The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle offers more than grunge music and coffee culture. In fact, Seattle is a city with an incredible arts scene, diverse culture, and an almost unbeatable food scene.
But Seattle is a big city, and there are a ton of neighbourhoods to choose from. Which is exactly why we wrote this guide for where to stay in Seattle.
The Broke Backpacker’s guide to where to stay in Seattle is designed to help you find the best neighbourhood for your travel needs.
It breaks the five best neighbourhoods down into easy to read and digest categories so you can quickly find the one that suits your style.
Whether you want to dance all night long, see all the top tourist sights, or enjoy Seattle’s natural beauty, you’ve come to the right place!
Here is our guide for where to stay in Seattle, Washington.
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Seattle
- Where to stay in City first time – Queen Anne
- Where to stay in Seattle on a budget – Belltown
- Best area to stay in Seattle for nightlife – Pioneer Square
- Coolest place to stay in Seattle – Capitol Hill
- Best neighbourhood in Seattle for families – Downtown/Waterfront
In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:
- Browse the exhibits and displays at the one-of-a-kind Museum of Pop Culture
- See exquisite and colourful works of art at Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Take in the stunning Seattle skyline from Kerry Park
Table of Contents
- Where to Stay in Seattle
- Seattle Neighborhood Guide
- 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Seattle
- 1. Queen Anne – Where to Stay in Seattle for the First Time
- 2. Belltown – Where to Stay in Seattle on a Budget
- 3. Pioneer Square – Best Area to Stay in Seattle for Nightlife
- 4. Capitol Hill – Coolest Place to Stay in Seattle
- 5. Downtown/Waterfront – Best Neighbourhood in Seattle for Families
Where to Stay in Seattle
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Seattle.
Best Hostel in Seattle: City Hostel Seattle
City Hostel Seattle is our pick for the best hostel in Seattle. Located at the heart of the vibrant Belltown district, this hostel is close to Seattle’s best bars, restaurants, shops and landmarks. It has laundry facilities, a full kitchen, a BBQ and relaxing common room.
Best Hotel in Seattle: Staypineapple at the Maxwell Hotel
With Rustic décor and stylish rooms, Staypineapple at the Maxwell Hotel is our choice for the best hotel in Seattle. This trendy three-star hotel has a fantastic bar, a delicious restaurant and a stunning rooftop pool.
Guests can enjoy free wifi, a golf course and on-site bike rental services.
Seattle Neighborhood Guide
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Seattle
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Nestled between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, Seattle is a massive city surrounded by nature. It’s affectionately known as “The Emerald City” thanks to its abundance of evergreen trees, urban green spaces and its incredible views of the Olympic mountain range.
Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It’s a cultural and commercial hub, and it is home to industry giants including Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Boeing and more.
The city covers an area of more than 217 square kilometres and is divided into 7 Council Districts. Each district is home to a number of diverse and distinct neighbourhoods.
This guide will break down Seattle’s “must-see” attractions by interest.
Starting in the north, you have the neighbourhood of Queen Anne. Home to iconic landmarks including the Space Needle, Queen Anne is a haven for tourist attraction and spectacular sightseeing.
It has great restaurants, charming cafes, and plenty of cultural institutions to explore.
To the east is Capitol Hill. One of the most diverse neighbourhoods in Seattle, Capitol Hill is a bustling and vibrant neighbourhood famous for its restaurants, bars, and creative institutions.
The core of Seattle’s LGBTQI community, Capitol Hill boasts a friendly, inviting and trendy atmosphere.
Travel south and you’ll pass through hip and glamourous Belltown en route to Downtown and Pioneer Square. These neighbourhoods are the most iconic in Seattle and are where you’ll find attractions like the original Starbucks store, Pike Place Market, and the Paramount Theatre.
Still not sure where to stay in Seattle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Seattle
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods to stay in Seattle. Each is a little different than the last so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s the right fit for you.
Queen Anne is a haven for sightseers and culture vultures. This centrally located neighbourhood is home to Seattle’s most iconic landmarks and attractions.
It’s where you can enjoy the best views of the city, and is our pick for where to stay if you’re visiting Seattle for the first time.
Notable Queen Anne attractions include the Seattle Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, the Seattle Monorail, the Children’s Museum and Discovery Park.
For a day that combines exquisite art and stunning nature, visit the one-of-a-kind Chihuly Garden and Glass that showcases the colourful glass work of Dale Chihuly. Even if you’re not a fan of art, you’ll appreciate a visit to this spectacular and colourful setting.
Things to See and Do in Queen Anne
– Take the elevator to the top of the world-famous 184-meter tall Space Needle and enjoy panoramic views of Seattle, Puget Sound and beyond.
– Browse the exhibits and displays at the one-of-a-kind Museum of Pop Culture.
– Explore and play your way through the 13 exhibits at the marvellous Children’s Museum.
– See exquisite and colourful works of art at Chihuly Garden and Glass.
– Take in the stunning Seattle skyline from Kerry Park.
– Get lost in nature at Discovery Park, a 534-acre park that is composed of beaches, forest, bluffs and more.
– Indulge in your love of SciFi, comics, graphic novels and more at the Science Fiction Museum.
– Ignite your curiosity at the Pacific Science Centre.
Best Budget Accommodation in Queen Anne: Inn at Queen Anne
If you’re looking for budget accommodations in Queen Ann, look no further than the Inn. This charming two-star property boasts a rooftop terrace, fitness centre and a BBQ/picnic area.
The rooms are spacious and include a kitchenette with a fridge and microwave, a private bathroom and heating.
Best Hotel in Queen Anne: MarQueen Hotel
Comfortable and cosy, the MarQueen Hotel is a three-star property in Queen Anne. It has large rooms, comfortable beds, and an on-site gym. It has 59 rooms, all outfitted with essential amenities.
This hotel is conveniently located and the Space Needle is just a short walk away.
Best Hotel in Queen Anne: Staypineapple at the Maxwell Hotel
With Rustic décor and stylish rooms, Staypineapple at the Maxwell Hotel is our recommendation for where to stay in Queen Anne. This trendy three-star hotel has a fantastic bar, a delicious restaurant and a stunning rooftop pool.
Guests can enjoy free wifi, a golf course and on-site bike rental services.
Sandwiched between Queen Anne and Downtown Seattle is the trendy and glamourous Belltown neighbourhood. One of the most fashionable districts in the city, Belltown is home to a myriad of bars, boutiques, restaurants and clubs. It’s where you can go to enjoy a day of culture and a wild night on the town.
Surprisingly, Belltown is also our recommendation for where to stay if you’re balling on a budget. Tucked between the vintage shops and chic coffee houses are a good selection of backpacker hostels and affordable boutique hotels.
In Belltown, you can enjoy all the very best of Seattle without blowing your budget.
Things to See and Do in Belltown
– Snap a few photos of the magnificent sculptures and the stunning shoreline at Olympic Sculpture Park.
– Enjoy a breath of fresh air in Westlake Park, a small urban oasis.
– Catch a show at the iconic rock club, The Crocodile.
– Grab a few pints at No Anchor.
– Sink your teeth into a cheap and delicious sandwich at Pho Bac.
– Go to Shorty’s for cheap beer, delicious hot dogs and retro arcade games.
– Satisfy your sweet tooth at Top Pot Doughnuts.
– Kickstart your day with a jolt of caffeine at Bedlam Coffee.
– Play shuffleboard and foosball for free while enjoying drinks at the Belltown Pub.
Best Hostel in Belltown: City Hostel Seattle
City Hostel Seattle is our pick for the best hostel in Seattle – and where to stay in Belltown. Located at the heart of this vibrant district, this hostel is close to Seattle’s best bars, restaurants, shops and landmarks.
It has laundry facilities, a full kitchen, a BBQ and relaxing common room.
Best Hotel in Belltown: The Loyal Inn
Rest and relax in one of Seattle’s trendiest districts at the Loyal Inn. Set in Belltown, this hotel is close to tourist attractions, transit and plenty of bars and clubs.
It is composed of 91 modern rooms that are equipped with comfortable beds and microwaves. Enjoy free wifi and a tasty breakfast.
Best Hotel in Belltown: La Quinta Inn & Suites Seattle Downtown
A central location, comfortable rooms and plenty of amenities, La Quinta Inn & Suites is a fantastic choice for your time in Seattle. This hotel is close to the neighbourhood’s best restaurants, bars and shops.
It has spacious rooms, private bathrooms, and there are even on-site laundry facilities.
South of downtown Seattle’s central business district is Pioneer Square. The oldest neighbourhoods in the city, Pioneer Square seamlessly combines contemporary life with Seattle’s rich history.
It boasts classic architecture, cobblestone streets and oozes historic charm around every turn.
Pioneer Square is also an area bursting with fun and excitement. This small downtown district is flush with wild clubs, lively bars and bustling pubs and cafes. Whether you’re looking for an all-night party or just a few cocktails with friends, Pioneer Square is our recommendation for where to stay in Seattle for a great night out.
Things to See and Do in Pioneer Square
– Enjoy a few moments of peace and tranquillity at Waterfall Garden Park.
– See the four towering totem poles at Occidental Park.
– Step back in time and explore Seattle’s most unusual attractions on Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour.
– Ride the manned elevator to the 35th-floor observation deck of Smith Tower, Seattle’s first skyscraper, and enjoy great views.
– Dance the night away at Trinity Nightclub.
– Eat, drink and listen to DJs spin the latest tunes at Club Contour.
– Hear the best EDM and trance music at The Underground nightclub.
– Listen to the latest music in Seattle’s oldest saloon at the Central Saloon.
– Catch the game and root for the home team at the Box House sports bar.
Best Hostel in Pioneer Square: HI Seattle at the American Hotel
Located in Seattle’s hip Pioneer Square District is the HI Seattle Hostel. It is just steps from public transit, as well as great food, trendy bars, and lively nightclubs.
This hostel has spacious rooms and modern amenities. It has free wifi, free linens, and a delicious free breakfast.
Best Hotel in Pioneer Square: Executive Hotel Pacific
The Exclusive Hotel Pacific is a stylish and modern three-star hotel. Set at the heart of Pioneer Square, this hotel is close to Seattle’s best shopping and sightseeing areas.
It has a comfortable lounge bar and a unique in-house restaurant. A delicious breakfast is also available.
Best Hotel in Pioneer Square: Silver Cloud Hotel Stadium
Silver Cloud Hotel is our top choice for where to stay in Pioneer Square. It is located close to the city centre and is within walking distance of restaurants, bars and clubs.
This hotel boasts 211 comfortable rooms that have microwaves, kitchenettes and cable/satellite channels.
Capitol Hill is far and away the coolest neighbourhood in Seattle. Located north of Downtown, this central district boasts a diverse, young and friendly atmosphere. It’s where you can find incredible shopping and very fun nights out.
It is the heart of Seattle’s infamous music scene. Capitol Hill is packed with nightclubs, bars, cafes, theatres and venues where you can see world-famous and upcoming acts. Whether you’re into pop, trance, alternative, or Seattle’s favourite grunge, there’s something for every music fan here.
Love to shop? Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine corridor is filled with independent shops and local boutiques selling top quality goods, clothes and jewels.
Things to See and Do in Capitol Hill
– See incredible works of art at the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
– Wander through Lakeview Cemetery and see the final resting places of Seattle Pioneers, and Bruce and Brandon Lee.
– Take a stroll through expansive Volunteer Park.
– Snap a pic with the Jimi Hendrix Statue.
– Enjoy a moment of zen at the Seattle Japanese Garden.
– Grab some rays and go for a swim at Madison Park.
– Dance to classic funk and hip-hop music at Q Nightclub.
– Spend a magical night at carnival-themed Unicorn bar.
– Sip urbane cocktails at the secret speakeasy, Needle & Thread.
– Indulge in amazing cocktails and delicious treats at Pie Bar.
Best Budget Accommodation in Capitol Hill: Roy Street Commons
Boasting 40 apartments, Roy Street Commons is your best choice for budget accommodations in Capitol Hill. It is centrally located within the neighbourhood and is within walking distance of Capitol Hill’s best eateries and boutiques.
The rooms are comfortable, spacious and well equipped with amenities.
Best Hotel in Capitol Hill: Bacon Mansion
Comfortable and quaint, Bacon Mansion is a great place to stay in Capitol Hill. It has 11 individually decorated apartments, as well as a library, a garden and luggage storage.
It is centrally located and within walking distance of the Space Needle and the EMP Museum. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs nearby.
Best Hotel in Capitol Hill: Mozart Guest House
Mozart Guest House is a four-star property located in Capitol Hill. It is close to famous tourist attractions and is ideally located for exploring Seattle. It has a terrace, a bar and a relaxing library.
All of these combine to make it our pick for where to stay in Capitol Hill.
The Downtown/Waterfront District is the heart, soul and centre of Seattle. It is where you’ll find world-renowned landmarks, including Pike Place Market, and is our recommendation for where to stay for families.
Downtown is a compact neighbourhood that can easily be explored on foot. Take a short walk in any direction and you’ll find yourself experiencing the best of Seattle.
Some of Downtown’s can’t-miss attractions include the incredible Central Library, the Seattle Aquarium, The Paramount Theatre, and the Seattle Art Museum.
In addition to its central location, Downtown Seattle is the hub of its transportation system. With buses, light rain, ferries and more, from Downtown Seattle you can easily explore all corners of the city.
Things to See and Do in Downtown/Waterfront
– Visit Pike Place Market, the oldest continually operating farmers market in the US.
– See an assortment of art from around the world at Seattle Art Museum.
– Shop until you drop at Pacific Place.
– Browse the stacks at the 11-story glass and steel Seattle Central Library.
– See and meet your favourite sea creatures and aquatic animals at Seattle Aquarium.
– Grab a cup of joe at the very first Starbucks location.
– Dig into fresh and delicious seafood at Elliott’s Oyster House.
– Dine on an incredible fusion of Pacific Northwest and Mediterranean Greek fare at Lola.
– Tease your taste buds at Serious Pie.
– Enjoy an incredible brunch at Dahlia Lounge.
Best Hostel in Downtown/Waterfront: Green Tortoise Seattle Hostel
Overlooking Pike Place Market, you won’t find a more centrally located hostel in Downtown Seattle. The Green Tortoise was built in a beautiful historic building.
It has modern rooms, comfortable beds, and semi-private bathrooms. Each bunk has a reading light, small fan and a power point. Breakfast is also included.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Downtown/Waterfront: Hotel Max Seattle
Ideally situated at the heart of the city, Hotel Max Seattle is perfect for exploring Downtown Seattle. This three-star hotel has laundry facilities, an in-house restaurant and a stylish lounge bar.
Its rooms are spacious and well-equipped with modern features, including flat-screen TVs, minibars and iPod docking stations.
Best Hotel in Downtown/Waterfront: Inn at the Market
This four-star, centrally located hotel is our pick for where to stay in Downtown Seattle. Located near Pike Place Market, this hotel is within walking distance of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions.
It has an on-site bar, free wifi, and a myriad of wellness facilities. Its rooms are comfortable and luxurious.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Seattle
Seattle is an incredible destination. It’s where history and modernity, nature and city blend seamlessly. From massive parks and unique art installations to world-class shopping, great restaurants and a legendary music scene, there’s something for everyone in Seattle.
Still not sure where to stay in Seattle? Our pick for the best hotel is Staypineapple at the Maxwell Hotel. Set in vibrant Queen Anne, this hotel is modern, spacious and has an incredible, central location.
If you’re travelling on a budget, we recommend City Hostel Seattle in Belltown. Not only is it within walking distance of the best bars, clubs and restaurants in the city, but it has great facilities and large rooms.
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.
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