Seattle lives up to its rainy reputation best during the crisp and cozy fall months. The city is awash not just in its signature green, but in fall’s ever-changing colors. In September, October, and November, Seattle returns to its natural state of brooding–yep, gray skies are coming. But that’s all the more reason to break out your flannels as you immerse yourself in Seattle in fall.
Your getaway should begin with a no-holds barred exploration of the city you came to see. Dedicate your day one to discovering all the things to do in Seattle in fall.
The early bird definitely gets the worm at the Starbucks at Pike Place Market. Doors open at 6 a.m. so bring your rain jacket to the early line-up for what will be a cozy caffeine fix. Coffee in-hand, make your way to Daily Dozen Doughnut Company, where mini doughnuts are made right before your eyes then tossed in your choice of toppings: plain, cinnamon, powdered, or sprinkled. There’s nothing like a warm donut on a cool fall day.
Escape from the morning mist by disappearing into the market’s every corner. Pick up some Seattle souvenirs, then watch fishmongers toss salmon through the air. Many vendors also offer samples, so sticking around the market will keep you satisfied until lunch. Be sure to get a photo with the gum wall and the brass pig, two market icons.
Alaskan Way unfolds below the market and along with it Seattle’s Great Wheel. Witness Seattle peeking through the clouds on foggy fall days. You can walk to the waterfront from Pike Place so you’ll be sightseeing as you go. Along the way, check out Piers 62 and 63 and Waterfront Park for stunning Elliott Bay views. Check out the gray-green waters that accompany the changing of seasons in Seattle.
Nothing says cozy like a pub. This Irish-inspired joint has become a popular local haunt for their warming meals like fish and chips and Guinness beef stew. A restaurant first opened at this location in 1930, and it’s remained more or less the same ever since. This history only adds to the warmth and charm of this drool-worthy lunch spot.
Owl N’ Thistle sits between Alaskan Way and another historic site: PIoneer Square. Button up your jacket and make your way to Seattle’s original neighborhood, which showcases some of the most historic architecture in the city. From here, you could embark on an Underground Seattle Tour or visit some of the city’s landmarks. Ascend to the Smith Tower’s observation deck or check out the renowned Seattle Public Library.
Before starting your walk back to Motif Seattle, take a moment to see Seattle from 73 floors up. From the Skyview Observatory at Columbia Center, you can see not only all of downtown but also the white-capped mountains on the horizon. The Skyview Observatory serves beer and wine, making it a great stop for a late-afternoon pick-me-up.
A full fall day in Seattle ends at Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails. Take advantage of their happy hour specials, or settle in for more indulgent dinner and drinks. Sweeten the deal by cozying up beside the patio fires, the perfect pair for a fall evening in the Pacific Northwest.
Since your first day was a crash course in Seattle, your second should be all about experiencing more of Washington State. Leavenworth is a unique destination on it’s own, but it’s also a popular stop for events throughout the fall and at Christmas.
As fall passes, the days grow ever shorter, so you’ll want to make every moment count. Swing by Caffe Ladro for your caffeine fix, whether you’re hitting the road on your own or meeting up with a tour group. With locations down the way on Union Street or up the block on Pine Street, you can swing by for their signature sweet treats no matter your destination.
This quaint town east of the Cascades is well worth the day trip as the journey is just as magical as the destination. Whether you take a bus, book a tour, or drive yourself, you’ll drive through tree-lined interstates and over mountain passes. Once there, you’ll have the pleasure of exploring this charming Bavarian town. Special events include Oktoberfest in the fall and tree lightings at Christmas. Take a bus or book a guided trip through a local operator.
Step back in time at Shug’s, an old-timey soda fountain with some of the best treats around. Sweet treats are a hit even in the fall, which is why you’ll want to go all-out at this popular spot. Try their signature Shugsicle or a NY Egg Cream, both ice cream floats with their house-made sodas.
You’ve explored downtown Seattle and the waterfront. You’ve visited a beloved town across the mountains. Round out your getaway by discovering the sights and sounds locals love.
Ranking among some of the best biscuits in the U.S., Biscuit Bitch has become a Seattle staple. Biscuit Bitch describes themselves as “Trailer Park to Table,” and this no-frills attitude appears in everything from the decor to the menu. Dig into their signature Straight-Up Bitch, or other hearty eats like the Bitchwich.
The monorail is as Seattle as it gets--though it’s one mode of transportation you might have missed. Dating to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the monorail connects the Seattle Center to Westlake Center in downtown. Reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, the monorail runs on a raised track that weaves above streets and between skyscrapers. Once at the Seattle Center, ride to the top of the Space Needle and take in the views at its observation deck or brush up on pop culture history at the MoPOP Museum.
Consider Dick’s Drive-In the In-N-Out of the Pacific Northwest. Dick’s Queen Anne location is within walking distance of the Seattle Center, making it the perfect lunch spot. All Seattleites have enjoyed Dick’s at least a time or two, which is why it’s a must-eat for out-of-towners. Dig into 100% real beef burgers, hand-cut fries from Pacific Northwest potatoes, and old-fashioned ice cream.
Born in 1941 just south of Seattle, Dale Chihuly rose to fame in the late 1960’s for his glass art creations. His work appears in more than 200 art museums and collections worldwide. One of his most iconic pieces appears in his home state at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Chihuly’s vibrant glass sculptures lighten up even the gloomiest fall days.
Freshen up back at Motif Seattle, then treat yourself to an afternoon pick-me-up at Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails. Their happy hour specials are hard to beat, as are the views from the roof. Get a preview of both on the restaurant’s Instagram.
Seattle is known as a music city. Since the sun can set as early as 4 or 5 p.m. in the fall and winter, you won’t have to feel guilty stepping inside for a show. That’s one of the many reasons why Seattle’s music scene is so rich. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam had their start here, but incredible music still abounds in venues like The Crocodile, a local favorite since 1991.
Whether you’re heading home or to the next destination on the list, this is certainly a day that’s come too soon. Embark on one last Seattle experience before you’re off to the airport.
Before you head out of town, stop by the Starbucks Roastery in Capitol Hill. Immerse yourself in the world of Starbucks coffee by taking a peek behind the curtain. Since Seattle is a coffee city, this is a fitting end to your fall getaway.
The side effect of the ultimate Seattle vacation is that you’ll wish it could last longer. Whether you stay for three days or three weeks, every day in Seattle brings something new. Need a sign to start planning your next Seattle escape? You’re looking at it.
Where Seattle gets social. By design.
Make your way to the fifth floor on 5th Avenue for downtown Seattle’s best rooftop happy hour hotspot, Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails — consistently voted among the best rooftop bars in America.
Come for the handcrafted cocktails, stay for Chef Adam Stevenson’s locally-inspired menu, featuring wild seafood, foraged mushrooms and the best of the Pacific Northwest.
And do come to play. Warmed by two gorgeous outdoor fireplaces and vibrant lighting in edgy urban patio style, you’ll want to start some mischief of your own with a little shuffleboard, LED ping-pong and a rotating cast of live Seattle musicians and DJs.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner — and weekends for brunch. See what’s on the menu or reserve your table below.BOOK A TABLE AT FROLIK KITCHEN + COCKTAILS