With year-round events designed to cater to (nay showcase!) the fluctuating forecasts, it’s never a bad time to visit the Emerald City. Here are our suggestions for the best activities to help you make the most of your stay in Seattle.

Summer

Seattle is a seaport city, and summer is the season to immerse yourself (sometimes literally) in the lakes, bays and even beaches that surround it. Some of the water activities to take advantage of the warmer weather include kayaking along Puget Sound, ferry island-hopping (to islets such as Bainbridge, Vashon and the San Juan Islands), sailboat racing on Lake Union and swimming at Alki Beach – where you can also play, picnic or stroll along the pathway for spectacular skyline views.

For those who prefer to really give their legs a workout, tackling one of the many hiking trails in town is highly recommended. Do it independently, or book a Mt Rainier tour from downtown Seattle. At 4,392 metres, this volcanic peak is the highest mountain in Washington State and boasts massive glaciers, pounding waterfalls, and stunning wildflower meadows.

Summer is also concert central in Seattle – when locals and visitors alike surrender to the sun and sounds of live performances. Among the most popular outdoor entertainment are the Capitol Hill Block Party (annually in July), Bumbershoot (Labor Day weekend) and the ZooTunes Summer Concerts at Woodland Park Zoo (various dates).

Summer stays in the city should factor in time to go Ballard brewery hopping, because Seattle’s famous craft beers are best served cold on a sunny day. With 11 breweries across eight-square kilometres, the neighbourhood is easily navigable on foot. Alternately, if you’d like to quench your thirst with a Cab Sauv, head to Woodinville Wine Country, where over 100 wineries help Washington retain its status as the second-largest wine-producing state in America.

Autumn

Sports fans will have plenty to cheer about when visiting Seattle. While nearly all major sports leagues are well represented, the Seattle Seahawks are among the most vocally supported. With the NFL competition kicking off in early September, autumn is an ideal time to grab tickets to a game at CenturyLink Field to watch the local, Super Bowl-winning team in action.

Alternately, if your interests are more closely aligned to ale than athletics, it’s a great month to celebrate Oktoberfest in Seattle. With German brews, bratwurst and pumpkin spice beers (for a decidedly Pacific Northwest take on the festivities) all on the menu, this fun Munich-style celebration is sure to leave you with some un-bier-lievable memories.

With its haunted history (including rumours of spirits roaming Pike Place Market) Halloween is also an ideal opportunity to get supernatural with a Haunted Evening Seattle Pub Tour. Spooky spots of note include University Heights Center; The Arctic Club Seattle; Martha Washington Park; Orient Express Restaurant and Lounge; and Kells Irish Restaurant – alleged to be “the most haunted bar in America”.

Finally, September to November is the perfect time to experience Seattle’s autumn foliage, with the vivid and vibrant hues of the season painting some of the city’s most popular public places – including the Seattle Japanese Garden, the Luminata Lantern Parade on Green Lake for the autumnal equinox, and Discovery Park. Just north of Seattle, Skagit Valley’s pumpkin patches and corn mazes also make for an amazing autumn adventure for families travelling during this time of year.

Winter

Get into the festive spirit by checking out one of the many Christmas events Seattle – and its surrounds – hosts during the cooler months. The annual Magic in the Market at Pike Place Market is a great stop for Santa photo ops, carols and the city’s best tree lighting ceremony at Westlake Park, and discover Enchant Christmas at T-Mobile Park (November 22 – December 29), a holiday party featuring the world’s largest Christmas light maze. Other options include Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship™ Festival (a ship-to-shore holiday celebration that has been a Pacific Northwest tradition since 1949), a Christmas By the Sea cruise to Whidbey Island with Clipper Vacations or a day trip to Leavenworth (a Bavarian-themed town illuminated with more than half a million sparkling lights) are also all fantastic.

Not a Kriss Kringle kind of traveller? Adults can keep an eye out for tickets to the popular Winter Beer Fest – an annual event that features more than 50 local Washington State breweries pouring nearly 200 seasonal beers. Or slip on your snow boots and go skiing under the lights with a night lift ticket at the Summit at Snoqualmie.

For those planning to travel a little later, Seattle Museum Month in February gives visitors who stay at participating downtown hotels the chance to receive half-price admission to some of the region’s top museums.

Spring

With some of the country’s best restaurants and chefs, Seattle is frequently considered a fairyland for foodies. But to make the most of these exceptional epicurean experiences swing by in spring – when the mild temperatures make for an opportune time to book one of the city’s iconic artisan coffee or chocolate tours. During this season, Seattle also hosts Restaurant Week, generally scheduled in early April. The event (which also occurs in autumn) is a great chance to visit a plethora of award-winning restaurants for less – with more than 165 establishments offering a special three-course dinner menu for $US35. If you would prefer to sample the best of the city’s food and wine in one place, grab a ticket to Taste Washington (March 19 – 22, 2020) – America’s largest single-region wine and food event.

Music festivals are also served up during the spring months, and the most popular ones include: World Rhythm Festival (late April); Ballard Jazz Festival and Northwest Folklife Festival – an annual celebration of ethnic, folk, and traditional art, crafts, and music that takes place over the Memorial Day weekend (the last weekend of May).

While the eating and entertainment accolades may be well deserved, the cherry on top of a spring stint in Seattle is the natural beauty that dots the city. Check out the fabulous floral fiestas by heading to the University of Washington, for iconic cherry blossom blooms (towards the end of March) or Skagit Valley for the Tulip Festival – a celebration and commemoration of the bloom harvested across the hills.

Finally, no spring trip would be complete without a whale-watching tour departing from Seattle, Everett or Anacortes. The distinct black and white markings of the resident orcas are visible from April to October (when you usually see more whales) and the waters surrounding San Juan Island are considered the #1 place in North America to see wild orca whales.