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How to survive the Big Dark in Seattle 

Seattle is known for its rainy, gloomy winters, sometimes referred to as the “Big Dark” due to limited daylight hours. Despite the weather, there are still plenty of activities to do during the dark months in Seattle. Being surrounded by community can be a form of survival during the Big Dark.
I personally don’t mind this too much, but I admit that sunny days can make you feel more enthusiastic and make outdoor activities more enjoyable.

Without further ado, here are some ideas for you. 

Sip coffee and cozy up 

Seattle is renowned for its coffee culture. During the winter months, people often enjoy warming up with a cup of locally roasted coffee. 

Some recommended coffee shops: 

  • Caffe Vita Roasting Co.: Founded in Queen Anne in 1995, Caffe Vita Roasting Co. is a well-known coffee roaster in Seattle, WA. It’s recognized for its commitment to quality coffee and sustainable sourcing. They roast their beans in small batches, emphasizing a hands-on approach to ensure a rich flavor profile. The company also has cafes where customers can enjoy their freshly brewed coffee.
  • Espresso Vivace: Espresso Vivace is another prominent coffee establishment in Seattle, WA. The founder, David Schomer, is renowned for his expertise in espresso preparation, and the cafe is celebrated for its focus on producing high-quality espresso beverages.
  • General Porpoise 
  • Starbucks Reserve Roastery: The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, WA, is a flagship location that expands upon the typical Starbucks experience. It’s a premium, immersive space where customers can explore rare and small-lot coffees. The Roastery offers on-site roasting, a variety of brewing methods, and a unique selection of coffee beans. It’s a larger, more upscale concept compared to regular Starbucks stores, providing a distinctive and elevated coffee experience.
  • Anchorhead 
  • Monorail Espresso: Monorail Espresso is a popular and long-standing coffee stand in Seattle, WA. Known for its convenient location near the Seattle Center Monorail station, it has gained a reputation for serving quality coffee to locals and visitors. Despite its small size, Monorail Espresso has become a beloved fixture in the city’s coffee scene, offering a quick and satisfying coffee experience.
  • Ghost Alley Espresso 

Indoor rock climbing 

Indoor rock climbing is popular in the Seattle area. Seattle has several indoor climbing gyms that cater to all skill levels. These gyms offer a variety of climbing routes, bouldering areas, and training facilities. Some well-known indoor climbing gyms in Seattle are: 

  • Seattle Bouldering Project 
  • Momentum Indoor Climbing in SoDo: on its website, Momentum SODO is described as “established for the local Seattle bouldering community of climbers looking for fewer crowds and a gym with an emphasis on training, with a Tension board and full fitness gym.”

Seattle Aquarium 

The Seattle Aquarium is a popular attraction on Pier 59 along the downtown waterfront. It offers visitors an opportunity to explore and learn about marine life in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Featuring a variety of exhibits, the aquarium offers marine animal showcases, interactive displays, and educational programs.

Some key activities and programs are: 

  • Marine Life Exhibits 
  • Underwater Dome: The Underwater Dome provides a unique 360-degree view of Puget Sound marine life, including various fish species, sharks, and other underwater creatures. 
  • Touch Pools: Interactive touch pools allow visitors to get up close and personal with sea stars, sea cucumbers, and other tidepool inhabitants. 
  • Conservation Programs: The Seattle Aquarium is actively involved in marine conservation efforts. Visitors can learn about the challenges facing ocean environments and the aquarium’s initiatives to protect and preserve marine life. 
  • Educational Programs: The aquarium offers educational programs and events for visitors of all ages, including school groups and families. These programs focus on marine biology, conservation, and the importance of protecting ocean ecosystems. 
Francisco Fonseca | The Seattle Collegian Puget Sound sunset


Get your King County Library System (KCLS) and Seattle Public Library (SPL) cards! Get all-access to their libraries, and free printing when you need it. Two Seattle libraries are ranked as some of the most beautiful in the U.S. by The Guardian

Some cool libraries are: 

Day trip to a winter wonderland, Leavenworth 

Leavenworth ranks among the best US Christmas towns with its annual Village of Lights Christmastown from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24. 

I’ve been there last year; you can’t miss this spectacular winter wonderland! 

Skiing and snowboarding (snowtubing, too!) 

The Pacific Northwest has several ski resorts, and winter sports enthusiasts often take advantage of the nearby mountains, such as the Cascade Range. 

Here are some great spots for doing both in Seattle, and even snow-tubing in a few places and facilities: 

  • Snoqualmie Pass: Snoqualmie Pass is a mountain pass in the Cascade Range of Washington state, USA. It is very well known for its scenic beauty, but it’s also a popular destination for outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and snowboarding. It offers recreational opportunities throughout the year.
  • Stevens Pass
  • Crystal Mountain
  • Mount Baker: Mount Baker is an iconic stratovolcano in the North Cascades of Washington state. Standing as the third-highest mountain in the state, it’s known for its stunning glaciers and is part of the Mount Baker Wilderness. Popular for hiking and climbing, the area around Mount Baker offers beautiful landscapes and outdoor adventures. The mountain is an active glaciated volcano and is one of the most prominent features in the Pacific Northwest’s mountainous scenery.
  • Mission Ridge


One of my personal favorite Fall and Spring activities is photography—taking some emblematic photos of the season. Especially with the latest smartphones nowadays, sometimes we tend to forget that we have a very, very great quality camera in our pockets. 

Francisco Fonseca | The Seattle Collegian U District Winter holiday lights

Learn to cook and bake 

How awesome is it to cook and bake when it’s too cold to go outside? All those foods that might feel a bit heavy on summer days are great for the cold! 

Here are some ideas: 

Stargazing and Winter Hikes 

It doesn’t need to be summer for hiking and enjoying the majestic Pacific Northwest outdoor views. You can still go camping or on a retreat with other people outdoors and enjoy the beautiful stars in the night sky. 

Some great Winter hikes are: 

  • Baker Lake trail: Baker Lake trail is popular in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington state. It offers scenic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The trail is known for its accessibility and is suitable for various skill levels. Hikers can enjoy the lush forest, wildlife, and camping along the lakeshore.
  • Ozette trail: The Ozette Loop Trail is located in Olympic National Park, Washington. This coastal trail forms a loop, featuring a combination of forested paths and sections along the rugged Pacific coastline. Hikers can explore sea stacks, tide pools, and pristine coastal scenery. The loop is approximately nine miles long and is known for its diverse landscapes, making it a good choice for those seeking both forest and coastal hiking experiences.

Pike Place Market 

This is completely overrated to me, but hey, you cannot miss it during the Winter holidays! After all, they have Christmas trees, lights, and sometimes snow depending on the weather. 

Some great views of Seattle can be seen from Pike Place, and you can get hot cocoa at a coffee shop to warm up! 

Extra – Daylight Saving Time (DST) info 

All states in the US, except Arizona and Hawaii, have adopted DST. In Washington this year, DST ended on November 5, when at 2 a.m., the clock “fell” back to 1 a.m. 

But why do we do this? The idea was originally implemented during WWI to help save fuel in the United States. 19 States in the US have asked to permanently switch to DST, but this cannot be done without a change in federal laws. The US states with DST start their time change on the second Sunday of March, and end DST on the first Sunday of November, every year. 

USA Facts 

Extra 2! Vitamin D info 

There isn’t much sunshine during this time of the year, and when there is, we are usually indoors. Because of that, we can suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Having enough vitamin D can help maintain healthy muscle and bone development. It also plays an important role in our immune and nervous systems. You can easily find at most local pharmacies or markets in the form of capsules or gummies. 

Lastly, remember to dress warmly and be prepared for rain when going outside. Seattle’s Winter weather can be chilly and wet, so having the right clothing and footwear is essential for a comfortable experience during the “Big Dark” months. 


One Comment

  1. Jon S Wednesday, November 29, 2023

    I think Seattle is a good place in the dark. I definitely recommend Cafe Vita.I think they have the best coffee in Seattle.

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