Looking for snow near Seattle?
You’ll want to visit one of these winter wonderlands! We picked the top five charming Washington towns near Seattle that are known for their winter recreation, festive events, relaxing resorts and spas, and snowy conditions. Don’t forget to pack your skis and snowshoes!
1. Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth is widely considered to be the #1 winter town near Seattle, thanks to its Bavarian-style charm, festive Christmas lights that stay up for months, and snowy mountain backdrop. We’ve written a separate comprehensive guide to visiting Leavenworth in the winter, so be sure to check that out!
Things to do: Other than eating and shopping in downtown Leavenworth, we suggest that you relax at a spa, visit the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, enjoy free Christmastown events throughout December, visit a reindeer farm, bundle up for winter recreation at Leavenworth Ski Hill, and ride the alpine roller coaster at Leavenworth Adventure Park.
Where to stay: Leavenworth has a huge variety of accommodations, from rustic lodges to quaint bed and breakfasts. If you’re looking to treat yourself, Posthotel is a luxurious adults-only spa hotel. If you’re looking for something more central and family-friendly, the charming Obertal Inn is right in the middle of downtown Leavenworth and is dog-friendly as well.
2. Snoqualmie, WA
Snoqualmie is only thirty minutes from Seattle, making it a convenient and popular getaway from the city. The iconic Snoqualmie Falls are beautiful year-round but especially in the winter, and you don’t have to embark on an arduous winter hike to view them. The town also offers winter activities such as skiing, holiday events, and more.
Things to do: You might recognize the Snoqualmie Falls from the TV show Twin Peaks. If you’re a fan, then you have to utilize our guide to visiting Twin Peaks locations in and around Snoqualmie. Other than that, you may want to hike Mt. Si, spend a day skiing at The Summit at Snoqualmie, take a train ride at the Northwest Railway Museum, get a drink at Sigillo Cellars or Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom, eat at the Blackdog Arts Café or the Snoqualmie Falls Candy Shoppe, and do some shopping downtown—especially when the holiday lights are up.
Where to stay: The clear choice for lodging in Snoqualmie is the the Salish Lodge & Spa. This luxury lodge overlooks the Snoqualmie Falls. It has two restaurants, a full-service spa, and fireplaces in many of the rooms.
3. Cle Elum, WA
Cle Elum is a charming small town just over an hour’s drive from Seattle. Winter is the best time to visit thanks to all the skiing and snowshoeing trails, as well as the chance to relax in the cozy mountain resort of Suncadia.
Things to do: There’s plenty of winter recreation around Cle Elum. You can ski and snowshoe in Lake Easton State Park, Coal Mines Trail, and Wenatchee Crest Snowshoe Trailhead, just to name a few options. You’ll also find a few charming wineries and breweries in the area such as Swiftwater Cellars.
Where to stay: About a 15-minute drive from Cle Elum is Suncadia Resort. This sprawling mountain retreat lets you choose from accommodation options such as The Lodge and the Inn. Amenities include several restaurants, an indoor pool, hot tub, and water slides as well as a sauna, a steam room, and a fitness center. If that’s not enough, you can also visit their Glade Spring Spa for hot mineral baths and more. The resort is family-friendly and has pet-friendly options as well.
4. Winthrop, WA
Winthrop is a charming Western-style town that is a four-hour drive east of Seattle. Winter is one of the best times to visit thanks to its wide variety of winter recreation options.
Things to do: Winthrop is known for having one of the largest cross-country skiing trail networks in the country, and you can also go snowshoeing if you prefer. If you’re not into winter sports, you can also explore the local wineries, breweries, and the quaint downtown shops. If your visit is in March, don’t miss the annual Winthrop Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Where to stay: Located at the edge of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Sun Mountain Lodge is about a 20-minute drive from Winthrop. This resort grants you access to a ski shop, ski instruction, and over a hundred miles of ski trails. You can also use it as your jumping-off base for snowshoeing, ice skating, and sleigh rides. When you’re done with your outdoor adventures you can relax at the resort’s spa or in front of the fire in your room.
5. Ashford, WA
Nearly a two-hour drive from Seattle, Ashford is a convenient place to stay if you’re planning an adventure in Mount Rainier National Park. It is situated only six miles from the Nisqually Entrance. Although most roads into the park as well as the park’s trails are closed in the winter, you can usually visit the Longmire area in the park year-round if conditions are good. Read about snowshoeing and skiing trails in Longmire.
Things to do: If you tire of the Longmire trails in the national park (or if winter conditions shut off access), you’ll still be able to find a few things to do in the small community of Ashford. You can browse charming shops and galleries and grab a bite at local restaurants and cafes. You can also check out the Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park.
Where to stay: Ashford has several rustic vacation homes for rent, but if you manage to make it to Longmire we recommend staying at the National Park Inn. This historic 25-room inn is the only lodging in Mount Rainier National Park that operates year-round and so it books up in advance very quickly. It has an on-site restaurant as well as a gift shop with snowshoe rentals.