Results 1-10of 33 Reviews
November 15, 2009
From journal Almost Sleepless in Seattle
Los Angeles, California
December 22, 2008
From journal We Built This City on Caffeine
New York, New York
October 11, 2006
From journal Visiting Seattle Without Going Up the Space Needle
October 21, 2004
The large neon sign with the clock and the distinctive red letters announces the location of the Public Market Center. Not coincidentally, here is the most talked-about attraction of the market–the fish stall! The merchants of Pike Place Fish are world-famous for flinging fish to each other like circus acrobats. Unfortunately, when I was here on a Sunday morning, there were no flying fish. You see, it is not just an act, but part of the commercial sale of merchandise. When a crowd gathered with open camera lenses, but not open wallets, the guys even subliminally suggested that you could actually BUY some fish. No selling, no slinging! It was too bad because I have seen these fishmongers in action and they are like the Harlem Globetrotters of the fish world, tossing the slippery salmon while chatting away. One time a fellow missed an errant fish like a rookie receiver, and the guys all yelled, "discount"! Look out for the fake monkfish planted in the ice; it will try to snap at you if you get too close!
The fish market is the star of the show, but there is a lot going on here. There are good restaurants (some with great views of Elliott Bay) and a variety of terrific food stands and bakeries. Various stands sell fresh produce, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, while organic goods are featured on Wednesdays. Look for treats like Russian buns; candied cherries; and colorful, chewy candy sticks with fruity flavors. Wander around and perhaps you may get a free sample of something. There are merchants selling t-shirts, toys, hand-crafted objects, and retro souvenirs.
If you are near the fish market, look out for Rachel, a brass sculpture of a pig that is actually a piggy bank collecting money for the Pike Place Market Foundation. It was designed by local artist Georgia Gerber in 1986 and is definitely cuter than those glass boxes in airports collecting leftover change. There are typically all sorts of entertainers and street life going on, including musicians, mimes, balloon blowers, and perhaps some hucksters. This market can be a crazy slice of Seattle, and thankfully, it is not too homogenized like a suburban mall.
The hours of the hundreds of vendors vary at Pike Place Market. If you are coming from the waterfront, the best way up is to take the elevator. The way down is easier, as you can go down the Pike Street Hillclimb, a several-storied staircase that is bordered by a few restaurants and stores.
From journal Bill in the USA - SEATTLE
August 9, 2001
This charming farmers market was built in 1907, when local residents and farmers decided they had enough of high-priced produce and decided to buy directly from the farmers. No middlemen markups, no transportation costs, just fresh produce directly from the people who grew it. As the Market’s popularity grew, it expanded into new buildings that housed stalls of produce sellers as well as arts and crafts. The Market we know and love today almost didn’t make it into the present though. During World War II, Japanese stall owners, who constituted a large portion of the market, were shipped off to internment camps, therefore significantly reducing the number of produce sellers. After the war, the popularity of the market decreased dramatically, as the era of supermarkets begun: people simply did not want to bother visiting a nearby market. In the 60’s, the city wanted to tear down the Market completely, but Seattle’s residents were able to pass an initiative to keep the Market where it is, and it continues to flourish ever since. Today, there are a plethora of stalls in the Market, selling everything from produce and flowers, fresh fish or honey to arts and crafts, just like in the old times. Rachel the Pig (Pike Place’s bronze mascot, as well as a piggy bank) would have been very proud!
If you would like to learn more about the Market’s history stop at Market Heritage Center (1531 Western Avenue).
You could easily spend an entire day at the market and never once be bored. Watch out for flying fish at Pike Place Fish (maybe you remember it being featured in an episode of "Frasier"), where you can also pick up some of the freshest seafood in Seattle. Produce and flowers sellers predominate in the main building, but you can also find souvenir shops, little grocery stores, coffee houses (this is Seattle after all), bakeries (there is a French bakery here La Panier, which sells the most incredible breads, as well as a Russian Piroshky Piroshky with their incredible pastries) and everything else your heart desires.
Pike Place Market and the surrounding area is also a great place for food. Check out Athenian Inn, made famous by the movie "Sleepless in Seattle" (it is in here that Tom Hanks had the famous "Tiramisu" conversation). The two bakeries mentioned before are great places to grab a snack in between meals. There is Etta’s Seafood around here, serving up great… seafood, what else. For diners who enjoy fine cuisine, check out Café Campagne or Chez Shea. Nearby the Market you can find Wild Ginger, Seattle’s favorite satay restaurants (this one falls into the "fusion" or Pan-Asian category).
For more information on the Market go to
From journal Emerald City Cuisine
by smmmarti guide
November 6, 2002
Like so many other memorable places I’ve encountered in my travels, places that end up being a city’s main tourist attraction (think Savannah’s Squares, Chicago’s Grove), Pike Place Market was once within a shadow of the demolition ball. Were it not for a dedicated group of local citizens who managed to save the day back in 1971, this historic and fascinating place, the country‘s oldest continuously operating public market, would have been gone for good. Had that happened it would have totally ruined my day, because during our one-port day in Seattle the city stayed true to its reputation and was overcast and drizzling.
Luckily for us Pike Place Market emphatically endures and was the first stop in our walking tour from port. Stopping in for only a few photos and curiosities on our way to Pioneer Square, we stayed at the market the entire day! There is so much to experience that it is worthwhile to take the Market Heritage Tour sponsored by the Market Foundation, which also supports the many social service programs that take place within the Market’s nine acre facility--including Medical Services and Low-Income Housing for Seniors. During the tour you will learn about the value of Rachel, the Market mascot, where to spot an Emu egg, where all the gorgeous produce and flowers come from, and how to find the rummage sales and Aroma Row (hint: just follow your nose).
Besides the local specialties and flying fish you will find import shops that bring you face to face with exotic Afghanistan handiwork, beaded necklaces from Africa, Guatemalan tunics, and Indian saris. I bought authentic voile hand-embroidered peasant blouses for $12 and four stunning prints from Christina Nichols, an acrylic artist. My friend bought a collection of hand-made baby gear for her soon-to-arrive niece. It’s gratifying to find unique outlets that are not conglomerate businesses for retail giants. It is more fun to deal person-to-person with the creators (or importers) of the goods.
Pike Place Market is not only about shopping and dining. Musicians and entertainers keep spirits high as anyone with a permit can claim one of fourteen "notes" painted on the floor and begin to seranade. There are also some very quirky distractions for the shop-a-phobic and weary, including the giant shoe museum, interactive exhibits at the Heritage Museum and fortune tellers in the lower level mazes.
It’s obvious why 9 million people annually hike through Pike’s stalls and underground shops. It’s really like no place else and a grand entertainment oasis in rain-soaked Seattle.
From journal Short, Sweet Cruise of the Pacific Northwest
January 23, 2009
From journal Quick Cup of Coffee in Seattle
February 21, 2008
From journal Alaskan Cruise from Seattle
March 24, 2007
From journal A Memorable Seattle Trip
December 20, 2006
From journal Sights of Seattle