Pike Place Market in Seattle

Seattle’s Pike Place Market is one of the country’s oldest and largest farmers markets, attracting over 10 million visitors each year. The nine-mile public market features small independent artists, businesses, buskers, craftspeople and local farmers who offer organic produce, gorgeous bouquets and delectable fresh fish.

Established in 1907, Pike Place Market is one of the United States' most celebrated draws. Nestled between Puget Sound and Seattle, this beloved, vibrant neighborhood comprises independent businesses, local farmers, buskers, and artists. The public Market has a reputation to uphold as an incredible experience and must-see Seattle attraction.

Pro Tip: The best time to visit the Market is early in the morning when it's less crowded. The busiest days are from Monday through Thursday.

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Located in the heart of downtown Seattle's Historic District, Pike Place's boundaries are from 1st Avenue to Western Avenue (east to west) and from Virginia Street to Pike Street (north to south). Just six minutes from Seattle's renowned 605-foot-tall Space Needle, visitors can hit both hot spots on the same day.

Fun Fact: Did you know the first original Starbucks opened in Pike Place in 1971. Thank you, Seattle!

The open-aired Pike Place Fish Market is famous in its own right for more than selling the freshest fish in town. The Market offers fresh, wild, premium Pacific seafood with a playful ambiance. Watch as the fishmongers throw salmon, halibut, and the occasional turbot through the air, featuring the true catch of the day!

Pike Place Market Hours

The Market is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with some restaurants staying open until midnight or later. Pike Place is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Pro Tip: Public restrooms are located in four destinations across the Market, with the first being in the Main Arcade under the Public Market Center clock sign. Others are in the DownUnder, (down the ramp from City Fish), in the Sanitary Market behind Jack's Fish Spot, and in the Soames Dunn Building, the same building as the First Starbucks.

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Where Can I Park?

The most convenient place to park at the Market is in its parking garage, with over 800 spots, including electric vehicle charging stations and three entrances/exits. Two entries are on Western Avenue, and the third is on Alaskan Way.

Photo Alert: Snap a pic under the iconic Pike Place neon sign, #pikeplacemarket.

7 of the Best Pike Place Market Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars

Tourists come for the fish throwing, gum wall, and craft stands but stay for the abundant choices of shops, bakeries, restaurants, and bars.

  1. The Pink Door: Italian cuisine set in a bo-ho chic setting; this Seattle favorite is a Pike Place must-see. The plates of pasta, salads, and desserts are to die for, but the legendary spinach pesto lasagna is a true crowd-pleaser. In addition, the Pink Door has an extensive wine list to peruse on the outdoor patio!
  2. Café Campagne: This Parisian café has elegance, ambiance, and fantastic food, including beef bourguignon, specialty quiches, and crispy duck leg confit.
  3. Pike Place Chowder: You can't come to Seattle without tasting the chowder. This award-winning diner has a line out the door. For years, people have been talking about its crab rolls, smoked salmon, and seafood bisque! Don't miss it!
  4. Radiator Whiskey: Don't let the name fool you. The drinks and food are sublime at this hidden gem, especially the smoked chicken, bbq ribs, and fried pork shank.
  5. Lowell's Restaurant: For a more upscale dining experience, this waterfront establishment packs crowds with its stunning ocean views and delicious cuisine. The specialty cocktails are simply fabulous!
  6. Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar: Fresh seafood is synonymous with Seattle dining. It's more than a century old, so you know it's special. One must-try destination is the Athenian, where the fish and chips and oysters are divine.
  7. Alibi Room: Last but not least, this hip pizzeria/hang out has a stone-fired pizza oven and serves cocktails, craft beers, and sparkling wine. This Seattle standard can't be missed.

Pro Tip: Pets are not allowed in the Market buildings or the Main Arcade. Only trained service animals are permitted.

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Pike Place Market Highlights

The Gooey Gum Wall

As famous as the fishmongers, this Seattle tradition isn't for the faint of heart. The first step is to buy some Trident, Juicy Fruit, or Bubbalicious, then stuff your mouth with as many pieces as you can and chew. Then head to Post Alley at the Market Theater and add your glob to the gooey, germ-ridden Gum Wall. We kid you not! It's a thing.

Close up of the Great Gum Wall near Pikes Place in Seattle, Washington, USAThe Market Ghost Tour

If you don't find the Gum Wall fascinating, put on your Keds and take the nighttime historical walking tour of the Market to witness some paranormal happenings. Tickets can be purchased at Ghost Alley Espresso.

Pro Tip: Pike Place Market walking tours fill up quickly, so it's best to book ahead to secure your spot.

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Rachel the Pig

This Market highlight attracts hundreds of photographers daily. Rachel takes in nearly $200,000 annually, profiting local Seattle area charities, and it's said that if you rub her snout while you make the donation, good luck and fortune are sure to follow! The 550-pound bronze cast piggy bank, by sculpture Georgia Gerber, is located under the Public Market Center clock.

Photo Alert: Add to your Instagram story with this fabled Seattle landmark, Rachel the Pig.

Heaven's Gate Tile

The notorious Heaven's Gate cult, whose leader and 38 members killed themselves in a San Diego mansion in 1997, raised $1.6 million for the Market in a 1985 fundraiser and purchased the stunning tile on the Market's upper floor.

Giant Shoe Museum

This unique museum filled with the world's most extensive collection of shoes is worthy of a brose. The collection includes a wingtip from the world's tallest man Robert Wadlow, who stood an estimated eight-foot, eleven inches!

Market Street Performers

These buskers add to the fun-loving environment and entertain hundreds daily with their talent, artistry, and sheer will.

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Elliott Bay Trail

Take a Sunday stroll along the Elliott Bay Trail as it winds along City Hall to Pike Place. This seven-mile paved path along the Elliott Bay shoreline is open to walkers, bikers, and runners.

View of Elliott Bay full of boats with a bright pin sunset behind it in Seattle, Washington, USA

photo credit: Noelle Sizzle via Facebook

Pike Place Market Foundation

An essential feature of Pike Place for the past 38 years is the charitable Foundation that has contributed to numerous social services, including economic stability, education, housing, healthcare, and access to nutritious food.

  • The Pike Market Food Bank serves anyone facing food hardship or homelessness in downtown Seattle.

The Foundation's neighborhood model contributes to a diverse, healthy community and is still thriving today. The organization partners with community builders to create a sustainable network of programs and services to support residents, workers, and families of the Market.

Fun Fact: Pike Place Market is Seattle's most popular tourist attraction and the 33rd most visited tourist destination globally.

  • Pike Place Senior Center, located in the historic Market, cares for community members age 55 and up. It's open every day of the week and offers a warm bed and a hot meal.
  • Friends of the Market is a group of Market advocates created in 1964 to protect and save the Market from destruction and redevelopment. They are still an active part of its preservation.

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Pike Place History

At Pike Place Market, Japanese Americans suffered fervent racism after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II. In 1942 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which mandated that all citizens of Japanese descent living on the Pacific coast were interned in concentration camps inland. The removal of the Japanese Americans hurt the Pike Place Market, but it broke the Japanese families who were forced to sell their farms, abandon their property and close their businesses at Pike Place and around Seattle. It wasn't until a 1971 referendum when Japanese Americans returned to the Market.

In 1982 the Indochinese Farm Project partnered with Pike Place to help Vietnamese and Hmong refugees from the Vietnamese war. The project employed over 30 families at the Market.

The great philosopher George Santayana said it best, "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it."

close up of Erin smiling on a sunny day

Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

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