Seattle is the largest city in Washington State and in the entire Pacific Northwest as well, with more than 740.000 people living there. It’s also one of the main and most important tech industry and business hubs in the United States of America.
If you’re planning a trip to this amazing city, choosing where to stay in Seattle is going to be an important but rather overwhelming decision, especially for first-time visitors. Also known as the “Emerald City”, Seattle contains many different neighborhoods with strong, unique “personalities”, each with its own charm and advantages. So how can you choose the best one for your stay? Let me help you!
Seattle is BIG and it has something for everyone: it’s located in-between Lake Washington and Puget Sound and it offers amazing views of the Olympic Mountains and Cascade Mountains as well. It’s also a great destination for people interested in history, culture, art, coffee, music, gastronomy and last but not least, modern buildings.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
If you’re in a hurry…
The best area to stay for people visiting Seattle for the first time is anywhere in Downtown Seattle / Waterfront. This is probably the most popular area of the city, where most of the important attractions and landmarks are located. The downtown is divided into some smaller, secondary neighborhoods (Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Belltown), but whichever one you choose, it’s going to be a great choice!
Best hotels in Seattle, Washington in a nutshell
Which area should you choose?
First of all, here is a map of all the best neighborhoods in Seattle that I am going to talk about in this post, so you can get a better idea:
As I mentioned before, Seattle is made of many different neighborhoods and each of them is different from the others. Even if you choose only one of them to be the base for your stay, I’d definitely recommend visiting as many parts of the city as you can, so you can get an accurate overview of just how exciting this city can be!
In order to make your choice easier, I have made a list of personalized recommendations for you, check it out below:
- Where to stay in Seattle for luxury: Downtown Seattle
- Best area to stay in Seattle for budget travelers: Belltown
- Where to stay in Seattle for nightlife: Pioneer Square
- Where to stay in Seattle for families: Seattle Downtown
Now that you understand more about how the city is organized and which neighborhood is best for what need, let me tell you about each of them in-depth:
1. Downtown/Waterfront – Seattle Center – Where to stay in Seattle for the first time
Downtown Seattle, also known as the waterfront area is the heart and soul of the city and one of the best recommendations for where to stay in Seattle for first-time visitors.
Seattle Downtown is also THE place to be if you’re a business traveler or if you’re looking for some world-class shopping, while still being close to all the main attractions and events. This lively area of the city has something for everyone, regardless if you’re interested in gastronomy, sightseeing or splurging in a 5-star hotel. Needless to say that this is probably one of the busiest areas in the city, right? Ah, and this is also the place where you’ll find plenty of hotels with a harbor view (Elliott Bay) that will make your stay simply unforgettable!
I am also recommending the Downtown area to families traveling to Seattle thanks to the amazing transportation system (bus, monorail, light rail, ferry etc.); it’s so easy to get to the rest of the city from here!
But the Downtown area is quite big and it’s divided into different, smaller areas that you can choose from. From the famous Pike Place Market to the budget-friendly Belltown, I will talk about each of them below:
1.1. Pike Place Market
If you want to be on the waterfront area and have amazing views of Elliott Bay, this is your place to be!
Pike Place Market is one of the most famous places in Seattle and it’s actually one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the entire country, did you know that? Go there for fresh produce, to soak in the amazing, authentic atmosphere and to taste some amazing foods.
Do you want to know exactly how famous this market is? Well, know that it’s visited by more than 10 million people each year (for comparison, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, for example, has a bit less than 7 million visitors per year)!
The area around the market is vibrant and very cool; if you want to stay here, below you can find my hand-picked recommended hotels, all sorted by budget for your convenience:
Luxury (US$180 and up)
- Four Seasons Hotel Seattle – This superb accommodation might just be the best hotel in the entire Pacific Northwest! It’s a great choice if you’re looking for an excellent Downtown Seattle hotel that offers everything you might wish for! Some of the best things here are the rooftop terrace, the outdoor fireplace and the on-site gym.
- Grand Hyatt Seattle – Here’s another excellent place and one of the best hotels in Downtown Seattle if you want to be super close to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Aquarium and the Pike Place Market as well. It’s also one of the best places to admire the beautiful Seattle skyline!
Middle-priced (US$90 – US$180)
- The Baroness – In case you’re looking for a place that offers an amazing value for the price, this one’s your choice! If you book your room here, you’ll be walking distance to all the most important attractions in Seattle, including the Pike Place Market. Truly a great mid-range place!
- Palihotel Seattle – In case you didn’t find the ideal place in the Downtown area yet, very close to the market, take a look at this great hotel! You will have gorgeous views of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound while there and it’s the best place if you want to enjoy a 24-hour front desk, free Wi-Fi and room service.
Budget (up to US$90)
- Green Tortoise Hostel Seattle – Are you traveling to Seattle on a tight budget? No worries, I have a solution! Stay here if you want to have a gorgeous view of Seattle skyline and Puget Sound as well! One of the best things is that you’ll be close to a light rail station and to Pike Market as well – so great!
1.2. Pioneer Square – Where to stay in Seattle for nightlife
Pioneer Square is one of the oldest areas in the city and the perfect place for night owls interested in pubs and parties!
Pioneer Square is a very unique and interesting area; a mix of old and new. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in nightlife and architecture as well. Pioneer Square neighborhood has something for everyone, regardless if you prefer walking down the street during the day and admiring the streets and buildings or dancing until you can’t feel your feet anymore.
Here’s a fun fact as well: Pioneer Square is the place where the old city center of Seattle used to be! While you’re here, some of the unmissable things to visit include the Occidental Park, the Smith Tower (the first skyscraper in the entire city), the Waterfall Garden Park and more.
That being said, here are the best hotels in Pioneer Square that you can choose from:
Luxury (US$200 and up)
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle – Here’s another great place to stay in Downtown Seattle! This one has a very good location, close to all the important landmarks you’ll want to visit. Free Wi-Fi, on-site fitness center and a superb breakfast – these are just some of the best advantages of staying in this hotel!
- W Seattle – Here’s another beautiful hotel in Seattle Center! Stay here if you want to have a beautiful view of Puget Sound and enjoy some great facilities and amenities. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy free private parking, an on-site restaurant and a good fitness center!
Middle-priced (US$110 – US$200)
- Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Downtown – Are you looking for a nice place to stay South of Downtown that will offer an excellent value for the money you’ll pay? You just found it! Free Wi-Fi, room service, and a very good breakfast – these are just some of the advantages of staying here!
- Silver Cloud – Seattle Broadway – Make sure to book a room here if you want to be walking distance to all the best attractions in the heart of the city! This 4-hotel in Seattle Center awaits with an on-site gym and a business center as well. Plus, the on-site restaurant is pretty great!
Budget (up to US$110)
- HI – Seattle at the American Hotel Hostel – Here’s a great place if you’re on a budget but want to stay right in the heart of Pioneer Square! One of the best things about staying here is that you’ll be only 2 blocks away to both train and bus stations, so getting around the city will be a breeze!
- The ART INN Seattle Pioneer Square – In case you didn’t find the perfect budget place for your stay in Seattle Downtown, take a look at this property! You’ll be close to a light rail station and you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful, clean rooms, free private parking, free Wi-Fi and more!
1.3. Belltown – Where to stay in Seattle on a budget
If you’re traveling to Seattle on a tight budget, no worries, you’ll find plenty of good accommodation options in charming Belltown!
Except for being the best place to stay in Seattle on a budget, Belltown is also one of the coolest areas in the entire city, just perfect for young people looking to have some fun. This area is very close to Pike Place Market as well and the rest of Downtown Seattle (which is extremely walkable, by the way).
One of the best things about Belltown is that you can explore it on foot without any need for public transportation – and I surely recommend doing so during your vacation here! You’ll find tons of amazing restaurants and cafes here, as well as incredible shops, bars, art galleries, salons and many more.
If you feel like this is the right area for you, here are the best accommodation options that you can choose from:
Luxury (US$200 and up)
- The Edgewater Hotel Seattle – Here’s one of the most superb hotels in Belltown Seattle! Except for the beautiful, luxurious rooms where you’ll feel completely spoiled, another amazing thing about staying here is the complimentary shuttle service that will take you to Downtown Seattle!
- Seattle Marriott Waterfront – Here’s another beautiful, luxurious place if you want to be within walking distance to all the best attractions in the city center, including Pike Place Market! This is a superb place to stay if you want to feel just like a queen/king right in the heart of the city! Just take a look at the pictures, it looks just great!
Middle-priced (US$120 – US$200)
- Staypineapple at Hotel FIVE – If you’re looking for some romantic hotels in Seattle, this one’s for you! All guests staying here will enjoy free bike rentals, free Wi-Fi and beautiful rooms! Plus, you’ll surely like the fact that this property has an on-site gym, an on-site restaurant and a bar as well. Sounds just amazing, right?
- Ace Hotel Seattle – If you didn’t find the best place for your stay in Downtown Seattle, very close to Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, here’s another cool option! You can enjoy a pleasant evening walking down the streets while you’re in the areas – it’s simply beautiful. Plus, the rooms are simple, bright and very clean!
Budget (up to US$120)
- Belltown Inn – If you want to enjoy a nice, budget stay in Seattle, located within walking distance to all the important attractions in the city, this one’s for you! It’s also a great place for a couple – you will surely like to share the delicious breakfast and the cozy room. Plus, the Space Needle is only 10 minutes away!
- The Loyal Inn Seattle – Here’s another excellent budget place in Downtown Seattle, located very close to Pike Place Market as well! This 3-star hotel is 600m away from all the important landmarks such as the Space Needle and the Seattle Center.
2. Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is a great choice for any type of traveler out there! The area is very calm and laid-back during the day and it comes alive at night; which means you literally cannot get bored here.
Stay in Capitol Hill if you want to be in a culturally diverse, LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood, surrounded by art galleries and creative spaces where there’s always something happening. Ah, did I also mention that Capitol Hill is also the soul and heart of Seattle music scene? It’s true!
Capitol Hill is a bit North of Downtown, so, if you stay here, you’ll also be close to the main attractions and landmarks in the city center. I surely recommend this friendly neighborhood to young people looking for a cool atmosphere, you won’t regret it! There are also some awesome attractions here such as the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park, the Seattle Japanese Garden, Madison Park and the Jimi Hendrix Statue as well.
Convinced? Here are the best hotels in Capitol Hill for all budgets:
Luxury (US$220 and up)
- Hilton Garden Inn Seattle – Are you looking for beautiful, luxurious hotels in Capitol Hill Seattle, I have an excellent option for you! Stay here if you want to enjoy a 4-star hotel that offers free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour front desk and a great indoor pool as well! Just take a look at the rooms, they’re so beautiful!
- SpringHill Suites Seattle – Here’s another luxurious, upscale hotel in Seattle! I definitely recommend booking a room here if you want to enjoy a delicious complimentary breakfast each morning, free Wi-Fi, an on-site bar and many other great advantages!
Middle-priced (US$130 – US$220)
- Lofty Studio Prime Cap Hill – This great valuable apartment has some super comfy beds and it’s ideal for two travelers that want to enjoy everything that Seattle has to offer. I’d enjoy spending entire years here – this place is just that great! Bright, modern and beautifully decorated – what more can you wish for?
- Modern Capitol Hill Studio Steps to Volunteer Park – Here’s another nice apartment for your stay in Capitol Hill if you don’t want to spend a fortune on accommodation. This place is just great, regardless if you’re staying here during summer or winter! It’s bright, clean and it has some very good prices!
Budget (up to US$130)
- Roy Street Commons – Are you looking for some nice, cheap hotels in Seattle to stay in this awesome neighborhood? If the answer is yes, this is one of my top recommendations! This nice aparthotel awaits with free Wi-Fi, some fully equipped common kitchens that you can use, as well as a cozy terrace where you can stay and relax.
- Gaslight Inn – Still didn’t find the best budget place for your stay in Seattle? Book a room here if you want to enjoy a clean room and bathroom and a very good 3-star service at this beautiful bed and breakfast!
3. University District (U-District)
The University District got its name from the well-known and famed University of Washington and it’s the perfect place to find the young, hip crowds in Seattle!
The University District is something perceived as a smaller city inside Seattle, as it’s full of international students and plenty of awesome cafes, bars and book shops where you can hang around and make new friends. You’ll also find the University Village Shopping Center here if you’re interested in shopping ‘til you drop and, of course, TONS of food places!
If you think that the University District (also known as the “U-District”) is the right place for your stay, scroll down to find my list of hand-picked hotels for you:
Luxury (US$220 and up)
- Residence Inn by Marriott Seattle University District – Are you looking for some beautiful, luxurious Seattle hotels located in a cool and vibrant neighborhood? You just found it! The rooms are bright, clean and spacious and some of the best things about staying here include free Wi-Fi and an on-site fitness center as well.
- Staypineapple at Watertown Hotel – An on-site fitness center, bike rental, beautiful and bright rooms – these are just some of the best things about staying here! While you’re staying in this great 3-star hotel, make sure to check out the Pineapple Cafe as well – it’s just great!
Middle-priced (US$160 – US$220)
- Graduate Seattle – If you want to be close to the University of Washington and the other great attractions located in this beautiful neighborhood, make sure to book a room here! This nice hotel has some great prices, considering the excellent service they’re offering. Indeed one of the best 4-star hotels in Seattle!
- College Inn – European-Style Hotel – Here’s another very good option in case you didn’t find the right place for you yet. Staying here means you’ll only be 15 minutes away by foot from the closest light rail station and you will also be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi and amazing family rooms.
Budget (up to US$160)
- University Motel Suites – Are you on a very tight budget but still want to be as close to the University of Washington as possible? No worries, I found the ideal place for you! This 2-star hotel has a fully-equipped kitchen, spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi as well. What more can you wish for?
4. Queen Anne
Queen Anne is the right place to be if you’re interested in exploring one of the wealthiest areas in Seattle!
But hear me out: even if Queen Anne is a wealthy area, this doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty of great hotels for each type of budget out there. Ah, and if you were wondering where the famous Space Needle building is located in Seattle – it’s in the Queen Anne neighborhood!
Queen Anne district is also one of the most modern and well-developed neighborhoods in the entire city and it sits right on a hill, so it’s sometimes referred to as “Queen Anne Hill”. Some important attractions in this area include the Seattle Pacific Science University, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), the Children’s Museum, the Seattle Monorail and Kerry Park, as well as many great restaurants, bars and cafes.
Queen Anne is a bigger neighborhood, divided into 4 smaller areas: Lower Queen Anne, North, East and West Queen Anne – whichever one of these you’ll choose, it’s going to be a great choice for your stay in Seattle!
So if you want to be close to the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture, here are the best hotels in this area that you can choose from:
Luxury (US$300 and up)
- Staypineapple at The Maxwell Hotel – Do you want to enjoy the ultimate luxury stay while being super close to the Museum of Pop Culture, the Space Needle and the Olympic Sculpture Park as well? This hotel is a great choice, as it’s within walking distance to all of them!
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown – Here’s a superb luxurious hotel located right in the heart of Queen Anne neighborhood, close to all the main tourist attractions you might be interested in! This cool hotel has spacious, bright and super clean rooms, perfect for a comfortable nights’ sleep!
Middle-priced (US$200 – US$300)
- The Mediterranean Inn – Do you want to be super close to the Space Needle and other cool landmarks in Seattle? Then make sure to book a room here, it offers an excellent value for the money! Among other cool facilities, this hotel offers a rooftop patio, beautiful rooms and free Wi-Fi.
- MarQueen Hotel – Here’s another great place located very close to the Space Needle! This 4-star hotel has an on-site spa, hair salon and business center as well – can you believe it? That’s just great!
Budget (up to US$200)
- The Halcyon Suite Du Jour – Are you on a tight budget but still want to be walking distance to the Space Needle? This cute and cozy bed and breakfast is the best place that you can find! You will benefit from free Wi-Fi, free parking and daily housekeeping as well – how great is that?
- Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle – Still didn’t find the best budget property close to the Space Needle in Seattle yet? No worries, I have another beautiful option for you! This 3-star hotel has all of the facilities and amenities that you might want for a pleasant stay!
5. South Lake Union
South Lake Union is one of the best up-and-coming Seattle neighborhoods and an amazing place to stay for all types of travelers out there, from families to youngsters!
If you’re wondering where are the major business headquarters in Seattle located – your answer is South Lake Union. From Amazon to Microsoft, many big companies have their HQs in this area, which is becoming more and more modern with each passing year. The public transportation in the area is also extending, so you can rest assured that you won’t have any problems with reaching the rest of the city while you’re here!
That being said, here are the best hotels in South Lake Union that I could find for you, all sorted by price range:
Luxury (US$230 and up)
- Silver Cloud Inn – Seattle Lake Union – Here’s my first luxurious recommendation for people who want to be right in the heart of the South Lake Union neighborhood! This great hotel awaits with complimentary parking, shuttle buses and more!
- Executive Inn by the Space Needle Seattle – Are you looking for some bright, clean and super spacious rooms right in the heart of the city? This property is for you! Free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour gym and free parking – these are just some of the best advantages of staying here! Just check out the pictures and you’ll surely fall in love!
Middle-priced (US$160 – US$230)
- Staybridge Suites Seattle – South Lake Union – Here’s my first recommendation for a good value property located in South Lake Union district. Book a room here if you want to enjoy a fully equipped kitchen, bright rooms and a flawless service as well!
- Civic Hotel – Here’s another great 3-star property for your stay in this nice neighborhood! Free bikes, free parking and free Wi-Fi as well – book a room here if you want to enjoy all these and more! Plus, they have an on-site currency exchange and a concierge service as well.
Budget (up to US$160)
- Holiday Inn Seattle DWTN Lake Union – This 3-star property awaits with some unbeatable prices for your stay in this awesome area! Stay here if you want to be walking distance to Pike Market, the Space Needle and many other amazing landmarks as well.
- La Quinta by Wyndham Seattle Downtown – Last but definitely not least, this is another great property that awaits with some very good prices! Book a room here if you want to benefit from free parking, free Wi-Fi and an on-site fitness center as well. What more can you wish for?
Best apartments in Seattle Center
In case you’re the type of traveler that prefers a cozier, more homey atmosphere while traveling and doesn’t want to book a hotel room, then I’ll definitely recommend an apartment for you. Apartments are also a great idea for people traveling on a budget or for those who are visiting a city with a bigger group that wants to stick together, for example a family.
The good news is that Seattle has TONS of amazing Airbnbs that you can choose from. And what’s even better than that? I have selected the BEST ones out there (in the city center, of course), and I’ll recommend them to you down below:
Luxury (US$150 and up)
- Stroll to Pike Place from a Waterfront Condo with a Balcony – Do you want to enjoy some luxury in a beautiful apartment in a great area right in the heart of Seattle? Take a look at this apartment! It’s bright, beautiful and super clean!
- 2BR/2BTH Waterfront Views – Here’s a beautiful apartment located extremely close to Pike Place Market and other interesting landmarks in the city. Just take a look at the pictures – the entire property looks extremely beautiful! Plus, it’s just great for 6 guests.
Middle-priced (US$100 – US$150)
- Room in Designers Historic Loft – Do you want to feel right at home while you travel to Seattle? This is the right apartment for you! Just take a look at the pictures – you’ll surely fall in love if you like industrial design and decor!
- Heart of Capitol Hill Stuido 5 ([email protected]) – Here’s another excellent choice if you want to be only a short walk away from Pike Place Market and other cool attractions as well. This apartment is just great for 4 people, check it out!
Budget (up to US$100)
- Spring Street Center Room 4 – Are you on a tight budget but still want to be very close to Pike Place Market? No worries, I found the right apartment for you! This apartment is very simple but clean, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
- Center of City Detached Ensuite Capitol Hill – Do you want to enjoy a nice apartment in a central location? Check this one out, I’m sure you’ll like it! The beds are comfy and the location is just great. Plus, check the reviews, you’ll see just how good it is!
Best hotels near Seattle Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), also known as the Sea-Tac, is the main international airport of the city and the place where you’re most likely to land when you arrive in the city. The airport is located around 14 miles from Seattle Downtown (20 minutes by car).
In case you have a very early or very late flight, I think it would be a very wise idea to book a hotel room as close to the airport as possible for one night – this way you’ll save some quality time and sleep!
If you decided to do so, here are the 3 best hotels located very close to the airport (one for each type of budget):
- (Luxury) Crowne Plaza Seattle Airport – This is my recommendation for people that want to enjoy some luxury while being very close to the airport. It awaits with a 4-star service and many great facilities and amenities – you’ll just love it!
- (Middle-priced) Best Western Seattle Airport Hotel – If you prefer a middle-priced property instead, check this one out! It’s less than 1 km from the airport, which I think is a great advantage!
- (Budget) Country Inn & Suites by Radisson – Here’s a recommendation for those of you that are on a tight budget as well. Book your room here if you want to enjoy clean and comfy rooms for some unbeatable prices!
Yay, you have reached the end of my complete guide on Seattle accommodations! I hope you found this article useful and hopefully you already found the perfect place for your stay.
In this post I have told you everything you need to know about the 7 best areas in the city, with hand-picked hotel recommendations in each one of them, all with fabulous reviews and broken down by budget for your convenience. I also recommended some amazing apartments in Seattle, as well as airport hotels in case you need them. In short, this post has it all!
Are you traveling to Seattle soon? Do you have any other questions? Let me know in the comments below, I’m curious to know!
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