Pike Place Market gets better with each visit

imageIn a slight departure from my usual posts. This is a mini-love letter to the Seattle landmark … the Pike Place Market.

Every time I go to Pike Place Market I get the chance to see, smell or touch something new. Every time!

If you’ve been … you know!

WP_20151220_11_39_56_ProIf you haven’t been … make sure the market is part of your next (or first) visit to Seattle.

Today we took a bit of a walkabout from the Marriott Waterfront hotel. Since we were coming in from the Alaska Way level (just across from the Seattle Aquarium) we climbed the steps and started on the lower levels.


Where to Start?

There is so much to see and do. Whether it’s gray and rainy day or glorious sunny day there is always a lot of activity at Pike Place Market. From the famous guys throwing fish to Punk Rock Donuts to the classic old world newsstand.

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The Obvious Places

The first Starbucks retail store, the fishmongers and the fruit vendors. You can’t miss these.

To the less obvious, but right on the the main drag. Watch the Beecher’s Cheese team making cheese. Step in to try some samples too. Try the “crystal finish” cheeses. You will want more. Trust me!

Don’t miss the Macaron’s at Le Pannier and the Pierogies at Piroshky Piroshky and the cookies at the Three Girls Bakery.

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Heads Up: It’s Pike Place Market. It’s not Pike’s Place.

There is also the (in)famous Gum Wall --- which was just recently cleaned. Where they removed some 2000 pounds of gum off the walls. Don’t worry … you can still put gum on the walls. This is a tradition that is sticking around (pun intended).


Go Downstrairs for the Full Market Experience

There are restaurants, stores and curiosities in the lower levels. Don’t miss these. Everything from magic stores to book stores to candy shoppes to places that pretty much defy description. Just take a walk on the lower levels. You’ll see what I mean.

Take the trip from the bottom up (like we did today), but if you start at the top make sure you journey down at least one level. You will not be disappointed. There are several access points. Just look for the signs that say Lower Level.



Pike Up!

If you really want to get involved join in the Pike Up efforts. I learned about it from, of all things, a commercial on TV.

A friend I worked with at Microsoft, Francois Ajenstat, was talking about his and Amy Morgan’s commitment to Pike Up! and becoming Piggybackers.


Who’s Rachel? 


At various places you will see a pig. That’s Rachel.

She is the mascot and symbol of the market.

You’ll see decorated pigs and some that are naked bronze pigs. The main “Rachel” is at the corner just below the main “Pike Market Center” sign (the one on the top of this post). Stop and take a few pictures with her. She’s not shy.

One of the Pike Up! options is to get your own hoofprint which will be in Pike Place Market for a long time.

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WP_20151220_12_37_13_ProHere are a few seasonal examples of Rachel.

There is a Rudolph Rachel on the roof with a red nose and three ReinPigs following. There’s also a Santa Rachel near the Pike Up donation station.

No matter what you do at Pike Place Market you will likely see, smell and get to touch something different every time.

Today we got to meet a 14 year old Golden Retriever at the Magic Shoppe. We got to chat with a funny proprietor of a small, independent book store (I have a rule --- you can’t leave a book store without buying something), and we got to see a kid try to use chopsticks for the first time.

We also got to smell the nuts roasting, the pierogies being baked and the always deliciously enticing scents at a French bakery.

When you are in downtown Seattle take a few spare moments to walk around the Pike Place Market. Don’t forget to check out the lower levels. Ya never know what you might find.

WP_20151214_13_46_02_ProWhat’s your favorite thing to see or do at the Pike Place Market?

What’s the one thing you always do when you visit?

I’m not going to ask for your parking secret, but if you want to share that and your other Pike Place Market tips in the comments feel free.

See you at the market!


Amy Morgan said…
This is an awesome love letter to the Market, Jeff! The one thing I'd throw in is something that not even I realized until a year ago... The Market is so much more than just a market or tourist destination. There is an entire social ecosystem within is boundaries. The Pike Place Market is home to low-income senior housing, a food bank, a medical clinic and a preschool. For some in our downtown community, the Market is their only lifeline to social programs that afford the simplest luxuries many of us take for granted. The volunteering I've been doing with the Pike Place Market Foundation has been an eye-opening and rewarding experience. As a native Seattlelite and life-long lover of the Market, being involved with the Market Foundation is not only my way of giving thanks but also makes me apart of something so much bigger. The Pike Place Market is one of the last "old-Seattle" places preserved in history - not just as a historic landmark but in what it stands for...and it's the community it supports that keeps it so special.
Jeff Shuey said…
Thanks for the comment and the added info Amy. I learned (from your video) about the school, the senior care and the medical facility. The more we know.

We are a relatively new transplant to Seattle --- we've been here 16 years --- after being born and raised in SoCal we have come to call Seattle home. And, you are right, Pike Place Market is "old Seattle" and just one more reason to love it and preserve it ... even as it must grow with the times.