Where to Stay in Seattle | 10 AMAZING Areas for a 2024 Stay!

Seattle skyline at sunset with the Space Needle prominently featured against a backdrop of dramatic clouds and city buildings

When planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is the ultimate destination, but choosing a place to stay in the Emerald City may seem overwhelming. No worries, I’m here to provide you with recommendations on where to stay in Seattle, covering both the best areas and top hotels! 

I wanted to find the very best options, so I compared all Seattle accommodations out there – you can rest assured that I’m recommending only the top-rated ones. The best Seattle neighborhood for your first visit is Belltown as it is close to all the downtown attractions, but we will get into details on other really cool areas below in the post. 

If you find a hotel you like while you’re reading this article, I suggest you book your stay as soon as possible. Seattle is a popular tourist destination, and you shouldn’t miss out on this amazing city either!

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Quick Picks for Your Stay…

Need to book quickly? Then check out the best downtown Seattle hotels in Belltown 

Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:

Which area should you choose?

First of all, here’s a map of the regions of Seattle I’m going to talk about in this post:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Seattle, with numbered locations and labels for easy navigation

Seattle is a port city situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound (a part of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, and as I mentioned before, the city is made up of many different neighborhoods. 

Although you have to choose only one area as the base for your stay, I’d definitely recommend visiting as many parts of the city as you can to get an accurate picture of just how exciting this city can be!

To make your choice easier, I have made a list of personalized recommendations for you. Check it out below:

1. Belltown – where to stay in Seattle for the first time

Seattle's downtown waterfront at sunset with the Great Wheel and skyscrapers against a pink-hued sky

Belltown is technically part of Downtown Seattle, but since it’s one of the coolest areas in the city, I decided to feature it as a separate recommendation in order to give you more options to choose from in Downtown. 

Belltown is a mix of a residential and commercial neighborhood; it’s centrally located and offers plenty to see and do, which is why it’s a great choice for your first visit to Seattle. 

One of the best things about Belltown is that most downtown attractions are within walking distance, so it’s the perfect spot to stay in if you’re exploring Seattle without a car. And even if you don’t want to venture out of the neighborhood, you’ll have plenty to see and do.

Olympic Sculpture Park (map) is a great place to spend an afternoon, and it’s also a good idea to bring a picnic. You can walk around and admire the sculptures or lounge on a bench facing Seattle’s waterfront. If you’re looking for something to do at night, catch a show at The Crocodile or grab a meal at The 5 Point Cafe, the legendary American diner open 24/7!

One thing that might surprise you about Seattle is that it’s renowned for glassblowing – and you can have a go at it yourself. I highly recommend visiting the Seattle Glassblowing Studio where you can not only see the craft of artisan glassblowers, you can also have a private glassblowing experience. 

If you want to attend an event, the Moore Theatre hosts a variety of events and performances, so be sure to check the schedule and purchase your tickets. And, in case you’re up for a touristy activity, take one of the many amazing boat tours of Seattle and experience the city from another perspective.

I know some of you may wonder about the safety of the neighborhood. There is no need to worry – the area is quite safe. However, you still need to be cautious, just as you would be in any other big city.

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a cozy bedroom with plush furnishings and city view, a neatly organized shelf with decorative items and books, a rooftop terrace offering a view of skyscrapers, and a pair of retro style chairs in a lounge area

Luxury (US$300 and up)

  • The Sound Hotel – A 4-star hotel with private parking, a terrace, a bar, and a fitness center. You can choose between continental and American breakfast options and get lunch and dinner at the on-site restaurant. The Space Needle is within walking distance, and so are the Washington State Convention Center and Museum of Pop Culture. 
  • Hotel Andra – A great boutique hotel situated between Belltown and Lake Union and one of the best Belltown hotels for fine dining. The 2 on-site restaurants serve Italian, Greek, and local dishes. You can also work out in the hotel’s fitness center or use the discount for one of the nearby fitness clubs.

Mid-range (US$170 – US$300)

  • Staypineapple, Hotel FIVE – One of the most prominent Belltown hotels that provides free bicycles, Wi-Fi, dry cleaning services, and complimentary bottled water in each room. Free coffee and pineapple treats are served in the hotel’s lobby each afternoon, but all rooms also feature a gourmet coffee machine. 
  • The Belltown Inn – A pet-friendly hotel near the Space Needle and the Seattle Center, featuring a garden, rooftop terrace, business center, and laundry facilities. The front desk is open 24/7, and the staff is helpful and provides your/ticket assistance.

Budget (up to US$170)

  • Belltown Studio – A cozy studio that can accommodate up to 4 people. The studio is bright and spacious, and there’s a full kitchen equipped with all the necessary appliances. You can also use the rooftop terrace, which provides unbeatable views of the Space Needle.
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites – The hotel offers many convenient amenities, such as Wi-Fi, a fitness center, parking, a launderette, ironing facilities, and more. Continental breakfast is served daily, while all rooms are equipped with a coffee maker.

2. Downtown – where to stay in Seattle without a car

The Amazon Spheres amidst modern skyscrapers in downtown Seattle, showcasing the city's blend of nature and urban development

Seattle is a big city, so naturally, the downtown area is quite big too and consists of several smaller areas. I already talked about Belltown, and I also feature Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square in upcoming sections. Well, in this section, I’m going to cover the rest of downtown Seattle. I love it because Downtown is very walkable!

The first stop on your downtown exploration should be the Sky View Observatory – Columbia Center, the tallest public observatory in the Pacific Northwest. From here, you can see the city and the spectacular Mount Rainier towering over Seattle. 

You may be surprised to learn that one of the biggest companies in the US (and in the world) is headquartered in Seattle. Amazon occupies several buildings across Seattle, but you’ll want to stop by the corporate headquarters downtown and see The Spheres, also known as Bezos’ Balls, after Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos.

The 3 large glass domes are home to more than 40,000 plants from the forested regions of over 30 countries around the world. The spheres were created so Amazon employees could unwind and escape from their screens for a while, but they’ve become somewhat of an attraction, so they’re open to the public, too. You can check the available dates and make a reservation for your visit via the official website of the Seattle Spheres. 

Moving on, you’ll want to check out the Seattle Art Museum, which boasts extensive collections by artists from all over the world, and the Seattle Public Library, even if it’s just to admire the architecture. 

Sports fans will want to visit Lumen Field, a large stadium that houses many sports teams, including the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, as well as concerts and other large events. In downtown, you’ll find another stadium – T-Mobile Park, the location of all home games of the Seattle Mariners, as well as the Mariners Hall of Fame museum. 

After you’ve seen all the attractions, I suggest a day trip to Everett, where you can tour The Boeing Everett Factory, the largest building in the world by volume! But downtown Seattle is also a great spot to grab a ferry. To do this, you need to head to the Seattle waterfront, specifically Pier 52, also known as Colman Dock.

The Colman Dock is Seattle’s Ferry Terminal that provides access to Washington State Ferries; from here, you can catch a ferry and visit Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. To secure your spot on the ferry, I suggest you book your tickets online!

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a hotel built over water with balconies facing the sea, a sophisticated bedroom with a large window and artwork, and a spacious living room with a large bookshelf and comfortable seating

Luxury (US$250 and up)

  • The Edgewater, a Noble House Hotel – Situated on the Seattle waterfront, between Belltown and Pike Place Market, the Edgewater hotel provides stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliott Bay, and the on-site restaurant overlooks the Puget Sound. Guests can use the complimentary shuttle service to get around downtown.
  • W Seattle – This 4-star hotel has a ‘Whatever/Whenever Service’, meaning that it can provide anything at any time of day or night. A 24-hour concierge service is also available, and there are 2 on-site restaurants. 

Mid-range (US$150 – US$250)

  • Residence Inn by Marriott Seattle Downtown – A 3-star hotel with a 24-hour front desk, on-site ATM, and private parking. A buffet breakfast is served every morning, and each of the rooms has a private bathroom, work desk, and a wardrobe. 
  • SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown – All the rooms at this hotel have a separate seating area, a work desk, a kitchenette, and a private bathroom. The hotel bar offers a wide selection of cocktails, beer, and wine, while every morning, guests can enjoy a hot buffet breakfast.

Budget (up to US$150)

  • The Baroness Hotel – The hotel offers suites with a full kitchen, cable TV, Wi-Fi access, as well as dry cleaning services. You’ll also find a guest library at the hotel, and you can use the available business services. 
  • The Inn at Virginia Mason – Within walking distance of all major attractions, the hotel boasts a rooftop garden where you can enjoy beautiful views of the city. The hotel can also arrange transportation to and from the ferry terminal at an additional cost, while self-parking is available nearby.

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3. Pike Place Market – for foodies

Busy scene at Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market with the 'Public Market Center' neon sign overhead and people milling about

Pike Place Market is part of downtown Seattle and one of the liveliest areas in the city. One of the main perks of staying in this area is that you’ll be situated right on Seattle’s waterfront, and you can admire stunning views of Elliott Bay. 

Pike Place Market is one of the oldest and largest public markets in the US, continuously operating since 1907. 

Not only is the Pike Place Market (map) among the oldest markets in the world, but it’s also one of the most-visited ones – the market attracts more than 10 million(!!) visitors each year! During your visit to the market, you can shop for fresh produce, try delicious local food or just wander around and stop at any of the 500+ colorful stalls. 

Oh, and by the way, don’t miss the fish-throwing seafood vendors – it’s the quintessential Seattle experience. At the Pike Place Fish Market, the vendors throw the fish at each other to provide entertainment for the customers. What started out as a prank, is now a well-beloved tradition, and you should definitely see it!

FUN FACT: The Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar in Pike Place Market, is one of the many filming locations for the famous movie Sleepless in Seattle

Other cool restaurants I’d recommend in the area are Pike Place Chowder, for amazing seafood chowder, and Matt’s in the Market, for traditional Pacific Northwest cuisine, plus views of Elliott Bay!

Another attraction that warrants a visit in this neighborhood is the Gum Wall (map), which reportedly has 1 million pieces of gum stuck to it. I am not a fan, but if you are into these kinds of things, you can contribute and grow that number! 

The Seattle Aquarium is also just around the corner so you can admire the amazing sea world or attend one of the virtual reality shows. 

Do you want to visit the original Starbucks? It is 3 min walking from Pike Place Market!

THE first and original Starbucks (map) may be worth a visit if you love their coffee! Although the queue can be a bit long, the wait is definitely worth it. By the way, the company’s headquarters is also based here, in the SoDo neighborhood, in Seattle’s industrial district. 

The area around Pike Place Market is vibrant and cool and is home to some of the most unique hotels in Seattle; if you want to stay here, below you’ll find my hand-picked hotel recommendations:

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a modern glass building in an urban setting, a serene bedroom with green walls and a framed picture of a dog, and a bright dining area with a view of the city

Luxury (US$250 and up)

  • Four Seasons Hotel Seattle – A luxury hotel featuring a full spa, an outdoor fireplace, a rooftop infinity pool, and rooms decorated in Northwest-style decor with wood and stone details. The hotel is 5 minutes away from Pike Place Market and within walking distance of the Seattle Art Museum and Washington State Convention Center. 
  • Grand Hyatt Seattle – One of the safest hotels in Seattle, super close to the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Aquarium, and the Pike Place Market. The rooms begin on the 10th floor, and each has floor-to-ceiling windows, making this hotel the perfect spot to admire the downtown Seattle skyline.

Mid-range (US$170 – US$250)

  • Palihotel Seattle – This hotel is close to Pike Place Market and the Seattle Waterfront, but you can also stay in, order room service, and relax in your comfortable room. The on-site restaurant, The Hart & The Hunter, serves delicious food, so make sure you stop by for a meal. 
  • Kasa The Oxford – Each room in this hotel has a separate sitting area, a kitchen, and a private bathroom. Guests enjoy perks such as free Wi-Fi and laundry services and best of all, they can bring their pets along!

Budget (up to US$170)

  • Green Tortoise Hostel Seattle – Right across the street from Pike Place Market and very close to the Seattle Art Museum, the hostel provides lodging in shared dormitories and access to a common room and a shared kitchen. There’s also complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi, and luggage storage. 
  • Waterfront Condo – This 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo is a short walk away from Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, so it’s a perfect base to explore downtown Seattle. The condo has a comfortable seating area, a full kitchen, a balcony overlooking the Seattle waterfront, and provides free Wi-Fi and on-site parking.

4. Queen Anne – for the ultimate sightseeing experience

Aerial view of Seattle skyline with the iconic Space Needle standing tall against a backdrop of the city and Puget Sound during golden hour.

The Queen Anne neighborhood has plenty to offer, but the main landmark is actually Seattle’s main symbol – the Space Needle. So, if you’re in for an ultimate Seattle experience, this neighborhood is the place to be!

The Space Needle was built for the Seattle World’s Fair and first opened on April 21, 1962. 

Queen Anne is a bigger neighborhood, divided into 4 smaller areas: Lower Queen Anne, North, East, and West Queen Anne. The neighborhood sits right on a hill, so it’s sometimes referred to as “Queen Anne Hill, “ and it’s one of the most modern and well-developed neighborhoods in the entire city. 

The Seattle Center (map) is the main point of interest in the Queen Anne neighborhood; this is a large complex where you can find the city’s main attractions, most notably, the Space Needle. 

While you’re in the Seattle Center, you absolutely have to go up the Space Needle – not just take photos of it! Also, I highly recommend having a refreshing drink at The Loupe, a revolving restaurant situated on an entirely glass floor within the Space Needle! 

Besides serving as a restaurant, The Loupe is one of the best observation decks! Situated at 500 ft (152 m) above ground, you’ll get unparalleled views of the city. Better yet, you’ll be almost at the top of the Space Needle, which stands at approximately 506 ft (184 m), so a visit to this amazing restaurant is definitely worth your time (and money!). 

Right next to the Space Needle, you’ll find the Chihuly Garden and Glass, an art museum that showcases the glass artworks of famous artist Dale Chihuly. There are a few other museums within the Seattle Center that you can visit – the Pacific Science Center is definitely worth your time, and if you’re a couple traveling with kids, the Seattle Children’s Museum is a must!

The Museum of Pop Culture is another spot I can’t recommend enough! Even though the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly the Experience Music Project) seems unattractive on the outside – in fact, it was named one of the ugliest buildings in the world – it features cool exhibits, including the largest collection of Jimi Hendrix’s personal items. 

Also, while you’re in Seattle Center, I suggest you stop by McCaw Hall, home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera. 

This neighborhood is perfect for taking long, romantic walks with your partner, and if you’re looking for a cute date spot, one of the best places is Kerry Park (map); from here, you can enjoy the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Space Needle! And even Mount Rainier on a clear day!

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a bedroom with bohemian decor and wall art, an indoor pool with whimsical inflatable floats, and a chic living space with vibrant blue and pink hues

Luxury (US$200 and up)

  • Staypineapple at The Maxwell Hotel – This conveniently located hotel is the best place to stay close to the Space Needle. It’s recognizable for its colorful interior and original artwork. Guests can use the indoor pool and fitness room and also enjoy coffee and pineapple treats each afternoon. 
  • MarQueen Hotel – This 4-star boutique hotel has an on-site hair salon and a spa offering body treatments and facials. The hotel restaurant, Tin Lizzie Lounge, serves American cuisine and has a daily happy hour. It’s also super close to various boutique shops, the Space Needle, and many other Seattle landmarks.

Mid-range (US$150 – US$200)

  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown – Located right in the heart of the Queen Anne neighborhood, this hotel offers great views of Puget Sound. It’s close to the main tourist attractions, such as the Olympic Sculpture Park, and has spacious, bright, and super clean rooms, perfect for a comfortable night’s sleep!
  • The Mediterranean Inn – This hotel is a great option if you want to be super close to the Space Needle and the Pacific Science Center and enjoy the view of the Olympic Mountains. Among other cool facilities, this hotel offers a rooftop patio, comfy rooms, and free Wi-Fi.

Budget (up to US$150)

  • A Cozy Light-Filled Retreat – A 1-bedroom apartment that can perfectly accommodate 2 people. The bedroom has a comfy queen bed, and the living area boasts a sofa where you can unwind in front of the TV. 
  • Private, Quiet 2BD – This is a cozy and quiet garden-level apartment, a great choice if you’re going on a relaxing retreat. You can choose to cuddle up inside or, weather permitting, have your coffee out on the patio.

5. Capitol Hill – the best spot in Seattle to stay with friends

Scenic view of Capitol Hill, Seattle, with its colorful residential buildings and the calm waters of Lake Union

Capitol Hill is a culturally diverse, LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood that is calm and laid-back during the day but comes alive at night. This means you cannot get bored here.

There’s plenty to see and do, so I advise you to start exploring as soon as you get to Capitol Hill. Start with a visit to Volunteer Park (map) – here, you can learn about various plants at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, and become familiar with a different culture at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, located within the park. 

If you’re a movie/martial arts fan, during your visit to the park, you’ll also get the chance to pay your respects to Bruce and Brandon Lee, who considered Seattle their home and are buried in the park. But if that’s not something you feel like doing, you can just walk around the park and marvel at the Olympic Mountains. 

Another spot you should check out is Cal Anderson Park (map), a lovely park with a fountain, a wading pool, walking and jogging paths, and a ball field. Friend groups that like an active vacation will be happy to hear that there are plenty of hiking opportunities in the nearby Interlaken Park (map). 

But if all you want to do is relax with a drink, there are plenty of coffee shops, bars, and trendy restaurants where you can just sit around and unwind. Nue is a cool and hip eatery, and NEKO Cat Cafe is the best place to have a cup of coffee, that is, if you’re not allergic to cats!

Book lovers will certainly appreciate the Elliott Bay Book Company, but if you want full-day entertainment, I recommend you venture out to the Washington Park Arboretum, a lovely botanic garden on the shore of Lake Washington.

Right next to Capitol Hill, you’ll come across the neighborhood of First Hill. Although this is not a very touristy neighborhood and doesn’t have that many hotels, I still think it warrants a visit. Walk around and explore the neighborhood, and be sure to pay a visit to the Frye Art Museum and see one of the many exhibitions on display.

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a minimalistic bedroom with a blue accent, a lush poolside with tropical plants, and a cozy living room with a grand piano.

Luxury (US$250 and up)

  • Sonder at Solis – A 4-star hotel aparthotel where each of the rooms is air-conditioned, with a seating area and a private bathroom stocked with toiletries. Additionally, all rooms have a kitchen area with a fridge, dishwasher, and coffee machine. 
  • Cecil Bacon Manor – This upscale B&B in Capitol Hill has a garden, a terrace, and rooms with a dedicated dressing room. Guests enjoy a free continental breakfast, and the location is superb, very close to the Seattle Asian Art Museum and Volunteer Park.

Mid-range (US$150 – US$250)

  • Sonder The Boylston – This 3-star hotel offers private rooms, each with Wi-Fi access, air conditioning, and an en suite bathroom. The property is in a central location in the Capitol Hill area and just a few blocks away from popular attractions. 
  • Gaslight Inn – The 3-star inn is considered a Seattle landmark, originally built in the early 1900s. It offers on-site parking and Wi-Fi throughout the property, and there’s a seasonal outdoor pool, a lovely garden, and a shared lounge.

Budget (up to US$150)

  • 19th Avenue Lofts – A spacious 1-bedroom apartment with a large and comfortable living area, a small but well-equipped kitchen, and a balcony with a barbecue. The apartment offers free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and on-site parking. 
  • The Seattle Kraken Sweet Suite – This pet-friendly suite in Capitol Hill has a double bed and a private bathroom. Plus, guests get access to a shared kitchen and a large terrace, and the property provides free parking if you’re traveling with a car.

6. South Lake Union – best area for business travelers

Aerial view of Seattle showing Lake Union densely packed with boats and the surrounding urban landscape during twilight

The South Lake Union neighborhood is an up-and-coming area near the Seattle city center and provides the best views of Lake Union. Due to its central location, the area is quite popular among business travelers, so if you’re in Seattle for work, definitely book your stay at one of the South Lake Union Hotels!

However, you probably won’t be working the entire time you’re staying in South Lake Union. So, when you find yourself with some free time on your hands, head to Lake Union Park (map) and take a walk – sunset time in the park is pure magic!

Within Lake Union Park, you’ll find the Museum of History & Industry – I recommend you pay a visit if you’re interested in Seattle history. Here, you can also visit The Center for Wooden Boats, which, besides a museum, also functions as a boat rental service; you can get one of the historic wooden boats and go out on Lake Union. 

If you are looking for another green surface where you can relax and unwind, Denny Park (map) is a great spot for it; there are walking paths, benches, and food trucks – what more do you need for a relaxing afternoon?

In case you’re feeling hungry, I recommend you stop by the Portage Bay Cafe – South Lake Union (map) – it serves delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch made from seasonal, organic ingredients. 

The public transportation system also operates in the area, so you can hop on the Light Rail and explore the downtown area of Seattle. 

Here are the best South Lake Union hotels, all sorted by price range:

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: the Silver Cloud Inn's classic exterior, a comfortable bedroom with a cityscape view, and a contemporary living room with modern art and furniture

Luxury (US$270 and up)

  • Pan Pacific Seattle – A luxury hotel with state-of-the-art amenities, spacious guest rooms, and a free shuttle that can take you anywhere within a 2-mile (approx. 3 km) radius. Gourmet dining is available at the on-site restaurant, but there are numerous entertainment options within walking distance of the hotel. 
  • Astra Hotel – This 4-star South Lake Union hotel features a business area and an in-house bar. American breakfast is served every day, and each room is equipped with a desk, a safety deposit box, and a flat-screen TV.

Mid-range (US$200 – US$270)

  • La Quinta by Wyndham – This hotel near the Seattle Center is pet-friendly, has an on-site fitness center, and offers complimentary breakfast. The hotel’s business center is open 24/7, the Wi-Fi is free of charge, and guests can request dry cleaning and laundry services. 
  • Silver Cloud Inn – Seattle Lake Union – Each of the rooms at this 3-star hotel has a work desk, a seating area, and wood furniture. There’s also a fridge, microwave, and coffee facilities, so everything you need for a comfortable stay. Continental breakfast is served daily, and there are on-site laundry facilities.

7. Ballard – where to stay for a trendy vibe

Vibrant view of the Ballard Locks in Seattle, with water rushing through the spillway, surrounded by lush greenery and a clear blue sky with fluffy clouds

Ballard is a trendy waterfront neighborhood of Seattle renowned for its rich Scandinavian heritage. Ballard Avenue marks the very center of the neighborhood, and here, you’ll come across many cool shops, cafes, and restaurants. 

The Ballard Locks (Hiram M. Chittenden) (map) are the area’s main attraction in the area for sure! It is basically a waterway that connects Puget Sound with Lake Union and Lake Washington. This is a popular tourist attraction, and the best thing about it is that you can go up to the locks and get a close look at the boats locking through and see the salmon at the Ballard Locks Fish Ladder (map). 

The Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden is situated right next to the Ballard Locks, a botanical garden that houses a variety of exotic trees and plants. Once you’ve concluded your visit to the garden, I suggest you continue to the National Nordic Museum, where you can learn a lot about Nordic culture and see how that ties into Ballard’s history. 

During your stay in Ballard, you have to go out to Golden Gardens Beach Park (map) and spend a relaxing day on the beach. You should also stop by Sunset Hill Park (map) to witness the most amazing views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliott Bay. The Ballard Farmers Market is another must-visit, and it’s open year-round, so you can visit any time!

Other points of interest in the Ballard neighborhood include the small but lovely Marvin’s Garden (map) with Ballard Centennial Bell Tower and the Edith Macefield House (map). And if you’re looking for entertainment, I would recommend the Tractor Tavern and The Sunset Tavern, 2 great live music venues. 

Ballard is a great base for exploring other parts of Seattle, so if you want to make the most of your stay, I suggest you venture out of the neighborhood. Your first destination should be Discovery Park (map), the largest green surface in Seattle that offers numerous hiking trails, great views of the sound, and the West Point Lighthouse, among other points of interest. 

Then, I highly recommend you pay a visit to the Woodland Park Zoo, home to more than 300 animal species. And lastly, you have to take some time to explore Northgate, a nearby neighborhood where you’ll find Northgate Station, the first covered mall in the US. 

NOTE: Ballard doesn’t have as many good hotels as the other areas, and that’s why I’m recommending only one option per price category. 

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a luxurious lounge area with a fireplace and bookshelves, a simple yet elegant bedroom, and a stylish living room with two sofas with black and white patterns

Luxury (US$230 and up)

  • Hotel Ballard – A boutique hotel with a furnished rooftop terrace, room service, and a restaurant offering small-plate cuisine. All guests at Hotel Ballard are granted free access to a 24-hour athletic club, 2 hot tubes, 2 lap pools, and fitness classes. A 24-hour concierge service is available to assist with anything else you might need.

Mid-range (US$170 – US$230)

  • Ballard Inn – This historic hotel features rooms with comfortable furnishings, each with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and decorated with Victorian art and fixtures. The reception is open 24/7, and the shared lobby is available to all guests. 

Budget (up to US$140)

  • Ballard’s Sweet Suites – All of the apartments at this property are non-smoking and provide free Wi-Fi access. Guests can use a shared kitchen and a communal living room, and there are also on-site laundry services for added convenience.

8. Pioneer Square – where to stay for Seattle nightlife

harming street view of a brick building covered in ivy with outdoor seating in Seattle, showcasing the city's urban greenery

Pioneer Square is one of Seattle’s oldest areas, recognizable for its unique blend of the old and the new. It’s conveniently situated in downtown Seattle and perfect for night owls looking for a fun night out!

The neighborhood is home to plenty of cool bars and restaurants, but I’d recommend Flatstick Pub, where you can try a variety of Washington beers, or Shawn O’Donnell’s Irish Pub, which, besides drinks, serves delicious Irish-style food. 

If you’re a music aficionado, you probably know that Seattle is the birthplace of grunge. Well, in Pioneer Square, you can visit the Central Saloon, Seattle’s oldest saloon and a key place in grunge history. 

Bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden have played at the Central – and you can have a drink there!

Seattle’s Pioneer Square has more to offer than just pubs! The neighborhood’s main landmark is Smith Tower – snap a photo from the ground or go up to the top and admire the stunning city views. If you decide to visit, make sure to stop at the Smith Tower bar and try one of their artisanal cocktails. 

FUN FACT: Smith Tower is the oldest Seattle skyscraper. It was completed in 1914 and was the tallest office building west of the Mississippi River until 1931. 

Another unmissable spot in Pioneer Square is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, that’s been established to commemorate the Klondike Gold Rush, which took place in the 1890s. Many of the gold miners who were part of this historical event passed through Seattle on their way to Canada, and the park aims to honor their legacy. 

When you just want to walk around and relax, the Waterfall Garden is the perfect spot due to its serene atmosphere. However, if you’re up for an adventure, taking one of the helicopter tours of Seattle is an exciting way to spend your day. 

That being said, here are the best Pioneer Square hotels you can choose from:

A collage of four hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a hotel room with a sleek modern design, a cozy living area with yellow accents, and the hotel's colorful exterior at dusk

Luxury (US$200 and up)

  • Hotel 1000 – Mere minutes away from Pioneer Square, this 4-star hotel features a full-service spa, an on-site seafood restaurant and a lounge serving craft cocktails. Each room has an in-room safe, a minibar, and a flat-screen TV with HD cable channels. 
  • Embassy Suites – This is one of the best luxury hotels in downtown Seattle. It has an on-site bar and serves free American breakfast daily. All rooms have private bathrooms, desks, and seating areas, and some offer city views.

Mid-range (US$140 – US$200)

  • Best Western Plus Pioneer Square – One of the best Pioneer Square hotels, offering excellent value for money. Free Wi-Fi and a very good breakfast are just some of the advantages of staying here! Guests are also free to use the business center and relax in the lobby in front of the fireplace. 
  • CitizenM Seattle – A 4-star hotel offering 3 breakfast options, with an on-site bar and a shared lounge. Room amenities include air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a safety deposit box, and a flat-screen TV. The front desk is open 24/7, and guests can also benefit from the hotel’s luggage storage services.

Budget (up to US$140)

  • HI – Seattle – A clean and comfortable hostel with shared dormitory rooms, with private lockers for each guest. Shared spaces include a kitchen, TV room, and a library. Guests can also use the property’s laundry facilities and enjoy the free continental breakfast served each morning. 
  • Historic Merchants Apartment – A cozy studio apartment featuring a double bed, a private bathroom with laundry facilities, and a functional kitchen. The property is conveniently located in Pioneer Square, right above Seattle’s oldest restaurant, where you can grab a drink or catch a football game.

9. University District – top Seattle area for young people

University of Washington campus in Seattle, with cherry blossoms in full bloom framing the historic architecture, bustling with student activity

The University District, colloquially known as U-District, is the area around the University of Washington. It’s bustling with life, mainly because of the large number of students living there, which also makes it the perfect destination for young people. 

U-District is an amazing spot to immerse yourself in some culture. Your first stop should definitely be the Burke Museum of Natural History, displaying artifacts dating back to prehistoric times. Another great place for a cultural experience is Henry Art Gallery, a cool contemporary art museum. 

If you’re into books, the University Book Store will definitely not disappoint – plus, there’s a great coffee shop on site!

Shopping enthusiasts will find plenty to do at the University Village shopping center – there’s everything from large chain stores to local boutique shops. And there are tons of places where you can grab a bite to eat. 

In case you happen to be in the U-District during the weekend, use your Saturday to explore the University District Farmers Market and try some delicious local food.

During spring and summer, you should make use of the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center (WAC) (map), rent a kayak or a canoe, and go out on the Lake Union for an unforgettable adventure. 

No visit to Seattle would be complete without some time spent at Gas Works Park (map) in Northlake, a green surface on Lake Union that once housed an oil plant and has now transformed into an incredible picnic spot – you can easily reach it from the University District. Plus, it’s another location you may recognize from Sleepless in Seattle!

And if you’re on the hunt for more outdoor activities, I’d suggest going to Warren G. Magnuson Park (map), a lovely city park that stretches along Lake Washington – perfect for taking your dog out for a walk or just strolling around and taking in the serenity the park offers. 

If you think that the University District Seattle is the right place for your stay, scroll down to find my list of hand-picked hotels:

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: the Watertown Hotel's welcoming entrance, a bedroom with a blend of classic and modern elements, and a living room with a fireplace and comfortable seating.

Luxury (US$220 and up)

  • Residence Inn by Marriott Seattle University District – A luxury hotel in the heart of the University District, with an indoor pool, fitness center, and a 24/7 front desk. The guest rooms are modern and colorful, with a cozy seating area and a flat-screen TV. 
  • Staypineapple at Watertown Hotel – An on-site fitness center, bike rental, laundry facilities, and beautiful and bright rooms – are some of the perks of staying here! During your stay at this 3-star hotel, check out the Pineapple Cafe as well – it’s great!

Mid-range (US$160 – US$220)

  • College Inn – European-Style Hotel – A lovely inn located on the campus of the University of Washington and a short bus ride away from Seattle Centre and Washington State Convention Centre. The rooms are comfortable and have access to shared bathrooms, and there’s also an on-site coffee shop and lounge. 
  • Micro Studio Apartment – This sustainable apartment is allergy-free and offers free Wi-Fi. Even though the place is quite small, it’s comfortable and has all the necessary amenities for a pleasant stay.

Budget (up to US$160)

  • University District Studio Apartment – A lovely rental with a private entrance, a deck, an en suite bathroom, and a comfy king-sized bed. Wi-Fi and air conditioning are available in the unit, and parking is provided upon request. 
  • Lilac In Law – This 1-bedroom studio is equipped with a queen bed, a bathroom with free toiletries and a hair dryer, and a kitchen where you can cook your own meals. Wi-Fi and on-site parking are provided free of charge.

10. West Seattle – for outdoor adventures

Sunset view of West Seattle's shoreline, featuring the quaint Alki Point Lighthouse and beachfront homes

My final recommendation goes out to West Seattle, a large area with an amazing beach and several lovely parks – the perfect spot for outdoor adventures and very budget-friendly, both in terms of accommodation and activities. 

As soon as you settle into your accommodation, take a swimsuit and head to Alki Beach Park (map); here, you can lounge on the beach sunbathing, go surfing, or bring a picnic and snatch a spot at one of the picnic tables. Be sure to check out the Alki Point Lighthouse (map), a historic landmark from 1913 that’s still active to date.

The beach is, of course, the best place to indulge in some seafood. For this, I would recommend Salty’s on Alki Beach – all the seafood dishes are delicious, but if you happen to go during the weekend, you have to try their Sunday Brunch. And if you’re after more dining spots, I can assure you that you won’t go wrong with Harry’s Beach House

Once you’re ready to leave the beach, you can move on to the parks! Lincoln Park (map) has beach access and barbecue facilities, Hamilton Viewpoint Park (map), as you might have guessed, offers stunning views of the Seattle skyline, while Schmitz Preserve Park (map) is the ultimate spot to visit if you’re looking for hiking trails. 

You’ll be happy to hear that this part of Seattle has its own farmers’ market – the West Seattle Farmers Market is open on Sundays and offers fresh produce from local vendors throughout the entire year. 

NOTE: Unlike all the other neighborhoods I’ve recommended so far, West Seattle doesn’t have any luxury hotels, but I singled out 2 great options in both the mid-range and budget categories.

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Seattle: a stylish bedroom with wall decor, a modern living room with a large window, and a house with a balcony surrounded by greenery

Mid-range (US$160 – US$240)

  • The Ferry House – Guests at this property can enjoy sea views, have access to free Wi-Fi and parking, and relax in front of the TV that offers streaming services. All units also have separate seating and dining areas, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. 
  • High Point Guesthouse – This recently renovated home boasts a beautiful garden with an outdoor fireplace and a balcony that’s perfect for outdoor dining. The home has a private entrance, air conditioning, a seating/dining area, and a kitchen, in addition to the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

Budget (up to US$160)

  • The Grove West Seattle Inn – A quaint motel with spacious, carpeted rooms decorated with wall art, featuring a work desk, coffee maker, and a flat-screen TV. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast and use the laundry facilities and business center. 
  • Westside Escape – This 2-bedroom holiday home has a fully equipped kitchen, 3 bathrooms, and a large seating area. The accommodation also has a balcony, air conditioning, private parking, and facilities for disabled guests.
👑 Luxury price:US$350
💵 Mid-range:US$200
🛏️ Budget:US$130
📍 Best neighborhood:Belltown
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:The Sound Hotel
💵 Mid-range hotel:The Belltown Inn
👛 Best budget hotel:The Baroness Hotel

BONUS: Where to stay in Bellevue

Aerial perspective of Bellevue, Washington, highlighting its cityscape with high-rise buildings and mountainous backdrop during fall

The city of Bellevue is situated on the shore of Lake Washington, just across from Seattle. It’s often referred to as an edge city of Seattle, and it’s known for its upscale shopping opportunities. So, if you want to stay near Seattle but away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, then I suggest you look into the hotels recommended below. 

  • Hyatt Regency Bellevue ($$$) – The upscale hotel boasts a restaurant open 24/7, a full-service business center, an indoor pool, a modern gym, a currency exchange, and on-site shops. The tour desk can help you plan activities in the area. 
  • Eastgate Hotel – BW Signature Collection ($$) – This 3-star hotel has family rooms and offers free parking and Wi-Fi. All rooms are non-smoking, and each features a flat-screen TV and a safety deposit box. 
  • Extended Stay America Suites – Seattle – Redmond ($) – These budget suites are a great choice for longer stays; each room has a fully equipped kitchen, and there are also laundry and ironing facilities. There’s also on-site parking and a grab-and-go breakfast.

FAQs about where to stay in Seattle

Pike Place Market fish stall in Seattle, bustling with activity and showcasing a variety of fresh seafood on ice, with colorful signage

📍 Which is the best neighborhood to stay in Seattle?

The best neighborhood to stay in Seattle, especially on a first visit, is Belltown in downtown Seattle, and the best hotels you can stay in are The Sound Hotel and Hotel Andra

📅 How many days is enough to visit Seattle?

Take 3 to 4 days to explore Seattle and see the main attractions. I recommend staying in downtown Seattle so you can walk to the main points of interest and have good access to the Light Rail system. 

✅ Is Bellevue a good place to stay when visiting Seattle?

Bellevue is a suburban town outside of Seattle, and it’s a good choice when you want a quiet stay. However, it’s not a great option if you want to be close to the top attractions in downtown Seattle. 

🚢 Where to stay in Seattle before a cruise?

The 2 best spots to stay in before a Seattle cruise are the Pan Pacific Seattle in South Lake Union, which offers a free shuttle service to Pier 66, and The Mediterranean Inn in Queen Anne, which offers a cruise shuttle service at an extra charge.

🚌 How to get around Seattle?

Seattle is a very walkable city – you can easily get around on foot. However, for a more efficient (and less tiring) trip, I suggest using public transportation, specifically the Light Rail system. 

⚠️ Is Seattle safe, and what’s the safest area?

Seattle is generally considered safe, and neighborhoods like Queen Anne and Capitol Hill are considered among the safest in the city. Some areas that are considered unsafe include Atlantic, Sand Point, and Haller Lake

⭐ Where do celebrities stay in Seattle?

Celebrities often stay at upscale hotels like the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle or go for a trendy boutique hotel like The Edgewater in downtown Seattle

🏘️ What are some family-friendly suburbs near Seattle, Washington?

Some family-friendly suburbs near Seattle, Washington include Bellevue, Redmond, and Issaquah.

🌤️ What is the best month to visit Seattle?

The best time to visit Seattle is summer, between June and August. This is the warmest time of the year, and you’re more likely to avoid the rain.

🛬 How far is Seattle downtown from the airport?

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is 14 miles (22 km) from downtown Seattle, which is approximately 20 minutes by car. 


Seattle skyline at dusk with the Space Needle in the foreground and Mount Rainier providing a majestic backdrop

You’ve reached the end of my complete guide on where to stay in Seattle! I hope you found this article useful and have already decided on one of the 10 areas and picked a hotel. I also recommended some amazing apartments in Seattle and airport hotels, in case you need them. In short, this post has it all!

Even though the post features many amazing hotels, these 2 hotels in Belltown, downtown Seattle, are my personal favorites:

  • The Sound Hotel – A luxury hotel with an amazing restaurant and close to the main attractions
  • The Belltown Inn – A hotel with a great rooftop terrace, offering stunning views of the city

Are you traveling to Seattle soon? Be sure to book in advance, as accommodations tend to sell out quickly! 

Do you have any other questions? Let me know in the comments below – I’m happy to answer!

Happy travels,


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  1. Marisa 14.08.2021 at 02:14
  2. Stephen Vaccaro 11.04.2021 at 19:32
    • Kate Fletcher 13.04.2021 at 11:59

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