AAA Editor Notes
Pike Place Market spreads out from the corner of Pike St. and 1st Ave. Where else in Seattle can you wander among stall after stall of luscious produce, briny fresh seafood, beautiful cut flowers, savory cheeses, delectable baked goods, handicrafts galore and restaurants aplenty? Pike Place Market is the city's heart and soul, a market that opened in 1907 as an experiment in bringing together local farmers and consumers.
The Main and North Arcades stretches along Pike Place between Pike and Virginia streets. This is where many of the produce vendors, flower sellers and specialty food retailers are located. The fishmongers at Pike Place Fish, at the south end of the Main Arcade (near Rachel, a beloved bronze piggy bank and the market's unofficial mascot), never fail to draw a crowd with their boisterous banter and penchant for casually tossing a whole salmon or two.
Post Alley is a narrow pedestrian-only nook frequented by street musicians. The infamous Gum Wall (1428 Post Alley) is a popular photo spot. DownUnder, below the Main Arcade, is a warren of specialty shops selling everything from jewelry to collectibles to toys to vintage comics.
Ethnic groceries, bookstores, meat sellers and small mom 'n' pop businesses also are part of the market fabric. A Starbucks branch (1912 Pike Pl., the chain's oldest in operation), Beecher's Homemade Cheese (1600 Pike Pl., their original store) and Sur La Table (84 Pine St. and also their first store) are the only national retailers. Franchises are not permitted, but several businesses that started in the market have expanded to other locations.
Friends of the Market offers 1-hour guided walking tours covering the history of the market and surrounding businesses. Tours depart near Rachel the bronze pig at Pike Street and Pike Place.
Public parking is available in the garage at 1531 Western Ave. (behind the market), which is linked to both the Main Arcade and the waterfront by elevator. The 174 steps of the Pike Street Hillclimb connect Western Avenue and Pier 59 below; when you reach Western Avenue an elevator will take you up to the Main Arcade, or you can continue up additional steps.
Guided tours are available. Food is available.