Wondering where to stay in Seattle? You must be so excited to visit Seattle, and that's why it's time to book your accommodation in the city. Tucked between Puget Sound, Lake Washington, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, the epic city of Seattle has a lot to offer. With a famous music scene known for growing some of America’s most notable artists, world-famous structures like the Space Needle, and a thriving arts and culture trail there’s so much to do in Seattle you will never get bored!
Home of the first Starbucks, a renowned university, the exceptional Pike Market, the largest gay pride festival in the country, and a flourishing food and coffee culture the city has a lot to be proud of and loves to share it. Humbly, of course, because the laid-back vibes here are second to none!
To make sure you enjoy everything that Seattle has to offer, it's important to pick the best place for your individual travel style. That's why in this comprehensive accommodation guide we explain what are the best areas to stay in Seattle and why. Ready? Let's go!
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Where to stay in Seattle
Yay for travelling to Seattle. We're so excited for you! But first, let's talk about the hotels and place to stay. Seattle is easy to get around and benefits from free public transport in central areas making it extremely convenient for visitors. That's why we think that the downtown is one of the best areas for visitors. Seattle is a vibrant city with enough to keep you busy for weeks and it’s known as the Emerald City for good reason.
Seattle is home to a large collection of neighbourhoods, where no two areas offer the same experience so it’s best to base yourself somewhere fairly central and make your way around as many as possible. It’s a big place, with accommodation options for every kind of traveller, so check out our neighbourhood guide and find the best place in Seattle for you.
Downtown - Central area with world-class theatre and arts
Seattle is known for its relaxed atmosphere - even in the downtown area, which is far more bustling than the rest of the city, you'll still get that Seattle laidback way of life. This a perfect hub for sightseeing and getting around to other parts of the city, encircled by Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, Queen Anne, and Elliot Bay. It also benefits from being within a fare-free travel zone for the city buses. So you can visit so many attractions without having to pay for public transport. Isn't that amazing? The money you save on transportation you can add towards a fancier hotel in the centre.
Downtown Seattle is an area of high rises, fantastic shopping (including the famous Pike Place Market, Seattle's top tourist destination), world-class theatre and arts, and views of the waterfront and famous Seattle skyline. You can even visit the original Starbucks. There's a wide range of accommodation here including some of the most luxurious hotels in the city.
Need to know: Downtown is a buzzing area. This means the area could be a bit busy for anyone looking to enjoy the relaxed Seattle life or anyone looking for the hipster scene that the city is famous for. Most of the major attractions are in Queen Anne. Downtown ideal for high-end shopping or theatre so this is the place to be for the arts.
Downtown is one of the most expensive areas in the city, but also one of the best places to stay in Seattle.
Where to stay in Downtown
Here's our collection of the best hotels you can find in Downtown Seattle. As always, tried and tested by ourselves, our editors or readers. Check them out, we always pick accommodation with a high guest rating!
Seattle Centre - The heart of the city, great for getting around
Just northwest of the Downtown area, whether you stay here or there you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of the other. With the famous Space Needle marking this are like a spire, you'll always be able to find your way back. With easy access to the areas encircling Downtown and the benefit of the fare-free zone, there's a lot on offer nearby.
Specific to the area you can visit the Experience Music Project museum where you can enjoy works from some of the infamous musical artists from the area like Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. You also have easy access to the Westlake Center shopping mall for all of your shopping needs. If you're looking to be dead centre of the city with easy access to everything, this is it.
Need to know: Much like Downtown, it's an expensive and busy area and also lacks some of the characters of the rest of the city like the historical and hipster areas. However, it's perfect for those who are looking for luxury, mixed with shopping and convenience.
Where to stay in Seattle Centre
You've decided the Seattle Centre is for you. Awesome choice. Now you're wondering what's the best hotel in the area? See our curated hotels below. Seattle Centre is a great location so there's plenty of accommodation options for every budget!
University District - youthful, energetic area with great food
As you might guess, this is the district associated with the University of Washington and is the big uni area of the city just northeast of Downtown. It's got a youthful atmosphere that's totally different from the rest of the city and is hugely multi-cultural with an ever-changing list of events in the area (don't miss the historic Sundance Cinema), bookshops, quirky bars, stores and bohemian cafes. There's also a buzzing foodie scene in the area. There are lots of cycle paths that spread through the neighbourhood and Ravenna Park. This is a perfect area for budget travellers or anyone who enjoys vibrant, energetic areas.
Where to stay in University District
Are you young and full of energy at heart? Then you'll want to make the University District your place to stay during your visit. Here are our recommendations for hotels in this neighbourhood. Get excited, because you're going to love the atmosphere.
Pioneer Square - Historical area with lots to offer
If you're looking for a district that has a long and interesting heritage, then Pioneer Square has a lot to offer. Considered the city's first unofficial neighbourhood as it was home to some of the earliest settlers of Seattle.
Take an underground tour of Pioneer Square and see remnants of structures from 1889 or learn about the Gold Rush at the National Historic Park. All within walking distance from your accommodation!
Stay here because the area is well-known for its interesting architecture, being home to the grunge movement when Nirvana and Pearl Jam were getting started (the Central Saloon, Seattle's oldest bar is a great place to visit for music fans).
Sports fans will enjoy visiting the CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field and there's more than enough boutique shopping, bistros, trendy bars cafes to make sure you're never looking for something to do. This is definitely an area to get to know everything that makes Seattle what it is today.
Where to stay in Pioneer Square
There's a huge nightlife scene here that is known for getting a bit crazy at night. Stay here if you want to take advantage of the architecture and history and you don't mind walking a bit to get to the major sightseeing attractions which are located in the downtown area. Either way, it's a great place for party people.
Capitol Hill - hipster capital full of creativity
For those looking for the hipster scene that Seattle is a legend for then the busy Capitol Hill area is the key area with artisanal cafes and coffee houses, arty shops and independent fashion labels, and thrift stores, and fantastic restaurants.
The area is youthful, is famous for its LGBTQ crowd and has a massive music scene including some of the best nightlife in the city, regular gigs, and the Capitol Hill Block Party music festival in the Summer.
There's even a Jimi Hendrix statue in the area. If you love art or creative endeavours in general then you'll find lots to do here with galleries, craft and cooking classes, and museums galore including the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Seattle Japanese Garden. You could easily spend every day in this area and no run out of interesting things to get up to.
Where to stay in Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is one of the most populated neighbourhoods in Seattle and is very busy as a result. But that makes it even cooler, thanks to its vibrant quarters. Accommodation fills up very quickly. Book early and be prepared to use public transport. But it will all be worth it as this area is legendary for sure.
Queen Anne - Upmarket area with iconic views
A lively area full of wealthy residential buildings, Queen Anne Hill is essentially split into two parts. The lower half contains most of the contemporary attractions visitors to Seattle are hoping to see like the Space Needle, Seattle Centre, and the Museum of Pop Culture.
Conversely, the upper half is filled with historic houses, quaint streets, boutique shopping, and fine dining. You can also head to Kerry Park to catch a fantastic view of the city's iconic skyline. A great transport hub, there's easy access to the monorail and the other attractions in the city.
Where to stay in Queen Anne Hill
Queen Anne Hill is primarily residential and is a bit light on cultural things to do outside of the major tall buildings. This wonderful area is suited to those who want a quieter, upmarket stay next to the sights that Seattle is famous for. Definitely one of the best places to stay in Seattle.
Pike Place Market - bustling market area and Seattle's biggest attraction
If you'd like to stay in the heart of Seattle's most visited attraction (and 33rd most visited globally) and overlook the beautiful Elliot Bay at the same time, then Pike Market is a great choice. The oldest functional farmer's market attracts over ten million visitors annually and is a vibrant and exciting place to stay.
Not just fruit and vegetables, the market is full of family-owned restaurants, crafts, antiques, comic book collections, vintage clothes, antiquarian books - anything you could imagine divided over several levels. You're also close to the downtown area for other things to get up to.
Where to stay in Pike Place Market
Are you into food? Of course, you are! You're going to love your time near the market where you can just indulge in so much awesome food. Accommodations around might not be so abundant, but it's worth staying in a place nearby given the proximity to a great and fresh breakfast.
South Lake Union - Calm and techy urban neighbourhood
Seattle's innovation hub, home to many of the biggest technology companies and local businesses. It's an urban neighbourhood that's fast becoming the place to be in Seattle. Full of food trucks, cafes, local restaurants, and bars there's always something new popping up in the area. The Lake Union Park, a waterside museum is a must-visit for those wanting to know about the history of the area and The Centre for Wooden Boats offers fun sailing related activities including some dragon boat carving. This is a great area for people interested in tech or who enjoy wide open waterside spaces separate from the busier areas of the city.
Where to stay in South Lake Union
Geared towards business workers, residents, and upmarket visitors this is a very different vibe from many of the more hipster areas of the city or the bustling downtown. The accommodation leans towards the higher end and so do the restaurants and bars. This area offers a calmer local space for people watching.
Belltown - trendy, upmarket area with miles of shopping
Nearby Pike Market, this a trendy and upmarket area is full of wine bars, boutique shopping, tree-lined streets, and cafes. A walkable area with easy access to downtown, you don't need much in the way or public transport if you're staying here. Known to be one of the coolest areas in the city, the nightlife is glamorous and the entertainment and shopping options are endless - particularly on 1st Avenue which is the main attraction in the area offering miles of retail and dining options along the waterfront area. The historic Cinerama Theatre is also very popular. It's a beautiful area that shows off the very best of Seattle.
Where to stay in Belltown
Belltown sure caters towards the high-end visitor so budget travellers may find it difficult to get affordable accommodation in this expensive district. But worry not, we always try to find awesome accommodation options for all budgets and pockets. Belltown is a fantastic option if you want to spoil yourself though!
Woodinville - Vineyard countryside getaway close to the city
If you're not looking to stay in central Seattle and instead are looking for a totally different experience in rolling vineyards then Woodinville might be the perfect getaway.
Activities in this area which is located 15 minutes north of Bellvue and half an hour northeast of central Seattle are very different to in the city and involve the areas many wine tasting rooms, hot-air balloon rides, strolling along the river trail, cycling and horseback riding. The ultimate relaxing, luxury experience is still accessible from central Seattle. Accommodation in the area tends to be quaint and ranges from mid-range to luxury.
Where to stay in Woodinville
Accommodation in the area books up fast, particularly in the peak summer season so book early if you'd like to stay here.