One of the most common questions I get from people who want to plan a trip to Seattle is where the best places to stay in Seattle are. I can never give the same answer because it largely depends on what you want to do and see when you’re in the city.
I used to spend most of my weekend exploring the neighborhoods of Seattle, so I’ve made a list of some of the most popular ones. You’ll want to take into consideration factors such as if you’ll have a car or if you’re okay walking everywhere.
This guide will show you where to stay in Seattle based on the neighborhood, what that area is known for, and give you options for different accommodations you can choose from.
Tips for Deciding Where to Stay in Seattle
Before you decide on the best location to stay in Seattle, you’ll want to take into consideration if you’ll have a car or not. Some places are easier to stay in if you do have a car, such as Fremont or Ballard, which are on the outskirts of the city. That way you can easily explore other neighborhoods if you want to.
When deciding where to stay in Seattle without a car, you’ll want an area that has plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Downtown, Capitol Hill, and Belltown are good examples of that.
There are also some areas where parking is really hard to find, such as Capitol Hill, so it’s best to go without a car if you can. Uber and Lyft are everywhere, so you can always get a ride if you want to explore further.
Best Places to Stay in Seattle Based on Neighborhood
I’ve picked some of the top places to stay in Seattle and divided them up into neighborhoods as well as what they’re known for. This should make your decision a little easier when planning your trip to Seattle.
If you’re visiting Seattle for the first time, the downtown area is one of the best places to stay in Seattle. In particular, the Seattle waterfront area is one of the most convenient places to stay in Seattle, as it’s very walkable.
You can walk down to the waterfront, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, shop at Pike Place Market, and more when you stay downtown. There’s always something going on, especially on the weekends, so it’s a good choice if you want to be around the action.
The waterfront area of downtown is where the city started, and there are many fun facts about Seattle that you can learn on tours of the city.
Who Should Stay Here: First-time visitors to Seattle or visitors without a car
Nearby Attractions: Attractions within the downtown Seattle area include the Central Library, the Settle Arts Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, the Bay Pavillion on Pier 57, Paramount Theatre, the Columbia Center, and the Washington Convention and Trade Center.
Downtown Seattle Hotels:
- Hotel Max – Hotel Max is a trendy, three-star design hotel located in Downtown Seattle. An artistic establishment, each room in the hotel is decorated with original paintings and photographs acquired from many of Seattle’s finest artists. (rates start at $125 per night)
- Loews Hotel 1000 – I love referring friends to stay at this hotel, as it’s a few blocks from the waterfront and Pike Place Market. The rooms are beautiful and you’ll have access to a restaurant and bar downstairs. (rates start at $215 per night)
Downtown Seattle Airbnbs
- Lofty Urban Dwelling – This studio apartment is in the heart of downtown Seattle, so you can’t find much of a better location. You’ll have access to a small kitchen if you want to cook in between going out. (rates start at $109 per night)
- Pike Place Market Condo – This condo is where to stay in Seattle if you want to be near Pike Place. The place sleeps four people and has access to a gym. (rates start at $135 per night)
This is a lively neighborhood that’s very proud to be LGBT-friendly. I love coming here during the day to work at one of the cafes and people watch. Some of the popular places to grab food include Cupcake Royale, Via Tribuloni, and Dick’s.
At night, this is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in the city with bustling bars, clubs, and upscale restaurants. Capitol Hill isn’t the quietest place to stay, but if that isn’t an issue you’ll love being able to walk around without needing a car.
Who Should Stay Here: Capitol Hill is one of the best places to stay in Seattle for members of the LGBTQ community or younger travelers looking for a fun nightlife.
Nearby Attractions: Capitol Hill is a beautiful neighborhood with attractions like the Seattle Japanese Garden and the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Jimi Hendrix Statue, Lakeview Cemetery, Volunteer Park, and Madison Park.
There aren’t any hotels in proper Capitol Hill, so a vacation rental is your best option.
- Capitol Hill Luxury Apartments – These beautiful apartments are in a prime location for exploring Capitol Hill and downtown. You’ll have access to a kitchen with a dishwasher and streaming TV services to watch at night. (rates start at $102 per night)
- Chic Capitol Hill Townhome – Traveling with a large group? Everyone will have their own space in this three-bedroom townhouse with three beds and two bathrooms. (rates start at $350 per night)
There are two distinct parts to Queen Anne – lower and upper. The upper part is on a huge hill, but worth the hike if you want to exercise (or just take the bus). Lower Queen Anne is where more of the nightlife is, so you can explore both during your time here. This area is also one of the most Instagrammable places in Seattle.
Queen Anne may sound familiar because it’so where Frasier supposedly lived, although they didn’t actually film here. Still, it’s a fun place to visit as it’s where the legendary Space Needle is located, as well as the Monorail. The area has a vibrant nightlife, with lots of lively restaurants and bars, as well as some karaoke bars.
Who Should Stay Here: Queen Anne is fun for those looking for karaoke or wanting to be close to the Climate Pledge Arena for concerts or sports games.
Nearby Attractions: Visitors to Queen Anne are drawn by attractions like The Children’s Museum, Kinnear Park, Kerry Park, The Science Fiction Museum, and The Pacific Science Center.
Queen Anne Hotels:
- Inn at Queen Anne – Inn at Queen Anne is a charming, two-star property that features an English-style garden courtyard. Guests can have coffee in the lobby or do some work at the on-site business center. (rates start at $90 per night)
- MarQueen Hotel – MarQueen Hotel is a four-star residence that was built in the Queen Anne neighborhood in 1918. Breakfast and dinner are offered in the hotel’s restaurant, and guests can get coffee and baked treats at the Caffe Ladro espresso bar and bakery located in the lobby. (rates start at $90 per night)
Queen Anne Airbnbs:
- Spacious Sophisticated Space Needle Home – For those who prefer their own space, this recently remodeled space is located only a short distance from the best bars, shops, restaurants, and grocery stores in Queen Anne. It features a washer/dryer and a full kitchen. (rates start at $106 per night)
- Seattle Townhouse with Private Terrace – This townhouse sleeps up to six guests and comes with free street parking in its Lower Queen Anne location (a rarity). (rates start at $176 per night)
The Belltown neighborhood is the best area to stay in Seattle for the trendy traveler. A charming community, it is filled with beautiful and luxurious apartment buildings, high-end fashion stores, and glamorous nightclubs.
The area is rated as the second most walkable area in Seattle, meaning you can go about with very little need for transportation. You can find almost everything on 1st Avenue from grocery stores to art galleries, salons, restaurants, and fashion stores.
Who Should Stay Here: Belltown is one of the best places to stay in Seattle for travelers looking for jazz clubs or energentic nightlife.
Nearby Attractions: Attractions in Belltown include the Space Needle, Pikes Market, the Olympic Sculpture Park, Westlake Park, the Moore Theater, Denny Park, and Pier 66.
- Belltown Inn – Belltown Inn is a small hotel located only fifteen minutes from the Olympic Sculpture Park. Offering a boutique-style service, its rooms are beautifully designed and fitted with TVs, toiletries, and refreshment facilities. (rates start at $84 per night)
- The Westin Seattle – The Westin Seattle is a four-star hotel that features jaw-dropping views of the city and the water. It is one of the best hotels in Seattle for families thanks to the indoor pool and the on-site Burger Bistro with modern American fare. (rates start at $127 per night)
- Bright Studio Apartment – This beautiful loft is located in the middle of Belltown and sleeps up to three people. Guests will have the entire space to themselves and will be close to both Seattle’s business district and the waterfront. (rates start at $72 per night)
- Gorgeous Downtown Studio – This gorgeous downtown studio space was built in 1918 and is within two blocks of numerous bars, restaurants, venues, and nightclubs. (rates start at $79 per night)
If you want to feel like you’re in college again (or still are in college), this is the area to go. Named after the University of Washington which it hosts, the University District is diverse – bringing together many different young people in one cultural melting pot.
The University of Washington is nearby, so you can expect the dozens of bars in this area to be packed at night. I love how gorgeous the campus is, so take a walk around it during the day.
Get lost in the many different hangouts and food spots. Go for a drink with frat boys, or listen to live bands playing on the street. Wherever you go in the University District, you will enjoy the youthful spirit of Seattle.
Who Should Stay Here: Those who are looking for restaurants and bars within walking distance that don’t want to stay downtown.
Nearby Attractions: You can find attractions like the University Farmer’s Market which is opened on Saturday mornings. You can also look around the Suzzallo Library, Burke Museum, the Henry Art Gallery, and the University Theatre.
- Staypineapple at University Inn – The Staypineapple in the University District is only four blocks away from the University of Washington. There is an outdoor pool that is open with the seasons and free wifi all around the property. (rates start at $97 per night)
- Silver Cloud Hotel – The Silver Cloud Hotel is located about half a mile from the University of Washington. It is also a 14-minute drive from popular spots like the Space Needle and Woodland Park Zoo. (rates start at $119 per night)
- Small Studio Apartment – This small apartment is great to stay at when traveling alone and wanting a place close to the main part of the U-District. (rates start at $63 per night)
- Basement Apartment – This quiet basement apartment offers free street parking and has a queen-sized bed and one bathroom. (rates start at $54 per night)
South Lake Union
If you want to see one of the sprawling Amazon campuses, come here to be in what feels like Amazon City. You can walk around the six-mile loop of the lake if you want to get exercise or rent a kayak. If you want to splurge, you can even get a hot tub boat on Lake Union.
There are so many restaurants to choose from in this area, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Cactus – delicious Southwestern-Mexican food with an outdoor patio perfect for happy hour
- Duke’s Seafood – one of the best seafood places in the area
- Portage Bay Cafe – a popular place for brunch with locally sustained ingredients
Who Should Stay Here: South Lake Union is one of the more fun places to stay near Seattle if you want a scenic view. You can also be active during the day while enjoying delicious food at night.
Nearby Attractions: South Lake Union attractions include the Museum of History and Industry, the Center for Wooden Boats, and Kenmore Air.
South Lake Union Hotels:
- Silver Cloud Inn – The Silver Cloud Inn offers free shuttle services within the local area, as well as free parking. Continental breakfast is offered every morning and residents have unlimited access to the fully stocked gym. (rates start at $99 per night)
- citizenM Seattle South Lake Union – This is a trendy hotel that’s affordable to stay at for the location. You’ll enjoy a comfortable, large bed, free movies, and a restaurant that’s open 24 hours a day. (rates start at $89 per night)
South Lake Union Airbnbs:
- Art-Filled Industrial Loft – With all of the light that comes into this space thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of the modern art that fills up the space even more. (rates start at $114 per night)
- Cozy Guest Suite – This cozy little guest suite comes with a covered patio that gives guests amazing views of the Space Needle. (rates start at $114 per night)
If you are trying to decide where the best area to stay in Seattle is, Ballard is one neighborhood that definitely gets a nod. There is so much to see and do in this neighborhood, but it is not as crowded as some of the spaces downtown.
During the day, you have a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, and breweries to check out. You’ll also love the shopping available in the main area of Ballard. At night, you can find live music at places like the Tractor Tavern or enjoy happy hour at the Matador.
Who Should Stay Here: Travelers looking for plenty to do during the day as well as at night.
Nearby Attractions: Some easily reached attractions in Ballard include the many breweries, the Ballard Locks, Golden Gardens Park, the Ballard Farmers Market, and Shilshole Bay Marina.
- Ballard Inn – Ballard Inn is a historic Washington hotel with rooms that have a flatscreen TV, free Wi-Fi, and other amenities. The lobby of the Ballard Inn overlooks the neighborhood and is a comfortable space for guests to relax whenever they want. (rates start at $100 per night)
- Hotel Ballard – Hotel Ballard is a boutique hotel where guests can get expansive views of the Olympic Mountains by going up to the well-furnished rooftop terrace. The hotel has a fitness center, two swimming pools, saunas, and hot tubs. (rates start at $197 per night)
- Beautiful Guest Suite for Two – When looking for where to stay in Seattle on a budget, this Ballard Airbnb is a good choice. You’ll have one bedroom and one bathroom to enjoy during your stay here. (rates start at $54 per night)
- Private Ballard Backyard Cottage – This beautiful, private little sanctuary with a backyard gives guests the chance to escape Seattle’s hustle and bustle. The backyard is set up so you can have a beer and relax in an Adirondack chair. (rates start at $82 per night)
Fremont is one of the cool places to stay in Seattle, as it has a laidback vibe. You’ll find plenty of people walking along the main section during the day, enjoying their coffee and local pastries. The river is a scenic place to get some exercise in as well.
Parking is tight in Fremont, so this is an ideal area for where to stay in Seattle without a car so you don’t have to worry about that. There are dozens of restaurants, shops, and bars within the region that are easily walkable. You may even find a few attractions here to add to your Washington bucket list, like the Fremont Troll.
Here are a few of my places to stop in Fremont:
- Flying Squirrel – a vegan, gluten-free bakery
- Red Star Taco – one of my favorite places in Seattle to get margaritas and tacos
- Nectar –a fun place that always have live music going on
Who Should Stay Here:
Nearby Attractions: You can see the Fremont Troll, Fremont Rocket, Fremont Canal Park, and Theo’s Chocolate.
There aren’t really any hotels in Fremont, so staying in an Airbnb is your best bet.
- Modern Garden Apartment – This newly renovated apartment has a washer and dryer unit and sleeps up to four people. (rates start at $135 per night)
- Intimate Fremont Cottage Loft – This cute loft sleeps up to four guests, has a courtyard, parking, and is in the middle of Fremont. (rates start at $97 per night)
- Townhouse Near Woodland Park Zoo – This townhouse has two bedrooms and is close to the zoo and Greenlake. (rates start at $110 per night)
This is last on the list because it’s not the best place to stay in Seattle if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing. However, I get numerous questions about this area so I wanted to cover West Seattle.
Located across Puget Sound from Seattle, this is a fun area to stay if you’re visiting Seattle in the summer. That’s because it’s one of the few areas in the region that has sandy beaches (as opposed to rocky beaches). Alki Beach is full of people wading in the water, playing beach volleyball, and lounging on the sand.
As of February 2021, the West Seattle Bridge is closed, so you’ll need to plan on it taking longer than usual to get here.
Who Should Stay Here: Those looking for a chill weekend where they can walk to the beach, shops, and restaurants without wanting to go into downtown Seattle.
Nearby Attractions: You can enjoy places like Alki Point Lighthouse, Hamilton Viewpoint Park, and the Seattle Chinese Garden.
There aren’t any hotels in West Seattle, so staying in an Airbnb will be best.
West Seattle Airbnbs:
- Beach Drive Cottage – This is one of the most unique places to stay in Seattle when you’re looking to be near the beach, as you’re only half a block away. (rates start at $80 per night)
- Mid Century Flat – This one-bedroom suite has a view of Puget Sound and a kitchenette. (rates start at $85 per night)
- Stylish Guest Suite – You’ll have an incredible view of the city and sleeps up to six guests. (rates start at $117 per night)
That sums it up – those are some of the best places to stay in Seattle. Whether you’re looking for vibrant nightlife or a quiet area, the city has a little of everything to offer so you can decide where to stay near Seattle.