Seattle’s Pike Place Market may not be the oldest farmer’s market in America, but it is often rated as the best.
First opened in 1907, Pike Place sits on the Puget Sound waterfront, in the heart of downtown Seattle. Home to hundreds of vendors hawking fish, produce, meat, specialty goods, jewelry, and even art, the market is still a place where small businesses thrive.
We took a day trip over Christmas to see Pike Place in full swing. Even amongst the bustling crowds, there isn’t a better place to spend a day eating and shopping.
First And Pike News is a famous newsstand at the market's primary entrance. The feeling of an old world market starts here, with racks of international newspapers and obscure magazines unavailable elsewhere. It's been locally owned for its entire existence.
Pike Place Nuts features freshly roasted nuts with odd, delicious flavours like banana walnuts and caramel cashews. It's the kind of oddly specific thing you can only find at Pike Place.
The market was first established to cut out the middlemen and let locals meet the farmers who grew their food. Thanks to the market's 'Meet the Producer' mandate, that hasn't changed in more than 100 years.
The Pike Place Bakery makes some incredible pastries, including local favourites like the maple bar. They've also got some crazy deals if you don't mind eating day-old pastries
Vendors from all over the world include Uli's Famous Sausage, owned by master German butcher Uli Lengenberg. It features German-style sausages as well as South African Boerewors.
The heart of Pike Place is the fish market. The fresh fish is brought in daily, drawing more than 10,000 people to purchase every kind of fish.
You can even buy fish to eat raw on the spot, such as oysters, sushi-grade salmon and tuna, and uni sea urchin.
Fishmongers throw fish to each other to relay packages to the customers. There is always a crowd gathered to watch.
City Fish is the oldest fish seller in the market. They're renowned for carrying exotic fish (in addition to Northwest staples) including geoduck, skate, and mahi-mahi.
DeLaurenti Specialty Food and Wine is a mecca for foodies. They've got every kind of Italian foodstuff you can imagine.
Thankfully, the people behind the counter know what they are talking about. They can recommend cheese, charcuterie, and wine pairings.
If you get tired of the crowds, take a step outside to hear the buskers. There are always musicians performing all over the market. There are a number of performers that have made a living solely busking at Pike Place.
The first Starbucks ever opened in Pike Place in 1971. A few years later, the store moved a few blocks down to its current spot here. There is always a line that stretches around the block.
Pike Place is an amazing place to go for a meal. There are no shortage of options -- ethnic, exotic, or regional. Market Galbee has delicious Korean BBQ.
Market Grill is known for its salmon sandwiches, which use only ingredients purchased in the market. It's been voted the best sandwich in the market for many years.
Further down the market are the flower sellers and arts & crafts vendors. The flower sellers are predominantly H'mong, a Southern Asian ethnicity.
The 'Meet the Producer' rule applies to craft vendors as well. Most days, you will be able to talk to the artist or craftsman who made what you are looking to buy.
Once you've exhausted the top floor, there are tons of shops and restaurants tucked into the lower levels.
Many stores are highly specific, like The Great Wind-Up that sells only wind-up toys. If you bring kids, expect to stay a while.
The Market Magic Shop is a Pike Place staple and one of the oldest running magic shops in the country. It's still owned by its founder.
Market Coins has baseball cards, coins, and random collectibles including an impressive collection of presidential buttons.
There are even art galleries tucked into the market. The Studio @ Pike Place is a combination gallery and art studio. Some days you might even catch the artists at work.
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