Ask locals about fall in Seattle and what emerges is a love story. Love for our foliage, love for our food, our fog, our football, even — especially! — love for our rain.
I thought I was interviewing neighbors about their favorite things about their homes in fall, but the thoughtful, lyrical responses went deeper, revealing a collective psyche that relishes the damp and mossy. That thrives indoors under fuzzy blankets, elevates coziness into an art form and enjoys the quiet pause between summer and winter. I was reminded of my favorite word — petrichor (the smell of rain) — and fell in love with our city all over again.
Here’s what we love about autumn in the Seattle area, in the words of local residents. (Responses have been lightly edited for space and clarity.)
Savoring the senses
Fall in Seattle is a feast for the senses. We are keenly aware of the sights and sounds unique to our region and how lucky we are to experience them every day.
“Fires in the fireplaces, fall cocktails, fall books (including cookbooks!), the gorgeous changing of the leaves, early morning coffee outside listening to the birds.” — Lourdes Orive, Beaux Arts Village
“Since the beginning of COVID-19, the change of seasons feels even more special. Probably because I stay home more and because I’m not rushing to the next place, I notice the change taking place around me more. I’m looking forward to cozy Sunday mornings sipping on warm coffee, watching the squirrels in my front tree as they forage food for winter, and slowly reading the Sunday Seattle Times, printed edition.” — Jessica D. Nieves, South Delridge
“I love kicking up leaves on fall drives.” — Brian Slominski, Victory Heights
“In North Admiral, just as August takes its leave, September comes to like a comforting echo in the distance. The trees warm themselves with a costume of mellow hues to prepare for a slumber until spring. Petrichor with all its earthly delight enchants the streets with glisten as the world as we know it rests for dreams of summer. I am home.” — Jane M. Adler, North Admiral
“I love the cooler weather. I love waking up in a chilly bedroom snuggled up under the covers with my pups (also I hate this because they make it so hard to get out of bed!). And fall in Seattle makes me so grateful for the sun (knowing #thedarkness is upon us) — so much so I pretty much leave the curtains open constantly to take advantage of it.” — Jen Bolan, Lake City
“Watching my dog play in piles of dried fallen leaves.” — Nalini Iyer, Kirkland
“I love our foggy, drizzly fall weather! It fills my heart to wake up and see the tugboat and ferry lights moving through the fog, hear the foghorn blowing and the seals barking, smell the damp earth and fallen leaves mixed in with the salt air at low tide, and the need for a sweater all day! Love it, love it, love it!” — Jill Morris, Alki Beach
Hygge is ubiquitous in Seattle, thanks to our proud Scandinavian roots and our penchant for all things cozy. I rotate daily from the electric blanket on the bed to the electric throw on the couch.
“I love the return of gray skies. I love the feeling of being able to pause and breathe more deeply, wrap myself in blankets and sit inside with my twinkly lights and candles. I love relaxing in front of the fire, or cozying up for my other fall favorite, watching horror movies with my husband.” — G.G. Silverman, Kirkland
“Yep, the rain on your roof, a cozy sweater, a fire in the stove and curled up reading a good book. Heavenly!” — Susan Staples, West Seattle
“I love the end of party-all-the-time-where-are-we-off-to-next season. I do love summer (and yes, it’s fleeting), but I miss my cave! Fall means I can go back to my true calling, which means nine months of true introversion.” — Allison Ellis, Northeast Seattle
“Curling up in a big cozy blanket and binge-watching my favorite TV shows with a cup of hot tea.” — Oleander Luke, North Admiral
“Fall means sweaters and boots. Curling up with the cats and tea in my favorite mug.” — Kerri Jablonski, Victory Heights
“Fall is for Halloween! That’s what we do!” — Timm McIntosh, Northeast Seattle
Reveling in the rain
After a long, hot summer, Seattleites are ready for a return to the rainy season.
“I always look forward to that first September rain, the sound on my roof as I cozy up in bed. Seattle rain, you make me feel alive. I moved here 25 years ago for the weather.” — Ivana Begley, Roosevelt
“The rain and gray give me a good reason to stay in and read a good book!” — Jill Boone, West Seattle
“Walks in the rain, candlelight, warm fires, twinkling lights, playing in the leaves, boots, thunder and lightning storms and the sound of rain hitting the roof.” — Katie Higgins, Blue Ridge
“Rain! Beautiful, glorious rain. I love making soups and stews while it rains outside. After dinner, curling up and listening to it hit the roof while reading a good book.” — Elizabeth Rapuzzi, Lake City
A taste of fall
Fall means home cooking, seasonal produce and comfort food.
“Making kabocha squash soup. Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin that has become readily available in Washington in the fall. The flavor is nutty and rich. I prefer it to butternut squash. I make up the recipe every year, but I usually roast the squash with a pear, apple, garlic and onions. I then stew it in chicken broth with fall spices like clove, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg. I love it! I make it every fall.” — Allison Everett, Tacoma
“Fall makes me want to bake! Waking up on a weekend morning ready to turn spicy apples, pumpkin, butternut or pears into bundts, loaves, galettes, muffins, cookies is my reason for the season!” — Katie O’Brien Reynolds, Admiral
“Stroganoff, Sunday roasted chicken dinners and football.” — Ida Olson, Pinehurst
“The delightful aroma of my wife’s chili emanating from the slow cooker all day Sunday and knowing that friends are coming over in a few hours to watch the Seahawks play Sunday Night Football.” — John O’Brien, Wedgwood
“Hosting an end-of-season family barbecue in late September, early October. Before the busy holidays start.” — Shirlee Russo, Olympic Hills
“Having a few friends over for a mini-Oktoberfest! Bring on the pretzels, brats, beer cheese and beer!” — Hannah Williamson, Wedgwood
“When it’s chilly enough in my no-AC house, it’s time to bake a chicken (with truffle salt, using the method detailed in ‘Bouchon’ by Thomas Keller) and delicata squash and some chanterelles. Makes the whole house smell delicious and cozy. It’s also nice to do yardwork without sweating.” — Laura McCorkle, Ravenna
“Fall dinners! Hot cider and donuts. The smell of the wet leaves on the ground in the woods. Piles of leaves to kick. Walking in temps that are brisk with a nice sweater on and the sun peeping through the clouds. Long shadows on the ground following you. Amazing and dramatic cloud banks in the sky, beautiful sunsets. I love fall!” — Michele Jurist, Edmonds