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6 Things to Do While Visiting Seattle Washington in the Summer

Updated: Apr 28

Seattle is more forest and water than it is city. The year-round evergreens means no need to endure a long stick season in the winter. The breathtaking mountains and vast waterways are what make this state so beautiful. If you're here in the summertime, you are in one of the best places on Earth. The summers here are unmatched, and i've been all over the world. Rain is next to none, humidity is low, and people are so happy to see the sun again after enduring the long dark, winter days. The sun doesn't set until 10pm, so you can take full advantage of long, dry, temperate summer days here. This is where I started to do my first half marathons because it's said to be one of the better environments for running. I moved here for the summers, there's no way around it. July and August are the best months, but in some warmer years April is pretty nice and September can still be dry!

a girl and her dog in a lavendar field

1. Explore all Seattle has to offer

Seattle is one my favorite cities in the U.S., there is so much to do, especially in the summer, the summer is why I moved here. It's also a city rooted in music and technology which are two things I love. The city is full of coffee-lovers, hipsters, and techies. You could easily spend an afternoon walking down by the Pikes Public Market Center, sipping coffee at the original Starbucks (be prepared for the longest line you've ever seen, come in the winter to avoid it!) or shopping the public market for local gifts and goods; they always have fresh juices based on the season. The yellow Rainer cherries are a summer staple for your snacks! You can also find the famous Seattle Gum Wall tucked beneath the market. There are plenty of ways to see the city from above, whether it be from the famous Space Needle or from the city's iconic Ferris wheel. I would recommend the Space needle at sunset for the best views. You can also take in the free skyline views at Kerry Park with some local Molly Moon ice cream! The city's monorail is also easily-accessible from the Space Needle and lets you ride above the traffic and people and see the city from a new perspective; you can also bring dogs on the monorail. Another favorite place of ours is the Museum of Pop Culture; it's a great place for kids and adults! I geeked out on seeing Back to the Future's hoverboard. If you're into tech, then explore deeper into the city and stop by the Amazon-Go store or the "Bezo Balls" for a glimpse into where technology can take us in the near future.

My favorite coffeeshop for my iced americanos is Analog coffee in capitol hill; you must try their egg breakfast sandwich, it's incredible, I get their vegetarian version spicy! If you like makeup, head to Glossier (you can bring the dogs in for a special treat!). I also adore the thrift shops in Cap hill, they have an unusually great selection of higher end branded clothing. There's also cat cafes and bookstores if that's you're thing. If you want food, Danbo Ramen is a must (their vegan ramen is to die for, even better than the vegan broths I tried in Japan!). The Starbucks reserve is nearby, you can pop in for an espresso martini or unique artisan pastry as they have a special menu here. It's the perfect place to bring friends and seats free up quickly!

I also adore the Fremont area. You can walk to gas works park for 4th of july fireworks, get a yummy croissant at Sea Wolf Bakery. Ballard has a busy farmers market every sunday too and it's close to golden gardens beach for sunsets. I love grabbing some poke bowls and bringing friends there in the summer.

2. Hike all the things

The most talked about hike is the Enchantments. You need an incredibly difficult permit to camp here, but a lot of us go overnight. It's a steep climb, but such an accomplishment. There's a ton of other hikes to do based on where you're going though, below.

mount rainier national park mountainscape

Mount Rainier National Park

If you're into photography and/or hiking, Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. you can visit. It's a few hours South from Seattle and is stunning on a beautiful summer day. You can drive your car to the top for an easy-to-access entrance and trail at the Sunrise Visitor Center. From here, you can walk along the gravel path and capture beautiful pictures and views. If you're visiting during normal hours you'll need to get a permit from, but if you don't have one just try to show up super early.

If you're more interested in hiking the summit or just higher view points, then try visiting the Henry Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise. Here you can take the Skyline trail and get panoramic views of Washington's most beautiful mountain ranges and get up close and personal to Mt. Rainier. You can also see a large waterfall about .4 miles from the parking lot.

Olympic National Park

Another popular national park outside of Seattle is the Olympic National Park. We found the trails be moderately easy and less crowded. There are plenty of trails by the water or deep into the forest. This is also the forest where some of Twilight was filmed/set (Forks, WA!) so it may look familiar to some of you! Check out my other post for a guide to the Olympic Coastline.

Non-National Parks, Bring the Dogs!

My favorite hikes in Washington are pretty scattered around the state. If you're looking for close to Seattle, then your go-tos are Snow Lake, Rattlesnake ledge, Gold Creek Pond, Little Si or Mount Si, Mailbox Peak, Discovery Park, and Summit Lake. On a rainy day I love Coal Creek falls as it's covered by trees. Some other fun hikes are Wallace State falls, twin falls , and franklin falls (if you haven't noticed we have a lot of waterfalls).

If you don't want to hike, but you're willing to drive for a view: Picture Lake, Snoqualmie Falls (where you can see scenes from Twin Peaks tv show!), and Gold Creek Pond.

a man hiking on Mailbox peak in Washington state
Mailbox Peak

If you don't mind a drive, then you must check out the Artist point area. Ptaramigan Ridge is long, but wide open and stunning. It's my favorite area in WA. I also love Maple Falls loop, the Enchantments thru hike (Colchuck lake), Cape Flattery, Dog Mountain on the Columbia River gorge, and Lake Valhalla.

3. Get yourself into the Water

There are so many lakes all over Washington state to visit, even near Seattle. You can find several kayaking or paddleboarding opportunities all around good driving distance from Seattle. The water is calm and the temperatures are perfect around July and August. If you're in the city, people love to go to Gasworks Park or Green lake l i've found green lake to be warm enough to swim. They have rentals at both lakes. A little outside of the city, Lake Sammamish is not a far drive, people love to picnic their with friends and families. I found that water to be slightly rougher for paddleboarding. If you dont mind a drive, head out to Diablo Lake (or Ross lake) for some stunning glacier blue water (right photo below).

4. Crystal Mountain Gondola Ride

If you're looking for panoramic views of Mount Rainier, but aren't interested in hiking, then drive out to the Crystal Mountain Gondola to take the cable car to the top of Crystal Mountain. This ski resort transforms into a beautiful summer escape. There's a lovely restaurant at the top to eat lunch and enjoy a beautiful view of Mount Rainier. There are also some adorable little animals waiting at the top! It's a great way to get out into nature without the stress of hiking. You can bring dogs on the gondola too!

Here's some photos from the top.

a shikoku-ken dog on a mountain

5. Visit a Beach

If you're looking to escape the mountains and see the ocean, then there are a number of coastlines you can visit for a relaxing day at the beach. The water will likely be too cold for swimming, but you can still take in the views while enjoying some food and drinks. If you're in Seattle and don't have time to drive to the full coast, stop by Golden Gardens or Alki Beach for sunset; they both overlook the Olympic mountain range on clear night and sometimes you can watch the seals swimming! There's always lots of people and live music on the beach. If you want more remoteness, plan a trip to the Olympic coast - I love Kalaloch beach as it's pretty quiet. Ebey's landing offers a beautiful sunset too, golden hour is particularly nice here.

6. Island Hopping

Seattle has many islands within close proximity. A popular favorite summer day trip is to Bainbridge island. When you're there you can visit the wineries (white wine is more prevalent in this region), shop the local boutiques, or even pick up some pickleball gear! Pickleball was actually first created here in Bainbridge, which is pretty cool. San Juan islands make for a good weekend trip, but housing books up quickly for them, so plan ahead! Vashon island and Whidbey island are also nice for day-tripping.

If you're in the San Juan Islands (friday harbor) then I highly recommend Whale Watching to get a chance to see the orca whales.

a dog in moran state park in the san juan islands


Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

Let me help you plan your next trip!

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