One of the most common questions I get from people who want to plan a trip to Seattle is the best places to stay in Seattle, and 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 consider 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 the Best Place to Stay in Seattle
Before you decide on the best location to stay in Seattle, you’ll want to consider if you’ll have a car or not. Some places are easier to stay in if you have a vehicle, such as Fremont or Ballard, on the city’s outskirts. That way, you can easily explore other neighborhoods if you want to. It will also depend if you’re only in Seattle for a day or planning a 3 day Seattle itinerary.
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 tough 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.
Where to Stay in Seattle (Sorted By 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 for Seattle souvenirs 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)
- 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 Apartments
- Downtown Condo – This comfy condo is located in the heart of downtown Seattle. Complete with two bedrooms, it accommodates six people and is a great choice for families. (rates start at $190 per night)
- Pike Place Market Apartment – If Pike Place Market is your prime location, this would be the ideal choice. There are many attractions within walking distance. Sleeps six. (rates begin at $201 per night)
This is a lively neighborhood that’s very proud to be LGBT-friendly. I love coming here to work at one of the cafes during the day, and people watch. 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.
- Stylish Townhome with Rooftop Access – This townhome is in the quieter part of Capitol Hill but still easily walkable to the bars and restaurants. You’ll love hanging out on the rooftop with a view of the water and Space Needle. (rates start at $204 per night)
- Condo with Private Courtyard – This one-bedroom apartment is a perfect base when you’re exploring the city. It has a kitchenette to make meals and a private courtyard to enjoy after a day out. (rates start at $350 per night)
Looking for the ultimate Seattle travel guide written by a local that tells you all the best places to go and what to see? My new ebook is now live, so click here to buy your copy!
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 to 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’s 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, as well as the Monorail. The area has a vibrant nightlife, with many lively restaurants, bars (you’ll love being here during the Seattle St. Patrick’s Day celebrations), and 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 Apartments:
- Water View Oasis – This top floor condo gives you amazing views of the waterfront to enjoy on your private balcony. It’s the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day. (rates start at $186 per night)
- Charming 1924 Renovated Home – This lovely home has two bedrooms, a log-burning fireplace, and brand-new kitchen appliances and countertops. (rates start at $190 per night)
The Belltown neighborhood is the best area to stay in Seattle for the trendy traveler. It is a charming community 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 energetic 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 Belltown Condo – This beautiful loft is located in the middle of Belltown and sleeps up to four people. Guests will have the entire space to themselves and will be close to the business district. (rates start at $199 per night)
- Modern Downtown Studio – This contemporary studio is located in a historic building, with modern amenities and comforts. Located in Belltown where dining options, nightlife, places of interest, and shopping are a short walk away. (rates start at $179 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 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, open 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)
- Artsy Studio in Belltown – Enjoy this ultra modern space in the heart of the city. It comes with a washer/dryer, as well as complimentary parking in the secure underground garage. Ideal for three people and kids are welcome (rates start at $159 per night)
- Hip Studio in Green Lake – This affordable two bedroom space is complete with a full kitchen and access to a laundry room. Bus lines and coffee shops/cafes are within close proximity. (rates start at $59 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:
- Phinney Ridge Bungalow – You will have the entire place to yourself, complete with a private patio and full kitchen. This bungalow is located in a quiet neighborhood, and sleeps 2. (rates start at $135 per night)
- New Georgetown Getaway – This beautiful three story home features open concept living and a private rooftop patio. Enjoy the extra amenities which include free Wi-Fi, Netflix, a stereo system, private parking space and also a washer/dryer for your convenience. Accommodates six guests (rates start at $165 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 downtown spaces.
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 central 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 and at night.
Nearby Attractions: Some quickly 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)
- Fremont Suite for two – An inviting suite in the Wallingford area which caters for two. A cozy space with a mini kitchen and a private deck. (rates start at $120 per night)
- Secluded 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 on a private patio. (rates start at $85 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 any hotels in Fremont, so staying in an Airbnb is your best bet.
- Downtown Seattle Loft – This loft is located in the historical Vine Building, constructed in 1914. Seattle waterfront is two blocks away, and there are many amazing restaurants within walking distance. (rates start at $139 per night)
- Phinney Ridge Flat – This 2 bedroom apartment is situated on a quiet street, steps away from Woodlands Park Zoo and a short drive to Green Lake. There is a full kitchen, and private backyard patio to enjoy. (rates start at $160 per night)
- Waterfront home on Alki Point – If you want to be steps away from the water, this is the ideal home for you. Enjoy a cold beverage on the outdoor patio, or explore the nearby fishing and kayaking spots. (rates start at $195 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 in if you visit Seattle in the summer. That’s because it’s one of the few areas in the region with 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 Apartments:
- Stylish Fremont Apartment – A beautifully decorated space with air conditioning, a private backyard fire pit, top of the range appliances and a fully equipped kitchen. Sleeps three. (rates start at $142 per night)
- Alki Beach Bungalow – This newly renovated one bedroom home with a tranquil outdoor space. Enjoy views of Puget Sound from this humble abode. (rates start at $136 per night)
- Chic Condo with Views – This stunning condo is in Newmark Tower and comfortably sleeps 3. The tower features amenities such as an indoor pool, fitness center, hot tub and sauna. Enjoy views of the city and Pike Place Market across the street. (rates start at $119 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.