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Where to stay in Seattle - a travel guide to Seattle's neighborhoods

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Choose the right Seattle hotel for your visit to Washington’s largest city. Use this guide to uncovering where to stay in Seattle.


Seattle’s Downtown hugs Puget Sound. , Steel and glass high-rises characterize this neighborhood, looming over the waterfront ferry docks and Pike Place Market. In a city known for its relaxed attitude, Downtown Seattle is as bustling as it gets. This is the place to go for upscale department store shopping at Westlake Center and Pacific Place. It’s also the place for nightlife, with the most stylish bars lying just north of Pike Place Market in Belltown. A younger crowd hangs out in the bars of Pioneer Square. Seattle Center’s entertainment district lies to the northeast. Most of the Downtown lies within a fare- free travel zone for city buses. The Monorail stops at Westlake Center.

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Seattle Center

Located about 1/2 mile northwest of Downtown, Seattle Center is never difficult to find. Just look for the Space Needle. Seattle Center was built to host the 1962 World’s Fair making it a natural location for mainstream entertainment. Besides the Space Needle visitors can indulge in recorded music by Nirvana or Jimi Hendrix at the Experience Music Project museum, then fly over jumps or roller coaster tracks at Seattle Center’s skate and amusement parks.It’s an easy, quick Monorail ride from Seattle Center to Westlake Center shopping mall and Downtown.

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University District

The University of Washington lies at the heart of the U District, giving this neighborhood its reputation for youth and diversity. It’s northeast of Downtown across the watery strip known variously as Lake Union, Portage Bay and Union Bay. The U District’s bohemian cafés and eclectic boutiques cluster along Roosevelt Way, University Way (known as “The Ave”) and University Village. Look for walking and bicycle paths in Ravenna Park and University Village.

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A floating bridge connects Seattle to the eastern suburb of Bellevue. And while this neighborhood has its share of gleaming office towers, Bellevue has a peaceful residential feel. Bordered by Lake Washington to the west, Bellevue is home to many of Seattle’s richest residents in their handsome, lakeside homes. Visitors spend most of their time at Bellevue Square, a center for trendy shops and first-rate seafood restaurants overlooking Lake Washington. 

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A half-hour’s journey northeast of Seattle and 15 minutes north of Bellevue, Woodinville’s 40 wineries draw visitors away from the big city to its rolling vineyards. Woodinville’s tasting rooms and vineyards are scattered on either side of the Sammamish River. A perennial favorite is Chateau Ste Michelle, Woodinville’s oldest. Other pastimes include hot- air balloon rides, horseback riding and strolling or bicycling the Sammamish River Trail. 

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