An insider guide to the best areas to stay in Dublin Ireland: neighborhood guide and top accommodation choices for all budgets. Updated 2020.
One of the hardest things when planning a trip to a new city is picking the right area for accommodation and Dublin makes no exception.
Equipped with a large number of hotels, the city is compact enough to offer several good accommodation options but also large enough to make the choice of your hotel location important, especially if in Dublin for a weekend or less.
In this guide, I am going to share my top picks for the best area to stay in Dublin, taking into account Dublin must-see attractions and different travel styles and needs.
I have been living in Dublin for the last 15 years and, over the course of this time, I have gotten to know many areas and helped many friends and readers visit the city.
I hope you find these tips helpful!
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The best areas to stay in Dublin: an overview
Dublin is on the East Coast of Ireland and its city center develops on both sides of the river Liffey.
Locals usually refer to Dublin as divided into two ‘sides’, the North Side and the South Side and both can be good for visitors.
The majority of Dublin attractions are on the South Side and this makes this area very popular with tourists but the North Side has some lovely areas and wonderful access to the sea (via DART, the local train).
Where to stay in Dublin: best locations
Dublin city center (Southside)
The best area to stay in Dublin for sightseeing and the most popular with visitors is by far the town center on the South-side of the Liffey.
Here is where you have famous Grafton Street (shopping, pedestrian high street), Trinity College, Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral just to name a few famous places and this is also an area buzzing with pubs and restaurants.
This area is pretty compact and while you may wonder whether it is better to be close to Trinity or Christchurch, it doesn’t really matter as distances are not big.
Need to know: this area is also where you have the famous Temple Bar. While a night here can be fun, I highly recommend not to book accommodation on this street as the noise can be unbearable! We spent one night in a cool hotel here but the noise killed it: stay a little farther away for the best experience.
Best hotels in Dublin city center South
Some hotels I like in this area are:
Hilton Dublin at Charlemont, a lovely Hilton property overlooking a canal, with lovely rooms and onsite restaurants.
The Merrion Hotel, fabulous luxury hotel with wonderful rooms, a spa and one of the best restaurants in Dublin
Radisson Blu, a convenient and well-appointed hotel in a wonderful location, close to everything
This is an area of Dublin with many hotels but prices can be prohibitive. You may want to check additional deals on booking.com – they often have great sales (and great cancellation policies)
The IFSC, Dublin city Northside
The IFSC is the financial center of Dublin and as such not the most charming of locations.
However, it is exceptionally convenient in terms of access to the city, it has some nice attractions such as Epic Ireland (the Irish Emigration Museum where you can trace your Irish family history) and the Jeanie Johnston Irish famine ship museum) and nice views over the river.
The Samuel Beckett bridge is here and it is lovely in the evening!
This is also an excellent location for your hotel if you are in Dublin for a concert at the 3 Arena or for work.
If staying in this area, I recommend getting hold of a travel card for the bus/tram: while not far from the city center and Grafton Street, especially in the evening the walk can get annoying.
The best hotels in the Dublin IFSC area
In this area, I recommend two hotels:
Hilton Garden Inn, a practical, budget-friendly option with good rooms and an onsite restaurant (we stayed with the kids and was excellent, I would recommend to it to business travelers too)
The Gibson Hotel, a stylish hotel just beside the 3 Arena, with nice rooms, bar and eatery on site, great for couples or a friends’ getaway.
Dublin 6 (Ranelagh, Rathmines, Rathgar)
Another lovely area and my personal favorite is the one immediately to the South of Grafton street and St Stephen’s green, comprising Ranelagh and Rathmines and, immediately farther out, Rathgar.
These three areas are all under the postcode ‘Dublin 6’ but have different atmospheres.
Ranelagh is stylish and hipster: it has many nice restaurants and bars, lovely, leafy side streets and is a great place if you want to be close to the center but also feel a more local atmosphere. This is a pretty wealthy part of town with, often, prices to match.
Rathmines is a more studenty but changing fast, constantly acquiring new venues: this is a well-served area with shops and cinemas and I find it good for families especially (there is a nice playground on Belgrave Square).
Rathgar is a small, pretty area just after Rathmines and it is good for people who want to stay away from the city center and want to experience a more local, part of Dublin.
I highly recommend this area to families with children but also single travelers and older travelers who may want a local, almost village-like atmosphere.
Best hotels in Dublin 6
The Devlin, a new, stylish, hip hotel with a cool bar (one rooftop!) and cinema, right in the heart of Ranelagh and its many restaurants.
Travelodge Rathmines, practical, budget-friendly option on the main Rathmines Road, close to local shops and the city center
Uppercross House Rathmines, small, pretty hotel in a nice location, hosted in an 1800 townhouse.
St Aiden’s Guesthouse, a small, welcoming guesthouse / B&B in a leafy Dublin street with shops and restaurants nearby and great bus connections to Dublin city center.
Ballsbridge, Dublin South city center
Ballsbridge is a beautiful and wealthy part of Dublin with some great, historic hotels, good services nearby and good connections with the city center.
This is a great area for business travelers and visitors alike and it is very convenient if you have a car since several hotels here offer parking options.
Best hotels in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Some of the best hotels in this area are:
The Herbert Park Hotel and Residence, a beautiful 4-star hotel overlooking Herbert Park and convenient for both the RDS and the Aviva Stadium.
The Mespil hotel, 4-star hotel along the canal (lovely!), walking distance from the town center, good for all type do travelers
Ariel House, a gorgeous guesthouse in a wonderful Victoria building in a lovely area close to the Aviva stadium (and with a legendary breakfast)
I hope you enjoyed this overview of the city’s neighborhoods and it helped you pick the best area to stay in Dublin, Ireland. Safe travels!