PIKE PLACE MARKET, SEATTLE WASHINGTON – 10 million visitors a year, #1 tourist attraction in Washington
Pike Place Market. The most iconic tourist destination of the Emerald City, yes even more popular than the Space Needle. You haven’t visited Seattle if you haven’t seen Pike Place Market. Today I just went into Seattle and made time to tour around the market. The sights, smells and experiences are best known in person, but of course I’ll try to convey the experience with all of you in hopes you’ll be able to go and see first hand what all the hype is all about!
First things first, how do you get there? If you are coming from the South, you could drive up I-5 and hope to have a clear shot into the heart of the city without hitting traffic. If you are flying into Sea-Tac airport, either rent a Uber or take the Light Rail into the city. If you are on the Olympic Peninsula, take a ferry from Bremerton or Bainbridge Island where you will find the most gorgeous Skyline views of the city, definitely social media post worthy.
If you are looking for a place to stay, I highly recommend The Hyatt Olive 8 in the heart of Downtown Seattle. Beautiful, upscale rooms, incredible city views, location is within walking distance to all shopping areas and the in house restaurant is a must! If you apply for a Hyatt Credit Card, you receive 40,000 bonus points which equates to 2 FREE NIGHTS here at the Hyatt Olive 8 or another Hyatt property. Sign Up HERE.
For a lower budget option, check out the Best Western in Pioneer Square. The old building has a ton of character which is also featured in the rooms and the Hotel is situated in a part of downtown that is super quaint, while still close to all the great Seattle attractions.
Once you get off the ferry or you find that ideal parking spot (recommend a garage, it’s safe and dry and worth the daily fee), start making your way to Pike Street and then start walking toward the water. The city is stroller friendly but there can be some rough areas so be watchful of your step.
PIKE PLACE MARKET, SEATTLE
You’ll come to this spot, the most photographed street in all of Washington! You’ll be dodging people’s selfie pictures left and right! But please grab your famous picture before entering the bustling crowds.
Enter into the market, the main entrance, and right ahead of you is the famous fish throwing guys, tossing salmon in the air and catching them like their footballs. I have no idea how they don’t drop these slimy, 3ft-4ft long fish flying in the air but they’re pros and they put on a pretty good show!
Take a left and peruse the long, enclosed and crowded market, produce and seafood to your left and beautiful bouquets of flowers to your right. The variety of smells is overwhelming and yet somehow comforting. The fishy smell is common in the Northwest and Seattle wouldn’t be the same without it. The hundreds of flower bouquets give the market a sweeter aroma creating a smell in the air only unique to Pike Place.
Stop for samples of pasta, fruits, nuts, candies and chocolate along the way. Grab a bouquet of sunflowers and pick up a souvenir to remember your market experience. They have leather-bound journals, t-shirts, mugs, lavender products, and much, much more. Locally made and locally sourced is typically the MO.
Listen to the crowds of people, the voices loud and filling the air. Along with the chatter, street performers enjoy their limelight and show off their bluesy skills. There is so much talent in this city that I’ve never found myself disappointed by the entertainment. The music is eclectic and loud, so embrace it and add a video to your Instagram Story to share with everyone at home.
As you walk through the market, look for walkways to the left taking you outside for a view of the water, the Puget Sound. There are many ways to enjoy the views. The two that I find most enjoyable have places to sit down to enjoy a snack or coffee while resting your feet. From the main entrance of the market walk straight past the large seafood display down a hall and turn left. This hallway will lead you out to a small rooftop garden worth checking out. There’s seating, though not a ton, and solid views of the Sound. The whimsical decoration is perfect for taking pictures and feeling right at home as you rest for a few minutes before setting back out to explore.
The next spot is for a small picnic, (make sure to grab some Samosas from the market or a gyro from across the ally, both on point and perfect street food) continue through the market until the very end and head back out onto the rough cobblestone street. Keep traveling West along the street until you find a small park to your left situated along the road with a gorgeous view of the water. With a nice, clear blue sky day, you’ll enjoy seeing the blue waters planked by West Seattle and the snow topped Olympic Mountains. This spot is best for clear days as there is no overhang or shelter from the rain.
Let’s say it is a rainy day in Seattle:
Lucky you! And I’m serious, no joke! I absolutely LOVE the Emerald City in the rain as it is most beautiful. The greens pop and you’ll get the true Washingtonian experience we all know well. But admittedly, we don’t want to soak ourselves in the rain.
So there are a few things to find and enjoy while touring the market in order to stay dry. The market itself is covered and you can easily spend a few hours eating, shopping, and people watching.
But after your Pike Place market trip has been experienced, what’s next? The answer is always COFFEE. You can find a coffee shop and spend another hour there just taking in the atmosphere, resting your sore feet, dodging a rain squall, and sipping on some truly delicious drinks by baristas who know their craft well.
The first suggestion is the iconic Starbucks, not just any Starbucks but the original Starbucks.
Now I see people every time I visit Seattle point to a random Starbucks store and say, “is that one the original??” So let me guide you to the correct original store. It’s NOT the one on Pike Street. I repeat, NOT the one on Pike Street. Skip this site and keep walking toward the Market. Rather than walking into the main entrance of the market, take a right and walk along the sidewalk of the rough street. Eventually you will come across the first Starbucks, a smaller store with lines so long you might decide to just grab a picture of the storefront and then head to another coffee shop. Inside you’ll find mugs and bags of coffee specifically made for the original store as it is a very popular spot for tourists.
Along with coffee, at times we enjoy a great book to read. Within this same building lies a few book shops, new and used where you no doubt will find a treasure to curl up with.
Now that you have your book in hand, there’s a coffee shop near the market that’s worth visiting, please check out STORYVILLE Coffee Company. They are in the same building only three story’s up. The building’s entrance is on the corner of pike street. Find a set of stairs that takes you up two more stories or find the elevator. STORYVILLE has the typical Northwest industrial style we all know and love and they make the absolute best chai tea lattes, using their own house made syrup. Sit down next the blazing fire and warm up, reading that non-fiction you found. Take a picture of the market from their windows for a unique perspective before you leave (see above picture).
Other delicious foods to eat: The Crumpet Shop, Ivars Fish and Chips and Pike Place Chowder.
Your day is not over, it’s time for a delicious dinner experience. Please check out Ivar’s Acres of Clams along the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and built out over the water. Just a small walk East of the Market, this family friendly restaurant offers all the seafood you wanted to find while in Seattle. Affordable and delicious, meaning you can’t go wrong.
With so many things to see and do in a city, we certainly can’t fit all of Seattle into one day. But the Pike Place Market is doable for a day’s outing. If you’re in the city for longer than one day, stay tuned for more posts on other highlights of Seattle, Washington. Enjoy, explore, relax.