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Seattle's Pike Place Market

Updated on August 11, 2014
relache profile image

Raye was born in New England, grew up in the Mid-Atlantic, spent college out West, and presently publishes Hubs from the Pacific Northwest.

Pike Market Sign
Pike Market Sign | Source

Welcome to Pike Place Market

Seattle's historic Pike Place Market is a popular, year-round destination for city residents and tourists alike, and it turned 100 years old in August 2007! Located just off the waterfront, this multi-level building features dozens of artisans, vegetable growers, flower sellers, craftspeople and more. Load up on organic produce or fresh seafood, or browse the unique gift and specialty shops.

There are also restaurants and brew pubs for your refreshment and dining pleasure. And right across the street is the first ever Starbucks Coffee. Wear comfortable shoes, bring your digital camera, a shopping list if you're so inclined and come experience this one-of-a-kind Seattle tradition.

Weekends you'll find Pike Place Market is much more crowded than weekdays, so take that into account if you can't stand an intense crush of people. You will find more merchants and vendors on weekends, so be sure to get info from your favorites so that you know when you can go back and find them again. Best daily deals include fish, flowers, bread and veggies, all found on the street level of the market.

Finding Pike Place Market

A markerPike Place Market -
Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, USA
get directions

The Birth of Pike Place Market

In the summer of 1907, a group of farmers decided that the middle men were giving local shoppers a raw deal by marking prices up too much on local produce and the market was founded so that growers could sell directly to the consumers. Apparently that first day, there wasn't a whole lot of produce to sell, but tons of buyers showed up and bought whatever they could.  The market has been in continuous operation ever since! 

The Sanitary Public Market, the building directly across from Pike Market, was built in the 1920s and was the first market buiding that wouldn't allow horses or dogs inside at all, hence the "sanitary" moniker. It too still exists all these decades later, housing a collection of produce sellers, restaurants and retail shops.

Seen from the waterfront side, Pike Place Market is many levels of stores, shops, restaurants and places to explore.
Seen from the waterfront side, Pike Place Market is many levels of stores, shops, restaurants and places to explore. | Source

Tips for Shopping at Pike Market

  1. Allow the better part of a whole day. The place is that big, that busy and has tons of great places to eat. Please note that most of the market shuts down by about 6pm.
  2. Bring a jacket or sweater as the market is near the waterfront and it can easily get breezy and chilly.
  3. Bring a camera. You might catch a shot of fish being thrown at the fish counter or you might just want to take great pics of all the amazing produce. The view of Puget Sound isn't bad either.
  4. Bring a shopping bag. Getting out of the market without buying anything is extremely rare, and bringing your own reusable bag is eco-friendly and gives you an easy way to schlep all your goodies.

At The Market

Fantastic local produce can be found year round
Fantastic local produce can be found year round | Source
On the Ghost Tour...
On the Ghost Tour... | Source

The Market Ghost Tour

One of the unique features of Pike Place Market is the Ghost Tour. These take place in the evenings, after the market has closed, so one of the most interesting things about it is getting to see inside the market while no one else is there. The tour meets below and behind the market, where the (in)famous gum wall is just outside the Market Theater. (Just don't touch the wall!) You have to buy tickets ahead of time, so if you want to do this with friends or are would like to do this as part of a visit to Seattle from out of town, be sure to book ahead so that you can get the night and tour time you want. (the first tour of the evening is family-friendly, later tours get into more unsavory details)

The tour will highlight some of the interesting history of both Seattle and the Market, and since it was frontier/pioneer days, there certainly was no shortage of mayhem and death. Did you know the first documented serial killer in the USA was not only in Seattle but a woman? That's on the tour. You'll get to see several notorious locations where there have been and where there continue to be ghost sightings and unexplained happenings. The tour is a walking tour and takes a little over an hour so dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. And don't forget to bring your camera! You never know what you might see...

Take a visit to Pike Place Market!

Things I Always Do At Pike Place Market

  1. Look for new PEZ that I don't have yet at the candy stores.

  2. See if there are any veggies I need at the organic vendors. There are tons of great berries and nuts, two crops that grow abundantly in Washington State.

  3. Watch to see if any fish are thrown. I also like to buy fresh salmon, that's one of my faves.

  4. Get fresh little hot donuts - the donut place is on the main level, to the left of the fish-throwing, as you look at it from the front. If you get there after noon, they may be out of certain varieties. They close when they run out of batter so there is often nothing after 2pm.

  5. Get a big bunch of fresh flowers - the $5-$10 bundles offered by the flower seller are amazing deals! I get bigger and more colorful bouquets here than anywhere else I've ever lived.

Pike Place Postings

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    • relache profile image

      Raye 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I'm partial to some of the bakeries down there too.

    • Valene profile image

      Valene 4 years ago from Missouri

      Excellent hub, this is great! I loved Pike's Market the one time we went to Seattle. I wish I lived there! The smoked salmon was to die for!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I absolutely love Pike's market. Whenever in Seattle I must take a detour over there. Lots of fun things as well as beautiful produce...Lots of fun places to eat. Thanks for sharing..

    • profile image

      AurelioLeo 5 years ago

      I love Pike's Market. I been there many times. I live a two hours drive away.

    • athena2011 profile image

      athena2011 6 years ago from Beachfront - In My Dreams:)

      I've always heard about Pike's but never had the opportunity to go there. This hub virtually took me there so thanks for that. Bucket list, check.:)

    • applejuic3 profile image

      applejuic3 7 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Pike Place Market is definitely an incredible place, I love everything about it.

    • vaguesan profile image

      vaguesan 7 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      Missing Seattle these days. I'm sure the market is hopping this time of year. Wish I could grab some pastry and checkout a magic show in the magic shop.


    • profile image

      Rachel B. 7 years ago

      I never get tired of visiting Pike's Place. You never know what fun you'll have!

    • profile image

      sreeiit 7 years ago

      Nice hub. Some good information here. Thanks for the info..

    • MikeNV profile image

      MikeNV 7 years ago from Henderson, NV

      I love these articles where locals review their cities. Seattle is a great city. This is a "must visit" for those who want to embrace what it's all about. I love the view of the Space Needle from Queen Anne Hill. I also enjoy the waterfront parks along lake Washington. Good places to eat in Downtown Seattle. The only really bad experience I had was trying to find a decent place to eat in the "Boeing" part of the area down in the South where the freeway splits up to Seattle and then North to Bellevue on the 405. I was sent by my old company there for business and I would have much preferred to stay downtown.

    • VeganWorldTrekker profile image

      VeganWorldTrekker 7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great Hub! I visited Seattle last year. My fave place in Pike Market is the spice shop.

    • profile image

      Nate Kelley 8 years ago

      Great hub on Seattle.. I have lived here in Seattle my entire life and I just love foing down to the pike place market.. keep up the good hubs.. Feel free to check my hubs out.. I recently just started the 30 day 30 hub challenge..


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Making me miss it having lived up there for 23 years - but then again, it's not quite what it used to be "back in the day" when we were young and there were so less people! Great hub though!

    • EWealthGuide profile image

      EWealthGuide 8 years ago from Vancouver

      Great, thanks for the info, I'll be heading there soon!

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      I very much enjoyed your informative article on Pike's Market. When I was there last, just off Pike's Market I found a great Northwest Indian art shop and across the street a Russian coffee bean house. We bought our best salmon ever at the market itself.

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 8 years ago from The Boondocks

      I've visited Pike Place several times. My favorite store is the Chili Pepper store where you find hundreds of chili peppers hanging! It's so colorful and cheery. I had my picture taken there.

    • Svea profile image

      Svea 8 years ago from Florida

      So glad you wrote about the Market. I re-claimed my soul there. I had been fired from my job as an anchor for the ABC affiliate in Orlando. I took 3 suitcases with me and Flew to Seattle to start a new life. I taught down the street at The Art Institute of Seattle and walked through the market to my bus stop every day. Under towering Mt Ranier with the smells of Russian baked goods, Starbucks coffee and Chinese food on a skewer my spirit came alive. I remember thinking Thank God I escaped. I truly felt free there, no make up, hair wet and nobody to say :" There goes........" I no longer live in Seattle but I return often to the Market!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      If the crowds prove to be too much for some folks, it's best to go to the market in the middle of a weekday. I was just there today, a Tuesday afternoon around 2:30pm and it was very uncrowded. And I got to sample chocolate linguini...

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 9 years ago from Washington, USA

      I have been their couple of times and its always teeming with so much activity.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      marikavi, you seem to be confused. The photo shows something I saw at the actual market and you'd have to buy it from the vendor there. It's not something for sale over the internet.

    • profile image

      marikavl 9 years ago

      I like to buy the peppers on the string but I do not have the web address. Can you help please?!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I've no idea Dave, you'll have to do your own shopping for that one.

    • profile image

      dave 9 years ago

      Where in the market can I find facial clays - i.e French Green clay, Rhassoul or Fuller's Earth?


    • sandifaist profile image

      sandifaist 9 years ago

      Nice Hub! I live in Kirkland.

    • profile image

      send flowers online 9 years ago

      I think I once saw an entry about the Pike Place Market on Wikipedia, though I couldn't quite recall what they had to say I think this is a nice one from you.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Iove the fish throwing..and I missed. hee hee ..Is a wonderfulplace in Seattle. G-Ma :o)hugs

    • relache profile image

      Raye 10 years ago from Seattle, WA

      All anyone needs to do to see fish being thrown is to actually buy some fish at that stand. A lot of people stand around and wait to see something, but if no one is shopping, no fish are flying...

    • sunstreeks profile image

      sunstreeks 10 years ago from Western Washington

      They never seem to be throwing the fish when I go. I've lived here all my life, just 30 minutes away from the market and there are tourists that have seen the fish fly more than I have. Great hub!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 10 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Occasionally videos get dropped, so I've found a new one. Guess that gives me a good reason to get down there on a nice day with my video...

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Nice companion piece to your "Let Me Show You Seattle." Unfortunately, the video says "We're sorry" so I couldn't watch it. I wish I could get there, I'd love to see it in person, especially the trolleys.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Nice Hub! I really enjoy Seattle and don't get t be there often enough.

    • profile image

      Karel Hilversum 10 years ago

      I am also looking for the carved rocks people of Pike Place Market. I bought a rock in August 06 and need to order more. I would appreciate if someone could send me their contact info.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 10 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I'm not there regularly, Paul, so it's hard to tell.

    • profile image

      Paul 10 years ago

      Does anybody there carry italian brocolli?

    • relache profile image

      Raye 10 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Mary, I'm not familiar with an artist by that name, sorry.

    • profile image

      Mary Deutsch 10 years ago

      I lived on Lake Union for two years (2001and 2002). I purchased many items from an artisan called Windhorse. They were actually carved rocks. I haven't been able to make contact with her from where I live presently. Any help out there? Gratias.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 11 years ago from Seattle, WA

      If you're looking for a last minute holiday gift, stop by Pike Place Market for gourmet food treats, local crafts and other quick gift-giving solutions!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 11 years ago from Seattle, WA

      My favorite part of the Market are the flowers sellers and the fact that they all offer HUGE bouquets of mixed flowers for $5-$10. I've never lived in a city where you got fresh flowers as varied or for such a low price.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 11 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I also like to see them throw the fish at the market. They'll even let you try and catch one they toss.

      Matt's is good, small, and sometimes the waiters will even pour themselves a glass of your wine; it's all very friendly, but if you want a romantic dinner, try Chez Shea.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

      We use to live in Seattle and one of our favorite restaurants is Matt's in the Market. It's a loft-like space above the market on the west side of the main street. It's quaint, only about 8 tables, and has great food and wine. Here's the citysearch link: