Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most popular landmarks. Tourists stop by to watch fish mongers toss fish; locals come to buy beautiful bouquets or fresh seasonal produce. The market was founded in 1907 with a mission to allow customers to interact directly with farmers. Today, farmers still can rent space by the day to sell their fresh produce, and the market is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country.
While Pike Place is likely the coolest market in the state, it’s got a lot more than food, flowers, and produce to offer. Throughout the year, it hosts events, including Arcade Lights, a delectable celebration of artisan food. There are also many restaurants here, ranging from places to grab a quick, tasty bite to upscale sit-down restaurants.
Pike Place Market Location
Pike Place Market has many addresses for its many businesses. The Market area is bounded by Elliott Bay to the south, 2nd Avenue to the north, Union to the east, and Virginia to the west.
The landmark Pike Place Market sign is located just off 1st Avenue and Pike.
Tips for the Market
- Bring cash. Many shops do take credit cards, but there are many small vendors here who don’t.
- The market has more than one level. The bottom level is filled with interesting shops selling everything from sports memorabilia to semi-precious stones.
- The Main Arcade is what most typically think of as Pike Place Market, but there are other buildings to explore—the North End building, Post Alley, Economy Market Building, La Salle. If this is your first visit to the market, it helps to check out a map ahead of time.
- The area around Pike Place is just as interesting as the interior. Stop and listen to a street performer. Street performers (or buskers) actually have to apply to perform here so you’ll usually come across very talented musicians.
- There is only one shop where fish mongers toss fish—Pike Place Fish, located in the Main Arcade not far from the main entrance. But there is more to the market than fish tossers!
- Market tours are a great way to learn more about its history, if you really want to dive in.
Shops and Things to See
The shops and booths at Pike Place sell a little bit of everything—crafts and arts, clothing, specialty items, and more. Many vendors stay here year after year, but new ones pop up from time to time as well. The Pike Place Market map and directory has a full listing of stores, but some highlights are listed below.
Pike Place Fish - Home of the fish-tossing fish mongers. If you haven’t seen it, add it to your list.
There are several flower merchants located in the Main Arcade, with Pike Place Flowers as the preeminent flower shop. The flowers are amazingly fresh and cheaper than most grocery store bouquets.
Fresh produce is available from several sellers as well, but a few notable shops are Sosio’s Produce (known for their peaches) and Frank’s Quality Produce. Farmers can rent table space by the day so you never know what you might find.
Market Spice is one of the best spice stores anywhere, but also known for their incredible teas.
The Gum Wall is by no means a store. It’s quite literally a wall covered in gum located in Post Alley. It’s worth seeing. Touch at your own risk.
Restaurants and Food
Eating at Pike Place Market is always a good way to go. The eateries and restaurants in the market are extremely varied. For a quick bite, consider the many baked goods here. Many Seattle-area natives will recognize Piroshky-Piroshky’s Russian treats from local fairs and events, but there’s nothing like getting one fresh. Other bakeries to check out include The Confectional Cheesecakes, Daily Dozen Doughnuts, Le Panier, and Pike Place Bakery. And don’t miss Beecher’s Handmade Cheese—their grilled cheese sandwiches will reform anyone’s idea of what grilled cheese should be.
There are more formal sit-down restaurants at the market, too. Chez Shea and The Pink Door are two notable options.
The very first Starbucks is located in the market, close to the main entrance of the Arcade at 1912 Pike Place. This Starbucks looks different than all the many other worldwide locations and still has the original topless mermaid logo.
There are more than 60 restaurants in Pike Place Market. Look to the market map and directory if you want to plan where to eat ahead of time, or show up and follow your nose to your perfect meal.
The Market's History
Pike Place Market grew out of dissatisfaction of both farmers and customers. In the years before the founding of this public market, farmers sold their produce to wholesalers who would then market the produce. With this arrangement, the farmers often barely made a profit or sometimes were ripped off completely, and customers paid higher prices as the middlemen drove up costs.
In mid-1907, Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle started up a public market where farmers and customers could interact directly. Due to great success, the first Pike Place Market building opened in late 1907. Expansions to the Market followed, and at times this historic landmark was even threatened. In the 1960s, there was a proposal to take the whole market down and replace it with newer structures. The community has always valued this essential part of Seattle’s makeup and striven to keep the market as it is.
- Greet Tortoise (1 block away) - 105 1/2 Pike St – 206-340-1222
- Inn at the Market (1 block) - 86 Pine Street – 206-443-3600
- Four Seasons Hotel Seattle (1 block) - 99 Union St # 100 – 206-749-7000
- Rockstar Motel (1 block) - 1415 Western Avenue – 206-623-0129
- Pensione Nichols Bed and Breakfast (2 blocks) - 1923 First Avenue – 206-441-7125
- The Glen Hotel (2 blocks) - 1413 3rd Avenue – 206-467-0646
- Inn at Harbor Steps (2 blocks) - 1221 1st Ave # 102 – 206-748-0973
- Red Lion Hotel (3 blocks) - 1415 5th Ave – 206-971-8100
- Alexis Hotel (4.5 blocks) - 1007 1st Ave – 206-624-4844
- Hotel 1000 (4.5 blocks) - 1000 1st Avenue – 206-957-1000
- Hotel Seattle (5.5 blocks) - 315 Seneca Street – 206-623-5110
- Hotel Monaco (5.5 blocks) - 1101 4th Avenue – 888-454-8397
- W Seattle (5.5 blocks) - 1112 Fourth Avenue – 206-264-6000
Pike Place Market has its own parking garage located at 1531 Western Avenue. Rates are reasonable. Several restaurants in the Market will comp your parking fees if you dine after 5 p.m. Check with your restaurant ahead of time to see if it participates.
There is also ample street parking available along most of the streets surrounding the market, as well as garage and street parking throughout downtown Seattle.