I’m a Colorado local here to help you decide where to stay in Steamboat Springs!
To enjoy Steamboat Ski Resort, there’s nothing more convenient than slopeside lodging. However, the lifts are just a short shuttle ride away from the more-affordable central region. Meanwhile, downtown provides easy access to all the best things to do in Steamboat Springs.
Looking for a remote retreat or accommodations for a large group? Check out northern and southern Steamboat Springs. I overview all these areas and more in this comprehensive guide.
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Best Places to Stay in Steamboat Springs
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Steamboat Springs? Here are my top picks:
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas
- 🍸 Best Luxury Hotel – The Steamboat Grand
- 👪 Best for Families – Homewood Suites by Hilton Steamboat Springs
- 💻 Best for Business – Residence Inn by Marriott Steamboat Springs
- 🏨 Best Boutique – Legacy Vacation Resorts Steamboat Springs Hilltop
- 🛏️ Best Budget – Quality Inn & Suites
- 🧑🤝🧑 Best for Large Groups – Bella Vista Estate
Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Steamboat Springs:
5 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Steamboat Springs
Like most mountain towns in Colorado, Steamboat Springs is a relatively small community. In the winter months, most visitors will prefer to stay near Steamboat Ski Resort. Year-round, there’s also plenty of action happening in the downtown area.
Find affordable stays in the central region, along with quieter retreats both north and south of town. The southern places to stay are especially ideal for weddings, family reunions, and other large gatherings.
Steamboat Ski Resort
Famed for its “champagne powder,” Steamboat Ski Resort is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado. It spans 2,965 acres and boasts 170 groomed trails, offering terrain for every skill level. Night skiing and snowboarding are also available, as is snowshoeing. There’s also ice skating in Steamboat Square, the main hub of the ski village.
In and around Steamboat Square, you’ll find plenty of ski-in, ski-out lodging. This includes The Steamboat Grand, one of the area’s most iconic stays. It features a spacious outdoor hot tub, an on-site restaurant, and a location just feet from the ski lifts.
Steamboat ski area also encompasses a few hotels along U.S. Route 40 (South Lincoln Avenue). One of these is Homewood Suites by Hilton Steamboat Springs.
Set roughly two miles from the ski slopes, it’s not quite walking distance from the resort. However, a free shuttle ride on the Orange Line will get you there in minutes. Plus, these hotels tend to be a bit cheaper than those at the base of the ski mountain.
Pros of Staying near Steamboat Resort:
- Easy access to the ski area
- Many ski-in, ski-out lodging options
- Free bus rides make value picks convenient
- Connected to the Yampa River Core Trail
- Walking distance to restaurants and amenities
Cons of Staying near Steamboat Resort:
- Most hotels tend to be pricey, especially during ski season
- Not the most ideal area for those that don’t ski
📚 Steamboat Ski Resort Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Winter Sports
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Steamboat Ski Resort
🎟️ Top Attractions – Steamboat Ski Resort, Steamboat Square, Skeeter’s Ice Rink
Central Steamboat Springs
Central Steamboat Springs is located between the ski area and downtown. Like the other hotels on U.S. Route 40, these places tend to be cheaper than the slopeside lodges. To access the ski area, visitors can take a free bus ride on the Orange Line or Green Line.
The Yampa River Core Trail is another great way to get around central Steamboat Springs. Walk along this to access the Yampa River Botanic Park and even downtown attractions. Restaurants, grocers, and ski rental shops are also within walking distance of this region.
Pros of Staying in Central Steamboat Springs:
- More affordable than slopeside lodging
- Quick drive / free shuttle ride to both skiing and downtown attractions
- Surrounded by walkable conveniences, including familiar chains
- Roughly a 3-mile round trip walk to downtown
Cons of Staying in Central Steamboat Springs:
- Less centralized than the ski area and downtown
- Less charm than other regions
- Experiences more vehicle traffic
📚 Central Steamboat Springs Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for All-Around Access
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Central Steamboat Springs
🎟️ Top Attractions – Steamboat Ski Resort, Yampa River Botanic Park, Yampa River Core Trail, Rita Valentine Dog Park
Downtown Steamboat Springs
Not sure where to stay in Steamboat Springs? You can’t go wrong with the downtown area, full of fun attractions and a variety of hotels. One of the most popular picks is The Bristol Hotel, complete with modern amenities and an indoor hot tub. This hotel is also attached to Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant, one of my favorite eateries in Steamboat Springs.
From breakfast bakeries to breweries, downtown features dozens of great places to eat. It also has art galleries, charming boutiques, bookstores, museums, and more. When visiting, don’t miss F M Light & Sons, a Western apparel shop that’s been around for over a century.
Other downtown attractions include the Howelsen Hill Ski Area, the longest-running ski area in Colorado. Enjoy ice skating and hockey at the Howelsen Park Ice Arena, and soak at Old Town Hot Springs. Spring Creek Trail and Fish Creek Falls, the state’s second-tallest waterfall, are also nearby.
While this area is roughly three miles north of the ski resort, the lifts are still easily accessible via a 10-minute drive. You can also reach the resort by taking a free ride on the ExpreSST shuttle or Red Line.
Pros of Staying in Downtown Steamboat Springs:
- Variety of hotel options
- Surrounded by great restaurants and bars
- Walking distance to key Steamboat Springs attractions
- Ski resort is accessible by free public transportation
Cons of Staying in Downtown Steamboat Springs:
- Farther from the ski lifts than other areas
- Parking may be limited
📚 Downtown Steamboat Springs Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Key Attractions
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Downtown Steamboat Springs
🎟️ Top Attractions – Steamboat Art Museum, Tread of Pioneers Museum, F M Light & Sons, Howelsen Hill Ski Area, Howelsen Ice Arena, Old Town Hot Springs, Fish Creek Falls
Northern Steamboat Springs
For a rustic and rural retreat, head north of downtown Steamboat Springs. Here, you’ll find private, spacious rental properties that don’t experience the same vehicle and foot traffic as other areas. Take in stunning views from the outdoor hot tub at this Scenic Mountain Chalet, or from the deck at Tatanka Ridge Cabin.
Another popular spot in this region is Strawberry Park Hot Springs, one of the best hot springs in Colorado. Make reservations to enjoy a 2-hour soak or enjoy unlimited access by booking an overnight stay. Lodging options include log cabins, as well as a unique train caboose and covered wagon. You can also pitch a tent at one of its designated sites.
As a whole, Northern Steamboat Springs is one of the best places to go camping in Colorado. Head up Buffalo Pass to enjoy free year-round car camping, or opt for a $10 site at the seasonal Dry Lake Campground.
Pros of Staying in Northern Steamboat Springs:
- Scenic mountain views
- Quieter than other areas
- Easy access to outdoor recreation
Cons of Staying in Northern Steamboat Springs:
- Farther from many area attractions
- Closest restaurants and amenities are in downtown Steamboat Springs
- Requires a vehicle (potentially with 4WD in the winter)
📚 Northern Steamboat Springs Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Rustic Retreats
Southern Steamboat Springs
This region is roughly 8 miles south of Steamboat Ski Resort. Unfortunately, Steamboat Springs’ free bus system doesn’t travel this way. If you plan on skiing, a rental car will be essential.
But skiing aside, the greatest draw to southern Steamboat Springs is its large, luxurious rental properties. These properties are great for weddings, family reunions, and other group gatherings.
Pros of Staying in Southern Steamboat Springs:
- Large properties that are great for groups
- Luxurious amenities like pools, hot tubs, and game rooms
- Panoramic views
- Private, quiet area
Cons of Staying in Southern Steamboat Springs:
- Staying here will require a vehicle
- Expensive nightly rates
- Most properties require a minimum night stay
📚 Southern Steamboat Springs Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Luxurious Group Getaways
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Southern Steamboat Springs
🍸 Where to Drink – Catamount Lake House
🎟️ Top Attractions – Catamount Ranch & Club, Dinner Sleigh Rides at Haymaker, Steamboat Snowmobile Tours, Steamboat Zipline Adventures
Tips for Staying in Steamboat Springs
Research When to Visit
Year-round, there are so many things to do in Steamboat Springs. However, some attractions are seasonal, like select outdoor activities and the Yampa River Botanic Park. Other activities are only available on select dates, like shows by the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra. Of course, eateries and shops have limited business hours, too.
Also, keep in mind that some outdoor attractions may be more difficult to access in the winter months. For example, from November 1st to May 1st, you’ll need a 4WD vehicle to get to Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs.
Research all your options and these types of details before you arrive! That way, you don’t miss what most interests you.
Know How to Get Around
The most direct method to reach Steamboat Springs is to fly into Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN). See our Colorado Airports guide for a full list of cities that offer non-stop direct flights.
There’s also the option of flying into Denver International Airport and taking a connecting flight from there. Or, you can rent a vehicle in Denver and take a road trip to Steamboat Springs. Check out Discover Cars to compare available agencies and score the best rates.
Driving is the most convenient way to get around Steamboat Springs, but its free shuttle service will also get you to many area attractions. This ski town is also highly walkable. Take advantage of the Yampa River Core Trail, which connects the downtown and central Steamboat Springs regions.
Pack for Varying Weather
Set at 6,732 feet above sea level, Steamboat Springs experiences a range of weather. From morning to afternoon, it’s common for temperatures to fluctuate by 20 or more degrees. That said, it’s always best to dress in layers.
If partaking in outdoor activities, you’ll want to consider moisture-wicking fabrics, especially. Technical clothing like reflective insulated layers may also help you stay warm. Meanwhile, lightweight UPF clothing is ideal in the summer months.
👉 Pro Tip: See my Colorado Packing List for more suggestions on how to stay comfortable!
Wearing sunscreen is one of the most crucial Colorado travel tips. At higher elevations like that of Steamboat Springs, the sun’s rays are more intense. Even in the winter months, you’ll want to liberally reapply sunscreen throughout the day to avoid sunburn and the harmful effects of UV light.
Colorado has a semi-arid environment, meaning that it’s quite dry in Steamboat Springs. Combat this by drinking plenty of water, especially when partaking in physical activities. Staying hydrated also helps to prevent the effects of altitude sickness.
I recommend carrying a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go. Before your trip, consider buying Travel Lemming’s go-to water bottle recommendation: the Grayl GeoPress. It’s available in multiple sizes and colors and features a built-in, top-of-the-line purification system.
FAQs About Where to Stay in Steamboat Springs
Does Steamboat Springs have a downtown?
Steamboat Springs does have a downtown. With several hotels to choose from, it’s one of the best areas to stay. Downtown is also highly walkable with restaurants, shopping, and key attractions nearby.
Do you need a car in Steamboat Springs?
You do not need a car in Steamboat Springs. If staying downtown, in the central region, or near the ski resort, you have access to the town’s free shuttle service. These areas are also highly walkable.
However, if you want a more secluded stay in northern or southern Steamboat Springs, a car will be the best way to get around. You can reserve a rental from one of three agencies in town. To compare these companies and get the best rate, check out Discover Cars.
Thanks for reading my guide on where to stay in Steamboat Springs! I hope you have a wonderful time exploring one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
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