Seattle may not look like the typical snowy wonderland, but it still gives off the cozy winter vibes without the blankets of white. From the city lights, rainy hues, and lively streets, you can see snow-capped mountains lining the horizon in the distance. Due to the lack of snowy weather, you may think that Seattle isn’t much of a hub for outdoor adventures, but you’ll be surprised at the number of fun activities you can do in and around this city.

This article will unveil the best outdoor Seattle winter activities, killer special offers on accommodations and adventures, and advice on what to wear when the temperature drops.

*Some places may be closed due to COVID-19, so be sure to check all information before you go*

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Best Outdoor Winter Activities in and around Seattle

Replace the rain with snow by heading to the nearby hills for some outdoor adventures. Flanking this quirky city is the Snoqualmie Pass, the North Cascades, and Mount Baker. You’ll also find a selection of fun, heart-pumping, stimulating activities to do in the town. Let’s take a look at some of the best outdoor winter activities in and around Seattle, and you can pick and choose your favorite!

Skiing and snowboarding near Seattle

Get ready for a day of carving through powdery bliss near Seattle. By far, snowboarding and skiing are some of the best things to do in Seattle in winter for outdoor lovers seeking a fun, memorable activity.

Most epic mountains take a couple of hours to get to, but this just means that you need to set your alarm a little earlier. But there are some great ski areas near the city, too! Take a look at the following ski resorts near Seattle:

Stevens Pass Resort: It only takes around 1.5 hours to reach this ski resort! And with more than 35 runs, night skiing, and a terrain park, it’s safe to say that skiers of all levels can find a favorite slope here.

The Summit at Snoqualmie: This ski resort is only 30 minutes from Seattle! Intermediate level skiers and snowboarders will thrive here. A majority of the Summit at Snoqualmie’s runs fall under the Blue category.

Crystal Mountain: Intermediate and advanced skiers will fall in love with the slopes here. You can choose from 57 runs and a terrain park. Some beginner runs for newbies, but this resort is tailored for riders with some experience under their belt.

49 Degrees North Mountain Resort: For a more epic snowboarding or skiing experience, head to 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort, where more than 80 runs await. It takes around four to five hours to get to this resort, but it’s highly recommended for advanced skiers seeking a challenge and tricky terrain.

Mt. Baker Ski Area: The Mt. Baker Ski Area gets a lot of snow every year and has 31 runs. Beginners, intermediate, and more advanced skiers will enjoy skiing in Mt. Baker’s powdery wonderland. It takes just under three hours to get here from Seattle.

Pike Place Public Market sign on Seattle docks by the Pacific ocean
Pike Place Public Market sign on Seattle docks by the Pacific ocean

Cross Country Skiing

Cross country skiing is one of the best active Seattle winter activities to do! You can find a couple of fun, beautiful trails within an hour, such as Snoqualmie, where you can also rent skis or Cabin Creek (no rentals). A little further outside of Seattle, there’s Stevens Pass and Snowcadia (rentals at both).

Snowshoeing near Seattle

Breathe in the fresh mountain air and admire magical winter scenery when you snowshoe trails near Seattle. You can find fantastic trails within 1-2 hours from the city lights:

Snoqualmie Pass: You’ll find a range of snowshoeing trails in this area, but one notable one is Lower Gold Creek Basin, which is just a 6.4km route. More experienced snowshoers will enjoy the 14.5km Kendall Lake Peaks trail. It only takes around an hour to get here!

Mount Rainier: Less than two hours from Seattle sits Mount Rainier, which offers snowshoeing trails for newbies and advanced snowshoers! Those wanting a more chilled-out ski or newcomers to this fun Seattle winter activity will enjoy snowshoeing Crystal Mountain! You can take the gondola up and then explore around. Camp Muir is a terrific heart-pumping option that is best for those who’ve gone snowshoeing before.

Olympic National Park: It takes just over 2 hours to reach Olympic National Park by car, but this area offers a phenomenal, more secluded snowshoeing excursion. Beginners will like Hurricane Hill, intermediate snowshoers will enjoy Eagle Point, and experienced snowshoers seeking a challenge will appreciate Mount Townsend.

Skating in Seattle

Skating is one of the best things to do with kids in Seattle! What better way to engage in winter family fun than to glide around a rink and get some exercise in? Seattle may rain more than it snows, but that doesn’t mean you can’t gather your family or friends and skate! Winterfest Ice Rink has been a popular place to skate for a while but is usually only open for a short period. The admission fee is $8 for adults, $6 for kids between the ages of 6-12, and $2 for children five and under.

Many rinks in Seattle are open between November and early January, giving you a chance to enjoy this fun winter activity with your families during the holidays. Other places that usually fall under this time slot are Enchant Christmas Ice Skating Trail and Redmond Town Center Synthetic Rink. These are definitely fun Seattle winter attractions worth checking out with your family.

For public skating, look into Lynnwood Ice Center or Kent Valley Ice Center. There’s also mini-golf and batting cages at the Ken Valley Ice Center!

Snoqualmie winter snowy river forest skating sledding skiing snowshoeing near Seattle Washington
Snoqualmie winter snowy river forest skating sledding skiing snowshoeing near Seattle Washington

Tubing near Seattle

Amp up the thrill with one of the most fun most things to do in Seattle in winter: Tubing.

Both activities are excellent, adrenaline-pumping options. Tubing just requires you to pay a fee, so you can fly down designated chutes, whereas, with sledding, you can use your own sled and cascade a snowy slope.

You can find excellent tubing at Snoqualmie or Suncadia.

Sledding near Seattle

Don’t feel like paying an admission fee to go down a hill? Sledding is a great alternative! You’ll find great sledding spots at Hyak, Stevens Pass, Paradise Snowplay area at Mount Rainier. Remember that all places require you to hop in your car and drive since Seattle doesn’t get much snow.

Pike Place Market in Seattle

Check out Seattle’s famed attraction no matter what time of year you find yourself here! You can’t go to Seattle without hitting up Pike Place Market. Spend a couple of hours walking around and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere and the various stalls!

Winter Hiking near Seattle

Get some exercise in while enjoying a reel of unreal views when you go hiking near Seattle! Consider looking into these hikes:

  • The one-way 23.3km Mt Baker Trail, which requires a shuttle.
  • The entertaining 9.7km Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.
  • The beach-destined 15.8km Ozette Triangle in Olympic National Park.
Mount rainier hiking sightseeing near Seattle west coast winter
Mount rainier hiking sightseeing near Seattle west coast winter

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle

Spend time walking around and admiring exotic creatures with your family at the Woodland Park Zoo! It costs $15.5 per adult to enter.

Best Winter Deals In And Around Seattle

Take advantage of the best winter deals in and around Seattle by checking out the following special offers for skiing and accommodations!

Best Accommodation Deals around Seattle:

Find out the best accommodations deals around Seattle:

Winter Sale at Hotel Theodore Seattle: Book by Dec 1 for nights before Mar 31 and receive 20% off their flexible rate!

Dream Away and Get Away at Motif Seattle: Get 20% as well as a cancellation policy with this fabulous winter deal!

Take Your Time at Fairmont Olympic Hotel: This deal gives you up to 25% off your stay. Book 1-2 nights and receive 10% off, 15% for 3-4 nights, and 25% off five nights or more.

Best Ski Deals around Seattle:

Get to know the best ski deals around Seattle!

Ikon Pass at The Summit at Snoqualmie: With this pass, you’ll receive 5-7 days of skiing at The Summit at Snoqualmie and entry to 44 ski resorts across the globe. You can also use the Ikon Pass at Crystal Mountain.

49 Degrees North Mountain Resort: This ski resort offers a few special offers! Two notable ones for visitors may be the Mega Monday Ticket Discount, where you can ski for half the price, or the Twofer Tuesday deal, which gives you two tickets for the cost of one.

Winter Weather in Seattle

Prepare for a lot of rain! And get ready for some moderately chilly weather. In December and January, the lowest temperature averages around 39.2 °F ( 4°C). Both months also experience around 14 days of rain. Expect the average low to bump up to 41 °F in February. It rains for an average of 12 days during this month.

It can sometimes snow, too, usually in December or February.

Seattle skyline downtown mount rainier on the horizon beautiful pacific west coast winter
Seattle skyline downtown mount rainier on the horizon beautiful pacific west coast winter

What to Wear during Winter in Seattle

When it comes to planning what to wear during winter in Seattle, think about one word: rain. Bring a lot of waterproof clothes, from rain jackets to waterproof pants. It’s not normal for locals to carry around an umbrella, so if you want to fit in, it’s best to rock a rain jacket or a shell. Pack warm clothes, such as sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, fleece, long johns, leggings to wear underneath your waterproof outerwear. Consider bringing a scarf, wool socks, and a hat, too!

If you’re walking downtown, you likely won’t want to wear long johns under waterproof pants or track pants, so aim to pack clothes for casual strolls and outdoor adventures. Jeans, an oversized sweater, and boots will do just fine for walking around (unless it rains, then you may need your shell or jacket).

Fun Winter Facts about Seattle

Get to know these fun winter facts about Seattle and share them with your friends and family:

  • This isn’t a winter fact, but it’s quite fascinating! Seattle burned down in 1889, which happened because a woodworker misused hot glue. People living there then rebuilt the city on top of the ruins!
  • Another non-winter fact: The Wright family privately owns the Space Needle, so if they want to relocate it in the future, they can.
  • You probably already knew this, but Seattle is home to the first-ever Starbucks. Go to the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market and get a hot beverage to keep you warm on chilly winter days.

Seattle is an unreal city to visit year-round, meaning it’s also a fun place to be if you find yourself there during the chilly winter months!