January 16, 2024
Let’s face it, we’re all getting a little stir-crazy during these cold winter days. Why not consider a Seattle visit or staycation? Here are our best recommendations on what to do in Seattle this winter and early spring.
Seattle days are typically mild in winter and the days are getting longer. Locals put on a rain jacket and get outside to exercise year-round. Besides the 2.8-mile walking trail at Greenlake Park across the street, some of our favorite nearby places for walking include the Burke Gilman Trail along Lake Washington, the trails in Washington Park Arboretum, and Union Bay Natural Area. Additional recommended in-city hiking trails are located in Ravenna Park, Carkeek Park, and Discovery Park. If you are willing to drive a little further, the Alki Trail along Alki Beach in West Seattle offers some stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the city skyline.
Seattle and the surrounding area are beautiful in any season. It’s fun to get in the car and take a scenic drive. Within the city limits, we really enjoy the drive along Lake Washington Boulevard from the Arboretum to Seward Park (about 30 minutes each way from Greenlake Guest House). Some of our favorite drives out of the city include stunning Snoqualmie Falls in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains (35 minutes each way), Whidbey Island (this can be done as a loop, including a 30-minute car ferry ride, about 2 hours each way), and historic La Conner. Read our Perfect Day Trip from Seattle to Whidbey Island for a fantastic, step by step itinerary for Whidbey Island and nearby La Conner.
Visit Iconic Seattle Attractions Without the Crowds
Many of the most popular Seattle attractions get extremely busy during the summer cruise season. In winter and early spring, you can enjoy these places without all the crowds. Popular indoor/outdoor attractions include the beautiful Woodland Park Zoo (located very close to Greenlake Guest House) and the inspirational Chihuly Garden & Glass. Next door to Chihuly, the renovated Space Needle & Observation Deck is offering a special Tower Menu Package in their Loupe Lounge (21+). Soak up the sunset sights and city lights from your own private lookout. Just down the hill from the Space Needle, the 9-acre Olympic Sculpture Park offers incredible views, a beach, and large outdoor art installations.
Pike Place Farmer’s Market is also open during winter, without the usual crowds. Purchase fresh fish, produce, flowers, and locally made art directly from the farmers and artists. Locally owned Market restaurants are offer indoor and outdoor dining and takeout in a festive atmosphere. From the Market, you can walk down to the Seattle waterfront to Pier 57 to ride the Seattle Great Wheel in your own, private gondola.
Tasting at Local Breweries & Wineries
Seattle is known for its microbreweries, wineries, and even cideries featuring hard cider.
Fremont Brewery’s Urban Beer Garden is one of the most popular breweries and a favorite of ours. They don’t serve food, but you may have it delivered from local restaurants. Enjoy gathering for some of Seattle's best beer served at long tables both inside and outside on their generous patio.
Nearby Ballard neighborhood is famous for an actual Brewery District. The former warehouse district hosts a dozen breweries located within a few blocks, perfect for any craft beer enthusiast. Highlights include Maritime Pacific Brewing Company Reuben's Brews, and Bale Breaker & Yonder Cider Taproom. Downtown Ballard also features some popular spots like Pike Brewing Taproom and Cloudburst Brewing.
Seattle has a number of urban wineries located right within the city limits. Additionally, over 100 wineries are located in nearby Woodinville. One of the most famous, and a favorite of ours, is Woodinville's Chateau Ste Michelle. This winery offers tours and some very cute, covered tasting tents and picnic style food available by reservation. Here in Seattle, we would also recommend a visit to House of Smith Wines Jet City. Alexandria Nicole Cellars is another favorite of ours, and has tasting rooms in both Seattle and Woodinville. Want to explore more wineries in Seattle or Woodinville without having to drive? Let us book you a day tour with Bon Vivant Wine Tours!
Play in Snow in the Cascade Mountains
Fortunately for us, the Cascade Mountains are only an hour’s drive from Seattle. Downhill skiing is available at 4 resorts at the Snoqualmie Summit. Online reservations are required to keep the crowds down. Cross country skiers and snow shoers can rent gear and ski on 50K of groomed trails at the Summit Nordic Center. It is located 3 miles east of the downhill ski area. If you have your own gear, you can also ski or snowshoe at Cabin Creek with a Discover Pass for $10, available online. The Cabin Creek parking lot can fill up fast, so get there early. Gear rental is also available at Ascent Outdoors.
Winter Festivals & Events
Two very popular Seattle festivals in February include the enormous Northwest Flower & Garden Festival at the Seattle Convention Center downtown and Lunar New Year, celebrated with events throughout the month all over the city (especially in Chinatown).
Winter is a great time to take in a professional hockey game (go Seattle Kraken!) or a big name concert at Seattle's newer Climate Pledge Arena. Seattle's vibrant arts & culture scene is also in high gear during February. Get tickets to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, or the Seattle Symphony. Take in a musical or concert at the 5th Avenue Theater or Paramount Theater. Or enjoy a cozier dinner and concert venue like Jazz Alley or the Triple Door. The possibilities are endless!
Stay Inn the Neighborhood
Get cozy! Many guests enjoy staying “in the Inn” and enjoying our on-site amenities including our cooked-to order breakfast, extensive movie collection, in-room gas fireplace, jetted tub, lake views, and complimentary wine and homemade cookies and snacks. Optional add-on's include a fruit and cheese plate or our popular Welcome to Seattle Package.
The Green Lake neighborhood is also very inviting. Local restaurants are only a 5 or 10 minute walk from our B&B. Guest favorites include Duke's (seafood) Noi (fancy Thai food), Rosita's (Mexican), Wooden City Tavern (upscale pub), and Nell's (fine dining). Consider pampering yourself with a massage or facial at Spavia,or a mani-pedi at Bonjour Nails. Both businesses are located within walking distance, right in the neighborhood.