Seattle this rainy snowy weekend
February 12, 2018 3:08 PM   Subscribe

We'll be in Seattle for a wedding this weekend and it's looking like it's going to be a couple of rainy and possibly snowy days. Our main interest is eating all the asian food and seafood, but what should we do between food if it's that cold and gross outside?

We'll be staying in Capitol Hill Friday to Monday. Saturday night is the wedding so that's taken care of. We would've been interested in doing some hikes, but not sure if the weather will be allowing that. What are the cozy spots to check out between meals? Any cool board game cafes or cocktail bars? Outdoor things that will still be nice when it's wet and cold? We haven't decided if we're getting a car yet, but could do if it feels necessary with what we want to do.
posted by monologish to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You could do an Underground Tour, which are touristy but pretty fun and interesting, and would be dry.
posted by charmedimsure at 3:37 PM on February 12, 2018

Former Seattlite living in rainy London now. As a general guidance for picking where to spend your time, I would say that except for Pike Place there is really not much downtown. All the action happens in the neighbourhoods. Capital Hill is lively so good pick there! And yes it’s easier to have a car.

For indoor things, the International District has both Seattle’s best Chinese food and the Seattle Pinball Museum : 50 vintage machines, unlimited play while you’re there. I’m not even particularly into pinball and I really enjoyed it! Perfect rainy day activity.

It’s a little cheesy but the Underground Tour downtown is a good rainy day activity too. All of pioneer-era Seattle was built much lower than it is today. When they built the first proper paved roads and sidewalks the city officials decided (for complicated reasons) to just move everything up one storey, so all of pioneer Seattle can be visited in a series of underground tunnels and basements. That and Pike Place are fun.

If I were home and the weather was not cooperating but I still wanted some fresh air I would take a walk in one of our beautiful urban parks like Green Lake, the Arboretum (Montlake/University District) or Volunteer Park (Capital Hill). I love the view from the top of the little hill in Gasworks Park (Fremont).

Check out The Stranger for event listings and other local news.
posted by Concordia at 3:38 PM on February 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ba Bar Vietnamese is a great Vietnamese bar and restaurant near Seattle U. Cozy, great food, and a bakery for desserts.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 3:42 PM on February 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

+1 for Ba Bar. Other Cap Hill spots I like: Sun Liquor (cocktails), Canon (scotch, cocktails), General Porpoise (donuts), Quinn's Pub (food, cocktails), Artusi (drinks), Spinasse (fancy Italian), Kedai Makan (Malaysian food, don't miss this one).
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:52 PM on February 12, 2018

It is really easy to get from Capitol Hill to the International District via both the Light Rail and the Streetcar; both will provide protection from the rain and possible snow. There's also less chance of these being stopped/delayed by snow, unlike buses.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:15 PM on February 12, 2018

There's also the Museum of History and Industry (aka MOHAI), on South Lake Union.
Or Seattle Art Museum (downtown).
In the International District, there's the Wing Luke Museum.
Below the Pike Market is a fabulous place for a drink/snack - JarrBar.
Across and down the hillclimb from that is the ever-wonderful Zig-Zag Cafe.
For downtown and Capital Hill, I'd suggest Uber/Lyft over a rental car - parking is expensive, and hard to find, and traffic can be unexpectedly bad.
If the weather is clear-ish, consider a ferry ride over to Bainbridge Island. They have a lovely, small museum of art, and the food at Hitchcock is not to be missed. If pizza or pasta and a more casual atmosphere are your thing, try Bene Pizza. These are all in Winslow on Bainbridge, and are a short walk from the ferry. Bring Gore-tex!
Have fun!
posted by dbmcd at 4:15 PM on February 12, 2018

Even when it rains in Seattle, it's still pretty pleasant to be outside. If you're interested in hiking, I don't see why you wouldn't do it still. If you have fleece or a lightweight raincoat, either can be nice. (And though it's hard to predict weather several days in advance, the current forecast is for .02 inches of rain.)

If we actually get snow, though I wouldn't recommend going anywhere you can't walk home from. Between the hills, black-ice, and our inability to drive in snow, it's generally better to not drive or count on the bus running. (Buses get stuck on hills too.) If it's just slush coming down, don't worry, but if it sticks, be careful, especially the next morning.

Are you thinking of hiking in the city? Discovery Park, Lincoln Park, and Seward Park are all nice (if short) hikes.
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

Lowland snow is a rare event and not in the forecast for this weekend, so i wouldn't be deterred by what you might think of as wintery weather. Layered clothing are a must, and lots of dry socks to change into, but what you are most likely to encounter is constant drizzle rather than downpour rain.

Cap Hill is a great place to be located, and if urban hiking is your thing, you can hoof it to the arboretum (mentioned above), the U district or lake washington pretty easily and then just get a ride (lyft, cab, what-have-you) home if you don't feel like walking both ways.

Seconding The Stranger for event listings.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:53 PM on February 12, 2018

The Cinerama theater is a really special experience. You could see Black Panther there, but since seats are reserved and this looks very popular, you might want to get tickets soon.
posted by Cogito at 4:56 PM on February 12, 2018

Raygun Lounge for a board game cafe in Capital Hill.
posted by Shanda at 5:09 PM on February 12, 2018

If you like karaoke, I had a lot of fun at Rock Box (it's in Capitol Hill, so should be pretty convenient for you).
posted by kylej at 6:18 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think people have covered some good suggestions already - Capitol Hill is a great neighborhood to just wander around and you'll certainly find plenty to do. If you like beer there's also a lot of great breweries to visit nearby too.

If you rent a car, another option is to drive up to Woodinville and do some wine tasting. It's about 30-45 minutes away depending on traffic and a good way to spend the day. WA wine is great and there's a lot of variety at the tasting rooms in Woodinville. My personal recommendation is the Matthews/Tenor tasting room.

But to address the weather side, the forecast for this weekend is mid-40s and rainy. I would bet real cash money that it's not going to snow (it hardly ever does here, and certainly not when it's that warm) and at that temperature plus humidity it will actually not feel all that cold. Also, Seattle rain isn't like rain in other parts of the US - it's very light, not a downpour where you're going to be soaked if you're outside for a few minutes. Bring an umbrella and, if you have it, a water resistant hiking shell jacket and you'll be fine.
posted by joan_holloway at 6:58 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, don't try to drive anywhere if it snows.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:18 PM on February 12, 2018

If you like neighborhood hikes, you could just do the stairs of Queen Anne.

How do you feel about loud, community singing of religious songs outside of a worship context? This weekend is the Pacific Northwest Sacred Harp Convention (WA); go on in, grab a book, or just join people for lunch at noon. This is in Ballard.

Finally, the good northern Chinese food is in mostly in the U-District (SilkRoad Noodle Bar, Xi'an Noodles), with exception of Dough Zone, which originated east of Lake Washington, but now has a location in the International District, ridiculously close to the light rail station. There's also Qin Noodles, in Capitol Hill.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:59 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pacific Science Center has a Tropical Butterfly House, a regular exhibit of 80-degree, 80% humidity bug-watching that's a pretty great place to be when the outside varies only from gray to black. Be prepared to shed your layers.

Wear bright colors like flowers might have if you want the little beauties to land on you; if you don't, then don't.

Also, don't breeze by the display of unopened chrysalides in their emerging chamber: they shimmy a little when they're getting close to coming out in full color; there are often butterflies (and the occasional exotic moth) inside the emerging chamber which have just come out and their wings are still soft, pliable, and not yet extended.

joan_holloway is right, above, though. It'll rain for part of the day, but it's usually a light rain, not a drenching downpour, typically. Looks like Sunday is to be the heavier day, but the low is barely going to reach freezing at 3-4AM; don't count on snow sticking-- February snow rarely sticks here.

Cafe Mox is a gaming cafe, but it's attached to a game-shop where people gather for serious tabletop gaming.

Cocktails: Canon, Zig-Zag (as above), Tavern Law (they do have a non-very-secret speak upstairs; I've never seen it). Tin Lizzie Lounge is my local speak-chic cocktail place, though you'd more likely find me across the street at Atlas Kitchen, because of those damn wings.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:12 AM on February 13, 2018

If you want to get your nerd on, the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPOP) is great. Stacks of Star Trek, sci-fi, fantasy and horror memorabilia, a revolving selection of indie videogames, a really great Jim Henson retrospective and Kurt Cobain's guitar. It's right by the Space Needle. I spent half a day there before Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it.
posted by parm at 1:53 AM on February 13, 2018

Welp - we may actually get lowland snow after all.

I'd install a robust weather app on your phone, so you can monitor the weather conditions easily. I like the FEMA app; you can set for notifications by state and then county. Seattle is located in King County.

A winter trifecta looms this weekend: Wind, a little snow, then the cold snap
posted by spinifex23 at 7:05 PM on February 15, 2018

But to address the weather side, the forecast for this weekend is mid-40s and rainy. I would bet real cash money that it's not going to snow (it hardly ever does here, and certainly not when it's that warm) and at that temperature plus humidity it will actually not feel all that cold. Also, Seattle rain isn't like rain in other parts of the US - it's very light, not a downpour where you're going to be soaked if you're outside for a few minutes. Bring an umbrella and, if you have it, a water resistant hiking shell jacket and you'll be fine.

Should have taken you up on that bet, because it's snowing in Cap Hill right now :D

But yes - monologish, there's still plenty to do even now, when the weather is icky.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:45 AM on February 18, 2018

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