Climb the steps from the waterfront to discover Seattle’s fresh food hub, the oldest farmers’ market in the U.S.
Street performers and vendors vie for attention on the pleasantly busy cobblestone streets of Pike Place Market. It’s home to some 200 stalls and shops, some of which have been family-operated for generations. Amble among the wide aisles in the main arcade taking in the cornucopia of sounds, smells and sights. Sample seasonal fruits, smell the fresh bouquets of flowers, and admire handmade jewelry and art.
Homey cafés, oriental health stalls, boutique bars, artisan cheese counters and organic fruit stands draw the eye and tempt the wallet. Buzzing beneath the traditional market is a lower floor of small bookstores, pottery and antique shops, clothing stores and specialty supermarkets that are ideal for bargain-hunting.
Situated just steps from Seattle’s waterfront, Pike Place Market is famous for its fresh fish stalls. Don’t be afraid to get up close and check out the huge variety of seafood on display: crab legs, oysters, salmon and other fish are laid out on icy beds. Try some fresh Northwest salmon or Dungeness crab when in season.
Competitive fishmongers offer unique entertainment, putting on a fish-throwing performance and bantering with customers as they weigh and wrap purchases in thick white paper. Unsuspecting visitors may even see a fish suddenly jump, its mouth snapping – all at the pull of a string from fun-loving pranksters behind the counter. It all adds to the good-natured atmosphere of this lively market.
After dark, street entertainers give way to live jazz and vocalists performing in old favorites like the Pink Door and the risqué-but-campy Can Can bar.
Pike Place Market is a local institution unlike anywhere else. It provides entertainment, a friendly place to linger and chat with stallholders, and you can buy everything from magic tricks to Far East potion, to local wine and cheese. There’s even a public library on the ground floor if you need a bit of quiet reflection.
Pike Place Market is located in downtown Seattle, open seven days a week. Come early to find parking, or take a taxi or bus.