Reader Question: Seattle Travel Packing List


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Reader Ashton from Florida asked for help with what to pack for vacation to Seattle in November. Well, this resident Northwesterner just happens to have a mom who lives in South Florida and visits regularly, so we have ya covered, mama. But, this is still a tricky challenge, even with experience on our side. I definitely want to recommend pieces that will be useful in both climates so dear reader won’t have to break the bank for one trip. Here’s what my mom and I have come up with:

seattle travel


a wrap that can double as a scarf – here I choose this Jcrew Striped Cape Scarf that isn’t wool, so it could still be worn in Florida. I love that it can be a cape/poncho or wrapped around as a scarf. This would be perfect to wear on the plane ride, too.

a vest for layering – I love that the green of this Abercrombie Military Vest adds a little more color to the ensemble. The vest will keep you a bit warmer without adding sleeve bulk under the raincoat. And it’s just nice to have another layering option in the mix. (This one fits TTS. I wear a Small in it, for reference).

a lightweight sweater – I have and love this Rag & Bone Double Vee Long Sleeve sweater. It’s drapey and light and a great medium warmth perfect for fall.

comfy, waterproof boots that can work for evening (it’s super casual up here) – These Sorel boots are my favorites. I have them in gray and they work in rain or even snow, apparently. Ha! They can pass as an evening shoe up here because, well, it’s usually raining so we forgo heels by September. The sleek black of this pair will be killer with the coated denim.

a statement top that still works for daytime – I love stripes and this Jcrew Striped Bell-Sleeve top adds a little fun to this mix with a full sleeve and bright red. It would work with either jean or shoe for day or night. Add a chunky silver necklace to dress it up a bit for dinner out.

coated denim – Coated denim is wonderful in rain. These Topshop jeans will be warm and won’t get soaked during your jaunt around downtown Seattle. This J Brand pair also look like a great option.

gray jeans show less dirt – I liked keeping the pant palette neutral here with these Topshop gray jeans and gray is great at not showing dirt. You could go with a wash like this or a solid dark gray, like this Jcrew Toothpick pair.

comfy leather sneakers – If you’re really on your feet a lot you might consider a leather sneaker, for comfort and for keeping feet drier than suede or canvas. I adore this burgundy Converse hi top. It’s a great color for fall to pair with the fun bright red.

a lightweight rain jacket (obvs) – This is The North Face Laney Trench that Shana loves. It comes in a few colors, but black is just easiest to pack for travel. It’s light enough that it would be fine for Florida showers, too.

a fun crossbody bag to wear under your raincoat but add a pop of color – Love this Frances Valentine Mini Ellen bag. I tend to tuck my crossbody under my raincoat if I’m out in the rain and this one looks like the strap would be very comfy. Here’s a cute one from Jcrew at more friendly price point, too.


small packable umbrella (you’ll stand out as a tourist, but if you’re walking the city a lot you’ll want one! I like this deep red color)

waterproof backpack for city wear or any shopping purchases – I always travel with a backpack anyway. If you know you’ll be out for most of the day you may want to grab a waterproof one like this.

Shop These Items for Seattle Travel, and A Few More

The Takeaway 

Overall, bring layers and darker colors, especially for pants and shoes. Canvas or suede shoes will get ruined. Waterproof boots are best if you plan to do a lot of walking around the city. Sometimes the rain is light in November but you just never know. One year we had minor flooding in December in Portland, so just be prepared! That’s when Lyft is your friend.

The nice thing about the fall here is that it’s not super cold. You can still get away with a couple of light layers under a raincoat and a scarf will be great to adjust to the cool from the warm Florida climate.

Ashton, you’ll get to see the Northwest in all it’s rainy, stunningly green glory. I hope you have a fabulous trip! We sure are hoping for that raininess right now as so much of our lovely land is burning from forest fires. Also, hoping for safety for everyone in Florida with the coming hurricane. Such weather craziness right now. Stay safe everyone.



Be sure to follow me on Instagram @elletrain to see daily outfits, puppy pics, and of course, Sienna’s dance moves. 


    • I live just south of SF… make sure to pack layers; October is well-known for some of the best weather of the year for SF. Cool/foggy for sure, but our Fall is usually gorgeous, so you’ll want to maybe not worry about the rain so much, but yes to the fog 🙂

    • Agreed! Seattle weather is NOT San Francisco weather. It doesn’t rain in California–take it from a native. Pack for glorious weather (the ONLY time it’s glorious in the Bay Area) and bring layers for the unavoidable fog.

  1. Seattleite here. Definitely comfy waterproof shoes and a raincoat. No suede unless you waterproof the heck out of it (or unless it’s Eddie Bauer “Seattle Suede” which is already waterproofed.) Umbrellas tend to get in the way, but it’s not like you’ll be the only one carrying one if you do, just make sure it’s not one of those ginormous multi-person golf umbrellas or something. Definitely layers since if it is cold you can count on people cranking the heat indoors and you will want to peel. I’m a big advocate for brightly colored raincoats and umbrellas. It gets dark early here and in the rain in a black coat you just look like a shadow–not good for pedestrian safety. And Laura is right, it’s way casual here. You can dress up if you like, and people do, but even at fancy restaurants and the opera it’s not uncommon to see people in jeans and hiking boots.

  2. Excellent and timely! Planning our two week west coast road trip from San Francisco to Seattle for October (flying in from Tennessee). Gives me some ideas. Though i’m kind of stumped on the waterproof shoe thing for the whole family. Not sure I want to shell out the cash…

    • SO fun! That will be a great trip. October will be lovely. You’ll get a mix of rainy and gorgeous days, most likely. Depends on the ages of your kiddos. You could buy some inexpensive rainboots if they’re young or really just have everyone in leather or rubber shoes instead of suede or canvas. If you’re driving up the 101 through Oregon/Washington, definitely make a stop in Astoria! Go to the Maritime Museum and Ft. George Brewery for lunch or dinner.

  3. Moved to Seattle a few years ago- the cliche about most people in the PNW dressing like a hike may break out at any moment is very true. ? Some layers, comfy boots, and a good rain coat and you’re good to go anywhere in Seattle.

    • Haha, I’ve lived in Seattle all my life and totally agree. I joke everyone’s car is ready for an emergency hike at all times (and covered in a little dirt and grime from the last one).

  4. I’m a Seattle transplant. Lessons I’ve learned- wear jackets with a (cinchable) hood and forgo the umbrella, sneakers/hiking shoes are generally acceptable attire unless you’re headed somewhere super fancy, and water resistant bags/backpacks are a good idea. And, coffee ☕️ can be a fashion accessory.

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