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The Chewing Gum Wall Is the Grossest Place in Seattle (and That Says a Lot)

If the idea of chewing gum stuck underneath a table makes your stomach churn, you’ll want to avoid the Chewing Gum Wall. A short visit to this popular tourist attraction might send you into a panic attack or cause you to lose your lunch.

The Chewing Gum Wall is one of the grossest places in Seattle, if not the world. So let’s see why so many people willingly choose to visit it. 

What Is the Chewing Gum Wall?

During the 1990s, patrons and performers at the Market Theater began sticking their gum to a wall in Post Alley, an alley of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. The gum was initially seen as a nuisance and was cleaned several times. However, by 1999 it became seen as a tourist attraction, and the wall quickly grew to 50 feet wide and 20 feet high in some places.

The Chewing Gum Wall likely isn’t for you if you’re afraid of germs or have a sensitive stomach. It’s every bit as gross as it sounds.

However, many find it to be the perfect representation of the City of Seattle; it’s eclectic and one of a kind.

Is the Chewing Gum Wall Still There?

On November 3, 2015, Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority announced they would soon begin cleaning the wall. They would ultimately remove two decades and 2,350 pounds of gum from the wall. However, this was controversial as many cherished the gum wall and wanted to see it remain.

Luckily, the market took no preventative measures, and as soon as they cleaned the wall, gum began reappearing. They cleaned it again in 2018, but that didn’t stop the gum from reappearing. On your next trip to Seattle, you can visit the Chewing Gum Wall and add your piece of gum to it.

Woman taking a photo of the Chewing Gum Wall in Seattle
Pop a stick of gum and leave your mark on the Chewing Gum Wall in Seattle.

Why Does the City of Seattle Clean the Wall?

The Chewing Gum Wall has been cleaned twice since the 1990s to prevent potential erosion of the bricks beneath the gum. Some believed the immense amount of sugar in the gum could cause structural issues for the building.

We’re not structural engineers, but surely a couple of thousand pounds of sugary gum isn’t good for any structure.

Does the Chewing Gum Wall Smell?

During cooler weather, there’s no noticeable odor from the gum. However, during the summer months, when the temperatures increase, the gum can soften up and create a very putrid smell in the alleyway.

For some with a weak stomach, it might be too much to handle. If that doesn’t sound gross enough, the gum becomes stringy and runny as it heats up. 

Is Seattle a Dirty City?

Despite what you’ve likely heard, Seattle is a relatively clean city. Forbes even listed it as one of the cleanest cities in America not long ago. Like any major city, Seattle faces a larger than average homeless population. This often results in pockets of the city becoming rundown quicker than others, but the city is actively working to address the issue.

The tourist parts of town, aside from the Chewing Gum Wall, are just as clean, if not cleaner, than most other major cities. Safety isn’t a huge concern, especially if you’re sticking to the tourist areas and aren’t wandering the town in the middle of the night.

Pro Tip: After exploring Seattle, go for a swim in Lake Roosevelt.

Friends blowing bubbles in bubble gum in Seattle.
The Chewing Gum Wall is a staple that helps keep Seattle weird.

What to Do Near the Chewing Gum Wall

If you’re planning to visit the Chewing Gum Wall, there are a few nearby attractions you should consider checking out. Let’s look at how you can spend your time in the Emerald City.

Pike Place Market

If you want to experience “where Seattle eats, meets, shops, and rejuvenates,” you’ll want to visit Pike Place Market. The market is open 363 days a year, with 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. being the busiest times. However, some of the restaurants in the market will stay open well past midnight. This is an exciting place to visit and get to experience authentic Seattle. 

The market is home to five social service programs, more than 200 shops and restaurants, over 150 craftspeople, and approximately 70 farmers. The market is the heart and soul of the downtown community. You can’t possibly experience Seattle without visiting the Pike Place Market!

Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium sits on Pier 59 and overlooks the Elliott Bay waterfront. The aquarium opened in 1977 and is full of educational exhibits to help educate visitors on the various aquatic habitats and animals. One of the popular exhibits is the Window on Washington Waters, which is a 120,000-gallon tank that replicates the coastal waters of Washington. 

Guests can see below the surface and into the aquatic environments to see how the inhabitants live. If you take it easy, you can easily spend a few hours exploring the various exhibits in the aquarium.

Seattle Great Wheel

You’ve likely seen Seattle’s famous Great Wheel on television and in movies, so why not take a ride? The Seattle Great Wheel lights the nighttime sky with a dazzling light show. With more than 500,000 LEDs on it, it’s quite the show. At 175 feet tall, the Seattle Great Wheel is the tallest Ferris wheel on the West coast. 

Rides typically last from 12 to 20 minutes in the summer and 10 to 15 minutes in the winter. Tickets range from $12 to $17 per person for the standard gondolas and $50 per person for the glass-bottom VIP cabin.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for these Most Dangerous Creatures on the Pacific Coast while exploring Seattle, Washington.

Is the Chewing Gum Wall Worth It?

The Chewing Gum Wall is interesting as it is disgusting. It’s a large piece of artwork that requires a community effort to make happen. However, unlike the Chewing Gum Wall, we’ll not sugarcoat it for you. It’s pretty gross. It’s an interesting spot to see and take a photograph, but don’t plan on staying long. 

Most people want to capture their picture and get out of dodge before they step on a piece of gum. If you’re planning a trip to Seattle, check it out on your way to see some of the exciting activities downtown Seattle offers.

Do you want to stick your gum on the Chewing Gum Wall? Tell us in the comments!

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