Every day from dawn to dusk, Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market buzzes with locals and tourists alike, who come to browse the 150 stalls of fresh seafood, produce, flowers, artisanal products, and local art, plus see the numerous street performers wandering throughout.
The best way to experience Seattle’s top gastronomic attraction is by sampling your way through it. Guided tasting tours, cooking classes, and cultural walking tours of the market are all excellent ways to take in the sights and sounds while trying a little bit of everything that’s on offer. It’s even possible to book an early-access tour to avoid the crowds or take a chef-guided food tour for professional guidance. On a Pike Place Market tour, you can taste original foods crafted by local artisans, see the famous fish throwers toss around ultra-fresh fish, and even find some hidden gems you might not discover on your own.
Things to Know Before You Go
The main and north arcades are the most popular areas at Pike Place Market.
Save some pocket change for Rachel, the bronze charity piggy bank that serves as Pike Place Market’s unofficial mascot. Look for her under the Public Market Center sign.
For a little respite or a picnic lunch, head over to Victor Steinbrueck Park, at the north end of the market at the intersection of Pike Place, Virginia Street, and Western Avenue. (Look for the two towering totem poles.) Other nearby nearby attractions include the Seattle Art Museum, Waterfront Park, and the Seattle Aquarium.
How to Get There
Pike Place Market is located in downtown Seattle on the waterfront, at First Avenue between Pike and Pine streets. The market is accessible via bus and streetcar. An information booth is located below the Pike Place Market sign, where you can pick up a free guide and market map.
When to Get There
Because the majority of the action at Pike Place Market takes place indoors, it’s a great place to visit all year-round. The market is open from dawn to dusk and is always bustling, but you can often avoid the crowds by visiting on weekday mornings.
Classic Fish Throwing at Pike Place
One of the most entertaining spectacles are the seafood stalls, where fishmongers throw salmon and other fish to each other rather than passing them by hand. When a customer places an order, an employee at the ice-covered fish table picks up the fish and theatrically hurls it over the countertop so it goes flying through the air to another employee who catches it and preps it for sale. Vendors can pack fish for travel and can ship throughout the US.