Pike Place Market claims to be the oldest operating public farm market in the country, and is definitely one of the liveliest places in downtown Seattle. The first time we visited in 2004, we didn't see half of it. Pike Place Market generates a unique energy all its own. The Market is a jumble of restaurants and eateries; a brew pub; fish, produce and flower stalls; and a variety of unique shops with clothing, gifts, antiques and more. The Market is a stone's throw from Elliot Bay. The Market has an "upstairs" as well as "downstairs" level so there is much to explore. One of the most popular attractions of the Market is seeing the fishmongers "throwing" the fish from man to man and the crowd is never disappointed when this show is put on. One of the restaurants here was the setting for a scene in the Tom Hanks' movie, "Sleepless in Seattle." (See my restaurant tips.) This has become quite an attraction in itself.
Pike Place reminds me somewhat of Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, although the setting is quite different! One thing that Pike Place many visitors invariably look for is Rachel, the life-size brass pig and she alone is worth the treck down to Pike Place. Give her a little rub for good luck!
While the Pike Place Market has become a great tourist attraction for visitors, it is also quite evident that it also plays a part in the lives of the local residents--where they shop & eat. I think this gives an added dimension to the Market and makes it the great attraction that it is and you shouldn't miss it.
For me this market was one of the all time greats I visited. Just the atmosphere and busy activity made it a nice place to explore. The Pike Place Market began on August 17, 1907 and its still a vital part of Seattle's social and economic fabric. The nine-acre historic district is the Soul of Seattle and a national treasure.
I compared it to Vancouver's Granville Island another great destination. You will enjoy hanging out here. I could never have seen it all in the time that I had. You can go back there many times for sure!
The web site has a great map and listing of all the businesses.
The Pike Place Market was certainly one of the liveliest markets I had ever visited. I thought it would be hard to beat Vancouver Canada’s Granville Island but the Pike Place Market was right up there. It’s filled with great fresh food, unique stores and quality restaurants. I ate at Copacabana’s and that was great but it’s the atmosphere of all the activity that is special.
On the day I left I followed up on a tip that I read and went to the market between 6 and 7 am to watch it all come to life. The merchants are busy setting up and I guess early in the morning your nose is probably actually able to smell something. I distinctly remember being able to smell the flowers of one merchant and the seafood of another. It was very clear and enjoyable. On that morning there was a light mist falling on the city and the fine people at Lowell’s let me in for an expresso and view before they opened at 7. If I had more time I would have enjoyed breakfast that morning.
If it interests you the original Starbucks is actually in this market. On Saturday it was very busy with lots of street performers as well on the sidewalks.
Pike Place Market is more than just one of Seattle's top attractions, it's that rare tourist magnet that manages to retain some local flair. This is a working market and in fact has been since its inception in 1907, making it one of the longest running farmer's markets in the US. Sure, there are vendors selling typical tourist junk but there are people selling produce at very competitive prices. Many people from Seattle still shop here especially on weekends when the place is a cultural meeting place as much as one of commerce. The biggest attraction in the market is the seafood section where sellers put on quite an animated show, enticing customers to participate and literally throwing fish amongst themselves when someone buys something. It's quite infectious, a bit like an auction. There are also numerous places to eat, ranging from sit down places of some notoriety like the one from Harry Met Sally to stand up stalls to grab something tasty and cheap on the run.
Pike Place Market is over 100 years old, nine acres large, and attracts 10 million visitors a year. It is called the Soul of Seattle and today it is considered America's premier Farmer's Market with almost 200 craftspeople and 100+ farmers. You can buy everything from flowers to king crabs to kitchy souvenirs here. Lots of unusual shops and good restaurants (all kinds) too. Street performers and little "performances" by some of the vendors as well. You can spend hours poking around in this market!
All year round the Market is open seven days a week, closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and NewYear's Day. The merchants set their own hours, so it's a good idea to check the shopping and dining guides before going to visit a specific shop or stall. Generally, restaurants stay open later and during the peak farm season, farmers are frequently set up and ready to sell by 8:00 a.m. or earlier.
Check the website for vendor maps, special events, and information on the Market Heritage Tours offered.
Parking at the Market is also very easy. The Market garage at 1531 Western Avenue is just down the hill from Victor Steinbrueck Park and offers affordable parking rates. Some Market merchants offer parking validation - ask as you shop. Parking is free from some restaurants after 5:00 p.m. There are also a number of other parking lots, both on First Avenue and along Western Avenue.
Back in the '60's we were all hippies...well nearly all of us. Anyway, most of us moved on :-( Still I often wonder about what happened to all those folks who never "sold-out". Well, call the National Inquirer...all can now be revealed.
Where are all the old hippies, the aging folk singers, the "dye" hard tie-dyers, the one-toke-over-the-line incense makers and the strung too many beads jewelry makers? They have all found happiness at Pike Place Market. Pike Place which seems to be located in the Public Market Center, although it never seems quite clear to me, is an absolutely fascinating place. Even if shopping is not your thing, this experience should not be missed.
In fairness, while the hippies are probably there mostly for the tourist the larger portion of the market is reserved for farmers produce and, of course, the most important item...the fresh seafood. The salmon throwers are now world famous but seem to rarely toss without a specific sale incentive.
While it's probably OK to skip the Space Needle, I think no visit to Seattle would be complete without stopping by Pike Place Market, the liveliest place in town! This farmer's market dates back to 1907, which makes it the oldest continuously operated market in the United States. The idea behind its creation was to create a space where customers would be able to meet directly with the farmers, thus eliminating the need for "middlemen" who would often raise prices for no reason and take home a large share of the profits. When the market first opened, about 10 farmers showed up and their stalls were immediately invaded by thousands of customers - needless to say, several more farmers showed up the next day!
Today, Pike Place Market covers several blocks, roughly extending from the Waterfront to 1st Avenue, and from Pike Street to Virginia Street. You can easily spend an entire day walking around the market if you feel like shopping for fresh produce and flowers, arts and craft, fish, cheese, chocolate, coffee and spices, new and used books, and so much more! There are also several restaurants located in the market (we had lunch at the historic Athenian Inn - see my restaurants tips), and street performers of all kinds are there on a daily basis to entertain visitors. There truly is something for everyone at Pike Place Market!
The Pike Place Market is one of the oldest public markets in the USA. It offers many wonderful vendors who sell flowers, fresh seafood, produce, as well as crafts and photographs. The Pike Place Fish Market is very entertaining, with lively employees who throw fish and generally put on a grand show for onlookers. Explore the lower levels of the market to find unique shops selling everything from fine wine to magic tricks. Don't forget to stop by the Pike Brewery for a pint!
Pikes Place Market is probably one of the most visited, and most famous, places in Seattle. Because of this I was sure that it was going to be a seething tourist trap full of plastic junk and people wearing Budweiser t-shirts, but you know, it was nothing like that at all. In fact, the place is awesome!
Pikes Place is the real deal, full of actual local farmers and fishermen who bring their goods to the market early every morning. The fish there was breathtaking. I know that is a weird way to describe fish, but that is what it was. Most of it looked like it was still alive. The place is full of flowers as well. The flower vendors are everywhere and they are so lovely that you can't help but want to buy some.
You can also buy just about any type of ethnic food at the market. They have a Russian bakery, a Filipino barbecue, a Turkish sweets shop, a Latin American Grocery and a Greek take-out window.
You can also buy fresh honey, chocolates, ice cream, fresh donuts, French crepes and tons of non-food items. The market has a used book store, a newsstand that sells papers and magazines from around the world, and many clothing boutiques, jewelry stores and other types of shops.
The only bad thing about Pikes Place is that you can't take most of the stuff home with you!
Well, alota people seem to come just to see the market, I can tell you what little factual info I know of, its the longest running market in the USA. Its a good place to grab a bite to eat, check out the fish throwers, or just explore.
One of the top attractions at Pike Place Market is the self-dubbed "world famous" Pike Place Fish Market. Dating back to 1930, this seafood vendor wasn't much different from other fish markets until the 1980s, when the owner and employees decided to turn their little establishment into a world-famous affair - and pretty much succeeded! To save the place from bankruptcy, the fishmongers took up the habit of tossing fish around (see my little video) and bantering with the crowd that inevitably gathers around the shop. It eventually caught the attention of the media and was featured in several TV shows, and was even at the basis of John Christensen's FISH! Philosophy films and books about workplace management - they have since come up with their own motivational books and seminars. When you read about the history of the city, you discover that Seattleites have always had a knack for turning a profit even out of the least promising ventures - it would seem like Pike Place Fish Market is yet another one of Seattle's long list of successful stories!
There are a few ghost tours offered in Seattle but since we'd already gone on the Underground Tour and learned about the history of Pioneer Square, we thought we'd go on the ghost tour that focuses on Pike Place Market. This 1-h tour took us inside the market at night, when it is eerily deserted, and we also visited some supposedly haunted spots on Post Alley and 1st Avenue. The tour included a lot of historical and factual information about the market itself, which was great. The ghost stories were all based on Mecedes Yaeger's research on the area's dark past and notorious former residents, such as Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard, suspected of having killed over 40 of her patients through starvation. We also visited a former funeral parlor that now houses a pub and a restaurant, both of which are said to be among the most haunted buildings in the Pacific Northwest. It was a very entertaining tour, but it was a little too short to really get in the right kind of mood. For this reason, it wasn't exactly the best ghost tour I've been on in the US, but it's still a fun way to start an evening in Seattle.
Tickets cost $15 per person and tours run every night, rain or shine.
The second day I was in Seattle, I did the trolley tour, and Pike Street Market. I got off the trolley at the waterfront and walked up the steps (the back door) to the market. It is a huge place - 9 acres. I think I bought some goodies there to take back to my room at the bakeries or some of the other food stores there.
One of the signature sights to see at the Pike Street Market is the fish market section where the employees throw fish to each other. Of course since I had no kitchen facilities I did not linger long in the Fish Market.
Later when we had to give a presentation to the group about the city, I bought a postcard and got my film developed so we would have some visual aids for the presentation.
I was so impressed with the market that it was one of the sights I wanted to show my husband in 2011.
After breakfast I went to the front desk and collected the wheelchair. We went out on 4th Street (the other entrance had steps), and Bob pushed me across to Pike Street and then down We passed several Starbucks and the Hard Rock, and then went into the Market.
Bob pushed me through the first level past the flower shops, the vegetable shops (he said melons were more expensive) and the fish markets. We did see them tossing fish once, but I didn't get a picture. Actually pictures while Bob was pushing the wheelchair were a bit hard to get because it was somewhat dark. I did get a photo of a little boy on the back of a pig sculpture (photo 5). Then we went back to the hotel.
A trip to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without a walk around the famous Pike Place Market. Bustling with locals, fresh fruit, fish, cakes, cookies and coffee. Here is also where you will find the first ever Starbucks. Walk about 200 metres along the main stretch and you will find it on your right. Come on Sunday and find the main stretch of the market blocked to make space for outside BBQ grills and bars. For a hearty meal, head to Pike Place Brewery and try a micro ale when your there. The vintage cider is pretty good too. If it’s a sunny day (yes, they do occur!), head to the end of Pike Place Market to find a stretch of grass to relax on with an ice lolly. Tucked in just behind the market, one block up the hill you’ll find Pound Street. Also worth a look, for small cafes, restaurants and irish bars.
All you "I don't want to see anything touristy" sorts will insist that this is exactly the type of place you'd hate. Fine. Don't go. Miss all the fun. Because you know what? That's just a little bit more room for the rest of us!
This is a tourist attraction that works. Yes, it's mobbed, noisy and a little stinky around the fish stalls but it's also 7 acres of eye candy: gorgeous flowers, bright pink seafood, beautiful textiles, pastel posters and paintings, jewel-toned preserves and more colors of fresh fruits and vegetables than hues in a crayon box. Yes, there are the usual vendors of tacky tchotchkes but they're nicely outnumbered by handmade offerings of jewelry, kitchenware, leather, clothing, baskets and toys. Yes, there are probably a few overpriced, so-so eateries but also cozy bistros, fabulous bakeries and drop-dead great chowder. All of this in open-air stalls and little shops serenaded by local buskers and festooned with masses of flower boxes and planters. And yes, the locals do shop here too.
The market has been around since 1907 and had 10,000 customers (none of them tourists, incidentally) on its very first day. Today, it attracts 10 million visitors a year and is open 7 days a week except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Each stall and shop is individually owned so hours vary but figure roughly 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM with a few not unlocking the door until 10:00 and others closing at 5:00. Some vendors are also only there on certain days of the week or weekends so if you see something you like, buy it 'cause it may not be there tomorrow.
See the excellent website for shopping guide, restaurants, festival and event calendar, tour information, directions, parking and other good stuff to know.
Pike Place Market, originally a farmers market, was founded in 1907 when housewives complained that middlemen were raising the prices of produce. The market allowed shoppers to buy directly from producers and thus save on grocery bills. By the 1960s, however, the market was no longer the popular spot it had been. World War II had deprived it of nearly half its farmers when Japanese Americans were moved to internment camps. The postwar flight to the suburbs almost spelled the end of the market, and the site was being eyed for a major redevelopment project. Fortunately, a grass-roots movement to save the 9-acre market culminated in its being declared a National Historic District.