Where to stay for two nights in Seattle?
July 15, 2014 11:11 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I want to spent this Friday and Saturday night in a nice-ish hotel in Seattle, but we aren't sure what neighborhoods we should even be looking in. I don't know the city very well, so I could use some guidance!


I'm about four weeks into a six week workshop in Seattle, and as I normally live in Brooklyn, NY, I haven't seen my husband for a month! My workshop housing is in the U District, so I've spent a decent amount of time walking up and down the Ave and getting to know this area better, but I've been so busy that I've hardly had time to go anywhere that's more than a fifteen minute walk away.

My husband is going to be here this weekend, and we decided that we'd like to stay in a hotel for two nights so I can have a break from workshop-mode and see a different part of the city. A couple people have said we should just stay downtown but…should we? Is that the Seattle equivalent of staying in Times Square? I HAVE NO IDEA???

Things that I'm into:

Walking around looking at stuff
Delicious food and drink
Breweries and/or distilleries
Local craftspeople
Good places to hang out reading or writing or having a nice conversation
Really good coffee
Cool buildings and/or parks I can walk around
Bonus for outdoor markets of any kind

Things I don't really care about on this particular trip:

Tourist stuff
The beach

We are okay with using public transit, and we're strong and able-bodied and happy to walk longish distances. We also have a ZipCar membership and are okay with driving a little to do one-off things, if needed. But really, the more we can do stuff on foot, the better.

As for our budget…? Well I mean, I would RATHER this not be insanely expensive, but I understand it's peak season and that we're probably looking at about $200 a night at least. Cheaper is better but you know, within reason!

So….where should we be looking?

Suggestions for neighborhoods would be great
Suggestions for specific hotels or B&Bs would be great
Suggestions for specific things to do IN those neighborhoods would be a bonus!
posted by Narrative Priorities to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ballard or Capitol Hill? Both have a Bauhaus Books and Coffee (conversation, coffee); both have Sunday Markets, though Cap Hill's opens at 11; for oysters, you can do Sitka and Spruce in Melrose Market (cough mall) in Capitol Hill, or The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard.

Ballard might win if you look at distilleries / breweries though.

Don't stay Downtown (though that will get you into Ballard [D, 40, 28, guys what am I forgetting] or Capitol Hill [10 11 47 43 49]).

Both even have active, well-updated neighborhood blogs! capitolhillseatte.com / myballard.com You can look there for hyper-local news / events information.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:21 PM on July 15, 2014

I really enjoyed Hotel Andra in Belltown. The hotel is quite modern and hip, and has Lola, a renowned restaurant of a locally-famous chef, at its base. I recall the room being not very expensive, but I got a sweet deal on Jetsetter so YMMV.
posted by charlemangy at 11:40 PM on July 15, 2014

Ballard seems to be right for you especially if you want distilleries and breweries with jovial locals. Plenty of yummy, slightly unique and only medium-price restaurants, cute but less young-people shopping and crafts. You can walk around the locks, the beach, and the botanical gardens, which are currently super lovely. For the best dang cuban, skip Paseo (everyone will tell you to eat at Paseo, just ignore them) and go across the street to Geo's Cuban & Creole Cafe. Do NOT miss the tostones. I've heard good things about Hotel Ballard but it might be hard to get a room?
posted by Mizu at 12:05 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love to stay in Capitol Hill when I'm in Seattle, specifically at the Foxglove Guesthouse. Awesome, classy, and not too expensive, great hosts/breakfast and fun neighborhood. They are in a pretty quiet part of the hill, but you can walk all over to great places to eat, drink, have coffee etc. Downtown is just a quick bus/Uber/Taxi ride away, and it's easy to get from there to pretty much anywhere.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:25 AM on July 16, 2014

Having lived in Chinatown/International District, Capitol Hill, Upper Queen Anne and Fremont in the past 4 years, I think Capitol Hill would be a great fit.

Cap Hill has lovely coffee shops and cafes (Cafe Vita, Stumptown, Fuel and Caffe Ladro are wonderful), tons of breweries and live music (check out Capitol Cider - yum!), eclectic restaurants (Taco Chukis, Pho Cyclo, Rom Mai Thai, Queen Sheba Ethiopian are some of my faves near Broadway alone), plenty of shopping opportunities everywhere, cool things to do (private booth karaoke at Rock Box! Sunday Farmers Market), very walkable (you won't need a car), and has some really neat nature such as Volunteer Park (with Seattle Asian Art Museum and Lake View Cemetery nearby) and the Arboretum (technically Madison Valley but the walk from Cap Hill is do-able). You can see the old mansions by walking down 13th or 14th, north of John/Denny (near the Volunteer Park area) too. If you want even more things to do, South Lake Union is just down the hill, where you can check out Denny Park, Lake Union and some more restaurants (like Portage Bay and Cactus).

There's no beaches near Cap Hill, and it's not as tourist-heavy as the common Downtown hotspots (International District, Pioneer Square, Belltown/Pike Place, Seattle Center (Space Needle)) are - though you can still access them all very easily from Cap Hill via walking or public transit.
posted by stubbehtail at 1:10 AM on July 16, 2014

Downtown is really the only part of Seattle with a large number of hotels. But given what you want to do, I think you really want to stay in either Ballard or Capitol Hill. I'd go with the latter, because there are more options of places to stay and more to do. You might get bored of Ballard after one day. Capitol Hill is really more like 3 neighborhoods in one (the bustling area near Pike/Pine, the local hangouts along Olive Way, and the homier section near 15th Ave E).

Capitol Hill Bonuses:
-Countless excellent restaurants
-Great coffee options (Vivace, Stumptown, Bauhaus, Analog)
-Taylor Shellfish Farms Oyster Bar
-Elliott Bay Bookstore (Seattle's best bookstore, by far)
-Two main parks (Cal Anderson for people-watching, Volunteer Park for a quieter walk and conservatory)
-Sun Liquor & Oola Distilleries (catch a bus to another neighborhood - probably Ballard - to check out Seattle's amazing brewery scene)
-If it gets really hot this weekend, you can catch a quick bus ride down to Madison Beach
-Also, if you want to check out music/readings/goings-on, grab a copy of The Stranger newspaper

Here are 3 B&B options on Capitol Hill that are supposed to be good:
Schafer Baillie Mansion
Gaslight Inn
Foxglove Guesthouse
posted by leitmotif at 8:22 AM on July 16, 2014

Ballard has two hotels, Hotel Ballard, and the Ballard Inn, both owned by the same people. Ballard Inn is about a third of the price, but the rooms have no bathrooms, they're shared. If that's not an issue, it's a great spot (my mother stays there whenever she comes to visit and loves it), and the rooms run about a hundred bucks a night, which is as reasonable as you'll find anywhere in the city aside from the hotels on Aurora (do not stay in the hotels on Aurora!). Ballard has all the things you are looking for (including a great Sunday market directly ouside the doors of the Ballard Inn) and the 44 bus will take you directly to the U-District in 20-30 minutes.
posted by Jawn at 11:42 PM on July 16, 2014

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