in Seattle

One thing I noticed about Seattle style is that it’s a very casual city, which is excellent for me! The unofficial Seattle dress code seemed to be your favorite pair of jeans, a fun top with a light sweater, and sporty shoes. 

Thrifting is also very popular in Seattle, so you will see an eclectic mix of outfits as you explore. I don’t see a reason to go out and buy a new wardrobe for Seattle. Your current everyday wear will be perfect.

That being said, part of the fun of a trip is buying some new clothes to wear!

Standing at the Chihuly Glass Gardens in Seattle.
Standing at the overlook of Kerry Park in Seattle, Washington.

Essential Items on Your Seattle Packing List 

Backpack: Bring a backpack to store extra layers of clothing, a camera, a water bottle, and whatever else you might need for a day out in the city. I love this Nordace backpack, which I used while traveling in Scotland and on city days in San Francisco. It’s not waterproof, but it does dry quickly if it gets wet. If you’re looking for a waterproof backpack, check out this one that looks almost exactly the same as the Nordace.

Camera: Seattle is beautiful. I mean, the views from Kerry Park are a chef’s kiss, and of course, you’ll want a photo of the iconic Pike Place Market sign. Whether you’re using your phone as your camera or a separate camera, make sure you’ve got one charged and ready to go!

Portable Battery Pack: Speaking of charging, add this portable battery pack to your backpack along with the appropriate charging cord so you can stay charged all day long. I’ve been using this Mophie one for years and even replaced it when I left in the hotel at the Scotland airport. With one full charge, it will charge your devices about three times.

Rain Jacket: Since rain can be expected year-round in Seattle, pack a good rain jacket. For Spring, it doesn’t need to be anything super bulky, but something like this one that packs down easily into your backpack and will keep you dry in a light drizzle. I like this one!

Comfortable Walking Shoes: Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes, whatever that looks like for you. Bonus points for waterproof shoes. Blundstone boots are very popular in the PNW and quite comfortable for city exploration and a light hike. I’d been on the hunt for cute white sneakers and found the very popular and trendy sambas uncomfortable. I stumbled upon these Nikes at a local DSW and absolutely loved them. I wore them all over Seattle!

Reusable Water Bottle: Seattle is a very sustainably aware city, and the tap water tastes good! Forget the plastic water bottles and bring your favorite reusable water bottle to stay hydrated on the go. I’m a Hydro Flask girlie through and through!

Umbrella: A note about umbrellas. My coworker who lives in Seattle told me “true” Seattleites don’t use an umbrella when it rains. They said they just put their hoods up and go. They stated that they know a person is a tourist if they’re using an umbrella. I kind of eye-rolled at this because that’s a weird thing to be somewhat arrogant about. I’ll tell you what, I’m not too cool for an umbrella, and I packed and used mine when it rained. You do you, boo! Here’s my favorite travel umbrella.

What to Pack for Seattle

If you’re ready to just get what you need, check out my Seattle packing list on Amazon that has (almost) everything linked that I share below!

Seattle Packing List: Clothing 

Before deciding what clothes to pack for your trip to Seattle, check the weather forecast for when you’ll be there. In my six weeks there, I was blessed with at least 10 truly warm days. On the flip side of that, while on my day trip to Bainbridge Island, the morning started out warm with blue skies, and by mid-afternoon, it was windy, gray, and raining. So, plan to experience a possible wide range of temperatures.

As such, layers are essential!

Here are some clothing items to consider packing:

  • 1 pair of nice jeans: Loving these Madewell jeans right now.
  • 1 pair of joggers or leggings: These can be worn exploring the city or on a light day hike
  • 1 dress or skirt: I love this satin skirt, which can be dressed up or down.
  • 2-3 T-shirts: Nothing beats a classic white shirt, which can be worn in many different outfits.
  • 1-2 sweaters: Think lightweight sweaters that will still add warmth over a t-shirt and under an outer coat.
  • Trench coat or jacket: I love trench coats in the Spring and have been hunting for one; if you find a good one, let me know. But any of your favorite jackets will do!
  • Swimsuit: I always recommend packing a swimsuit no matter where you go.
  • Undergarments/bra: My biggest tip for packing in a carry-on only is to pack clothes for one week, except for underwear. Bring as much as you want and then more!
  • Socks: Darn Tough socks are perfect for Seattle.

If you’re planning on any outdoor activities or hikes, add these clothing items to your list:

  • Hiking pants: I love these from REI.
  • Hiking top: I’m sure you already have a workout shirt you can wear hiking!
  • Fleece: A fleece is an excellent layer for hiking or wearing around the city.
  • Rain gear: Depending on the hiking you plan, this might mean a more robust rain jacket and pants.
  • Waterproof hiking boots: For a longer hike, I love my Keen hiking boots and have been wearing them for years! Danner boots are another great waterproof hiking boot option. If you’re not planning a super strenuous hike and are already packing Blundstones, then you’re set!

Seattle Packing List: Shoes

I’ve already written extensively about the shoes you need to pack for Seattle, but here’s a breakdown.

  • Comfortable walking sneakers: Think Adidas Sambas, New Balance, or my new favorite Nikes. Again, bonus points if they’re water resistant.
  • Waterproof boots: Something like a Blundstone or these Sorel Chelsea Boots. (I wore these all over Europe and Ireland; I love them!)
  • Sandal: This is optional, but you may want to pack a sandal you can dress up for a night out or a sunny day!

Seattle Packing List: Toiletries

You’ll pack all of your makeup, medication, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc, but here are a few of my favorite toiletry items that I take on every trip:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap: Yes, you can use this for body wash, but I also use it for sink laundry when needed. I like the Almond version.
  • Toothpaste tabs: I prefer these when traveling! I get them from LUSH.
  • Febreeze: I re-wear things constantly while traveling and use this travel size Febreeze to keep them fresh between wears.
  • Tide To-Go pen: Since I re-wear clothes, I keep a Tide stick pen on hand to fix stains. 
  • First Aid Kit: I always pack one of these premade kits with bandaids, ointment, and other items. 

Seattle Packing List: Electronics

Here are a few electronics to pack:

  • Camera: If you’re not using your phone as a camera, pack your camera and any related equipment, such as extra batteries.
  • Portable Battery Pack: This one is my favorite.
  • Charging Station: I finally caved and bought this portable charging station that simultaneously charges my watch, Airpods, and phone. It means I have to bring fewer cords and keep everything organized in one place. It’s also not expensive!
  • Kindle: While Seattle has many bookshops to add to your itinerary, a Kindle is a great way to carry all your favorite books without adding much weight. Then, if you find a good book in one of the bookshops, you can bring it to the coffee shop.

Seattle Packing List: The Gear

Now, what do you pack all of this stuff in? Whether you use a backpack or suitcase as your main luggage option is up to you. I use either, depending on the destination.

  • Backpack: This is my favorite backpack (I used this all over South America and Europe). 
  • Suitcase: I’m still trying to figure out my favorite suitcase. I’m currently using a Monos and a TravelPro (from work). To be honest, I find the Monos a bit too small for anything more than a weekend.
  • Packing Cubes: Packing cubes keep everything organized! I used these Eagle Creek packing cubes for two years, and they stood out very well. I wanted to try compression packing cubes, so I got this pack from Amazon and switched to exclusively using them.

There you have it—everything you need to pack for Seattle in the Spring. I hope this packing list and the packing tips included throughout make you feel prepared for your trip! If there is anything I missed that you think should be included, please let me know. I hope that you enjoy your Seattle adventure. Be sure to check out my other Seattle travel guides for help planning your bucket list trip to Seattle!

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