Explore Seattle

Exploring Seattle on a Rainy Day

When Seattle's famed rains come, turn to these cozy hideaways, spas and bookstores to relax and rejuvenate

After the madness of the holiday season, I tend to want to hibernate inside, staying warm, cozy and relaxed while the rain pours outside. This happens to coincide perfectly with the wet, rainy and blustery weather we tend to have in Seattle between January and March. Luckily, there is still plenty to keep one entertained when the weather is less than ideal. For example, there is no better time to indulge in a spa day or linger over a yummy brunch with friends and family. Not to mention, when it's raining in Seattle, it's often snowing in the mountains, so there is always snowy fun to be had. Check out some of my favorite rainy day activities.


On lazy winter days, I like to start my mornings nice and slow with a leisurely breakfast at Belle Epicurean in Madison Park. There is a downtown location as well, but I love the quietness of the Madison Park cafe. Their Parisian pastries are homemade and always fresh, and the macarons are consistently voted the best in the city. Linger here over a frothy cappucino for awhile.

If you're feeling adventerous and don't mind the rain, or if it's just one of those plain gray Seattle days, consider a trip to the nearby Washington Park Arborteum after breakfast. The park is pretty quiet during the winter months, but a short walk from the Graham Visitors Center on the Hillside Trail, the Witt Winter Garden is stunning between late November through the end of March, with a lawn surrounded by tall cedars and firs, as well as smaller trees, shrubs and perennials. 


I can spend all afternoon in a bookstore. My favorite in the city is Elliott Bay Books on Capitol Hill. Inviting and stocked with more books than I could read in a lifetime (more than 150,000 is the rumor), it's easy to lose track of time here. Plus, they have an incredible array of authors, both local and international, that come in for regular live readings and book signings.

Il Corvo restaurant Seattle
Il Corvo (©Suzi Pratt)
Ready to eat again? Nothing warms you up like a big bowl of steaming pasta. Head to Il Corvo in Pioneer Square. Chef Mike Easton has had a passion for pasta since his culinary studies in italy, years ago. Now, he runs this tiny no-frills lunch-only spot where you can find his delectable handmade pastas. With no set menu, the three daily pastas are determined by what Easton finds at Pike Place Market that day, and posted on his blog for curious diners just before lunchtime each day. It is always crazy busy here and I recommend getting in there early — sometimes they sell out before closing time aat 3 p.m., and you don't want to miss out. 


Cold days are, in my humble opinion, usually best finished at Banya 5. This old-world-style, Russian-inspired health spa offering both wet and dry heat experiences, has a Turkish steam room with eucalyptus and a hot water whirlpool to chase away the chill — plus, the authentic Russian sauna oven is heaven. Make sure to spend some time relaxing in the tea room before you head back out into the elements. 

Banya 5 Spa in Seattle
Banya 5 Spa in Seattle (Coutesy of Banya 5)

For dinner, visit How to Cook a Wolf on Queen Anne. One of Seattle's top celebrity chefs, Ethan Stowell, opened this cozy wood slatted den of a room to high acclaim in 2007. The ever-changing Italian-inspired menu features rustic fare that takes simple ingredients and transforms them into culinry marvels that somehow remain unfussy. Discover dishes like soft shell crab in a panzanella salad with tomato vinaigrette, risotto with chanterelle mushrooms, corn and mascarpone, or bucatini pastas with Dungeness crab, black pepper and grape tomatoes—all in one of the warmest, more unique dining rooms in town. 

How to Cook a Wolf restaurant in Seattle
Ethan Stowell's How to Cook a Wolf (©Geoffrey Smith)

See? No reason to complain about the weather and the rain in Seattle when there is this much fun to be had indoors!