Seattle Stories and Tips

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market Photo, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market has a very rich history. It is a very large public market. This place is nine acres long. Within these nine acres are buildings, streets, walkways and alleys. It has been open since 1907, when a city councilman named Thomas Revelle came to the aid of the people of Seattle (who had been charged ten fold on the price of onions by middlemen) by coming up with the idea of a public street market. In this way, the farmers could deal with the consumers directly. As a result, customers would meet the producer directly and this philosophy is still instilled with all the Pike Place Market businesses.

A flashback is that on August 17, 1907, farmers brought their produce to First Avenue and Pike Street. There they were swamped with 10,000 customers. Although many customers didn’t get a chance to buy produce (the farmers were sold out by 11am that day), by the end of that same year, the first Market building opened with every space accounted for.

Thanks to Revelle’s great idea of bringing the producer and the consumer directly together, Pike Place Market is world known as America’s premier farmers’ market and houses almost 200-year round commercial businesses; 190 craftspeople and 120 farmers who rent table space by the day. In addition, there are 240 street performers and musicians here along with 300 apartments that are for the low-income residents.

We toured all of Pike Place Market. Although it was difficult because it is so large, it was worth it. These buildings/shops are the following: Lasalle/Cliff House Buildings, Main Arcade, North Arcade and Desimore Bridge, Economy Market Building, Corner Market and Post Alley Market, Post Alley and Triangle Building, Stewart and Virginia Street Shops and the First Avenue Shops.

This public market has over 10 million visitors per year. When my partner, our friend and I were there it was already getting packed with people at 9am. And I can see why it was. This place is wonderful. You can dine here all day, get a haircut, get a tattoo, listen to a street performer, buy Mexican folk art, purchase an African mask, eat a pastry from a Russian or German Bakery, see a flying fish, buy fresh vegetables and fruits, or purchase roses for your love one, etc.

Pike Place Market Parking Garage (connects you to the shop levels by elevators) is at 1531 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA. This market place is open winter, spring, summer, and fall and seven days a week, closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. However, concerning the hours of operation, it varies because merchants set their own time. But generally, restaurants stay open later and farmers during their peak season are usually set up by 8am or earlier.

I recommend arriving to this parking garage during its special rate of $6 for what is called the early bird special. We paid $6.00 for the whole day parking here. You get this rate if you enter before 9am. Although all the shops/vendors are not all open yet (Pike Place/1st Avenue level: Monday-Saturday, 10am to 6pm and Sunday, 11am to 5pm and the Down Under stores: Monday-Sunday, 11am to 5pm), you can still eat a leisurely breakfast at Lowell’s and watch the fishmongers toss a King salmon at Pike Place Fish Market. This is what we did.

The following directions are to the Pike Place Market Parking Garage:

Via I-5 North: take the Madison Street exit. #165, and turn left. Follow Madison Street to Western Avenue. Turn right onto Western Avenue. Follow Western Avenue for five blocks. The entrance to the Market Parking Garage is on the left side of the street.

Via I-5 South: Take the Denny Way/Stewart Street exit, #166. Follow Stewart Street to First Avenue. Turn right onto First Avenue. Two blocks north, turn left onto Lenora Street. Turn left onto Western Avenue. Follow Western Avenue for three blocks (passing Victor Steinbrueck Park on your right). The entrance to the Market Parking Garage is on the right side of the street.

If you are taking the Metro Bus, it will drop you off near the Market on First Avenue or Pine Street. Metro Rider information can be available by calling the local number which is 206/553-3000.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip