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Seattle

So I had the bright idea to attend the Seattle Chamber Music Festival this July at Benaroya Hall - easy flight from Boise, easy light rail from the airport, incredible artists performing. Then I started looking at downtown Seattle hotel prices. Holy cow - might as well go to NYC! Can anyone tell me if there's a safe area along the light rail line where I could stay more reasonably for five nights? Woman alone, 78 years old, small, white-haired - not frail, but someone looking at me might think so! Thank you.

Posted by
1456 posts

You could look at the area just south of the airport by the Angle Lake lightrail station. It's the furthest south the lightrail extends and is one stop south of the airport. There are several hotels nearby - Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn, etc. I haven't been to that station since before the pandemic so I can't tell you what the area is like now. I think it lacks charm since it's essentially a commuter parking lot. At the very least the hotels probably run shuttles to the airport so you could always shuttle to the airport and pick up the lightrail from there (although that's a bit of a hike too).

Posted by
6710 posts

I've bookmarked this topic. Will be interested to see the answers for a future visit. Most of the time I would be elsewhere in the state than Seattle , but some nights would need to be in the city, somewhere transit accessible.

Posted by
2651 posts

Seattle hotel prices are super high, aren't they? You don't say your budget - that might be helpful. I see a lot of properties right at the $300 mark for that week in July.

Down by the airport, the Red Lion is right across the street and is showing about $150 or so per night. You could light rail from Benaroya Hall to the airport and then take the Red Lion's shuttle. All told, that would take you about an hour - wait for light rail in Seattle, take light rail, wait for shuttle, take shuttle.

I would not stay at the hotels near the Angle Lake station. You'd be waiting for a hotel shuttle late at night and it's creepy down there. Everyone gets off the light rail at SeaTac and the ride of that last stop - from SeaTac to Angle Lake is uncomfortable - especially at night. We've had some intimidating incidents and I was glad to at least be with my partner. Also, the stretch of Highway 99 there is just not nice - you'd be stuck in the hotel.

If you can find it in your budget, I would stay somewhere in Seattle proper. The area around Benaroya Hall is my least favorite area of Seattle right now - 3rd avenue is just really impacted with crime issues.

The area around Pike Place is better, up near the Space Needle, Lake Union. I really like the Ballard area and there's a couple of hotels over there. All of these would require you to Uber or Cab from the hotel to your shows, which is the best plan anyways. Ballard is a little removed from downtown to the north - maybe a 15 minute cab ride.

Hope this is helpful. I love Seattle but it's still struggling a little these days.

Posted by
8639 posts

You are seeing the impact of cruise season on Seattle hotel prices. The challenge with airport hotels is that is all there is. If you can manage to stay in the down town area. You will have access to restaurants and other items of interest.

Posted by
11505 posts

......Seattle but it's still struggling a little these days.

Valerie gets the 'Understatement of the week" award.

The area between the airport and downtown is mainly an industrial area so is bereft of (suitable) lodging.

(And don't forget to add the 16% tax to the rates.)

Posted by
3361 posts

Hi Janet, we flew down from Anchorage one time for a one night stay to see a concert. We stayed at the Sheraton in downtown which was literally right on the rail line. This was 7 years ago, and I don’t remember the price, but I can tell you I would not have paid anywhere near $300!

Posted by
332 posts

Janet, I see what you mean - those prices are eye-watering! I live in Seattle proper, just 2 miles north of Benaroya Hall, and the hotels near Seattle Center, that I usually recommend to visiting family and friends, are running $350 - $500 a night in July. I wish I had better news.

Staying along the Link lightrail from the airport looks like a good idea on paper but in practice, as others have noted, may not be your most pleasant experience. I personally wouldn’t want to stay at an airport hotel and commute an hour or more into and back from Seattle on light rail for evening concerts. At best the airport area is sterile, at worst there are some very sketchy pockets. To narrow your search, I can also tell you for sure to avoid most hotels north of town along Aurora Ave N (Hwy 99).

If you could share your dates and budget per night someone may have an idea for you. Also if you find something that looks reasonable, post it here and hopefully someone can give you feedback about the neighborhood, safety, transportation options etc.

Posted by
78 posts

Consider looking north of downtown Seattle too. The Northgate station, which at the moment is the end of the light rail line to the north, has three hotels within in walking or short taxi/uber rides. There is a Hampton Inn Suites, Courtyard by Marriot and a Hotel Nexus. I haven't looked up prices for summer, so they may very well be as expensive as the downtown ones. These are also very near the Northgate Mall, movie theaters, etc...so there should be people out and about late in the evening. From Northgate to the light rail stop for Benaroya Hall is about 20-30 min.

Posted by
11505 posts

Courtyard by Marriott at Northgate $355 night ( inc tax) for randomly selected July dates. This is the pre-pay no refund rate

Rates that be cancelled up to 24 hrs before are $50 per night more.

Hotel Nexus is a Best Western brand.... around $250 per night ( inc tax) for a cancel/refundable rate

At night there is NO WAY I would walk from the rail station to the other side of I-5 where the hotels are.

The Hampton starts at over $300 (plus tax) for July dates.

I wish you GOOD LUCK.... (maybe a lotto ticket)

Posted by
7458 posts

Hi Janet, I sent you a PM for nearby suburb options.

Posted by
2224 posts

Thanks to everyone for their responses and especially your concern for my safety. I've enjoyed solo travel in so many great cities in the past (Portland was one, LA, also Boston and, yes, NYC) that it's a real bummer to have to consider forgoing that now.

Posted by
2651 posts

I used to spend a lot of time of Capitol Hill - just a couple of miles east of downtown. The main street - Broadway is full of shops and restaurants and it's kind of busy. Many of the surrounding streets are full of gorgeous mansions. It's lovely.

There are a few B and Bs and they're beautiful. This one has availability that week and has a smaller room available for about $225 a night. It's a 14,000 square foot Tudor mansion.

https://www.sbmansion.com/

Here are the reviews: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60878-d123573-Reviews-Shafer_Baillie_Mansion_Bed_and_Breakfast-Seattle_Washington.html

There are other ones nearby as well. And they're all at the northern end of Capitol Hill. It's quieter there and much nicer, in my opinion. My daughter lived there for 3 years and so I spent a lot time right on those exact blocks.

Posted by
7013 posts

Janet, I hope you find something! I saw Valerie’s post and I think that might be a good idea. I was wondering if there were any Airbnb’s or something like that available.

The same thing happened to me last summer in Bozeman, Montana. My daughter used to work there in the early 2000s after college and I used to go out several times a year to visit her. So when my grandson and I decided to take a road trip out west, I told him one of the places we would spend the night was Bozeman. That is, until I looked and found that the cheapest hotel I could find in that place was $400! Ye gods! I could not believe that prices had gotten that high! We wound up staying in Livingston and had a very nice time there. 😊

Posted by
6670 posts

You might look at the Lower Queen Anne area, at the bottom (south) end of Queen Anne Hill, just west of the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is). The Marqueen Hotel and the Mediterranean Inn might be good choices. The monorail runs between Seattle Center and downtown, but a local bus might be more convenient. But July is probably the top of the season for Seattle and the PNW generally. I'd call Lower Queen Anne a safe enough area, but Seattle people would have better info.

On the east side of Seattle Center are a Quality Inn and a Best Western, probably more affordable than right downtown and closer to the monorail. (NB, the monorail is one thing, a single line between the Center and downtown. The light rail is another, much more extensive. Back in the day they'd have called it a trolley.)

Posted by
332 posts

@Valerie, The Shafer Baillie Mansion looks lovely! @Janet, if that works for you, the area of North Capital Hill is indeed very nice, close to Volunteer Park and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Just a few blocks from the mansion there is a stop for the10 bus to downtown (which gets within a few blocks of Benaroya). You could take the bus in daylight hours, no problem. Coming back from downtown after dark, you might choose to take a cab or Lyft.

@Dick, I believe that both the Best Western and Quality Inn by Seattle Center are closed. There is a lot of redevelopment in that area now. Lower Queen Anne, along the northern edge of Seattle Center, is where our out of town guests usually stay. Funny thing, many hotel chains label this area as “downtown,” which it is not. During the summer there should be a lot of activity with concerts and festivals which makes it convenient and relatively safe. However, a quick survey of the hotel prices look to be high in general - double the off season prices in some cases.

Posted by
1123 posts

Yes, Seattle hotels get expensive during tourist season. Not Alaska expensive, but they do double in price. I don't recommend the rail, or the light rail, and Uber/Lyft/taxi will get expensive fast. I suggest looking to see if there are any package deals with Hilton or Marriott; they often have something that works for multiple day stays. Ask a travel agent; they get the deals first.

It would be cheaper to stay at SeaTac, or South Center, or even Tacoma; but the commute isn't worth it.

Remember, Downtown Seattle is steep hills, don't wear slippery shoes.

Posted by
76 posts

Even though I've lived in the Seattle area since the mid 1970s, and although I've traveled much of the world as a solo female, these days there are quite a few places in my city where I would not feel safe walking around at night by my 61-year old self. Breaks my heart but it's true.

That said, your plan sounds like a fun adventure! If it were me, I'd find an Airbnb, VRBO or other holiday rental in Queen Anne (either "lower" near Seattle Center or "upper" on top of the hill) or in Ballard (near the "Old Ballard" historic district.) Queen Anne is a five-minute drive from Benaroya, Ballard is more like 15 minutes. These neighborhoods have lively night life, good restaurants, a movie theater, outdoorsy stuff to do during the day (parks, farmers markets, etc.), nice shops and decent grocery stores. I'd feel safe walking by myself in either location, night or day (within reason, of course.)

Two more "villages" I might consider would be the Magnolia neighborhood and West Seattle (either Alki Beach or Genesee.)

I'd take the light rail into Seattle from the airport (my stop would depend on where I'm staying) but after that I'd rely on Uber or Lyft, especially at night. Public transportation here is unreliable at best and sketchy (if not downright dangerous) at worst, so I'd budget for using rideshares, a bargain in exchange for the greater security and flexibility.

During the summer you'll find fun and interesting walking tours, restaurant & pub crawls, you could even hop aboard a ferry for a beautiful round-trip to Bainbridge Island! A good travel guidebook is a must. Enjoy! :-)

p.s.: Another poster wisely advised practical shoes for our hills. You'll also be glad of them for the loooooong walk from arrivals at SeaTac to the light rail station. Still shaking my head about that.

Posted by
7013 posts

Aimee, very interesting article. Bozeman was already starting to feel the effects of “A River Runs Through It” by the time my daughter moved there, but it’s nothing like what it was when I was there this past summer. I barely recognized it. It’s just sad.

Posted by
7050 posts

Public transportation here is unreliable at best and sketchy (if not
downright dangerous) at worst,

Respectfully, I disaree with this generalization. Public transit in Seattle is quite good and the city has invested heavily in it. Last time I was in Seattle, I caught a bus at lower Queen Anne (I stayed at the Marqueen Hotel, which I would recommend) to Ballard which was part of its rapid ride network, meaning it ran every 10 minutes. It's much better service than I've seen in other major cities. The buses were modern and clean, although yes, you can run into interesting characters. But hardly unreliable.

Posted by
8643 posts

My Seattle highlight was taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island and wandering there for a day.

Posted by
6670 posts

On a nice day when "the mountain is out," I recommend getting on the ferry to Bainbridge (on foot, no car) and enjoying the view in all directions coming and going. While Bainbridge (the town of Winslow where the ferry docks) is nice enough, I'd suggest getting right back on the ferry (you have to disembark while the cars unload and load) to return to Seattle, where there's a lot more to see and do.

Sorry about the misdirection re Best Western and Quality Inn east of Seattle Center. I guess they're gone. But Lower Queen Anne still seems worth a look for affordable lodging.

Posted by
11505 posts

sketchy (if not downright dangerous) at worst,

Probably referring to persons addicted to drugs, shooting up and vaping/smoking/inhaling drugs on buses and the driver having stop and get off and then having EMTs come to treat those who have had a '2nd hand' drug experience.

Posted by
4630 posts

On a nice day when "the mountain is out"

Frequent visitors to Seattle know that this is a legend supported by clever use of Photoshop. There is no actual mountain, never was.

Posted by
6670 posts

Geez, Tom, don't give away the secret! We need those sales taxes from all the visitors!

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Janet,
The Seattle Chamber Music Festival is a joy I sent you a PM with suggestions, including Bainbridge Island hotels near the ferry. Also there are possibly Air BnB options there and in the Magnolia, Queen Anne and perhaps the Roosevelt neighborhoods.

I've taken the light rail from Northgate and downtown Seattle to the airport in the past year, but would not recommend hotels near Sea-Tac or Angle Lake to return to after concerts.
Anne

Posted by
6710 posts

I know this thread isn't really aimed at International Visitors, but we aren't able to access KOMO in the UK or Europe for some kind of legal reason. Doubtless it's on King 5 somewhere, which is my usual go to, when I see an article I'm interested in in the Seattle Times, with it's paywall- found it on KIRO

Posted by
2242 posts

Jean--Same with my kids. Our daughter took the bus for the first couple of years after she graduated from college, then just said no. Our sons first experience on a Seattle bus was really bad, so he avoided it from the get go and has always driven to work. For both them, their employers paid for the Orca card, yet they drove. Our daughter is now work from home 100%, so it doesn't apply to her anymore, but our son still drives and his company actually provides parking at no extra cost now.