The Emerald City for everyone: Our top 3 neighborhoods for any type of traveler
So you’ve made plans to visit the Emerald City! Consider yourself lucky; not only is this Pacific Northwest metropolis teeming with fascinating history, gorgeous nature, and delicious eats, it’s also a fantastic place to visit for any age, interest, and budget. Perhaps you’re wondering where you want to call home for a few days while you visit. Or maybe you’re just searching for some awesome things to do while you’re there. Keep reading for our breakdown of the best activities, restaurants, museums, and, of course, where to stay in Seattle, Washington.
Looking for a kid-friendly place to stay in Jet City? Or a romantic pied-a-terre in the heart of town? Or maybe you’re just searching for the best neighborhood for visiting without a car. Whether traveling solo or with the whole fam, Stay Alfred’s Seattle travel apartments will give you more space and privacy than an ordinary hotel room while providing the upscale amenities you deserve.
Trying to decide where to stay in Seattle downtown? The busy center of Seattle culture, business, and tourism is undoubtedly the Downtown neighborhood, home to the famous Pike Place Market and a variety of notable restaurants, shops, bars, and arts attractions. Besides the fun stuff, you’ve also got choices when it comes to places to stay in Seattle downtown. Sure, you could splurge on a luxury hotel, but maybe you’d prefer to spend your hard-earned money on fresh Pacific seafood, symphony tickets, or a picturesque cruise through Elliott Bay.
Opt for a stellar value and sophisticated amenities at Stay Alfred on 1st Avenue, which boasts a heated swimming pool, a basketball court, and an on-site grocery store to make your stay extra awesome. Combine that with a full kitchen and a private balcony and you’ve got yourself the perfect Downtown digs!
Want to stay even closer to Pike Place Market? Stay Alfred at The Oxford is just a two-minute walk away from this fabulous attraction and gives you fast access to the best of downtown Seattle’s restaurants and shopping.
Neighborhood Highlights: Downtown Seattle
You know an area is truly special when locals and tourists both love spending time there. Downtown Seattle isn’t limited to the touristy stuff – nor is it a place that only locals visit – it has that rare balance of world-class attractions and hidden gems.
For Couples: Downtown Seattle
Forget the standard dinner and a movie; date night in Downtown Seattle is anything but ordinary. Sure, a romantic dinner out is a perfectly good option, but for a more unique dining experience, book a table at The Pink Door. Though the bay views are beautiful from this Pike Place Market hotspot, you might not pay them much attention between the trapeze artists, burlesque entertainment, and delectable Italian cuisine.
For a different kind of meal with a view, board a lunch or dinner harbor cruise from the Downtown Seattle waterfront. Many cruise companies are available, like Argosy Cruises. From the water, Elliott Bay is indeed a work of art, but to view some world-famous pieces under gallery lighting, opt for a romantic stroll through the Seattle Art Museum. In the middle of Downtown, this art institution is just steps from Stay Alfred on 1st Avenue. Or for an awesome auditory experience with your honey, don’t miss the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall.
For Friends: Downtown Seattle
Seattle is known to have a rainy day every now and then, and if your plans with pals get rained out by a storm, there’s only one thing to do: head to Damn the Weather for a drink. Known for craft cocktails, this lively bar is just one of a swath of unique watering holes serving up unique libations.
Rain or shine, the cocktails at Diller Room are always good – if you can find the tucked-away speakeasy’s entrance, that is. Cloudy with a chance of merlot? It’s always wine-o’clock at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, where glasses of vino from around the world pair perfectly with small plates. But when the sun’s shining, your group of friends can’t pass up the vista from the Smith Tower Observatory Bar. On a clear day, the views are as good as their drinks. And the drinks are darn good.
For Business Travelers: Downtown Seattle
Downtown Seattle means business, with international corporations and cutting-edge startups calling the city center home. The dining scene doesn’t mess around either, and savvy professionals will have no problem impressing partners and clients at these fabulous business dinner spots. To celebrate a promotion or numbers in the black, reserve a table at one of Seattle’s finest steakhouses, the Metropolitan Grill.
For Families: Downtown Seattle
In addition to the must-see fish market at Pike Place, Downtown Seattle has a few other fantastic things to do with kids. Prepare to be dazzled (and learn a thing or two!) at the Seattle Aquarium, which features an impressive array of Pacific Northwest marine life.
Speaking of being dazzled, get ready for a jaw-dropping view of the city and the bay from the Seattle Great Wheel. Like a massive ferris wheel, this scenic attraction is fun for all ages and perfect for share-worthy Seattle selfies. After all that sightseeing, head over to Gelatiamo or Shug's Soda Fountain and Ice Cream for a sweet treat.
Nestled between picturesque Elliott Bay and the edge of Downtown proper, Belltown is where you stay to get residential vibes and easy access to all the top things to do in Seattle. This hip ‘hood is a favorite of visitors of any type – from convention-goers to spring breakers to honeymooners – so we’ve set up shop in a plethora of buildings to suit any interest.
A few things our travel apartments do have in common are a full kitchen, professional management, and modern essentials like fast WiFi. You’ll never need to worry about the little things, so you can really focus on enjoying Seattle. Our Belltown digs include Stay Alfred on North Western Avenue, Stay Alfred on Wall Street, Stay Alfred at Moda, and Stay Alfred on 4th Avenue. Study each one’s amenities and specifications or just choose the name you like best; either way, you can’t go wrong!
Neighborhood Highlights: Belltown
Locals love Belltown – in fact, you’ll find everybody from young professionals to families to empty-nesters living in the hip lofts and luxurious apartments in this walkable neighborhood. The proximity to Downtown is a big draw (no car needed!), but so is the community-like feeling you get at Belltown’s independent businesses and family-run restaurants.
For Couples: Belltown
You can Netflix and chill at home, so why not treat your plus one to a romantic dinner with a water view? Thanks to Seattle’s coastal location, Elliott Bay views aren’t hard to come by, but it is rare to find a restaurant where the quality of the food is just as good as the ocean view. Here at Stay Alfred, we’ve done the digging for you, and we’ll even let you take credit.
There’s nothing like admiring a classic Pacific Northwest view while indulging in Pacific Northwest cuisine, and Six Seven Restaurant is all about all things local. And it doesn’t get much better than local seafood, especially that which you’d find at the aptly named AQUA by El Gaucho. Situated right on the pier, these three eateries are the epitome of romantic Seattle dining.
For Friends: Belltown
As they say, do as the locals do, and many Belltown residents do happy hour. With specials on drinks and snacks, you can’t go wrong at Belltown’s unpretentious neighborhood bars. When the weather’s nice, grab a chair on the patio at Some Random Bar and sip local wine or a craft cocktail in a Mason jar. There’s also Belltown Pub, known for a sizable craft beer selection and games to play with your buddies, like foosball and shuffleboard. For cocktails that are well above your average well drinks, check out the dimly lit Rob Roy, also a favorite for yummy appetizers, or tiki-inspired Navy Strength.
Hungry after a night out? No matter when the evening ends, The 5 Point Cafe is there for you. Seriously, it’s open 24/7. Night owls, rejoice!
For Business Travelers: Belltown
Just because business brings you to Downtown Seattle doesn’t mean you have to sleep in the city center. Business travelers appreciate the low-key vibe of Belltown and the easy walk, drive, or bus ride into Downtown. Especially after a tasty breakfast at a Belltown cafe! Start the day off with a bang with a hearty breakfast burrito from Bang Bang Cafe; however, they’re so hearty that you might prefer to save half for your lunch.
More morning meal options include a freshly baked pastry from Macrina Bakery & Cafe, a coffee that supports the community from Street Bean Coffee Roasters, or a fluffy omelette from CJ's Eatery. Fuel up for a productive day!
For Families: Belltown
Can’t decide between taking the kids on an urban adventure or some time in the great outdoors? Thanks to Belltown’s scenic outdoor spaces, you can get the best of both in the same day. Just a short walk from Downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market, and a host of museums, the Olympic Sculpture Park is a fabulous spot to soak up the sun and admire some remarkable artwork. The kiddos might not always be keen on using inside voices and standing stoically in a traditional art museum, but here they can run and laugh while learning about art.
North of the Sculpture Park lies Myrtle Edwards Park and to the south is a lengthy waterfront path, so a family walk along Elliott Bay is another perfect way to spend a day in the fresh Washington air. Play “I Spy” and count how many boats you can spot, and maybe you’ll even see some native wildlife!
Lower Queen Anne
Lower Queen Anne’s most famous resident is the 600-foot-tall Space Needle, but this area is also home to an exciting mix of well-known attractions and a relaxed atmosphere. In a primarily residential neighborhood, Lower Queen Anne’s leafy surrounds allow you to enjoy the highlights of the Seattle Center and many tasty restaurants without the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Neighborhood Highlights: Lower Queen Anne
Looking at places to stay in Seattle downtown but still want to see the sights in Lower Queen Anne? Take the Seattle Monorail to the Seattle Center and you’ll be there in minutes – no parking or sitting in traffic required.
For Couples: Lower Queen Anne
Take your sweetie out for a date night fit for royalty at one of Lower Queen Anne’s best arts venues. Plays and musicals take center stage at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, one of the city’s most acclaimed arts institutions. For a romantic night at the ballet or the opera, head to Marion Oliver McCaw Hall for original performances and the classics.
If your idea of a perfect date is less about watching a show and more about being the star, get your vocal chords ready for a duet at the lively Keys on Main piano bar in the heart of Lower Queen Anne. Or maybe forgo singing altogether and share a romantic candlelit meal at The Sitting Room or a Cajun-inspired tasting menu at Toulouse Petit.
For Friends: Lower Queen Anne
Elevate your Instagram game and your artistic knowledge at the same time with a visit to Lower Queen Anne’s Chihuly Garden and Glass. This famed collection of Seattleite Dale Chihuly’s colorful blown-glass pieces is full of gorgeous photo ops and unique backdrops for taking pics with your pals. Craving more culture? Wander across the street to the Museum of Pop Culture, an impressive homage to music greats from the last few decades.
For Business Travelers: Lower Queen Anne
Due to the close proximity to the KeyArena, the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, and Downtown Seattle, Lower Queen Anne is also a solid choice for business travelers who may be less interested in taking selfies with Chihulys and more interested in finding caffeine in the mornings. Every Stay Alfred travel apartment comes equipped with a coffee maker, but we understand if you want to sample Seattle’s coffee culture. After all, Starbucks was founded in the Emerald City!
Local coffee shops in Lower Queen Anne include La Marzocco Cafe, Uptown Espresso, Caffe Ladro, Citizen Coffee Creperie, and, naturally, several Starbucks locations. Also notable is John Nielsen Pastries for melt-in-your-mouth baked goods!
For Families: Lower Queen Anne
Lower Queen Anne is one of Seattle’s best neighborhoods for families due to the huge amount of kid-friendly attractions within walking distance. And not only kid-friendly attractions, but also attractions designed especially for the youngest Seattle visitors. The under-10 crowd is sure to enjoy the Seattle Children's Museum, jam-packed with hands-on activities and exhibits on topics ranging from medicine to mountains.
The amateur scientists out there shouldn’t miss the Pacific Science Center, and young theater buffs will love the kid-focused shows at the Seattle Children's Theatre. And thanks to the close proximity of these three activities (they’re all on the Seattle Center campus), you can do them all in one day! (Tip: If you're looking for a great way to save on the price of admission to Seattle's best attractions, check out our blog on the Seattle Citypass.)
Well, now you’ve learned about every facet of this gem in the Pacific Northwest. Whether visiting with kids or co-workers, longtime pals or a special someone, the Emerald City awaits.
We’ll stick to what we know (travel apartments and city guides) while you handle the packing (need some packing advice?). If we can further guide you toward your ideal Seattle vacation rental or answer any questions about where to stay in Seattle, just give us a ring at 1.866.232.3864. Get ready to jet off to Jet City!
In the meantime, check out all of our downtown Seattle vacation rentals here.