If you enjoy sightseeing, shopping and plain old window shopping, or just enjoy people watching, “Pike Place Market,” in Seattle, Washington, is a tourist destination to have on your next vacation. Pike Place Market is a gigantic public farmer’s market right on, Elliot Bay waterfront, with wares from all around the world. The entire complex encompasses nine acres that initiated in August of 1907 with a few farmers and craftspeople, and was declared a historical site in 1974 when it revived. It just celebrated a centennial anniversary this past summer. Pike Place Market is open from ten in the morning to five in the evening, seven days a week. It’s better to arrive early because the place really gets crowded by mid afternoon, especially on the week-ends. I was informed there’s plenty of parking even though there’s public transportation with drop-offs and pick-ups near the market.
I stayed at the, “Inn At The Market,” a five star quality inn, for a night before boarding a cruise ship to Alaska. Unfortunately I only had one day to really explore Pike Place Market, but the time spent was entirely worth it. My inn was right up the slope from the market. In slope, I really mean a steep hill going down to the wharf, a real workout for the legs.
When you enter the market after your short hike downhill you might run across Pike Place Market’s unofficial mascot, Rachel, a bronze cast iron piggy bank weighing five hundred, fifty pounds. Throughout the downtown Seattle area you can view other different designed pigs displayed on street corners.
You must make your first stop, “World’s Famous Pike Place Fish Market,” where you’ll gawk in amazement at pleasant natured fishmongers who’ll entertain you with their skill as they flip thirty pound salmon across to each other and perform singing chants. John Yokoyama was an employee who bought the shop in 1965, and made their motto to have fun at work and entertain the customers, something they do every day. Each employee will spend as much individual time with you as you desire, showing off their vast display of fresh sea food on ice, all ready for you to select and have shipped home to you on the date you request. You’ll marvel at some of the size of fish you’ll see displayed on ice. You can also order fresh seafood online and view their wonderful website with photos and stories of each fishmonger, fan’s photos, and videos and history of the famous fish market. There are also other great quality fish stands too.
My next stop was a flower market, one called, Pike Place Flowers, where rainbows of colored flowers in giant bouquets were artfully arranged. Vast quantities of these flowers are shipped in from places like Holland. I was floored by the unbelievable low price of these bouquets, at the time ten and fifteen dollars for bouquets you’d easily pay one hundred dollars for in flower shops. How they’re shipped in and remain so fresh is a secret I’d love to know. Regrettably I couldn’t take a bouquet onboard my ship.
Farm stands with healthy looking, fresh produce are available from early morning until five when the market closes. If you’re hungry there are numerous places to grab a bite or a full sit down meal along the wharf area or along the street opposite the main market area. Starbucks was originated in Seattle and the first store is still here alongside the market with a sexy mermaid statue, a popular photo spot.
Craftspeople and antique merchants are scattered throughout with exotic goods from around the globe. You’ll find clothing apparel and jewelry, some one of a kind. If you’re an art lover you can look at artwork and buy to your heart’s content from a vast variety of artists.
Talented street performers are in action throughout the day to entertain you. You might notice a musical note design on the floor where a performer might stand in the main arcade.
Pike Place Market also includes housing and social services for low income residents. There is a, “Pike Place Market News,” newspaper which can provide you information on the history and daily happenings. If you have time, “Hunter Center,” on Western Avenue, provides further information on the history of Pike Place Market. There were too many numerous specialty shops I didn’t have the opportunity or time to explore, with several lower levels and outside building venues to see, but Pike Place Market certainly has something for everyone to enjoy. You’ll need at least two days to explore this historic site and embrace the marvelous culture and warmth of the Pike Place Market people. The wharf view is also spectacular with the many ships and barges entering Seattle’s port.