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Why You Should Visit Pike Place Market in Seattle

Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most famous attractions, and for a good reason. This massive farmer’s market spans multiple city blocks and features food, drink, and entertainment.

You’ll find fresh produce, meat, and beverages at every turn. Before you go, book a reservation at a delightful bar or restaurant for a special occasion.

You can even catch a show while you browse the stands, thanks to buskers and street artists. Keep reading to find out what makes this giant market so unique.

Let’s get into it!

What is Pike Place Market?

Pike Place Market is the longest-running farmer’s market in America. Its massive footprint includes 11 waterfront buildings in downtown Seattle. In fact, many locals consider this location the “Soul of Seattle.” Every year 10 million people visit this unique plaza to search for food, drink, and fun.

You can find nearly anything at Pike Place. The shopping center famously sells fresh seafood, meat, fruits, and veggies. You can also grab a quick bite at one of many delis and snack stands or shop for souvenirs, quirky gifts, and specialty items. Vendor stalls close at night, but the surrounding area becomes a hotspot for sit-down dining and cocktails.

Pike Street Public Market in Seattle
A stop at Pike Street Public Market is a must while exploring Seattle.

Why is Pike’s Market Place So Famous?

This massive bazaar is one of Seattle’s most iconic spots. But how did it get so famous?

Pike Place Market opened in 1907. During that year, just eight vendors sold their fresh produce on opening day. By 1922, the market was nine acres long and spanned 11 buildings. Despite a tumultuous past, like narrowly escaping demolition in the 1960s, the bazaar stands strong after more than 115 years.

Pike Place is unquestionably the oldest farmer’s market in the U.S. It houses over 500 businesses, including eateries, bars, stores, and individual makers. Seattle citizens love this shopping center so much that they chose to preserve it. The market has its own historic district and historical commission.

Know Before You Go: We took a closer look to uncover Is Seattle Safe for Tourists to keep you safe while exploring.

How Long Does It Take To Walk Through Pike Place Market?

Pike Place Market occupies a ton of space in downtown Seattle. Exploring every inch of the area could take a whole day if done slowly. But many visitors complete their trip within two or three hours.

Plan your trip to Pike Place according to your preferences. If you don’t mind crowds, you can visit any time of year at any time of day. But if you prefer a quieter experience, plan to stop by during the fall and winter months. And don’t forget that the bazaar is busy on weekends and after noon. Consequently, the morning hours are much quieter.

The market is easy to access by public transportation. But driving there is easy too, there’s a parking garage with 800 spaces. Pike Place is also near several other Seattle hotspots. If you want to visit the city aquarium, the Seattle Art Museum, or the Great Wheel, you won’t have far to travel.

Inside Pike Street Public Market
From fresh fish to ginger beer, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Pike Place Public Market.

5 Best Vendors at Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is home to over 500 farmers, vendors, eateries, and shops. The amount of awesome stuff on display can be overwhelming! You could spend days or even weeks sampling everything inside this shopping center.

If your time in Seattle is limited, make the most of your visit to Pike Place. Take a look at five of the best vendors this one-of-a-kind market has to offer.

#1 Pike Place Fish Co.

This renowned fish market opened at the Pike Place Market in 1930. It got its “world famous” title by selling high-quality freshly caught fish. The company is also serious about sustainability. If they have doubts about a fish’s quality or catch method, they refuse to sell it.

Pike Place Fish Company may be famous for its fish, but it’s even more famous for fish tossing. The flying fish tradition began as a quick way to wrap fish for customers. But now it’s just done for fun, too. Visitors can watch the mongers toss fish back and forth all day.

Be careful, you might encounter one of the wiggling prank monkfish the mongers use to trick customers!

#2 Le Pichet 

This charming French bistro opened at Pike Place Market in 2000. Owners Joanne Herron and Jim Drohman started the restaurant after falling in love with French food and wine. Le Pichet means “the pitcher,” a reference to the stoneware pitchers many French restaurants use to pour wine. When they opened, Herron and Drohman started Le Pichet to recreate those eateries’ friendly, intimate feel.

Le Pichet specializes in small plates and wine. Dishes like onion soup, charcuterie, and pâté are popular. You can also order classic French desserts like pan au chocolat and sorbet. The cafe has an extensive wine list featuring vintages from France and beyond. Publications like Eater and Zagat have praised Le Pichet for its delicious food and drink.

#3 Rachel’s Ginger Beer

Rachel’s Ginger Beer takes this spicy beverage to a whole new level. They offer traditional ginger beer and fun flavors like blood orange, passionfruit and vanilla, and black currant. Sweets like Dole whip and vanilla ice cream are also available for folks with a sweet tooth. They even have ginger beer cocktails for visitors aged 21 and up.

If you want to bring the spice home from Pike Place Market, Rachel’s sells its ginger beer to-go. And if you can’t get to Seattle, that’s okay too. Order online, and the shop will ship ginger beer to you.

Pro Tip: We think The Chewing Gum Wall Is the Grossest Place in Seattle (and That Says a Lot). Don’t lose your appetite by visiting.

#4 Sosio’s Fruit and Produce

For fresh produce lovers, Sosio’s can’t be beaten. This fruit and veggie stand is considered one of the best in Pike Place Market. Given that most of their seasonal produce comes from local growers, it’s no surprise. They also work with farmers in other states to ensure their produce is the best on offer.

Two of their most popular standbys are beefsteak tomatoes and Rainier cherries. But you can tell which items employees love most by looking for the “OMG!” signs. Locals suggest buying your favorite fruits, grabbing some wine and cheese, and then enjoying a Seattle waterfront picnic.

#5 Beecher’s Handmade Cheese 

Speaking of cheese, there’s no better cheese shop in the market than Beecher’s. Beecher’s opened in 2003 and offers cheeses made right inside the store. When it comes to freshness, it doesn’t get fresher than that!

Beecher’s is seriously delicious. The shop’s signature cheese, Flagship Reserve, won 2nd Place, Best of Show, at the 2007 American Cheese Society competition. Their cheeses are some of the highest rated in the U.S. Visitors can buy pre-made cheese boards or one of the shop’s famous dishes, like lasagna or macaroni and cheese.

Is Visiting Pike Place Market Worth It?

A trip to Pike Place Market is a must for any Seattle visitor. This shopping center is practically its own vacation hotspot. Think about it, with more than 500 vendors, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re a foodie, a beverage lover, or simply hunting for souvenirs, Pike Place is your one-stop shop.

Spend a day by the Seattle waterfront, and be sure to include Pike Place in your plans.

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