Visit Pike Place Market in Seattle (with Map & Photos)

Pike Place Market is Seattle's first and largest farmers' market, operating since 1907. At a time when farmers could not recoup their costs, the market was a way to directly connect them with buyers, eliminating intermediaries. Every day, thousands of city residents come to pick up flowers for their birthdays, buy fresh produce, or meet up with friends to unwind after work. 

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market has plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables all year round. Also here are fish and butcher shops, flower shops, bakeries, sellers of dairy and specialty products, as well as a wide selection of restaurants.

But what really makes the market so special? It's not just fruits and veggies.

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

History of Pike Place Market

At the turn of the century, Seattle was a fast-growing city. The population was accustomed to extracting gold, logging, fishing and trading, so the demand for products and goods from neighboring urban farms grew. Since 1890, in ten years the population of the city has doubled, increasing from 42 to 80 thousand citizens.

Farmers brought their vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs, and meat to the city via horse-drawn carts and by ferry from nearby islands. Goods were bought by wholesalers who sold goods for a commission in warehouses. Under this system, although farmers sometimes made a profit, they increasingly lost money.

Later, the cost of products skyrocketed, and citizens became angry at the price gouging. The noise forced one local official to come up with a solution. In the summer of 1907, Seattle City Council member Thomas Revell proposed that the city create a public marketplace where farmers and consumers could meet and trade directly, bypassing the wholesalers.

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

On the opening day of August 17, 1907, crowds of shoppers looking for fresh produce descended on the new market. One farmer even sold out in minutes. Within three months, the market had grown to 76 stalls, and by 1922 had expanded to 11 buildings on nine acres near the Seattle waterfront.

By the 60s, Pike Place Market was devastated, the consequences of World War II affected. The fact is that among the sellers, two-thirds were Japanese, and after order No. 9066 they were sent to camps. Luckily, architect and activist Viktor Steinbrueck and his associates successfully campaigned to create a historic quarter that saved the market. It could not be displaced by offices and parking lots.

Today there are more than 500 shops, restaurants and bars here. In 2017, the market expanded, bringing additional outdoor space for vendors.

What to see in the market

Exploring the shops at Pike Place Market can take a whole day. In the market, you will find over 200 artisans selling everything from homemade soaps to handmade pottery. All of them are happy to talk about their work.

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

Pike Place is also known for its endless rows of flower stands, and a lavish bouquet will set you back as low as $10. You'll find plenty of shops selling vintage posters and magazines, as well as pop culture items from lightsabers to rare comics.

During a walk or excursion you will see:

  • the Sur La Table deli, as well as the Made in Washington gift shop;
  • Metsker Maps of Seattle is dedicated to travel and geography, where you will find maps, books on local topography and guides;
  • nearby is So Much Yarn, a department store for yarn and knitting supplies;
  • along Western Avenue, explore Ugly Baby and La Ru and The Paper Feather boutiques for shopping friends for unusual gifts and handmade paper products;
  • if you want to eat al fresco, buy fresh fruits with specialty cheeses and meats from DeLaurenti, and nearby you will find a place with a surprisingly familiar sign - Piroshky Piroshky. Yes, don’t be surprised, they sell Russian pastries here;
  • After a bite to eat, wash down your meal with one of 16 beers at the Old Stove Brewing Co pub.

Pike Place Market Map