The In-Depth Guide to Seattle in the Fall

August 14, 2022

While the summer months may bring flocks of tourists to the Pacific Northwest, savvy travelers know that fall in Seattle, Washington is hard to beat. Rugged mountain scenery, vibrant foliage, and cozy coffee shops come together to make the Emerald City a beacon of autumn.

Follow along to discover the best things to do in Seattle in the Fall.

Framed by towering Mt. Rainer, this decidedly modern metropolis manages to balance city and nature in equal measure.

Escape the city limits for fresh air-filled road trips to Olympic National Park, or indulge your inner epicurean with a Pike Place Market Tour.

Entertain kiddies with an underwater adventure to the Seattle Aquarium, or savor searing views from the top of the Great Wheel.

Whether you see the Rain City by bus, boat, or foot, you are guaranteed to fall in love with Seattle in the fall.

When Does Fall Start in Seattle?

After a balmy summer, the fall in Seattle offers a welcome reprieve. Locals and visitors alike eagerly await the drop in temperature that comes in September. Expect many gorgeous days with highs of 70 degrees well into the month.

In addition, fall is considered a low season after the peak travel time of summer, so you can often uncover plenty of bargains when it comes to accommodations and activities. As the autumn season continues into October, you can predict slightly cooler temperatures of the 60s and relatively dry weather. Increases in precipitation will not begin until the later half of the month. 

view of Smith Tower with fall and autumn trees lining the streets in Seattle, Washington, USABest Time to See Colors in Seattle 2022?

Wondering when exactly to plan your autumn excursion? If you're hoping to catch the splendor of fall foliage in Seattle, we recommend visiting during October.

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Try to schedule your getaway for the first three weeks of October for optimal viewing of ochre, orange, and vermillion leaves. But don't fret, as plenty of vibrant leaf colors are still visible by the end of the month.

Best Places to See Fall Colors in Seattle 

While many travelers may associate the Northeast with leaf peeping, Seattle's many parks, gardens, and mountains set the stage for fireworks of colorful flora.

Fall in the Emerald City offers up the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature and set your sights on some unforgettable hues. Whether you are yearning for a wholesome fall-themed photo backdrop or want to break in those hiking boots, there's no shortage of colorful places to visit in Seattle this fall:

Bloedel Reserve

Board the ferry to Bainbridge Island and prime your peepers for some first-class fall colors. Bainbridge Island's Bloedel Reserve serves up a kaleidoscope of dazzling shades of goldenrod, crimson, and rust. Take your time tackling the reserve's collection of 12 gardens spaced out over 150 acres.

Embrace this intimate natural experience as you wander through their award-winning Japanese Garden and Trestle Bridge. Soak in the lush atmosphere of the Moss Garden, or traipse through the Woodland trails of cedars, firs, and ferns.

Lastly, be sure to clock the stunning Katsura trees located in the Japanese Garden. A full sensory immersion, their changing leaves emit a sweet scent as they float to the earth. 

family of three walking through Bloedel Reserve

photo credit: Bloedel Reserve via Facebook

RockWood Farm

Searching for an Instagram-worthy fall photo opp? Grab a rental car and hit the road for a minute city escapade. Located just 40 minutes from the city, RockWood Farm's iconic driveway is well established as one of the most picturesque fall scenes. Known for its riot of blood-red leaves, this Pacific Northwest paradise is well worth the drive.

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The private farm is situated on a 49-acre estate featuring 900 ft of riverfront. Inhale that fresh mountain air as you snap away at the base of Mt. Si. Take in tree-lined lanes, meadows, and trout ponds as you memorialize the shades of autumn. 

pathway covered with leaves

photo credit: Cesar-Evan Losentes Mayol via Facebook

Kubota Garden

Tranquility, design, and a cornucopia of color combine to make Kubota Garden a go-to fall locale. This hidden gem of Rainier Beach contains 20 acres of exceptional gardens, plants, and charming overlooks.

Budding botanists of all ages will be in awe over the rouge-hued Japanese maples, hydrangeas, and more. In addition to the various ponds and traditional bridges, visitors can take in the bronze gate sculpted entryway.

Feast your eyes on over 140 varieties of maples, and be sure to observe their brilliance in the woods. Spot colorful koi and turtles, and cross the Heart Bridge, replicated after the one on Mr. Kubota's home island of Shikoku, Japan.

angled shot of tree during fall at Kubota Garden in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: J & W Photography via Facebook

Lincoln Park

Almost 5 miles of walking paths, rocky beaches, and trees ablaze with color paint an awe-inspiring autumn day. Wrangle up the whole family for a wholesome few hours of fresh air and tree-gazing fun when you tackle Lincoln Park.

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An ideal destination for a heart-pumping hike or bike ride, this city park is located just north of the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. Fall time sets the park aglow with yellow, rust, and red leaves perfectly offset by the dark seaweed and blue-gray waters of the Sound below. Pack a picnic, or hit up the acres of playfield as this West Seattle locale contains multiple shelters and playgrounds. 

family of four posing for photo with trees in background and leaves on ground during fall at Lincoln Park Seattle in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Chi K Photography via Facebook

Mount Rainier

If you've never witnessed the iconic majesty of Mount Rainier, autumn affords the ideal opportunity to take in Seattle's tallest mountain. Come September and October, Mount Rainier's crowds have waned, but the views are no less splendid. In fact, the mountain's staggering topography is even more exposed after a summer's worth of runoff.

Stretch those legs, as there are a multitude of hikes to choose from. Take your time exploring the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A. Trek along five major rivers, wildflower meadows, and ancient forests. Home to a diverse number of unique ecosystems, it's not unheard of to spot black bears, weasels, and mink.

Witness the whimsical changing colors of vine maple and high elevation huckleberry bushes in late September, or stop by in October to observe the bright yellow larch burns.

Looking to enjoy even more of the outdoors? Check out our complete guide to Seattle outdoor activities!

photo credit: Melissa Almodovar Suarez via Facebook

Washington Park Arboretum

Want to make your favorite horticulturist very happy? Hightail it to the Washington Park Arboretum for a jaw-dropping display of flora. The harvest season truly shines a light in the bounty of the Arboretum. A Seattle landmark, this 230-acre park contains countless gardens, trails, and activities.

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Take part in a self-guided family hike, or paddle your way through inlets off of Union Bay of Lake Washington. Then, for an extra special autumnal explosion, stop by the Woodland Garden.

This ethereal refuge houses one of the largest Japanese maple collections in North America, containing two serene ponds connected by a seasonal stream. Fall is the ideal time to glimpse at the multi-colored foliage of maples, witch alders, sourwoods, and Japanese spicebush planted here.

Seattle Hotels

The Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle, and some of the best coffee in the world! While tackling some of Seattle in just a day may be possible, why would you try? Make the most of your time in Seattle when you extend your stay.

Revel in cozy rooms, complimentary hot breakfast, and an indoor pool when you stay in a Seattle Hampton Inn. Or see even more Seattle fall when you sleep just minutes from downtown. The Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle-Downtown is just a short walk from the Seattle Center Monorail station, making it easy to utilize the city's plentiful public transportation.

Whether you dream of Puget Sound views or a full-scale fitness center, our array of Seattle Hotels provides options for every traveler. 

Downtown Seattle at daytime during fall in Seattle, Washington, USABest Places to Visit in Seattle in Fall

Dreaming about a day in Seattle? Or are you pondering a week-long stint in the Emerald City? No matter how long you plan to explore this jewel of Washington, you'll want to carve out some time for arresting art museums, waterfronts, and more. For a full fall experience, be sure to check out the following attractions:

Volunteer Park

Cruise over to charming Capitol Hills for an afternoon of exquisite foliage, playfields, and sizzling views. This almost 50 acres space contains both a water tower, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and the Volunteer Park Conservatory.

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A designated Seattle landmark, this park delivers timeless Olmsted landscaping and ample playground facilities. Get your fill of chlorophyll when you peek into the stunning glass conservatory. This historic greenhouse has been anchoring the park for over a hundred years and features five tropical environments.

people sitting in front of pool next to sculpture at Volunteer Park in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Volunteer Park Trust via Facebook

Olympic Sculpture Park

Combine your outdoor escape with some artistic inspiration when you visit this outpost of the Seattle Art Museum. Olympic Sculpture Park is a public space designed to showcase several modern and contemporary works in downtown Seattle.

Set on a spacious 9 acres of sparkling waterfront, this award-winning park is Seattle's largest downtown green space. Traipse through Richard Serra's curved Wake, or stare in awe at Alex Calder's, The Eagle. 

Seattle Waterfront

Promenades, piers, and the infamous Great Wheel! Visitors of all ages will have a ball discovering the many sides of the Seattle Waterfront. There are innumerable delights to devour, from fine dining to freshly baked sourdough.

For some low-key thrills and sweet nostalgia, be sure to ride the Ferris wheel or take a turn aboard the Vintage Carousel. 

view of water and sunlight reflecting on buildings at Seattle Waterfront in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Visit Seattle via Facebook

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Vibrant, bold, and bright, Dale Chihuly's glass work has been inspiring others for decades. The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum presents a unique showcase for this Washington-born artist.

Carve out an afternoon to immerse yourself in the museum's eight galleries, glasshouse, and lush garden. The harvest season brings new hues to Chihuly's landscaped garden, and visitors will be drawn to the wide varieties of cypress, maples, and cedars on display. 

Fall Things to Do in Seattle

Argosy Cruises

Angling for an uncompromised view of the city? Take to the sound! Schedule an Argosy Cruise and prime yourself for the ultimate aquatic sightseeing adventure.

Travel between Elliot Bay, Lake Union, Ballard Locks, and more. Enjoy live narration, history, and fun facts, as you sail past large fishing vessels and seaplanes. Shutterbugs should have those cameras prepped, as you'll have multiple opportunities to capture sights of the Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle, and the historic waterfront. 

Read along with our Insider's Guide to Argosy cruises and discover all you need to know before you go!

Wide shot of an Argosy Cruise Boat on the water on a sunny day with the city behind it in Seattle, Washington, USA3 Hour Seattle City Tour

Seeing Seattle with a time crunch? Speed through the best Jet City has to offer when you reserve your space on a 3 Hour Seattle City Tour. Then, dive headfirst into the highlights of the capital when you tour through a carefully curated list of staples.

Uncover mouth-watering delicacies at Pike Place Market, stroll through Pioneer Square, and appreciate the rich cultural tapestry of Chinatown. This bus tour tops out at 14 guests, guaranteeing an intimate and unique experience.

Savor visits to the International District and Waterfront, Queen Anne View Point, and more. Wind down your day of downtown gems and landmark sights with a quintessential pic of the Fremont Troll. 

Chef-Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market

Calling all foodies! Want to have an established gourmand take you through the buzzing Pike Place Market? See this famous Seattle food hall through the eyes of an accomplished eater on your Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market. This two-hour journey will have you sampling the best artisanal eats and treats from vendors and chefs.

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Learn about the vendors who supply produce and proteins to Seattle's top chefs, as you munch your way through the market. Dive into the intricacies of supporting a local food ecosystem, the Northwest's connection to its food, and more. 

View looking up at the sign for Pike Place Market on a sunny day with a blue sky in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Erin Hervey via Unsplash

Skyview Observatory

Fly high into the sky when you board the tallest public observatory in the Pacific Northwest. Jumpstart your weekend in Seattle with the thrill of ascending 73 floors in 70 seconds in an immersive elevator. The Skyview Observatory delivers breathtaking 360 views from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Baker.

Marvel at the magnificence of the Northwest as you spot everything from the San Juans to the Olympics. An ideal attraction both for date night or the whole family, visitors can swing by the cafe for a celebratory drink. Or purchase a commemorative souvenir at the gift shop. 

friends looking at view with water and sun shining through clouds and buildings on the side through Skyview Observatory in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Sky View Observatory at Columbia Center via Facebook

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle's legacy and history has long been tied to the water, and it's up to us to protect these precious marine environments. Immerse yourself in the wonder of the sea at the Seattle Aquarium. For almost 50 years, this incredible institution has served as the region's premier resource for hands-on aquatic experiences and conservation education. Mini minnows of all ages will discover everything there is to know about Puget Sound and the area's surrounding waterways.

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Witness harbor seals feeding, coo over cuddly otters, or walk through their one-of-a-kind undersea dome. Feast your eyes on tropical fish, sea stars, moon jellies, and more. 

Fremont Brewing

Pale Ales, Pilsners, and IPAs, oh my! Beer snobs from all over flock to Washington to imbibe some of the tastiest brews. Indeed, Washington state is home to the second largest hop-growing region in the world. For over a decade, Fremont Brewing has been serving up a bounty of fresh beer, all brewed with the finest local ingredients.

Their small batch artisanal beers have earned them a loyal following from locals and out-of-towners alike. Head on over to their sprawling Urban Beer Garden to sample a seasonal Cowiche Canyon or a rotating guest cider. Feeling peckish? Fuel up with some free pretzels or order a spicy Hot Sopressata Sandwich from onsite Coro Foods. 

exterior of Fremont Brewing with plants surrounding building in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Fremont Brewing via Facebook

Fremont Oktoberfest

Been working on that yodel? Polish up that beer stein, as it's almost Oktoberfest season in Seattle. Those 21 and over won't want to miss the city's largest beer festival. From September 16th - 18th, the Fremont Oktoberfest will reign supreme. Prime yourself for a party in the streets and over a hundred beers and ciders in tow.

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With multiple tasting tents to tackle, you'll get your fill of everything from microbrews to traditional German ales. Try the Horchata Cream Ale, or stay on theme with a Pumpkin Beer.. Complement your pours with some festive bites, including German bratwurst, pretzels, and more. Traveling with Fido? You can bring along your pooch for a warm Willkommen on Sunday, aka Dogtoberfest.

photo credit: Fremont Oktoberfest via Facebook

Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Farm

Appreciate the simple pleasures of fall when you make your way to Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Farm. Located in the Snohomish, Washington region and less than an hour's drive from the city, Bob's is the go to stop for pumpkins, produce, corn mazes, and more. Stock up honey, fresh preserves, and apple butter at the country store.

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Next, get your fill of Autumn fun at the Fall Festival. Pencil in your visit anytime between September 18th and October 31st and enjoy tractor rides, pick your own pumpkins, corn mazes, hot apple cider, and Sarah's famous donuts. Don't forget to conclude your farm visit with a famous ear of Bob's roasted corn. For an extra special surprise, rent one of the farm's outdoor fire pits and delight in the warm blaze of a bonfire and s'mores. 

family of three pushing cart with pumpkins at Bobs Corn and Pumpkin Farm in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Bob's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm via Facebook

Fiery Japanese Maples, the crashing waves of Puget Sound, and exquisite mountain topography come together to create an autumnal wonderland in the Emerald City.

Isn't it time that Seattle earned some acclaim for its fall prowess? From stunning glass sculptures by Chihuly to iconic RockWood driveways framed by fallen leaves, this Pacific Northwest metropolis delivers.

Cheers to sweaters and Lake Union cruises with a tasty Pumpkin porter, or usher in the cooler months with a corn maze and blazing campfire.

However you celebrate fall, Seattle is sure to stun!

Tell us, What's Your Favorite Thing About Visiting Seattle in The Fall?

Did we miss any of the best Seattle fall activities? 

Leave us a comment below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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