Seattle Travel Guide › Seattle Hotels
Updated: December 18, 2021
Seattle Hotels – Tips & Recommendations
- Seattle is loaded with great hotels. But if I had to pick my absolute favorites they would be the Four Seasons and the Inn at the Market.
- Best 5-Star Hotels: The Four Seasons • Fairmont Olympic • Thompson Seattle
- Best Boutique Hotel: Inn at the Market
- Best Historic Hotels: Hotel Sorrento • The Arctic Club • Mayflower Park Hotel
- Best New Hotel: Thompson Seattle
- Seattle Hotels with Pool: The Four Seasons (outdoor pool and hot tub with marvelous views) • The Westin (best pool for kids) • Hyatt at Olive 8 (best pool for laps) • Fairmont Olympic • Marriott Waterfront • Sheraton Grand • Warwick • Courtyard Pioneer Square • Silver Cloud Stadium, Lake Union, Broadway
- Seattle Hotels with Kitchen: Inn at the Market (Beecher’s Loft) • Hyatt House • Residence Inn Lake Union
- Seattle Hotels with In-Room Jacuzzi: Fairmont Olympic (Cascade Suite) • Alexis Royal Sonesta (1BR and Spa Suites) • Ändra (Monarch Suite) • Hotel 1000 (Presidential Grand Suite) • Grand Hyatt (Onyx, Carrera, Vesuvio Suites) • The Edgewater (Penthouse Suite) • Hotel Vintage (Luxury Suite) • Warwick (all suites) • Silver Cloud Stadium, Lake Union, Broadway (King BR w/Jacuzzi)
- Best Seattle Hotels with a View: Four Seasons • Inn at the Market • Thompson Seattle • The Edgewater • The Westin • Pan Pacific • The State Hotel
- Best Seattle Hotel for Foodies: All of the downtown hotels are close to lots of great restaurants but the Inn at the Market (smack in the middle of Pike Place Market) has a half-dozen great places to eat within a 30 second walk.
- Best Neighborhood Hotel in Seattle: Hotel Ballard is 7 miles northwest of downtown and surrounded by fun neighborhood pubs, hip cafes, trendy delicious restaurants, top notch live music – and almost no tourists. Highly recommended!
- Seattle Hotel with Free Parking: Silver Cloud Inn Lake Union
- Best Cheap Hotel in Seattle: Ace Hotel
- SeaTac Airport to Downtown: Use Link Light Rail (cheap) or taxi (easy) to get to downtown hotels. The taxi queue is a 1 minute walk from the baggage carousels in arrivals – just follow the signs. There’s rarely a wait. The pickup spot for Uber and Lyft is 100 feet beyond the taxi pickup area.
- Best Hotel Outside of Seattle: Salish Lodge & Spa at the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls (40 minutes from downtown Seattle) is fantastic.
The 21 Best Hotels in Seattle
1. The Four Seasons – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-749-7000
Seattle’s best luxury hotel – centrally located near Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, and loads of downtown restaurants. Modern, airy, and elegant decor, plush and spacious guest rooms and suites, and stunning views. The full spa, beautiful outdoor heated infinity pool, and 24-hour fitness center all overlook Elliott Bay. The restaurant is fantastic. Service is impeccable.
2. Fairmont Olympic Hotel – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-621-1700
The most opulent and traditional Seattle hotel. Luxurious suites are warm and comfortable and feel like you’re in a friend’s home. Executives Suites are worth the splurge for the additional room and wonderful bathrooms. Luxury shopping surrounds the hotel and 2 of Seattle’s best restaurants, Shuckers and The Georgian, are on the ground floor. The elegant Georgian offers a daily traditional afternoon tea. Pike Place Market and Pacific Place Mall (downtown’s best and biggest mall) are both a 5 minute’s walk away. The fitness center on the 2nd floor is really nice, and there’s a lovely glass-enclosed pool and hot tub, with outdoor terrace. The hotel has its own beehives on the roof – the honey is used in everything from desserts to beer in the hotel’s restaurants.
3. Inn At The Market – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-443-3600
This is Seattle’s premier boutique hotel. It’s located in the lanes of Pike Place Market and surrounded by top notch restaurants – and when I say surrounded, I mean surrounded: this is foodie heaven. Fantastic views, large rooms, and immaculate bathrooms are hidden within the understated exterior. It’s in the heart of the tourist scene but never feels anything but classy and enchanting. There’s a marvelous rooftop patio on the 5th floor that looks over Pike Place Market to Elliot Bay. It’s rarely used by hotel guests so you could grab food and a local bottle of wine from the market and quite possibly have the whole deck to yourself.
4. Thompson Seattle – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-623-4600
Seattle’s most modern hotel. The Thompson has floor-to-ceiling windows with great water and mountain views to the west. Decor is contemporary and stylish with a modern edge. Just steps from the shops and restaurants of Pike Place Market, though the in-house restaurant, Conversation, is not to be missed. Be sure to visit The Nest rooftop cocktail and oyster bar to enjoy the amazing views. Exceptional service and a welcoming atmosphere complete the experience.
5. Alexis Royal Sonesta – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-628-4844
A Kimpton boutique hotel with a casually elegant vibe. Excellent downtown location near all major attractions. Guest rooms are stylish, spacious, and quiet, with thoughtful details throughout. Incredible specialty suites, in-house bar and cafe, daily wine hour, and complimentary bikes are offered.
6. Hotel Ändra – Belltown
Hotel Phone: 206-448-8600
A lovely and modern boutique-style hotel, done up in a warm Scandinavian-chic decor. Rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, with a good variety of sizes to choose from: small (but thoughtfully laid-out) studios up to spacious suites. Celebrity chef Tom Douglas owns the fantastic restaurant next door (which also provides the hotel room service), and attached cooking school. You can’t beat the location – the Ändra is close to Pike Place Market, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
7. Hotel 1000 – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-957-1000
Centrally-located luxury hotel, easy walking distance to stadiums, shopping, restaurants, museums, Pioneer Square, and Pike Place Market. Modern guest rooms and suites are spacious and comfortable, with deep, ceiling-fill tubs big enough for two, and glass partitioning (with automatic privacy shade) between bathing and bedroom areas. There’s an in-house restaurant and bar, full-service spa, virtual driving range, champagne upon check-in, and complimentary car service provided. Very pet-friendly but probably the least kid-friendly hotel in Seattle. (If you’re looking for an adult’s getaway this is a great choice.)
8. Hyatt at Olive 8 – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-695-1234
Eco-friendly luxury hotel in the downtown corridor. The vibe is sleek and contemporary, with an outstanding farm-to-table restaurant and lounge, on-site spa and fitness facility, and beautiful saline lap pool with dry sauna and steam room. Close to shopping, the convention center, and Pike Place Market.
9. Grand Hyatt – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-774-1234
Downtown modern luxury hotel with great views, especially from higher, west-facing rooms. Accommodations are spacious and include automatic entry foyers, black-out shades, and huge soaking tubs. Excellent gym and restaurants. Super convenient location for shopping, sightseeing, and the Seattle Convention Center.
10. Hotel Max – Belltown
Hotel Phone: 206-728-6299
A fun and modern boutique hotel with small rooms, a big heart, and an urban vibe. The comfortable lobby has pop art, rock music, and daily craft beer happy hour. Guest rooms, though small, are comfortable and well-appointed, and include thoughtful touches like Tivoli clock radios and art mags for browsing. 5th-floor rooms include Crosley record players and a selection of Sup Pop vinyl. The Max might be difficult with small kids but is extremely dog-friendly. Great restaurant, super friendly staff, and a location that’s convenient to downtown attractions.
11. The Westin – Belltown
Hotel Phone: 206-728-1000
A safe choice (though not terribly exciting) for a clean, comfortable stay in a central downtown location. Rooms are large and have Westin’s famous “heavenly” beds and showers. The higher floors have the best views of any Seattle hotel. The heated indoor pool, burger bistro, and central location make the Westin one of the most kid-friendly Seattle hotels.
12. The Edgewater – Waterfront
Hotel Phone: 206-728-7000
Great views at this charming lodge-themed luxury hotel situated on Seattle’s waterfront. There’s a fantastic restaurant and cozy lounge area sitting right over Elliott Bay, and every guest room has a gas fireplace. The waterfront room views are definitely worth the upgrade. Walkable to waterfront attractions, Pike Place Market, Seattle Center, and the Olympic Sculpture Park, but you do feel a little detached from the downtown action (perhaps that’s what you want).
13. Pan Pacific – South Lake Union
Hotel Phone: 206-624-8111
A warm and modern luxury hotel, discreetly tucked into the South Lake Union neighborhood, a little outside of Downtown. Convenient to Seattle Center and great neighborhood restaurants, it’s a 10 minute walk to downtown shopping and 15 minutes to Pike Place Market. Car service is provided if you’re not up for the trek. Spacious guest rooms are well-appointed, many with excellent Space Needle and Lake Union views. Bathrooms are gorgeous, with large soaking tubs. There’s a fantastic bar/restaurant, as well as an adjacent Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Tutta Bella Pizzeria for quick eats.
14. Hotel Monaco – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-621-1770
A trendy and modern Kimpton boutique hotel in central downtown. Prime location – surrounded by shopping and restaurants and within walking distance to all downtown attractions. Guest rooms are spacious and stylish, and the elegant and welcoming lobby has live music on the weekends. There’s a good restaurant, daily wine hour, and free bike rental. Good for pets and great for kids – there’s a magic show every Friday, and you can even request a pet goldfish for the duration of your stay.
15. Palladian Hotel – Belltown
Hotel Phone: 206-448-1111
A boutique hotel in Seattle’s popular Belltown neighborhood, blocks from Pike Place Market and downtown attractions. Cozy guest rooms have a hip, playful vibe, with trendy vintage-modern décor. There’s a charming old-world lobby bar with daily hosted cocktail hour, as well as a great seafood restaurant and complimentary bike rental.
16. Hotel Sorrento – First Hill
Hotel Phone: 206-622-6400
One of the most charming hotels in Seattle, this old world boutique hotel is situated a little uphill from downtown but still within easy walking distance. Gorgeous wood-paneled lobby, designer suites, and spacious guest rooms with period details and white marble bathrooms. The elegant restaurant and lounge are fantastic (and recently renovated).
17. Mayflower Park Hotel – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-623-8700
Located smack in the heart of downtown, this historic boutique hotel offers loads of charm at a cheaper price tag than the Fairmont or Sorrento. Elegant old-world furnishing, gorgeous lobby bar, gracious staff, and easy access to all transit (including light rail direct from the airport to the hotel). Guest and bathrooms are small but clean and well-appointed, with period details. Unbeatable location for shopping and downtown sightseeing.
18. The Arctic Club – Pioneer Square
Hotel Phone: 206-340-0340
There are gorgeous architectural details everywhere you look in this beautiful restoration of an early 1900’s social club. Guest rooms and baths are good-sized and well-appointed, with tasteful vintage decor – some have terraces and jacuzzi tubs. There’s a great in-house restaurant and beautiful lobby bar, both with a classic “men’s club” feel. If you can steal a peek at the Northern Lights Dome Room (the Arctic Club banquet space), do. It’s a stunner. Located on the edge of Seattle’s financial district, the Arctic Club isn’t as centrally-located as other options, but is still walkable to most downtown attractions. Transit access couldn’t be easier – the Pioneer Square light rail station is right next door.
19. The Maxwell Hotel – Seattle Center
Hotel phone: 206-286-0629
A great choice for families, done up in bold colors and fun patterns, and located outside of bustling downtown. Kids love the small indoor pool and daily lobby cupcakes; parents appreciate the easy walk to Seattle Center Museums and the Space Needle, and the complimentary shuttle service to family-friendly Seattle attractions (including Woodland Park Zoo). There’s an on-site wood-fired pizza restaurant and other good eats (and a great grocery store) nearby. Comfortable beds are dressed Euro-style, with individual freshly-washed duvets for each guest. Bring the pooch – The Maxwell is also very dog-friendly.
20. The State Hotel – Downtown
Hotel phone: 206-513-7300
91-room boutique property within a lovingly-restored 1902 building in an unbeatable location – just one block from Pike Place Market. The decor is a pleasing blend of Mid-century and Art-Deco styles, with local and bespoke artwork featuring prominently throughout. Their excellent and reasonably-priced on-site restaurant, Ben Paris, has an innovative cocktail menu and daily happy hour. 8th-floor guest rooms feature terraces, alongside a communal rooftop terrace offering amazing views over the Market and Puget Sound that’s open to all. Surrounded by fantastic restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing.
21. The Charter – Downtown
Hotel Phone: 206-256-7500
Trendy hotel in the heart of downtown shopping and an easy walk to Pike Place Market and the bars and restaurants of Belltown. Great rooftop bar with city views.
Map of Seattle Hotels
Seattle Neighborhoods for Tourists
Where to stay in Seattle? The core of Seattle is fairly compact, and most visitors choose to stay within the city’s central corridor neighborhoods: Downtown, Belltown, Pioneer Square, the Waterfront, South Lake Union, and the area surrounding Seattle Center. Seattle’s long rainy season and hilly terrain make it a good idea to book a hotel near to what you plan to spend the most time.
• Close to Pike Place Market
The neighborhoods of Downtown, Belltown, and Pioneer Square are all within an easy walk of Pike Place Market. The Waterfront is not far, distance-wise, but is separated from the Market by a busy street and a steep hill.
• Close to the Space Needle
Seattle Center, where the Space Needle is located, straddles the neighborhoods of Lower Queen Anne and Denny. This can be a good choice for those looking for a hotel outside of the busiest part of the city, but still close to museums and easy transport into downtown.
• Close to Shopping
Nordstrom’s flagship store, as well as Westlake Center and the high-end Pacific Place shopping malls are located Downtown. Local and independent boutiques are common in Belltown and Pioneer Square.
• Close to the Convention Center
Downtown hotels are best for visitors attending Washington State Convention Center events, and the further from the waterfront, the close you’ll be. (Look for hotels located on or near 6th, 7th, or 8th Avenues.) Belltown and Pioneer Square hotels are within a 10-15 walk.
• Close to Universities
The University of Washington is located 5 miles northeast of downtown Seattle. There are many good hotels in the University District (“U-District” to locals), and the UW’s Link light rail station makes for easy transit from Downtown, Pioneer Square, and Capitol Hill.
Seattle University is located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, within walking distance of a couple of good hotels. Capitol Hill is connected to Downtown, Pioneer Square, and the University District by light rail, and to Pioneer Square via street car.
Seattle Pacific University lies a few miles north of downtown Seattle, separated from the city center by steep Queen Anne Hill. The neighborhoods with easiest access to SPU are Seattle Center and South Lake Union.
• Close to Cruise Ports
Travelers embarking from The Bell Street Terminal on Norwegian and Oceania cruise lines would do best to stay on the Waterfront (walkable), or Downtown or Belltown (a quick taxi/ride share away).
Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International cruise lines sail from Smith Cove Terminal. This terminal isn’t walkable to any hotels, but is an easy taxi, ride share, or shuttle ride from Seattle Center area hotels, as well as Downtown.
More information about cruising from Seattle can be found here: Seattle Cruise Port Guide.
• Best Views
The best Elliott Bay views are found in Waterfront hotels, and Downtown hotels located near Pike Place Market or with high floors. The best Space Needle views are in Seattle Center and South Lake Union area hotels. South Lake Union hotels have pleasant lake views.
• Best Nightlife
Seattle’s nightlife scene is the most active in Belltown and Capitol Hill, and to a lesser extent Pioneer Square. For a neighborhood nightlife vibe try Ballard, Fremont, or Wallingford.
• Best for a Quiet Stay
To be close to the city, but outside of most of the noise and crowds, choose a South Lake Union or Seattle Center hotel (but avoid Seattle Center hotels on Labor and Memorial Day, when music festivals congest the area).
• Best Connected for Transit
Downtown, Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, and the University District all have stations on Seattle’s light rail line, which also connects to the airport. South Lake Union and Capitol Hill connect to Downtown via street car line, and the Seattle Monorail connects Seattle Center to the downtown core. You can read more about public transit in Seattle here.
Staying in Downtown Seattle
Dense and dynamic, Seattle’s downtown core is home to most of the city’s best (and most expensive) hotels, as well as some of our most incredible hotel room views. Loads of great shopping, dining, and entertainment options are at your doorstep: By day, browse the market stalls at Pike Place and the galleries at SAM. Get your fashion fix at the original Nordstrom location at 6th and Pine. At night, step out for a show – you’ll have your pick of all types of music, theater, and dance. At any time of day, you’re surrounded by fantastic restaurants just waiting to serve you award-winning Northwest cuisine and the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste.
Expect to pay premium rates to stay downtown, especially in the summer months. A car isn’t essential – this area is exceptionally walkable, and parking can be expensive and hard to come by. (Hotels charge $30-$40/night extra for valet parking.) Generally, what’s not accessible by foot is easily reached via light rail, street car, or monorail.
- The Four Seasons • Review • Hotel phone: (206) 749 7000
- Inn at the Market • Hotel phone: (206) 443 3600
- Thompson Seattle • Review • Hotel phone: (206) 623-4600
- Alexis Royal Sonesta • Hotel phone: (206) 624 4844
- Fairmont Olympic • Hotel phone: (206) 621 1700
- The State Hotel • Review • Hotel phone: (206) 513-7300
- Hotel 1000 • Hotel phone: (206) 957 1000
- Mayflower Park Hotel • Hotel phone: (206) 673 3165
- Hyatt at Olive 8 • Hotel phone: (206) 695 1234
- Grand Hyatt • Hotel phone: (206) 774 1234
- Hotel Monaco • Hotel phone: (206) 621 1770
- Palihotel • Review • Hotel phone: (206) 596 0600
- The Charter • Hotel phone: (206) 256-7500
- Hotel Theodore • Hotel phone: (206) 621-1200
Staying in Belltown
Nightlife and high-rise condos are the hallmarks of this Seattle neighborhood, located just north of downtown. Belltown is convenient to many of Seattle’s best attractions, and the city’s young and hip flock to this area for its trendy boutiques, bars, and eateries. Jazz clubs, rock venues, prohibition-style speakeasies; you’ll find them all here, as well as most of Tom Douglas’ award-winning restaurants. Walk to Pike Place Market, Seattle Center (home of the Space Needle, Chihuly Museum, food and music festivals, and MoPOP), and the waterfront Olympic Sculpture Park.
Though still above the national average, Belltown hotels rates are generally lower than those you’ll find downtown, and there are some real bargains to be had in this area if you’re willing to forego a little bit of luxury. The active nightlife crowd means Belltown’s not an ideal choice for those seeking peace and quiet – expect additional activity on weekend nights, especially right after the bars close at 2am.
- Hotel Ändra • Hotel phone: (206) 448 8600
- Palladian Hotel • Hotel phone: (206) 448 1111
- The Westin • Hotel phone: (206) 728 1000
- Hotel Max • Hotel phone: (206) 728 6299
- Warwick • Hotel phone: (206) 443 4300
- Ace Hotel • Hotel phone: (206) 448 4721
- Moore Hotel • Hotel phone: (206) 448 4851
Staying in Pioneer Square
Once the heart of downtown, the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood is home to some of the city’s oldest surviving buildings, the ever-popular Underground Tour, and the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. It’s not all antiques, though – in recent decades the area has experienced a resurgence in popularity. There are now modern art galleries, boutique shops, and trendy restaurants housed within the Romanesque Revival-style buildings of Seattle’s past, and the neighborhood is once again considered one of the city’s most vibrant. Pioneer Square is within walking distance to T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field sports stadiums, the downtown ferry terminal at Colman Dock, and Pike Place Market.
Pioneer Square has its own stop on the region’s Link light rail line, a streetcar line that runs through the International District into the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and is home to Amtrak’s King Street Station; there’s no need to rent a car when transit is this easy. It’s worth mentioning that there are several social service agencies located within the neighborhood, attracting a fair number of homeless people. If you stay in this area, expect some to see some congregating and minor panhandling, but don’t be alarmed – these folks are less dangerous than they are down on their luck.
- The Arctic Club • Hotel phone: (206) 340 0340
- Embassy Suites • Hotel phone: (206) 859 4400
- Courtyard Seattle Pioneer Square • Hotel phone: (206) 625 1111
- Best Western Plus Pioneer Square • Hotel phone: (206) 340 1234
Staying near Seattle Center
Anchored by the iconic Space Needle, Seattle Center is an arts and entertainment mainstay located just north of the Belltown neighborhood. The Center was originally created for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and remnants of the fair’s space-age theme remain in the Center’s mid-century architecture, sculpture, and the Monorail that runs from the base of the Space Needle into downtown. This area isn’t the most scenic, but there’s no shortage of things to do: along with the Needle, the Center’s campus houses the Pacific Science Center, The Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and the Seattle Children’s Museum and Theatre. The Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and many theatre companies make their home at Seattle Center, which is also the site of many of the city’s biggest urban outdoor festivals: Bumbershoot, Folklife, PrideFest, and Bite of Seattle. The Gates Foundation Visitor Center and Olympic Sculpture Park are both located nearby.
Hotels around Seattle Center are generally less expensive than those downtown, and include many mid-range and budget options. Parking is cheaper and more readily available in this neighborhood, and the Seattle Monorail provides easy access to downtown and Pike Place Market. The area around Seattle Center quiets at night, making it a good option for visitors who want to avoid the busiest parts of the city, but lodge near popular attractions. Check your dates, though – if you’re traveling during a festival weekend (especially Memorial Day or Labor Day) or when there’s a major concert at Key Arena, expect the opposite: busier streets, more expensive rooms, and difficult parking.
- The Maxwell • Hotel phone: (206) 286 0629
- Hyatt House • Hotel phone: (206) 727 1234
- MarQueen • Hotel phone: (206) 282 7407
- Hyatt Place • Hotel phone: (206) 441 6041
- Mediterranean Inn • Hotel phone: (206) 428 4700
- Four Points by Sheraton • Hotel phone: (206) 282 2600
- Hampton Inn and Suites • Hotel Phone: (206) 282 7700
Staying in South Lake Union
This is is one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods. Once a gritty industrial center, South Lake Union is now a hi-tech hub, home to many of the region’s most prominent biomedical and technology companies. The recent revitalization has brought loads of great restaurants into the area, and is responsible for the creation of beautiful Lake Union Park, located on the urban lake’s southernmost tip. Head to the park to check out the impressive Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), explore the vessels (or rent one) at the Center for Wooden Boats, or hop a float plane at Kenmore Air – they’re all adjacent to its lovely waterfront expanse. The South Lake Union Streetcar runs through the heart of the neighborhood into central downtown, making it easy to visit the more central sights as well.
South Lake Union hotels are generally less expensive than those downtown, many with swimming pools and lovely lake or Space Needle views. It’s quieter here than in the city center – making this neighborhood a good choice for those who like to escape the hustle and bustle at the end of the day. When you’re up for it, accessing the city is easy: aside from the streetcar, most South Lake Union hotels provide complimentary shuttles into downtown and Seattle Center.
- Pan Pacific Seattle • Hotel phone: (206) 264 8111
- MOXY • Hotel phone: (206) 708 8200
- Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Lake Union • Hotel phone: (206) 213 0100
- Residence Inn Lake Union • Hotel phone: (206) 624 6000
- Silver Cloud Inn Lake Union • Hotel phone: (206) 447 9500
Staying on the Seattle Waterfront
Set snugly beside the deep Salish Sea inlet, Seattle’s downtown waterfront neighborhood is all about the bay: Elliott Bay. From the pebbly beaches of Myrtle Edwards Park on the waterfront’s north end to its busy working harbor to the south, marine-loving types will find no shortage of things to do along this beautiful Puget Sound Seaboard. Take in the sunset at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, hang with the harbor seals at the Seattle Aquarium, take a seaside spin one the Great Wheel, and eat the freshest seafood of your life at any of the amazing restaurants dotted along the way. When staying beside the water’s not enough, Argosy Harbor Cruises, the Victoria (or San Juan) Clipper, the ferries at Colman Dock, and the West Seattle Water Taxi all await to whisk you out onto the waves.
There are only a couple of hotels situated directly on Seattle’s waterfront. These will be pricey, especially if you spring for a bay-facing view. The walk from the waterfront up to downtown and Pike Place Market isn’t far, but it is steep, and separated by a busy roadway. This separation makes the waterfront district feel disconnected from the rest of downtown – which may or may not be what you’re looking for. And heads up: there’s construction underway to better link the downtown core to the waterfront district – the finished product will be stunning, but in the meantime the area’s a bit of a mess.
Staying in Capitol Hill
Known for its nightlife, counterculture, and great food and drink, Capitol Hill is one of Seattle’s most vibrant and well-loved neighborhoods. It’s anchored at its north end by stately old homes and leafy Volunteer Park: home to the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Seattle University borders the area’s south end. In between is a dense and glorious mishmash of fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, taverns, and music venues. Indulge your inner foodie at Melrose Market, make a caffeine-fueled pilgrimage to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, or browse the shelves at Seattle’s best bookstore, The Elliott Bay Book Company. At the end of the day, Capitol Hill makes it easy to unwind and recharge – the neighborhood is home to more than 100 bars and nightclubs.
All these hotspots don’t leave much room for lodgers; Capitol Hill has only one hotel, situated next to Seattle University on the district’s busy south end. Travelers wanting a quieter experience and a more personal touch can opt for one of north Capitol Hill’s charming Bed & Breakfasts, most within walking easy walking distance of Volunteer Park. It’s an easy walk into downtown from most points in southern Capitol Hill, though you might want to spring for a cab on the (steep) trip back up. This area is also easily accessed by public transit – there’s a Capitol Hill Link light rail station, as well as a streetcar line that runs through the International District and into Pioneer Square.
- Silver Cloud Hotel Broadway • Hotel phone: (206) 325 1400
- Hotel Sorrento (First Hill) • Hotel phone: (206) 622-6400
Staying in the University District
North and east of Seattle’s downtown, the “U-District” is where you’ll find the main campus of the University of Washington. It’s not just dorms and classrooms: two trip-worthy museums (Henry Art Gallery and Burke Museum of Natural History) sit surrounded by gorgeous gothic architecture, mountain views, and famous springtime-blossoming cherry trees. The area surrounding UW campus is chock-full of good (and cheap) restaurants, bars, and indie boutiques. The U-District hosts a fantastic year-round farmer’s market every Saturday – grab something to go, and bike (or stroll) down the nearby Burke-Gilman Trail. When you’ve had enough of college living, head east down the 45th St. viaduct and peruse the chic shops and upscale eateries of University Village – a tony outdoor shopping center located just downhill from campus.
University District hotels are cheaper than downtown hotels, except over university move-in weekends in September and graduation weekend in mid-June. If you’ve got a car, parking will be cheaper as well. A car’s not necessary, though – it’s easy to get to the city’s most popular areas and attractions via light rail, thanks to the new University of Washington station.
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