Seattle really shows up in the fall. The air is crisp, ombre leaves blanket the streets, and the energy shifts into that cozy Northwest vibe we’re famously known for. From the ultimate pumpkin spice latte to the pumpkin patch, there’s enough fall activities in Seattle to fill that harvest-season bucket for days!
In this post I’ll share the best things to do in the Pacific Northwest, especially this time of year!
Fall Activities in Seattle
Just 35 minutes from downtown Seattle you’ll find Snoqualmie Falls, a 268-foot waterfall with a beautiful backdrop of changing leaves in early to mid October. As the season carries on and the rain picks up, the falls take on a really cool curtain form – an amazing site to see!
Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions. More than 1.5 million visitors come to the Falls every year. At the falls, you will find a two-acre park, gift shop, observation deck, the Salish Lodge and the famous 270 foot waterfall. – SnoqualmieFalls.com
Snoqualmie Falls offers free parking and free viewing areas from dawn until desk and leashed pets are allowed. The distance between the free parking lot and the viewing platform is approximately 200 feet and is wheelchair accessible.
Snoqualmie Falls: 6501 Railroad Ave SE, Snoqualmie, Washington, 98024
Located 2 hours from Seattle, you’ll find Mount Rainier, one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States.
Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. A lifetime of discovery awaits. – NPS.Gov
There are 64 moderate hiking trails in Mount Rainier ranging from .6 to 18.9 miles and from 1,755 to 7,828 feet above sea level.
Most roads are open from late May to early October, which allow for both stunning views and access to a wide range of hiking trails and other sites. Hikers will find forests with cedar, hemlock, and fir trees as well as streams and wildflower meadows. On Rainier’s alpine slopes, visitors will find firs, glaciers, and tundra. – AllTrails.com
In addition to hiking, Mount Rainier offers the following activities in the fall:
- Mushroom foraging
- Berry picking
- Forest to table tours
- Guided lantern walks
- Elk bugling tour
Park road conditions are available by phone at (360) 569-2211. All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling inside the national park during the winter season (Nov 1 – May 1). This requirement applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions. – VisitRainier.com
San Juan Islands
The San Juans make up 172 named islands and reefs between Washington State and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. A ferry provides access to four of the islands; San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island and Shaw Island as they’re the most populated with a range of lodging, dining and tourist activities.
There are several ways you can get to the San Juan Islands from Seattle, including the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, a seaplane via Kenmore Air or the San Juan Clipper which offers a 3.5 hour boat ride from the city. I’ve done them all and will say they each offer a unique and fantastic experience!
In the fall, the San Juans host a variety of events that keep the momentum from summer going strong before the sleepy streets of winter settle in.
- Orcas Island Film Festival
- Oktoberfest Celebration
- Haunted Hayrides
- Friday Harbor Film Festival’s
- Bite of the San Juans
- Hops on the Rock: Orcas Island Beer Fest
Pike Place Market
Probably the most iconic spot in Seattle is Pike Place Market, one of the oldest public farmers’ markets in the U.S., located in the heart of the city overlooking Elliott Bay.
The year-round market includes owner-operated bakeries, fish markets, butcher shops, produce stands, specialty food stores, 225 local and regional craftsman.
There are also more than 80 restaurants from take-out counters to fine dining…so my advice is to bring your appetite!
And even in the fall, if the weather gets a bit drizzly, the market is covered so you’ll stay dry (and warm with a cup of Washington apple spiced cider)!
Also known as “Seattle’s Original Neighborhood,” Pioneer square has evolved since its birth in 1852, yet still holds that classic old Seattle feel. From vibrant shops and art galleries to secret foodie spots and pubs, the neighborhood is still one of the best spots in the city. And its adjacent to Chinatown, SODO and the Central Watefront.
For a free family-friendly activity, check out the Fall Festival in Occidental Square, offering a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, inflatable obstacle course, face painting and warm cider.
Starbucks Seattle Reserve Roastery
Located nine blocks from the original Starbucks Pike Place store, the Seattle Roastery has a unique menu featuring coffee, cocktail and ice cream fusions, with a flight being one of the most popular experiences. Newly added is the Milanese-inspired bakery by Rocco Princi offering artisanal pizzas, pastries and bread paired with colorful salads and handmade desserts.
For the ultimate coffee shop experience and a must anytime you visit Seattle, especially in the fall, the Starbucks Seattle Reserve Roastery is everything your coffee-loving soul has craved. Trust me, it’s cool.
Starbucks Seattle Reserve Roastery: 1124 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
South Lake Union
Home to Amazon and its biotech neighbors. South Lake Union is one of the newly developed Seattle neighborhoods that has taken the city by storm. Transformed into a culinary, artistic and technologically innovated hub, South Lake Union is a fascinating neighborhood. In addition, a site to see at lunchtime, as the food trucks pull up, with lines around the block.
The neighborhood also rests up against Lake Union, Seattle’s freshwater lake that resides entirely within the city limits, where you can board a Seaplane (to the San Juan Islands!) or even take a sunset cruise.
Every Friday until October 25 between 12pm – 2pm at Capital One Cafe in South Lake Union, experience local artist performances. The events are free and open to the public and also offer free food.
Discover South Lake Union offers an updated calendar of events throughout fall. From live music, festivals, pop ups and art installations, there’s always something going on.
Seattle Restaurant Week
One of the most anticipated events of the season and the best time to snag a multi course meal is Seattle Restaurant Week. Running from October 27 – November 7, Sunday – Thursday, over 165 restaurants throughout the Pacific Northwest will take part, giving diners a unique chance to sample their menus at an unbeatable price!
Three Course Dinners are $35 and Two Course Lunches are $20!
Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Farm
One of the best corn mazes in the Northwest is Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Farm. It’s located just 40 minutes north of Seattle in Snohomish, WA.
The A(maze)ing Facts: This year at Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Farm, the ginormous maze will have you twisting and turning through geometric paths that lead to the bee in the center of Bob’s 10-acre maze. For new maze explorers who aren’t ready to tackle the whole 10-acres on their own (or at all!), the two kids’ mazes are equally impressive and will keep little ones engaged with “stations” that they reach along the way.
Bonus: Make a night of it at Bob’s by reserving one of their 18 fire pits that are scattered along the perimeter of the maze (you can see them on the photo above)–awesome for get-togethers with other families and some corn field marshmallow roasting! Fire pits are available for 2-80 people and run from $30-$80 per hour, depending on the size of your group and whether you choose a weekday or weekend evening. Farm admission is required for all people going to the fire pits. Psst! Fire pit reservations go fast; book online now!
Dates & Hours: Daily, Sep. 7-Oct. 31, 2019. Daytime Maze open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Night Maze open 6 p.m.-10 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays starting Sep. 28. Last admission at 10 p.m.
Cost: $7.50–$18. The new pricing structure for 2019 includes one price for all farm activities. Reservations are required for groups to visit the Night Maze Sun.-Thurs. (10 person minimum). Group discounts of $2 off per person on groups of 20 or more are available. Discount only applies if everyone is paid for in one transaction.
Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Farm: 11907 Elliott Rd., Snohomish, WA 98296
A quick 45 minute ferry ride across the Puget Sound from Seattle to Bainbridge Island will take you to the 150 acre hidden gem, Bloedel Reserve.
Bloedel Reserve is an experiential public garden and forest reserve, a mixed tapestry of woodlands, meadows, and landscaped gardens. With 150 acres to explore and 14 distinct landscapes, it’s a place to immerse yourself in nature. Plan to spend at least 2 hours on the Reserve.
Bloedel Reserve offers a variety of events in the fall, and year round, that you can check out on their event calendar!
Bloedel Reserve: 7571 NE Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Fall Seattle Staycation
Whether you’re an Emerald City native or visiting from out of town, one of the best fall activities in Seattle is a weekend staycation! I highly recommend the Inn at El Gaucho, nestled in the Belltown neighborhood, the perfect hub for a variety of Northwest adventures.
The Inn at El Gaucho has only 17 guest suites so it offers a very personalized experience with an intimate vibe. It’s also right above the famous El Gaucho restaurant (also known as the Northwest’s steakhouse legacy).
You can also find Aerlume, another member of the El Gaucho family, just a few blocks away offering breathtaking views of the waterfront and an incredible farm-to-table menu.
I challenge you this season to explore all that we have to offer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. From a staycation in the city to a tasting flight at Starbucks….there’s so much festivity in a Seattle fall.
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Disclosure: This Fall Activities in Seattle guide is in collaboration with El Gaucho Hospitality. The opinions expressed here represent my own, which I take great pride in providing pure honesty…because I’m OBSESSED with sharing the Good!