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Where to stay in Seattle [2021 Guide For First Time Visitors]

A comprehensive guide on finding the best accommodation in Seattle

Where to Stay in Seattle Guide

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!

Table of Contents

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.

Where to stay in Seattle

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!

Palihotel Seattle
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Palihotel Seattle

Palihotel Seattle offers accommodation in Seattle near Pike Place Market and Space Needle. This hotel was featured in the top 30 hotels in the Pacific Northwest. It offers a restaurant, a bar as well as a coffee bar and a cosy lobby lounge. It's perfect for tourists who want to be close to attractions!

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hyatt at Olive 8

After a day in downtown Seattle, guests can enjoy a sauna and a fitness centre at Olive 8 Hyatt. I don't know about you, but every tourist to Seattle that comes back to the hotel after a fun rainy day wants to chill in a hot, cosy sauna. This 4-star hotel is definitely a winner.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle

Located in Central Seattle, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle is less than a mile away from The Space Needle and Safeco Field. Not only you can enjoy a cosy and luxurious room, but you'll be so close to attractions and get to enjoy the free public transport for travel around.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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!

Mayflower Park Hotel
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Mayflower Park Hotel

Built in 1927, this historic hotel located in the centre of Seattle, within a 10-minute walk to Pike Place Market. It features Andaluca Restaurant and Oliver’s Lounge. Mayflower Park Hotel is a wonderful 3 star hotel that claims to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in central Seattle.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Renaissance Seattle Hotel

Located just 1.5 miles away from The Space Needle, Renaissance Seattle Hotel is a stylish 4-star hotel, perfect for tourists who want to be close to attractions, shopping and theatres. It's part of the Marriott family, so ideal for tourists who want to collect points.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Motif Seattle

Seattle looks incredible and who doesn't want want to enjoy a gorgeous view of the cityscape? Featuring scenic views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains, this hotel overlooks the city centre streets of Seattle. Guests here can enjoy the on-site restaurant and bar, or convenient room service.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

Staypineapple at Watertown Hotel
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Staypineapple at Watertown Hotel

This Seattle hotel is only 4 blocks from the University of Washington. The hotel offers free shuttle service to Westlake Center, University of Washington Campus, and UW Medical Center.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Silver Cloud Hotel - Seattle University of Washington District

The contemporary guest rooms at Silver Cloud Inn - University offer a microwave, a refrigerator and a coffee maker. The University of Washington is a half mile away.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

College Inn - European-Style Hotel

The College Inn is a 2 minutes' drive from the University of Washington and within 15 minutes' walk to the nearest Link light rail station. It offers a daily continental breakfast.  A cafe and a lounge are available at the College Inn.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

Courtyard Seattle Downtown / Pioneer Square
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Courtyard Seattle Downtown / Pioneer Square

Want to enjoy the party quarters but be within walking distance from the major attractions? Located in the centre of Seattle’s historic downtown, this hotel is a 10-minute walk to CenturyLink Field. Facilities include an indoor pool, on-site full-service bar and rooms with free Wi-Fi.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Upscale Apartments in Stadium District

Want to spend more enjoying Seattle while being able to cook your own food? Check out these Upscale Apartments that feature a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, flat-screen TV, a dining area, and/or a balcony. Each apartment is fitted with a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer. You get just be ready to go out and experience Seattle at your doorstep.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel

Rooms at this Seattle Hotel are just 1.5 miles from the Space Needle so you can enjoy major sightseeing within short reach. Nearby attractions include Sky View Observatory (0.3 miles), Smith Tower (0.2 miles), and Columbia Center (0.3 miles)

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

Capitol Hill Luxury Apartments in Seattle
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Capitol Hill Luxury Apartments

Space Needle is 2.9 km from the apartment, while Seattle Center is 3.3 km from the property. The nearest airport is Boeing Field/King County International Airport, 10 km from Capitol Hill Luxury Apartments. So you'll get a cosy interior to come back to after the vibrant sightseeing in Seattle.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

Staypineapple at The Maxwell Hotel
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Staypineapple at The Maxwell Hotel

Located within walking distance of Seattle’s Space Needle, The Maxwell Hotel offers original artwork and colourful interiors. Guests can enjoy free access to the indoor pool and the fitness room. Once you feel relaxed and recharged, it's time to head out and explore all the cool attractions Seattle has to offer.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Lake Union

Featuring panoramic views of Lake Union and the Seattle skyline, this hotel offers rooms with a modern interior. But don't just enjoy Seattle from the hotel room. Within walking distance, you will be near so many cool attractions and amazing coffee shop places.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle-Downtown

This is an awesome hotel located within walking distance of the Space Needle and within 20 minutes metro ride of Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Piers and the Seattle Aquarium. Guests at the Seattle Downtown Hampton Inn and Suites can enjoy a restful night's sleep on the hotel's signature Cloud Nine beds.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

Motif Seattle
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Motif Seattle

Featuring scenic views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains, this hotel overlooks the city centre streets of Seattle. Each room and suite at Motif Seattle comes with NEST Bath & Body products, a JBL Bluetooth alarm clock, and a gourmet coffee machine. Love it? Now let's head to the market!

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Palihotel Seattle

Palihotel Seattle offers accommodation in Seattle near Pike Place Market and Space Needle. Relax, enjoy your time in a comfortable bed, then head out to explore the market and all the cool attractions in the area.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Belltown Inn

Located 15 minutes walk to the Olympic Sculpture Park which overlooks the Puget Sound, the Belltown Inn features a furnished rooftop terrace. Rooms include a kitchenette, LCD TV and free toiletries in the en suite bathroom. This hotel is a great idea because you might want to enjoy the fresh produce from the market and bring it back with you to cook awesome food.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

EVEN Hotel Seattle - South Lake Union
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EVEN Hotel Seattle - South Lake Union

Set in the South Lake Union district of Seattle, EVEN Hotel Seattle - South Lake Union provides rooms with free WiFi and fitness kits. The property is situated 0.7 miles from Space Needle.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Lake Union

Featuring panoramic views of Lake Union and the Seattle skyline, this hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and cable TV. Lake Union Park is 6 minutes' walk away.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Silver Cloud Inn - Seattle Lake Union

Silver Cloud Inn offers free local area shuttle services, complimentary parking. The Space Needle is 1.3 miles away. Bright, spacious rooms include a microwave, refrigerator and coffee facilities.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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!

The Inn at El Gaucho
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W Bellevue

W Bellevue is located in Bellevue, 1.8 km from Chism Beach Park. Popular points of interest near W Bellevue include Bellevue Square, Bellevue City Hall and Meydenbauer Center. The nearest airport is Boeing Field/King County International Airport, 12 km from the hotel.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

AC Hotel by Marriott Seattle Bellevue/Downtown

AC Hotel by Marriott Seattle Bellevue/Downtown is set in Bellevue, 550 yards from Bellevue City Hall. Meydenbauer Center is 650 yards from AC Hotel by Marriott Seattle Bellevue/Downtown, while Bellevue Square is 650 yards from the property. The nearest airport is Sea-Tac Airport, 12.4 miles from the property.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

The Loyal Inn Seattle

The Loyal Inn is situated in Downtown Seattle, 650 yards from the Space Needle. Every room at this hotel is air-conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV, private bathroom, free toiletries and a hairdryer.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

Willows Lodge
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Willows Lodge

Offering accommodation in Woodinville, Willows Lodge provides a Northwest ambience with its massive fireplace, luxurious beds, and 5 acres of gardens. Seattle is 20 minutes' drive of the property and several award-winning wineries are located nearby. On-site a full-service spa and 2 restaurants.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hampton Inn & Suites- Seattle Woodinville Wa

Hampton Inn & Suites- Seattle Woodinville Wa is offering accommodation in Woodinville. This 3-star hotel offers free WiFi. Continental breakfast is served every morning at the property.

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Hideaway Lodge B and B

Set in Woodinville, Hideaway Lodge B and B offers 3.5 acres of gardens and trails. All rooms feature a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a private bathroom, and garden views. Guests at Hideaway Lodge B and B can enjoy a hot 2-course gourmet breakfast with gluten-free and vegetarian options available.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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