Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington is a delight for the senses and the birthplace of many items that have become daily fixtures in our lives. The market opened in 1907 as a way for farmers to sell directly to consumers thus eliminating the middleman. This arrangement benefited both farmers and consumers and turned into a lucrative way of doing business.
The market fell into disrepair during WWII and, by the 1960s was scheduled for demolition. Thankfully, Seattle citizens came together in 1971 to save and revitalize the market. Now the bustling market is a tourist attraction and a hub for the city.
When we visited the market, we were on a search for two specific places, the original Starbucks Coffee location and Pike Place Fish, the setting for the book, Fish. Starbucks was founded in the market in 1971 and has grown from there to far corners of the world. True Starbucks lovers will brave the line to get a cup of coffee from the store where it all began. (If you like coffee but you aren’t a Starbucks fan, there are many other coffee shops in the market.)
The Pike Place Fish market finds the fishmongers engaging visitors by throwing fish to each other and to customers. Their story inspired The Fish! Philosophy, a remarkable book that shares the culture that they demonstrate on a daily basis. In 2018 the original owner, John Yokoyama, sold the market to the fishmongers that had worked with him for years and so the legacy continues. (And, yes, I caught the fish they threw to me!)
These two vendors were far from the only ones. We wandered for several hours through fish, yogurt, sausage, and dairy vendors. Vendors sell all types of luscious looking chocolates, exotic spices, honey, olive oils, wines, and more. There were vendors for everything we wanted and for items we hadn’t even thought about. The flowers were especially appealing. One of my dreams is to buy flowers for our hotel room when we are visiting a town for a few days. Unfortunately, we weren’t going to be in Seattle long enough to enjoy them, so I reluctantly left the beautiful flowers for another day.
If food items aren’t your thing, don’t worry. You can buy home décor, jewelry, tobacco, and toys. There is no limit to the offerings in the market. Allow yourself plenty of time to wander around. If looking at all the food has made you hungry, you have many places from which to choose. Coffee shops are plentiful, but restaurants, cafes, and fast food are also available.
So, while sightseeing in Seattle, take a break and wander through the Pike Place Market for the delicious, fun, or simply quirky items that are offered. If you’ve already been to the market, please share your favorite part in the comment section below.
– Candace Ahlfinger has loved traveling since she was little and has always been on the go whenever possible. Now she is retired and gets to do what she loves best… TRAVEL! Whether it’s traveling with her wonderful husband, or our children and grandchildren, traveling is a great experience that enriches her life. Because she always enjoys reading and hearing about others’ travel experiences, she wants to share her travels with the Ellis DownHome readers.