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Learn how to stay upbeat during Seattle's infamously dreary winters.
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How to Survive Seattle's Dreary Winter

Dec 12th, 2016

Seattle’s beauty is undeniable. The city’s landscape is lush and verdant, and its architectural aesthetic on point. During the months of July and August, one could argue Seattle has some of the nicest weather in the country. But the Emerald City has an earned reputation for being dark, drizzly, and gray for several months a year. To ensure your comfort and mitigate the effects of any seasonal affective disorder (SAD) you experience, follow these tips.

Always carry a waterproof jacket

There is an upside to Seattle’s rain, and that is that it rarely pours. As long as you have a hooded waterproof jacket to throw over your clothes with you, you’ll find you rarely need an umbrella in Seattle. It rains often in Seattle and for prolonged periods of time, but average annual precipitation is not particularly high. For this, you can thank the drizzle.

Stay active

Cycling, hiking, and water sports are safer and more appealing in Seattle’s nice summer weather than on dreary winter days. But several hiking trails at lower elevations are accessible year-round. At higher elevations, there are great skiing and snowboarding opportunities near Seattle. Spend a day rejuvenating on the slopes, producing endorphins and soaking up Vitamin D. On days when the sun emerges from clouds, go for a walk outside. When the drizzle feels endless, exercise in your apartment gym or attend a yoga or other fitness class to keep your spirits high.

Drink coffee and cocoa

Seattle’s reputation for good coffee is on par with its reputation for dreary winter weather. Take advantage of the abundance of skillfully roasted beans and artfully prepared espresso beverages. If hot chocolate warms your bones and satisfies your taste buds, indulge in a steaming cup from time to time.

Eat soup

For many people, soup seems to have therapeutic properties. Seattle has an excellent selection of Asian soups, in particular. Take advantage of the city’s myriad opportunities to enjoy authentic pho, ramen, miso, egg drop, or tom yam soup. Alternatively, make your favorite veggie noodle soup or chili in your apartment kitchen.

Invest in a light therapy box

If you are affected by SAD, a condition that afflicts up to a quarter of the population, consider buying a light box. Light boxes generate light that mimics natural sunshine while minimizing UV-ray exposure. Talk to a doctor before setting up a light box in your Seattle apartment rental, but this could be a game changer.

Plan an escape

If your schedule and finances allow for it, plan a winter getaway somewhere sunny and warm. A great time to leave the Seattle drizzle behind is in February or March, after the winter weather begins to drag and feels like it may never end (it will!). Going later in the season also gives you time to plan and have something to look forward to.

Remember that summer will come eventually

It can be difficult to get excited about something that hardly feels within reach. But when the winter weather has you feeling down, try to think about summer and how amazing it is. Fondly recall the abundance of sun, seemingly endless daylight, and ideal temperatures that characterize Seattle summer days. If that doesn’t help, perhaps try reminding yourself that people in the Midwest and Northeast deal with freezing temperatures and heaps of snow for much, much longer than you ever will this time of year. And when summer finally arrives, most people in the country will have to deal with uncomfortably high temperatures that Seattle rarely experiences.

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