So, you’re either thinking about or actively planning a trip to the Emerald City and you’re wondering where you should stay in Seattle? Firstly, thanks for your interest in Seattle! The team at Totally Seattle Tours are always happy when folk are interested in our city.
Secondly, we’d like to say that there is no single ‘right’ accommodation option in Seattle for every type of visitor as a 5-star hotel might be perfect for one guest but horribly out of budget for another. With this guide, we’d like to offer balance by covering various accommodation options around Seattle.
We have previously written guides on how to get around Seattle as a tourist and the best time of year to visit Seattle — so please check them out if you’d like even more help planning your Seattle trip. And if you’d like to explore the city with a passionate, trained local guide, consider something from our range of private tours in Seattle.
The Size of Seattle
One of the trickiest parts of planning a visit to a city is getting a sense of its scale. Is it going to take one, two, or several days to explore the city and experience the best it has to offer? The size also dictates the different districts that break up the city.
Seattle is the 15th largest city in the US, with a population of around 750,000 people. Its population and scale are around the same level as the likes of Boston, San Francisco in the US, and a little bigger than the likes of Glasgow in Scotland and a little smaller than Amsterdam in The Netherlands.
How you choose to explore the city will also affect how long it takes for you to explore Seattle, so we can’t give an exact number of days that it takes to really absorb the city. However, if you’re content to just see the majority of the cultural sights and have a bit of fun, you can explore Seattle in around 3 to 4 days.
But, now you need somewhere to stay for four days… Rather than spanning the entire city, listing good hotels, we’d like to explore what we consider to be the three best districts in Seattle:
- Downtown Seattle
- Capitol Hill
Staying in Downtown Seattle
You should stay in downtown Seattle if you want to be right in the action and you’re not going to be staying very long. Here, you’ll be close to many of Seattle’s most famous sights, allowing you to mostly walk between all of Downtown Seattle’s best sights, bars, cafes, and restaurants.
We suggest staying near the city’s famous Pike Place Market as this is a must-see spot. Head into the market for some of the best food in Seattle. We don’t have time to go into all of the fun things to do here, so check out our Seattle Center and Pike Place Market Tour if you’d like to be inspired.
Recommended hotels in Downtown Seattle:
- Four Seasons Hotel
- Fairmont Olympic Hotel
- The Alexis Hotel
- The Inn at the Market
Staying in Seattle’s Belltown
Not too far from Downtown Seattle, Belltown is arguably the best of both worlds as it offers a fairly central location (right beside Pike Place Market) but it avoids all of the chain restaurants that are common in Downtown Seattle. This means you’ll avoid the big chains that you could probably find in any big city in the US; instead, in Belltown you’ll find lots of independent stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes. You’ll find these things in Downtown Seattle too, but they’ll be scattered throughout all the chains! You find out even more about Belltown at VisitSeattle.org.
Belltown is a residential neighborhood, making AirBNB and VRBO perfect options for accommodation. It also has a lot of independent boutique hotels to choose from; we won’t list all of them here as we’d prefer to have tried out the best ones more recently before making lots of recommendations. But you can’t go wrong with the following tried-and-tested hotels:
- The Ace Hotel
- The Hotel Crocodile
- The Sound Hotel
Staying in Seattle’s Capitol Hill
If you know a little about Seattle, you may already know that Capitol Hill is often considered the coolest/trendiest neighborhood in the city. There is particularly good nightlife in Capitol Hill, which makes it a great area to stay in if you’re a little younger and want to get to know the locals over a few drinks. There are also especially good cafes and restaurants in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, making it one of the best places for foodies to stay too
Similar to Belltown, Capitol Hill is more residential, so it’s a great place to stay if you’d like to live as a local. Hotel Sorrento or the Silver Cloud Inn are great hotels to choose from. Otherwise, you might be best with an AirBNB or VRBO. Alternatively, a nice Bed and Breakfast such as Mildred’s Bed and Breakfast might be the perfect option.
That’s all we have time for today. We hope this guide has helped a few readers figure out where they’d like to stay in Seattle. So much of the city has not been featured in this guide, but this isn’t because these places aren’t great; it’s just because we’ve listed our top choices. Perhaps we’ll come back in another year and write a longer, in-depth accommodation guide to Seattle…
If anything we’ve written here has helped you, perhaps you’d like to come on one of our Seattle tours. We are a top-reviewed local tour company that celebrates the very best of Seattle. If you’d like to take your experience to the next level, consider one of our Specialty Tours of Seattle and please get in touch if you have any questions.