Seattle Summer Packing List: A Complete Guide

seattle's skyline is a stunner

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As a tremendous fan of grunge music, I’ve always been intrigued by beautiful Washington State.

Not to sound like a stereotype, but Nirvana helped me survive both high school and college’s emotional rollercoasters. The lyrics and guitar spoke to me.

Unsurprisingly, when I had a chance to visit the MoPop (Museum of Pop Culture), I was super duper excited!

First, though, I needed to plan specifics, and eventually came to the conclusion: what better time to visit Seattle than in gorgeous August?

where to go in fremont: cafes of course!

As some of you already know, I’ve written a fair bit about my Seattle trip on this blog, but recently I realized that I was missing a packing guide. Whoops!

My main goal for this Seattle summer packing list is to help you plan what to bring for your warm weather adventure in the Emerald City.

As for me, I always struggle with packing (I’m a chronic “over packer”) and find these posts very useful when it comes to time to head to the airport. 

But first, I want to cover some general tips about going to Seattle in June, July, and/or August.

solo female travel in seattle at pike place

Tips for Seattle in Summer

Should I Visit Seattle in Summer? What the Pros & Cons?

I personally love Seattle in the summer.

In August, I enjoyed sunny afternoons and long days, and also had the added bonus of super comfortable weather. Think 75 degrees Fahrenheit (think between 23 and 24 degrees Celsius). You didn’t need to use the air conditioning at all.

So, if you want to spend time outdoors, summer is the best time to go to Seattle (and the Pacific northwest in general). Hands down.

However, Seattle is popular with tourists in the summer months. The city serves as a major cruise hub to Alaska, so the pier draws crowds in the middle of the afternoon. Pike Place is always packed. 

Furthermore, August is wild fire season. Climate change is real. It’s not a hoax or a joke. For example, when I visited Seattle in August, I just barely missed some hazardous smoke pollution caused by wild fires raging in British Columbia. 

If you don’t want to take your chances, come in June or early in July to avoid potential wild fire issues. 

exploring mt rainier in the summer

What Should I Budget for Seattle in Summer?

You’ll want to bring more money if you’re visiting in the summer. Accommodation, in general, is going to cost more in peak season. Makes sense, right?

Furthermore, Seattle’s main attractions aren’t cheap. If you want to see all the museums, then I recommend purchasing a CityPASS for your trip to Seattle. 

Speaking from experience, I bought the CityPASS on my trip to Seattle, and I can absolutely say that I saved quite a bit of money! I needed at the time, too, because I had just switched apartments and needed to pay for my move. 

Purchase your CityPASS ahead of time if possible. Consider another cool item to add to this packing list!

got 24 hours in seattle? don't miss the glass museum

Seattle Summer Packing List: What to Bring

Are you ready to take notes on what to bring to Seattle in summer? I hope so!

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve broken this post down into two separate sections: your essential items and what to wear.

Ultimately, packing is very personal, and I’m aware that a museum lover is going to have very different ideas than an avid hiker. This post is just meant to get you started. 

Regardless of what “type” of traveler you are, I hope these ideas help you plan an amazing Seattle vacation! 

what to wear to seattle in summer includes nirvana gear!

Seattle Summer Packing List Essentials 

A Travel Umbrella 

I mostly had sunny days in August. Which was awesome.

However, you should always prepare for rain in Seattle, even if it’s just a quick passing shower! Bring a compact travel umbrella with you to stay dry. Better safe than sorry.

I would avoid regular umbrellas due to their size and bulkiness. You wanna save room for souvenirs, right? Pick your umbrella wisely!

Seattle Guidebook

I’m traditional and love guidebooks. Are travel blogs useful? Sure! I run a blog, after all, and love reading each and every bit of advice on the internet. 

However, I still always feel more prepared for my trips if I have a traditional guidebook providing additional insights about a destination. My personal favorite brand is Lonely Planet.

So, don’t forget to pack a guidebook for Seattle. Lonely Planet guidebooks are always available in .pdf and Kindle formats to save room in your luggage. But the physical book is pretty too.

seattle summer packing list includes bringing a camera to take crisp pictures
Checking Out Seattle’s Historic Buildings.

A Point-and-Shoot Camera

I’m a fan of high-quality cameras that are light-weight and easy to carry throughout the day. Some phones, for instance, have wonderful cameras that take fantastic images.

For professional photographers, however, you will want to bring a mirrorless camera to capture the best views Seattle has to offer!

My personal recommendation is the Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera which is compact and takes absolutely stunning 24.2 megapixel photographs. 

Travel Insurance

Are you traveling internationally to the United States and building Seattle into a longer trip? If so, then you need travel insurance for your trip to Seattle. 

Travel insurance covers illness and cancellation, which will cost you a ton of money in the long run if you choose to forego insurance. I personally use World Nomads insurance for all of my trips. The policy is extensive and reasonably priced for budget travelers. 

I always say that if you can’t afford insurance, then you afford to travel. The last thing you want is to break a bone at Mount Rainier and pay a huge hospital bill. Just no.

delicious tacos for everyone

Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock

Seattle? Sun? Really? YES.

I know I mentioned rain earlier in the packing guide, but Seattle in summer also means glorious summer days. If you’re fair-skinned (like me!), please make sure to pack sun lotion to protect yourself. Sunburns are not only painful, but also dangerous. 

Furthermore, for increased protection, I love Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 100 for my face! The skin on your face is gentle and delicate. Do what you can to protect it now. Your future self will thank you for your consideration. 

A Reusable Water Bottle

Thirsty? Of course! Hiking at Mount Rainier and climbing Seattle’s hills will leave your throat feeling parched – particularly on a bright, warm, and sunny day! 

I’m all about sustainability on your travels and protecting the environment. Travel leaves a carbon footprint. That’s just a fact. You don’t need to add to it by purchasing an insane amount of bottled water.

Instead pack a reusable water bottle and take it with you when you are sightseeing in Seattle. Like most major US cities, Seattle’s tap water is drinkable, so fill that bottle whenever you have a chance! 

my summer seattle packing list includes a dress
All Dressed Up in Seattle!

What to Wear in Seattle in Summer

Hiking Boots

Are you planning on some outdoor adventures beyond Seattle? Perhaps a day trip to nearby Mount Rainier? Then make sure to protect your feet and ankles! 

Don’t skimp on hiking boots! I get it. I’m about saving money too, but some purchases are worth the extra cost. I mean, think about it. You don’t want to break your ankle, but even minor injuries, like blisters, can put a huge damper on your summer trip to Seattle.

I personally like Merrell Women’s Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, because (as you can see from the picture), your ankles are very much protected. Waterproof boots will also save you discomfort if sudden rain appears in the middle of your mountain hike. 

As a bonus, bring some moisture wicking socks for additional comfort. 

Walking Shoes

Heavy hiking boots are excessive in Seattle itself.

However, Seattle’s hills rival San Francisco’s in size and number. Without a doubt, I wouldn’t recommend walking around in cute little heels or sandals if you’re going to be out and about all day. 

For instance, these Merrell slip-on walking shoes are cute and practical. They give your feet lots of love and are easily matched with a variety of outfits. 

Seriously, though, don’t underestimate the hills.

solo female travel seattle on a boat
Brrr, bundle up in Seattle!

Hoodie for Chilly Nights

Temperatures in Seattle drop at night time. Don’t run around to dinner with just a short sleeve shirt on. 

I recommend packing a cosy hoodie for your nights out in Seattle. For example, this low key Hanes hoodie is perfect for a breezy summer evening. 

Whatever you do, don’t get caught off guard at night and shiver! You want to feel comfortable. 

Casual Outdoor Clothing

As you know, I live in the New York metro area, and I felt like the style in Seattle was more outdoorsy and casual than what I’m used to in Manhattan. So pack accordingly if you want to fit in. 

Comfy and relaxed athletic tees, for example, are perfect for this packing guide. You can easily roll them to make even more space in your luggage. 

But if you want to dress up? Sure, go for it! I bought one dress with me to Seattle and found that was plenty for the five days!

Sunglasses

Last but not least, make sure to protect your eyes! Sun glare is no joke!

Pack a cute and funky pair of sunglasses to make your outfit pop! Ensure that your sunglasses offer uv protection before making your purchase. 

one day in seattle? see the museums!

I hope this Seattle summer packing list helped you! What are you most excited to see and do in Seattle in summer? Share away!

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