Being a Washingtonian, I have been to Seattle more times than I can count. I’ve played tour guide in this city for our five exchange students and several of their families. Now I get to play tour guide for you! Pike Place Market is a must-see for any visitor! In this post, you will find out:
- What is Pike Place Market?
- Where is it located?
- Can’t-miss Pike Place attractions
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
What is Pike’s Place Market?
Pike Place Market is just that – a market. Picture your local farmers market, but with over 500 vendors! This market opened in 1907 and has expanded to a two-story building that takes up most of a city street (1). Here you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts to live performers. It’s a great place to stroll for a couple of hours as there is so much to look at. I personally love the cozy, homey feeling of the market. Seattle is known for rain, but you won’t have to worry about it as the market it entirely covered. Each vendor has their own hours of operations, but generally shops are open daily 9 am to 5 pm. To find out hours of operation for individual vendors, click here.
Where Is It Located?
This market is HUGE, so you can really head to several streets to find it. However, I recommend starting at the corner of Pike and 1st Street to get a photo in front of the iconic neon sign! Then head down Pike Street until you hit Stewart Street. This is the end of the market I typically start in. From there, go through the market at your leisure! Don’t forget to hit the can’t miss attractions below!
The main Pike Place Market parking garage is located at 1531 Western Ave. This garage tends to fill up and there are many other parking lots in the area. I recommend finding parking East of Pike Place because there is a big hill towards to waterfront on the West right next to a main highway. The Metro Parking lot at 1430 1st Ave and the parking garage at 1401 2nd Ave are good alternatives to the main Pike Place garage.
Can’t-Miss Pike Place Attractions
When discussing the stands and other attractions I will be referring to different areas of the market as they are designated in the official map here.
Pike Place Fish Market
If you have heard of Pike Place Market, you have likely heard of the “flying fish”. Located in the main arcade under the Public Market Center sign is the Pike Place Fish Market. This shop has become one of the main icons in the market for putting on a show every time someone purchases a fish. If you buy a fish, the employees throw your fish across the stand a few times before it makes it gets wrapped up. Don’t want to buy a fish? Just wait around for a few minutes and you’re sure to see the show anyway!
One of the most popular things to buy in Pike Place Market is a bouquet of flowers in one of the several flower shops in the north arcade. These big, beautiful bouquets are sure to brighten anyone’s day! If you can’t find the stands, just look around and you are sure to see a lot of people with bouquets. Ask anyone and they will surely point you in the right direction. It has become a tradition for my family (and many other families) to get flowers from the market every time we visit Seattle.
This is admittedly one of the grosses things about Pike Place, but you won’t get the full experience if you skip it. The gum wall is just that – a brick wall covered in chewing gum. It does get cleaned every once in a while so there aren’t layers of gum. However, there is still enough gum for it become famous! The wall is located in Post Alley. You can get there by taking stairs down to the bottom floor of the market. On the Pike Place map you will see it all the way to the left. Make sure you bring a pack of gum!
The Original Starbucks
Did you know Starbucks started in Seattle? It is located within Pike Place, right across the street from the north arcade. The signs still have the original brown logo and the shop sells souvenirs with this same design. If you love Starbucks, you won’t want to miss it! However, you should be prepared to wait. This is (understandably) the most popular Starbucks in the city and there is always a line.
What else would you like to know about Pike Place Market? Let me know in the comments!
Anna’s Pick of the Week
When heading to the Pacific Northwest, you will definitely need a rain coat! Us locals wouldn’t be caught dead with an umbrella, and we jokingly call people “tourists” or “Californians” if they use one. A raincoat is all we ever need! I personally buy Columbia raincoats, but any will do!