9 Unique Things to Do Around Seattle with Family and Friends During the Dark Winter Months

If you are having a hard time figuring out what to do around Seattle while the weather is dark and wet, check out my list of favorites for inspiration.

  1. Seattle is lucky enough to have one of the only organic chocolate processing facilities in the country, Theo’s Chocolate. The confections are absolutely divine and the 1-hour factory tour is super fascinating and fun. Advance reservations are required: book tickets.

  2. Lovers of glass, light and color will be delighted by a late afternoon visit to the Chihuly Glass & Garden at the Seattle Center. This small collection of his work is artfully displayed and truly spectacular. Make sure you time your visit for a dark stroll through the outside garden donning dramatically-lit colorful Chihuly creations. The gift shop is also fantastic and the adjacent Collector’s Cafe has delicious lunch items served amidst Dale Chihuly’s personal and quirky collections. If it’s a sunny day, consider visiting the new Space Needle Observation Deck (there is a package price for visiting both) before heading to Chihuly’s, and don’t miss the new lower level Atmos Wine Bar. Although I have not yet experienced it, the website is now promoting a virtual reality bungee jump attraction, which sounds cool for adrenaline seekers!

  3. Solving a series of puzzles for an hour, in order to solve a mystery and “escape” a room is a super fun activity for most any group. You are “locked into a room,” but all rooms have a host sitting right outside the door, and cameras inside the puzzle room. Check out my article for a few recommendations and also check out The Georgetown Morgue (Seattle Escape Games), which my friend Theresa M. highly recommends for older kids and adults (it’s pretty dark and some involve being locked inside of a jail cell). If you go, check out my article on Georgetown for restaurant recommendations.

  4. Go see a movie at Paul Allen’s mid-century-era Cinerama theater, featuring locally sourced concessions like Theo’s Chocolates, Uli’s Sausages and Proletariot Wine, Seattle Ciders and Elysian Brewing Beer. Advance seat reservations highly recommended.

  5. Take a virtual tour of Washington’s most scenic, breathtaking spots at Wings Over Washington, located next to the Great Wheel. I suffer from a bit of motion sickness, but I keep returning to WOW because it is so well done (except for the Disneyesque intro with the park ranger, which might seem cheesy to some). If you go, take a ride on the Great Wheel if it’s sunny and then have lunch or dinner at Elliotts Oyster House (it is our favorite downtown seafood restaurant and they always take walk-ins—-even if they say there are no available tables when you call on the phone).

  6. Marvel at the tropical jungle biospheres that Jeff Bezos built for Amazon employees by making advance reservations for a tour on the 1st or 3rd Saturday of the month. Plant and architecture geeks will also enjoy a stroll through the Understory exhibit. If you have cocktail-loving adults in your group, don’t miss the Bar at the Spheres, aka “Deep Dive,” for a theatrically decorated sultry bar with exquisite libations. James Beard Award-winning chef Renee Erickson recently opened her very pretty Roman-Italian restaurant in the Spheres named Wilmott’s Ghost. They have delicious food and lovely cocktails.

  7. If you have a group of Southern cuisine-loving foodies, consider heading to Ravenna’s Junebaby Restaurant, which was named 2018 Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. They do not take reservations and people are typically lined up outside the restaurant at 5 p.m. Chef Edouardo Jordan recently opened his first bar, Lucinda Grain Bar, a few doors down, to accommodate waiting patrons.

  8. Have lunch in the Conservatory at Ballard’s Swanson’s Nursery.

  9. For an older group, check out the Triple Door for a Wild Ginger old-school Supper Club experience, or for a younger (or younger-at-heart) group, check out the Tractor Tavern for carefully curated live music in Ballard and choose from any of the local restaurants for a pre-show dinner.

    BONUS: For more ideas for activities, check out my article on Activities for Small Groups.