What Should I Do At Seattle’s Pike Place Market?
Some would say that the Pike Place Market contains the daytime soul of Seattle Washington. One of Seattle’s visitors treasures, the market has been rated the 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the world by Travel and Leisure Magazine. It’s one of more than “10 Things You Must See and Do in Seattle.”
Born in 1907, Seattle’s Pike Place Market is the granddaddy of farmers’ markets. Today, it’s a major tourist attraction with 200 businesses operating year-round, 190 craftspeople and 120 farmer booths – plus street performers and musicians. Flowers by the bucketful, flying fish, fresh pastries and fruit, handmade cheeses, local honey, wine, an assortment of restaurants, import goods, antiques, collectibles and lots of surprises are around every corner.
What You Can See And Do At The Pike Place Market
Pike Place Fish Market – www.pikeplacefish.com – located at the corner of Pike Street and Pike Place, the Pike Place Fish Market began in 1930 as an open air fish market and now boasts over 10,000 daily visitors. Here you will see the famous Pike Place fishmongers throwing customers fish to each other before they are wrapped and handed over to the customers. The “flying fish” technique began as a way to change the way the way the fish market did business and make it famous. It inspired the book “Fish” in which a fictional manager is charged with the responsibility of turning a chronically unenthusiastic and unhelpful department into an effective team. Across the street from her office is Seattle’s very real Pike Place Fish Market, world famous and wildly successful thanks to its fun, bustling, joyful atmosphere and customer service. (Amazon)
The Original Starbucks Coffee Store – www.starbucks.com – be sure to visit the original Starbucks Coffee store located at 1912 Pike Place. While it began originally a block away it has been in this location since 1977. You’ll also see the original Starbucks emblem.
Street Performers and Entertainers – Check out the “Busters” at Pike Place Market.
Apothecary Tenzing Momo – find herbs and advice on how to use them at Tenzing Momo.
The Market Heritage Center – Visit this small museum at 1531 Western Avenue to learn all about the history of the Pike Place Market. (425-774-5249)
Seattle Pike Place Market Location and Contact Information
Located South East from Belltown right on the Seattle Waterfront and part of the Seattle Business District, Pike Place Market is located between First Avenue and Western and stretches from Pike Street to Virginia Street.
Like many Seattle neighborhoods, there are variations to the actual boarders of the public market. Here you will find the City Clerk’s Neighborhood Map Atlas unofficial “Pike Market” map which showcases a large version which encompasses the area from Union Street to Virginia Street and from the waterfront to Second Avenue.
Be sure to download a visitors map of the Market (PDF).
Pike Place Market Tours
- Public Market Tours – www.savorseattletours.com – Your tour will take you inside the main thoroughfares of the Pike Place Market, as well as the Lower Levels where hidden treasures await. Enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds that make up this iconic landmark!
- Friends of the Market – www.friendsofthemarket.net – offer tours of the Market on Saturday mornings during the summer months. These tours are led by Friends of the Market board members and volunteers. They take you on well-worn paths through the Market’s main shopping areas and back passageways as you learn about history, unique artwork, and the hidden features of this, the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers market.
- Seattle Free Walking Tours – seattlefreewalkingtours.org – Pay What You Feel! Their guides work hard to make sure you feel it’s worth every penny. Immerse yourself within the colorful ever-changing soul of Seattle, Pike Place Market. The oldest running farmer’s market in the country is rich with history and it’s brimming with delicious food and vibrant characters. Join them for an hour long cornucopia of everything that is and was the Market we have all come to love. Expect a belly full of samples, vendor interaction, history, and a great guide to lead you to the Market’s hidden secrets.
- Savoir Seattle Pike Place Market Tour – www.savorseattletours.com – Seattle’s original food and cultural tour of Pike Place Market. Become a market insider on this behind-the-scenes adventure to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of this historic 100+ year old landmark. Meet the Market’s lively characters and hear their memorable stories. See fish fly, cheese being made, and the original Starbucks store.
- Seattle Bites Food Tours – www.seattlebitesfoodtours.com – Experience the intriguing tales and delicious food of the acclaimed Seattle Bites Food Tours. go behind the scenes of the historic, 100 plus year old Pike Place Market, recognized as America’s best farmer’s market and the epicenter of Seattle’s lively food culture. Out of town visitors and Seattle locals alike will be fascinated to meet the unique and animated merchants that give the market its captivating personality, from charming specialty mom and pop eateries, to one of a kind artisan food shops to the beloved neighborhood cafes.
- Seattle Food Tours – seattlefoodtours.com – An intimate guided food tour of the world famous Pike Place Market, explore the back alleys, narrow corridors, and tiny storefronts in search of favorite places. Taste the best the market has to offer while a friendly local guide shares with you entertaining stories of the market’s checkered history, it’s legendary characters and one of kind small businesses.
- The Market Ghost Tour CLOSED see Market Ghost Stories at Seattle Ghost – www.seattleghost.com – The Market Ghost Tour is a 75 minute walking tour of Pike Place Market with a paranormal bent. People are surprised by the number of ghost stories in Seattle and specifically in the Pike Place Market. With a goldrush, epidemics, and rapid growth, there are plenty of stories to tell. Seattle went through major topographical change spanning 30 years after the Great fire in 1889. More earth was moved in the Seattle Regrade than in digging the Panama Canal. The Underground still around today throughout downtown is a result of the Regrade. The disruption of organic material (roads, buildings, graveyards) may add to the feeling of unrest around the Market.
The Market Ghost Tour is not a ghost hunt. The skeptic and the believer can enjoy this tour because it is rooted in history. The tour is 75 minutes long. The Pike Place Market is a nine acre district with over 500 residents as well as businesses. It also includes the city’s first mortuary, part of an old graveyard, and a brothel that still has a red glow cast on its side.
Be prepared for the weather. The tour travels the nine acres from Pike Street to Virginia and takes advantage of Post Alley as a way to navigate through. You are encouraged to bring your cameras to try and capture phenomena and also to take some beautiful pictures of the neon and theatrical architecture in the Market. On the early tours you will be traveling inside to the shops and lower levels. This tour is your opportunity to see the Market the way few people get to experience it.
Pike Place Market Websites:
- Information: www.pikeplacemarket.org
- 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the world! – travelandleisure.com
- National Geographic Seattle Walking Tour of Pike Place Market
- SeattleMet Magazine Locals Guide to the Pike Place Market
- Inn at the Market