No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the historic Pike Place Market. Stop and smell the flowers, taste a slice of a ripe peach from a produce vendor, clap along to the beat with a busking trio, find the perfect gift at a local craft booth, then rest your feet as you enjoy a delicious locally sourced meal or take in a live performance with cocktail in hand. While the fish-throwing mongers and original Starbucks are great attractions, you might be interested in finding ways to explore the Market more like a local than a tourist. Here’s a peek at just some of the of the not-to-be-missed treasures of the Market, regardless of what season you’re visiting!
The farmers and craftspeople of Pike Place are truly the heart of what is one of the oldest public markets in the country. From handmade soaps to one of a kind works of art, stroll down the arcade and pick up a perfect homemade gift for that special someone. Be sure to take the time to really talk with the craftspeople about their work – these folks can also provide some great suggestions of what to see during your visit. You can follow along with their Pike Place Producers blog, here.
Staying at a location that has a kitchenette? There’s nothing more satisfying than a fresh meal right from the market. Sosio’s Produce has been handed down through generations and their friendly staff are always at the ready with a sample to try, news of what’s in season, and are a great resource for produce questions.
Photo Credit: Mark Hinderliter
Prefer to have others do the cooking? You can’t walk far without stumbling over many incredible restaurants. If you’re craving a Parisian experience– Maximilien, Cafe Campagne, Marche and Le Pichet (oh, the pastries!) are local favorites. The Crumpet Shop is a delight for the senses, with unique savory and sweet rotating menu options. If you’re a sucker for freshly made pasta, you can’t go go wrong with Il Corvo, down the steps from the market on Western Avenue. Want to show off to your friends by treating them an incredible meal at an off-the-beaten path gem of a restaurant? Step up the stairs to the 3rd floor of the Corner Market Building to Matt’s in the Market, where you can dine on deliciously locally sourced dishes with a grand view of the market clock, Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains.
Photo credit: Matt’s in the Market
If live entertaining is what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed with the sounds of the Market buskers as you stroll through during the day. When night approaches, The Pink Door provides a rotating schedule of performances from jazz musicians to aerial performers (be sure to sip a cocktail on their patio during the sunny months). Those looking for slightly more adult acts can sneak downstairs to Can Can, a space that evokes Paris in the ’20s, complete with absinthe bar and burlesque performers (The Can Can Castaways are their resident performance group). Looking for a laugh? Walk past the gum wall to Unexpected Productions, where you can enjoy live, local improvisational theatre comedy.
If the timing works out, don’t forget to check out upcoming events put on by The Market Foundation, an organization that helps provide those in need with meals, childcare and other human services. Still looking for a place to stay? Inn at the Market offer breathtaking views and perfectly located within Pike Place Market. No matter what time of year you visit, enjoy your adventure into a world that is quintessentially Seattle.
By: Keridwyn Deller – Keridwyn is the founder of Seattle Pockets, a blog exploring the many ‘pockets’ of life that Seattle has to offer in arts, wine, food and beyond.
Official History of Pike Place Market – Seattle
The market was established in 1907 for farmers and fisherman to sell direct to consumers. In the 1930’s, over six hundred sellers worked in the market. The market declined until 1974 when it was preserved as a historical district. There are NO sleazy fast food places here– only fisherman, farmers, and craftspeople. The market is large and covers almost nine acres. Keep in mind that the market closes in the late afternoon– so go early. One note– the world’s FIRST Starbuck’s coffee is located right next to the market. You’ll see the true original (racy!) Starbuck’s mermaid there.
August 17, 1907
When onion prices skyrocket – consumers deal directly with farmers at First and Pike.
November 30, 1907
Pike Place Market opens its first building.
The market completes its main buildings.
Willard Soames forms the Associated Farmers of the Pike Place Market to oppose relocation of the market to underground near Fifth and Pine. The market wins to stay in its new location — by only one vote of the City Council.
Mark Tobey – a Seattle artist dedicates himself to paintings of the market’s vibrant life.
After the Pearl Harbor attack – many market stalls sit empty after their Japanese operators are interned by the U.S. government.
Plans to replace the market with high-rise buildings began evaluation.
Victor Steinbrueck and Rober Ashley start a new group – “Friends of the Market” to fight to keep Pike Place Market intact.
A historic preservation zone is created around the market.
A government entity – Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority is created to own and operate the market.
The Market Foundation is created to support the market’s human services offerings.