I think we visited Pike Place Market every single day we were in Seattle. It's what you do. It's like the Ultimate Farmers Market and then some. Some very eclectic stores that you wouldn't find anywhere else. Here are some fun photos! And, check out my Seafood at Pike Place Travelogue, and What you can see at Pike Place Market!
The book said that it was one of Seattle highlights, so we had to go there.
Maybe it is something odd for the American way of life, but I must confess that I found no distinctive details comparing with dozens of Portuguese markets.
Maybe because we arrived late? Maybe because we had excessively high expectations? I don't know. But what I saw was, for us, rather vulgar.
It's quite a cool place to visit! You can see the workers lobbing huge 30 pound fish across the market just for fun! I'm not sure as a tourist, you'd buy the fish since you'd have to have a place to cook it, but there are plenty of other chachkis you can buy there. It gets super crowded during regular hours, so I'd try to go early or late. Otherwise you'll be walking very slowly through the crowd, which you might be fine with if you're in no rush and you want to just get a feeling of how it is here. Don't forget that they have a downstairs part too where you can go eat and buy more stuff. It's usually much less crowded down there.
Pike Place Market is a fascinating place to walk and shop. The market has an interesting history. Back in 1906 Seattle citizens were outraged by the cost of certain produce most notably onions. They felt that middlemen had increased the cost of onions over 10 times their value. So Thomas Revelle, a Seattle City Councilman, proposed a public market where farmers could sell their produce directly to customers. What involved beginning in the summer of 1907 was Pike Place Market, one of the first large scale public markets out west and a great place to walk around.
The market is located on over nine acres just above the Alaska Viaduct Highway (a horrible freeway blocking views of the water). There are over 200 businesses who rent space in the market including over 100 farmers who rent space by the day. From fish, flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and many more items this market has it. What is particularly fun is to stroll around and hear the many performing musicians. Not just out in front of the market but all over the market. Great entertainment, fresh produce and a great location. No wonder everyone loves this place and so many VT'ers have provided a review.
The first floor of the market is open Monday through Saturday 9 to 6 and Sundays 9 to 5. The down under stores have more varied hours but generally are open 11 to 5 daily.
The floor is covered with tile with names on them. Wonder who they are? They are people who at one time could donate $35, and have their names on that floor for years. There's even one for Heaven's Gate (the cult who committed mass suicide). Crazy!
At certain fish booths, the salesmen offer their fishes by throwing'em through the air, maybe to present the fishes' freshness? In fact their fishes are really fresh and tasty smelling!Anyway, keep an eye out for low-flying fishes at the Pike Place Market.
Purchased at Pike Place Market a few most delicious breadrolls made with yeast and almonds, pretty similar to the flavor of German "Hefezopf" but fortunately without raisins.
Today the Pike Place Market is once again bustling, but the 100 or so farmers and fishmongers who set up shop on the premises are only a small part of the Market's attraction. More than 150 local craftspeople and artists can be found here, selling their creations as street performers serenade milling crowds. There are also hundreds of small specialty shops throughout the market, plus dozens of restaurants, including some of the city's best.
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.
Seattle's premier tourist attraction, Pike's Market. According to Wikopedia and history we read on Pike's Market:
"Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers' markets in the United States. It is a place of business for many small farmers, craftspeople and merchants. Named after the central street, Pike Place runs northwest from Pike Street to Virginia Street, and remains one of Seattle's most popular tourist destinations.
Before the creation of the Pike Place Market in 1907, local Seattle area farmers sold their goods to the public in a three-square block area area called The Lots, located at Sixth Avenue and King Street. Most produce sold at The Lots would then be brought to commercial wholesale houses on Western Avenue, which became known as Produce Row. Most farmers, due to the amount of time required to work their farms, were forced to sell their produce on consignment through the wholesalers on Western Avenue.
During the existence of the wholesale houses, which far predated the Market, there were regular rumors as well as instances of corruption in denying payment to farmers.
On Saturday, August 17, 1907 City Council President Charles Hiram Burnett Jr., filling in for the elected mayor as Acting Mayor of Seattle, declared the day Public Market Day and cut the ribbon.
Roughly ten farmers pulled up their wagons on a boardwalk adjacent to the Leland Hotel. The Times alleged several reasons for the low turnout of farmers: Western Avenue wholesale commission men who had gone to the nearby valleys and farms to buy all the produce out ahead of time to ruin the event; threats of violence by commission men against farmers; and farmers' fear of possible boycotts and lack of business with the commission men if the Market idea did not succeed in the long term. Hundreds of customers soon arrived, and before noon that day, all the farmers' produce had sold out".
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.
Pike Place Market was my first stop in Seattle. A hustling, bustling mulit-level market filled with locals and tourists alike, it is a very unique place and has a ton to do and see with various shops inside. A must-see during any Seattle tourist visit.
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!