They say it rains a lot in Seattle! That's so true! We got used to it already except that our drivers don't. So be careful driving!
So, when you come to Seattle, choose the right season then you don't have to bring an umbrella. The best time to come to Seattle is the month of July, August and September. It is bright and sunny but, sometimes, it still rains!
The malls here provide umbrellas especially when you are shopping at the university village. Those yellow umbrellas, however, needed to be returned at any store. Those umbrellas are only used to cover you when you shop from one store to another store. They are not meant to be brought home!
While many people on this website say that Seattlites will complain of the non-existant constant rain. It does rain here. Frequently. While Seattle does not actually get as much rain as Portland per year, it does drizzle here from about October-April/May. As I write this it is summer and it is as cloudy and rainy as it was in the fall. So if a seattlite complains about the rain it is not false advertising, it is a statement of fact. But do not bring an umbrella if you want to look like a local. Hoods work just fine.
If you want to avoid constant rain, I do not recommend visiting in February. Unless you want to view the architecture at University of Washington while the cherry blossoms are blooming in early April, do not visit until the weather breaks in May. In my opinion, May is the most beautiful month because everything is fresh and green. The summer months can be swelteringly hot and humid. I recommend layers because the weather can change in an instant. In summer you might be comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt during the day, but bring warm clothes for evening or you might be miserable! As for umbrellas, it's a completely normal experience to see hundreds of students carrying umbrellas at University of Washington. (All the university district shops sell cheap ones.) Perhaps it is because we could stash them in backpacks, or because we would rather not sit through class soaking wet, but it was not considered unusual or embarassing at all. However it was equally not embarassingly to look like a drowned rat if you did not have one. You simply get used to having frizzy hair and damp clothing. The general custom is to carry an umbrella if it is expected to rain heavily, but it is generally considered inconvenient and pointless to carry one "just in case". If you find an umbrella cumbersome or embarassing, consider investing in a hat or hooded jacket instead.
Most of the US is HOT in summer. It was such a PLEASURE to visit Seattle in summer. Many days were overcast and misty - HEAVEN. Overcast days can be great for photos, are definitely cool, and places that are crowded on a sunny day are virtually vacant on an overcast one. During our stay, we never needed an umbrella - a good, lightweight rainjacket was sufficient. Sunny days were warm, but not hot. Shorts and T-shirts weather.
Apparently in Seattle, they're so used to the rain that when it's a light shower, no one uses umbrellas... at least that's what it says in several travel guides for the city. Someone using an umbrella in a shower is most likely labelled a tourist by locals. That's true for any Southern Californian, we don't get much rain so even a hint of rain brings out umbrellas.
Of course, whatever you are comfortable with is what you should go with. If you don't like being exposed to the rain in even light rain, then don't. Who cares really what someone feels, as long as you are comfortable.
Sure it rains in Pacific Northwest, but over the years I have come to the conclusion that local residents play it up when you ask about it, so that it sounds like the sun never shines.
I suspect it is because the Pacific NorthWest and Seattle especially have become so crowded and bogged down with traffic, locals will do anything to discourage any more people from moving there..
My hat is off to them (fibbing Seattle locals), and I hope the truth never gets out.
Want to blend in like a local? Well, unless you're all dressed up for something special, you'll do best to leave your umbrella at home.
We find it too cumbersome to carry an umbrella everywhere and if we were to pull it out everytime we end up walking through the rain, they would have some kind of study that says "The Average Washintonian Spends 3 Years of his Life Openning Umbrellas" I don't want to spend 3 years openning my umbrella, so although I have one in my truck, I have never openned it.
The key to life here is have a low maintanence hairstyle and wardrobe. Suede and silk should not be in your packing list if you're coming in the rainy season (Nov-Apr)
We can always spot a tourist in the rain. ; )
Be relaxed and just enjoy yourself.
If driving don't honk(it's obnoxious)
Learn to not mind the clouds(late Oct.-May you are guaranteed to see a lot of them,though 2-3 days of the week are usually crystal clear and you can see mountains in all directions)
The summer months are on average clear and mild,in the upper 70's.
The Seattle is a city and does have crime,it's not a place where you ever really feel unsafe(most areas you could wander the streets in the middle of the night and feel at ease).
Make sure to get out of the city and enjoy the mountains&lakes(you can get to lakes in under 10 minutes from downtown/lake washington&green lake/ and it is takes just less than an hour to get out to the cascades.
It did rain on me one day, and for "truth in advertising" purposes I think I need to put up a typical rainy Seattle photo.
I took this on Alaskan Way outside Ivars as it drizzled in the morning.