If you had time to see only one thing in Seattle, without hesitation we would say that “one thing” has to be the Pike Place Market!
Believe it or not, the Market was almost torn down in the 1960’s and replaced with “Pike Plaza”, an urban renewal project that would have included a hotel, an apartment building, office buildings, a hockey arena, and a parking garage. Can you imagine?! This was supported by the then mayor, the city council, and unbelievably some of the market property owners. Thankfully, a large contingent of community activities saved the day, most noteably Victor Steinbrueck who is the namesake of the park at the north end of the Market, and the Market lives on as a National Historical Landmark, and the true soul of the city of Seattle.
Over 400 vendors call “the Market” home, and it is actually much bigger than it appears as your approach. The Market is built on the edge of a steep hill, and consists of several lower levels located below the main level. Shops such as antique dealers, comic book sellers, and small family-owned restaurants populate this area, and really should not be missed.
The joy of the Pike Place Market is that it can be something different each time you go. If you are looking for souvenirs to take home, check out the “Down Under” or head to the north end of the main pavilion to check out truly unique items from local craftspeople. Hankering for a casual lunch? From the main Public Market sign, head north. On the right side of the street, at almost every step there is a new taste street waiting for you from the numerous food stalls. Filipino, Chinese, Italian, Russian, a fresh bakery, a cheese maker, produce stands and seafood places all beckon. Many have seating, and tucked into nooks and crannies of the historic buildings are more seating areas, just keep an open eye. Are you planning on making dinner at the condo tonight? Shop the main pavilion for Italian deli delicacies, handcrafted sausage, sustainable seafood, the butcher shop, the tea and spice market, and some of the best produce you have ever laid your eyes on.
The Pike Place Market is truly our favorite spot in Seattle, enjoyable on a warm sunny day or gray and rainy one. It is a mix of all that we love about our great city; the restaurants, the produce, the people, the sights.