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Visiting Seattle:The Pike Place Market

Updated on February 10, 2013
Pike Place Market Sign
Pike Place Market Sign | Source
Fresh Seafood
Fresh Seafood | Source

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously running public market in the United States.

There are 9 acres of history, vendors, businesses, attractions and of course The Public Market.

More than 100 farmers, 190 crafts and services tables, 200 businesses and 240 street musician and performers can be found there every day.

Fresh Flowers
Fresh Flowers | Source

The Soul of Seattle

In the last 100+ years The Pike Place Market has earned the title of The Soul of Seattle.

This title comes as no surprise to anyone who has been there. The Pike Place Market is alive with incredible smells, sounds and entertainment. There are approximately 10 million people who visit and shop at the market every year.

Fresh Produce
Fresh Produce | Source

How It All Began

The first day of the Public Market was on August 17, 1907.

It all began when 8 farmers brought their wagons to 1st Avenue and Pike Street to sell their goods at reasonable prices.

They were greeted with thousands of shoppers. Unfortunately on that day, the farmers were out of product by 11am.

It didn’t take long for many other farmers and vendors to see that there was a real opportunity blossoming. In only took 4 months for the first building to be filled with fulltime vendors.

Fresh Lavender
Fresh Lavender | Source

The Public Market

The Public Market is the heart of The Pike Place Market and has an abundance of locally grown fresh products such as:

  • Fruit and produce
  • Beautiful flowers
  • Herbs and teas
  • Fresh local honey
  • Fresh baked pastries and breads
  • Local butchers
  • Berry farmers who make fresh jams, syrups and vinaigrettes
  • lots of freshly caught seafood

Pike Place Fish Company
Pike Place Fish Company | Source
Fresh Seafood
Fresh Seafood | Source

Pike Place Fish Company

The Public Market is home to the world famous fish throwing Men of The Market at the Pike Place Fish Company. Tourists and locals flock to see these amazing guys sell freshly caught seafood in a very entertaining way. Each time an order is placed, the first guy yells it back and tosses the fish to the next guy to be cleaned and that guy yells and throws it to the next guy and so on. The fish makes it's way down the line and by the time the customer receives their order, it has been cleaned, cut to their specifics and wrapped.

They even have a daily live web cam aimed at the throwers so people from all over the world can relive the wonderful memories they experience at the Pike Place Market.

Fresh fish 7am – 6pm

Assorted Peppers
Assorted Peppers | Source

Meet The Producer

The vendors who are allowed daily space rentals are: farmers who grow their own product and craftspeople that make their own goods.

The Market has a long standing policy that states, the customer should be able to meet and interact with the farmer and craftspeople they are purchasing from. This allows customers to know that the product is fresh and local.

This policy is called, Meet the Producer and it is written in big neon letters right next to the Public Market Sign to solidify the commitment to all its consumers.

Farmers Market
Farmers Market | Source

Operating Hours

The market opens 362 days per year, rain or shine.

The only days it remains closed are Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The hours vary slightly by season but generally the full market is open from 9am until 6pm Monday through Saturday and it closes at 5pm on Sunday.

Gum Wall Sign
Gum Wall Sign | Source

The Gum Wall

The Gum wall is exactly what its name suggests it is. One of the brick walls in Post Ally, located right below The Pike Place Market is covered in chewed gum.

There is a theater entrance in this ally and the patrons began using chewed gum as a means of sticking coins to the wall while they were waiting to purchase tickets for the theater. The coins are long gone but the gum remains and more is added daily.

This tradition began in 1993 and became an official tourist attraction in 1999. The theater workers scraped the gum off a few times when it first began but then it became too much to keep up with.

The chewed gum now covers about 50 feet of the wall and goes up about 15 feet high.

Gum Wall
Gum Wall | Source

The Market Heritage Tour

The Heritage Tour is full of interesting and historical information about the market.

Tourists and locals alike enjoy a guided look through the Public Market and the lower levels of Pike Place Market where they find many fascinating shops and unique treasures.

Two tours are available daily, rain or shine.

The Market Ghost Tour

The Market Ghost Tour was ranked in the Top Ten Ghost Tours in the US and One of Seattle’s Best and Weirdest Tourist Attractions.

This is a 75 minute tour of the exterior of Pike Place Market with a guide spinning tales of Seattle’s history and stories of ghost hauntings and sightings.

The Pike Place Market was voted The Most Haunted Place in the Northwest so it comes as no surprise that The Market Ghost Tours have been extremely popular since they began in 2004.

Fresh Produce
Fresh Produce | Source

Seattle Destination Place

The Pike Place Market has been a large piece of Seattle, Washington for more than 100 years.

It continues to bring the community together and serve tourists from all over the world.

This is the perfect destination for all the freshly grown products imaginable, history and guided tours, wonderfully handcrafted art and an abundance of entertainment for all ages.

Pike Place Market

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Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, USA
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    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      If you ever get the chance to go, you won't regret it! :)

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Oh, I so want to see this place! So many clips of it have appeared in movies, and of course the fish market is a legend! Now I know what to look for when I visit. Excellent hub - voted up and up!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      If you ever find yourself in the Northwest, it's a must see! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have never been here, but your description of the market makes me want to visit. I love shopping these types of venues, they always have some surprises and bargains.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      It really is a beautiful place! Except of the gum wall :)

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      It sounds like a brilliant place to get all your shopping done and know the provenance of your purchases and the history you described is so interesting. Can't get over the gum wall - that is a very bizarre feature!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Cactusbythesea, that is one of my favorite things about Pike Place, there is always something new to see. :)

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Mmargie, to be honest the gum was is pretty gross! We are planning a ghost tour in a couple weeks, can't wait!

    • cactusbythesea profile image

      cactusbythesea 5 years ago from Seattle

      I don't visit Pike Place too often, but I love taking out of town visitors to see it. There's always something new and interesting to see, if one can make it through the giant crowds! Great hub!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      It sounds like this is an interesting place to visit. I would love the ghost tour, but could do without the gum wall. Yuck!

      Excellent hub, Roxanne! I voted up and interesting.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you billybuc! It is definitely one of the many perks to living in the Northwest and we enjoy it as often as we can.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      jenubouka, that must have been a really great place to go everyday for work! I now feel sorry for the pig though

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Robie, if you ever get the chance to come to Seattle you can't miss this stop. Thank you!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you Conservative Lady. Pike Place is definitely one of our favorite familiy outings :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As I was reading I was trying to figure out how many times I have been at the Market....hundreds at the very least, and I never grow tired of it. You captured it perfectly....well done.

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      Being from Seattle, you included all the awesomeness of the epic Pike Place market. Well done. I used to work on the top floor of that building just across the street from the "pig" What an incredible view it was to see the hustle of the market everyday. Not to mention all the crazy photos we witnessed with that poor pig and the tourists.

    • whalefeather2 profile image

      whalefeather2 5 years ago

      Cool Place use to go there when I lived in the area.

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      What a wonderful market! Your description and the beautiful photos really make me want to visit, actually it makes me jealous because I'd love to live close by. Voted up and awesome!

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      I live in Washington and have been to Pike Place many times - it is something to behold. Great Hub. very informative. You have served it well!