If there’s one quintessential Seattle destination, it’s the Pike Place Market. Founded in 1907, the market thrives today as a place for locals and visitors to shop the freshest salmon and crab, browse locally made crafts, pick up a colorful bouquet of paper-wrapped flowers, or enjoy a steaming bowl of chowder while admiring the view of Elliott Bay. On summer weekends, you can shop directly from Washington farmers at the outdoor Farmers Market. And don’t miss out on the market’s lower levels, where tiny boutiques, galleries, and antique shops are tucked away in every corner.
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To Market, to Market!
While, some might view Seattle’s Pike Place Market as a typical tourist stop that can easily be glazed over, it’s definitely worth a closer look. Join the masses and wind your way through the popular fresh seafood shops, vibrant produce stands, and stalls of local handcrafted products.
For a less congested and more unique experience, take a detour downstairs to find a variety of quirky specialty shops that are a nod to collectors and the days of the Market past.
For lunch, head back up onto Pike Street to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, where you can overlook the cheesemaking process while nibbling on some of their "'World’s Best' Mac and Cheese." Or for an international flavor, swing by DeLaurenti to order from their Italian café, or browse their well stock shelves of delectable European and specialty food and wine products. Lastly, be sure to do as most Seattleites do, and pick up a bountiful bouquet of fresh flowers for a steal. If you’re looking for entertainment, make your Market trip an evening affair and catch dinner and a show at the Can-Can. This underground venue features live music, variety shows, cabaret, a little bit of burlesque, comedy, and the notable Can-Can Castaways dance troupe. Go online to explore what lively entertainment they have lined up on any given night. While you can purchase tickets at the door, shows regularly sell out, so it is recommended that you order in advance through their website to guarantee a seat.
From the vendor stalls on the top level, all the way down the winding halls of Pike Place Market - both global and local treasures can be found and purchased. My number one pick for shopping throughout the market is the upstairs Crafts Market for local handmade jewelry, bath goods, and scarves. Other shops I always have to go into include the Spanish Table, Metsker Maps of Seattle, Market Spice, and Pappardelle's Pasta.
locals and tourist alike congregate here to purchase fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, books, fish, french cheese and antiques, to say the least. The variety is endlessly entertaining and refreshingly authentic.
"Rainier", the iconic mountain that looms over Seattle, shares its name with a diminutive fruit: the cherry. But these delicate little orbs come and go in a flash: late June through mid-July is their peak. Don't miss them. Buy a pound or two to enjoy while wandering through Pike Place Market, whose characters are as colorful as its produce...
Yes, Seattleites sometimes get impatient with out-of-towners when trying to shop at 'their' market downtown...but all are part of the crowd, and Pike Place Market is a magnet for all. The soul of this city is for locals AND visitors.
The newsstand on the SW corner of 1st and Pike has newspapers and magazines from all over the world...go further in to the market and you'll find fresh berries and green beans guarded by a gecko--the bounty of the volcanic soil surrounding the city...and bouquets you won't find in any supermarket floral section--just a smattering of the shopping that keeps everyone coming back to "The Market."
(Note--it's not "Pike's Place"--just PIKE Place...and if you live here, "The Market.")
It's not news that locals and visitors alike love the Pike Place Market. Whether you're shopping for fresh produce for tonight's dinner, browsing for souvenirs, or enjoying fish and chips with a view of the water, there's plenty of tempting purchases. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the mostly Hmong flower sellers whose stalls fill the main aisle of the market. Huge, dazzling bouquets are shockingly affordable — the fall-colored bouquet shown here was just $5, bought on a whim at the end of a long workday. Even if you're just visiting us for a few days, treat yourself to a bright splash of color to make up for our often-grey skies.
Pike Place Market is the busiest tourist destination in Seattle, with people packing the street and main arcade. But even though the market doesn't officially open until 9 A.M., the vendors arrive well before to set up shop, and this is the perfect time to explore and meet the locals who work there.
I took a behind-the-scenes tour of Pike Place at 6 A.M. for a chapter I wrote in Seattle Before8, and when we snapped this picture at 6:45, the market was still bare. You'll never get an opportunity like this to walk through the streets uninhibited during the middle of the day, so wake up early and have Pike Place all to yourself.
Pike Place Market has two 'attractions' - fish throwing and flower shopping. I missed the throwing - so I walked from one end of the market looking at and loving the flowers.. really - spring brings such beautiful boons. The tulips - all of different hues and shades, bunches of wildflowers,sweet smelling lilacs - I loved it there!
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Santa Claus visits Seattle's Pike Place Market to ring in the holidays and take pictures with visitors. Sip some locally made cider, pick out a wreath or a tree, and listen to carolers until 5 p.m., when Santa leads the countdown to the lighting of the 20-foot-tall holiday tree and the market's holiday lights. It's a festive beginning to a hectic season, and a reminder to shop local and support small businesses for the holidays.
The annual Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition celebrates the holiday season by filling downtown streets with caroling teams (like the beehived Beaconettes, shown here) singing holiday songs to raise money for the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank. Proceeds benefit low-income and homeless seniors and families living in Seattle, so if you see carolers downtown, give generously.
A visit to Pike Place Market isn’t complete without stopping at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese to watch their cheesemakers tending huge metal tubs of curds and whey. In the adjoining cafe, you can order their famous mac ‘n’ cheese or a grilled panini, pick up a tub of curds, or stock up on Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar and other local Northwest cheese to snack on later. (We also like their thick, buttery crackers for serving those luscious cheeses.) If your travel plans aren’t conducive to hauling around wedges of perishable dairy products, you can also order online and have your favorite cheese delivered.
Seattle offers the traveler a plethora of experiences, for every age, taste and budget, no matter how long you stay, let Seattle mesmerize you with its natural beauty, flavors, smells and incredible people.
Must dos: Pike Market Place, Ferry ride, top of the Smith Tower for stunning views, Ballard Neighborhood for corky and eclectic shops and some of the best food in town, and for all chocolate lovers out there, a trip to Fran's Chocolates (several locations), will have you wanting more and maybe, just maybe, hitting the gym an extra 5 or 10 minutes, because it is worth getting fat in Seattle.
Yes, there are many famous sights, smells, sounds and goods at Pike Place Market, but the dried and fresh fruit options seem nearly endless. I didn't know I wanted dates until I saw them sitting so sweetly begging to be eaten. From local to exotic, the fruit and vegetable vendors offer everything anyone could possibly want for a weekend brunch or weeknight dinner.
Founded in 1907, the market thrives today as a place for both locals and visitors to shop for the freshest salmon and crab, browse locally made crafts, pick up colorful bouquets of paper-wrapped flowers and enjoy steaming bowls of chowder while admiring the view of Elliott Bay. The original Starbucks is here, too, opened in 1971. And don’t miss out on the market’s lower levels, where tiny boutiques, galleries and antique shops are tucked into every corner.