Seattle Packing List Featured

What to Pack for Seattle

Ah, Seattle. Home sweet home… or it was once.

Though I no longer live in Seattle, it will always hold a place in my heart. I lived in Seattle for almost four years and explored Western Washington extensively during that time.

Funnily enough, I never really write about traveling in Seattle! Here’s my first attempt to fix that. If you have plans to visit Seattle for any reason, this packing list will give you all the options you need to have a great, fashionable trip.

Tips to Packing for Travel to Seattle

Before we launch into the list, here are a few quick tips for packing for a trip to Seattle. As usual, my list isn’t meant to be a ‘strict set of required items you must pack;’ feel free to take liberties based on these tips, your own fashion, and the season in which you’re visiting.

  1. Though Seattle is known for its rain, there is also great weather in Seattle, especially in summer. I always advise bringing a raincoat/shell if you visit in case the weather isn’t optimal, but I promise: it’s not 100% rainy all the time.
  2. Seattle is a prototypical casual West Coast city. In most of the cities main industries (tech being the biggest), jeans and a tee are standard work attire. As such, you don’t need to glam out unless that’s how you feel most comfortable.
  3. If you love walking and taking public transit, Seattle is a great city to explore this way. You can take the Link Light Rail or one of Seattle’s other train lines; you can take the buses out from downtown to all the major neighborhoods, and you can explore almost everywhere on foot. As such, shoes play an important role in my packing list.

Let’s get to the list!

What to Pack for Seattle

Seattle’s fashion sense combines outdoor performance gear with casual coder attire. It’s also fun to pack a few ‘throwback’ items which harken to Seattle’s grunge history.

  • Hiking Tank. Given that getting outdoors is a great part of visiting Seattle, a fun hiking tank top is a must-pack. I love this one that reads: Coffee, Mountains, AdventureVery Seattle! 
  • A little plaid. There’s this joke in Get Him to the Greek where they joke about everyone in Seattle wearing plaid and leather jackets. It kinda fits!
  • Base Layer Tanks. Never leave home without them! This set in subdued colors is a good choice.
  • Sunglasses. Believe it or not, it does get sunny in Seattle sometimes. On those occasions, the best sunglasses are these cool Seattle printed sunglasses from Townies.
  • Blanket Scarf. Seattle has great seasons and thus has great scarf weather. If you opt against the plaid top I recommended above, maybe a plaid blanket scarf will suit you better.
  • Utility Jacket. I never owned one of these jackets when I lived in Seattle, but it has literally always been on my list. It’s a great neutral piece for your wardrobe anyway.
  • Rain shell. It’s still Seattle, so even in the best weather months, be sure to pack a rain shell, like this one from The North Face. REI is a local company if you want to buy one and support local businesses.
  • Leather Jacket. Again with the Get Him to the Greek references. Also, I owned a classic leather jacket the entire time I lived in Seattle, and can attest that it fits most any season and weather.
  • Jean Leggings. Another must-pack item I include on every list. With the other tops and boots I’ve recommended, these jean leggings are the perfect pants.
  • Flats. I basically live in flats, and they’re great for exploring Seattle’s hilly, hip neighborhoods. I always recommend either Toms Jutti flats or Tieks (if you want to splurge). If you’re curious if Tieks are worth it, I’ve got an article for that!
  • Tall Boots. Maybe not perfect for every season, but if you’re traveling to Seattle in Spring or Autumn, calf boots are a great addition to your wardrobe.
  • Short Boots. I love my Teva boots and they go great in both the office and on weekends out exploring.
  • Salomon Trail Runners. If you plan to get out and go hiking while in Seattle, you need a good pair of shoes for it. Salomon is my favorite brand.

I’ve mentioned in this list that you can get out and go hiking. In that case, I’d wear the hiking tank (or something similar), black jean leggings, and the Salomon shoes at the end of the list. Add a rain shell with a day pack and you’re good to go!

Exploring Beyond Seattle

One of the best parts of living in Seattle is that I had a chance to explore the city and region extensively over the course of several years.

I understand that if you’re planning a short vacation or road trip through Seattle, you might not have as much time to explore farther afield. These itineraries are worth bookmarking though in case you’re ever back in the area.

  • Getting out to explore any of the small communities along the Pacific Coast is one of the best excursions I can advise. My favorite one (though it’s hard to choose) is Long Beach, where you can walk the longest beach in the U.S., fly a kite, and eat a delicious meal in a single day.
  • There are some picture perfect spots all around the Olympic Peninsula. It’s a fantastic road trip if that’s your style of travel!
  • Most of my favorite small towns are along the various waterways. Southwest of Seattle, you can spend time in cozy Gig Harbor; to the north, Anacortes is another one of my favorites.
  • Many locals rave about the San Juan Islands, and I agree: if you want to spend a few days outside the city, make your way north to these little gems.

When are you making your trip to Seattle?

  • Leigh

    Great list! When I moved from Chicago to Seattle, I was so bummed on my first New Year’s Eve because I got all dressed up and everyone, including my date, was in the Seattle uniform of jeans. I don’t think I’ve dressed up since 😀

  • Amanda Schreiber

    This is basically my wardrobe here in Seattle! Lots of neutral, comfy, and casual outfits!

  • I haven’t been to Seattle yet but I’m dying to go! I think it’s definitely a place that I would love… especially since this is basically what I already wear most of the time!

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