Five Things To See in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

by Julie Cohn

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Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in the United States, and for good reason.  One of the largest port cities on the Pacific North West, Seattle is known for its fresh seafood, coffee, music and culture, healthy living, and the gorgeous views from nearby Mt. Rainier.  There is so much to do and see in the area, but a trip to Seattle would not be complete without a visit to the iconic Pikes Place Market.  Here are five things to see in Seattle’s Pike Place Market for families!


Five Things To See in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

There are many wonderful sites to see in Seattle but one of the best places to visit is Pike Place Market, one of the oldest public farmers markets in the United States.  Pike Place Market is a bustling marketplace full of locals, tourists, and street entertainers; a wonderful kaleidoscope of colorful flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and artisan crafts.  Pike Place Market is also a mecca for gourmet food, including several bakeries, cheese shops, and seafood chowder stands.

A visit to Pike Place Market can be overwhelming, especially when it is busy, but here are five places you cannot miss while visiting the market.


Fish Tossing at Pike Place Fish Market

What would you do if someone threw a 100 pound salmon at you?  If you are one of the guys from Pike Place Fish Market, it’s all in a days work.  Part work, part entertainment, these world-famous fishmongers toss fish from early morning until close for crowds of cheering spectators.  When a customer places an order, one of the fishmonger yells the order out to another guy behind the counter, then tosses the “flying” fish to be wrapped up. Occasionally, the fishmongers will toss fish for entertainment, and if you ask nicely, they might even let you catch one.  Note:  It’s harder than it looks, but just catch it like a football and you will do fine.

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The Original Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place

This first Starbucks Coffee location opened in Pike Place Market in 1971, long before expanding to the 23,000 locations worldwide it is today.  Though not as fancy as most modern Starbucks stores, this original Starbucks retains a historic look, right down to the original mermaid logo.  Note:  This is a popular destination in Pike Place Market, so be prepared to wait in line 30 minutes or longer, just to get in the door.  If you don’t want to wait in line, visit the more spacious and equally as awesome Starbucks location at 1st and Pike, or the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Pike St., where you can sample coffee roasts that have not yet been introduced in local stores.

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Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

Beecher’s iconic cheese factory has been part of Pike Place Market since 2003, and is known as one of the best cheese shops in the United States by Travel & Leisure magazine.  Cheese makers create several varieties of cheese in-house, and visitors can watch the cheese makers hard at work from large glass windows that look out over Pike Place Market.  A retail store on-site sells cheese and other gourmet food, and the cafe sells their self-proclaimed “world’s best macaroni and cheese.”

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The Gourmet Pastry Shops

Where else can you buy a Russian donuts, then walk 500 feet and get a French pastry?  Pikes Place Market has several ethnic gourmet pastry shops, with fresh pastries to die for!  My personal favorite is Le Paniér, the french bakery with scrumptious butter croissants and pillow-soft fruit-filled macarons.

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The Gum Wall

A Seattle landmark since 1993, the gum wall is both oddly disgusting and fascinating.  You can find the gum wall on the south end of Pike Place Market, in a brick alleyway under Pike Place, called Post Alley.  Will you stick your own piece of gum on the wall?  To each their own, but I could not do it!

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If you’ve been to Pike Place Market, what are some of your favorite things to do?

Psst.  Looking for something else to do in the Seattle area?  Are you a fan of the quirky tv show, Twin Peaks?  Check out our family road trip to visit several Twin Peaks film locations!



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