Activities & Resources
Pike Place Market451in Seattle, WA 98101
about Pike Place Market:
Come here for produce, baked goods, fish, specialty meats, coffee, gifts, inexpensive flowers, and prime people-watching. Walk past stalls piled high with gorgeous displays of in-season fruits and vegetables (but don't let the kids touch, or you'll get an earful from the shopkeeper) and agricultural delicacies of all kinds. Shop around, if you can; prices do vary.
You've probably seen the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish who fling whole salmon in front of dense crowds and the occasional TV camera. Theatrical and sort of silly? Yes... and lots of fun for kids. Employees here are always jocular with kids staring wide-eyed at the gaping jaws of fish on display. Look for this stall at the Pike entrance to the Market, right by Rachel, the bronze market pig (also a child-magnet, and popular photo op.)
The Market consists of 23 different buildings and opened in 1907. Its boundaries extend from First Avenue to Western Avenue (east - west) and Pike Street to Virginia Street (south - north).
The main pavilion at the Market houses mostly fish, meat, flower stalls (and a charming place for brunch, Maximilien in the Market) at the south end, and crafts stalls at the north end. Go down a flight or two to The Down Under, and you'll find a warren of tiny specialty shops and restaurants.
The Market has more than 50 places to eat. Take-out restaurants are wedged together on Pike Place, the street that runs through the Market. Try the jumbo cookies at Cinnamon Works - the chocolate chip will satisfy at least two and tastes like homemade. Buy rustic breads or cafe food at Three Girls Bakery, piroshky one block down at Piroshky, Piroshky, or a cleaned crab and some heartbreaking strawberries at the fish and vegetable stalls. Sit-down restaurants are located along First Avenue as well as on the Pike Place level in various buildings throughout the market.
At the north end of the Market, craftspeople sell prints, clothing, jewelry, toys, and lots of other great handmade stuff. Prices are reasonable; this is a place to get mementos that are a step above a Space Needle T-shirt.
Look for Victor Steinbrueck park at the far north end of the Market - this is the only close-by grassy spot to picnic. A public seating area surrounded by a low wrought-iron fence, is located in Post Alley, a charming lane with a European feel that runs parallel to Pike Place. Click on the link for a map of the area.
The Market gets overly crowded in the summer; during that time we've never found it to be particularly stroller- (or fractious small child-) friendly. Bring non-walkers in back- or frontpacks, or avoid the throngs altogether by showing up early - around 6am or 7am - to watch the Market set up. Bring cash, too, preferably in singles. Many stalls and stores take cards or checks, but some don't, and having small bills will earn you the gratitude of stallkeepers and waiting customers.
Families can explore the Market's history through interactive exhibits housed at the Heritage Center on Western Avenue, next to the Public Market parking garage at 1531 Western Avenue.