So, you have arrived in Seattle, Washington. Now what? What is there to do? Well like all towns and major cities, Seattle has a market district and it is unique. Covering over nine acres of land, Pike Place Market is the Seattle go-to place for fresh food, fine dining, local artisans and crafters, and many small shops with a wide variety of goods.
Pike Place Market first opened to business in 1907, after a public outcry in the late 1890s and 1900s against wholesalers who were increasingly raising prices and giving farmers less and less. One Seattle City Councilman proposed that the city create a marketplace open to the public, where farmers and consumers could meet and directly buy and sell. On the public market’s first day, there were crowds of shoppers looking for deals and reportedly the first farmer sold out in minutes. Within a week, there was more than 70 wagons there to sell along the newly made Pike Place wooden roadway.
When you first arrive, you need to consider parking. Seattle is on a small strip of land wedged in-between Lake Washington and Puget sound, making parking a premium. While the Pike Place market is on several of the local bus runs, you may want to drive there instead. In that case, Pike Place market has a parking area off to one side for convenience. Many of the local hotels also offer a shuttle service to Pike Place Market. Just ask at the front desk to see if yours is one of them.
One of the first items you want to grab first is a map and welcome guide. This handy little pamphlet will let you know where things are and what is going on during the this month you visit. You can also access this online Or if you want it also can be download from the Pike Place Market’s website for those of you who want to get a step ahead on your trip. Their website is also full of helpful information to let you get a handle on your visit. Or you can just grab a map and let the sun, wind, and waves move you along. Either way you are bound to have a great time. With over 200 unique shops offering everything from handmade crafts to fresh produce and 80 different restaurants, it is guaranteed that you can find something to catch your eye or appetite.
With so many things to chose from I am just going to point out a few local favorites. Up on the north arcade, you will find a little glass shop called Lucent Art Glass. You can find many different types of creations there and even some leaded glass works.
Taking a walk though the fish market is an experience you don’t want to miss even if you are not in the market for any seafood. Just make sure you watch out for the flying fish. The fish market is known for throwing the customer’s fish purchase around to the register. And if they should miss a catch or drop it the fish is free. No comment is given if the fish hits anybody though.
After you spent the day wondering around the market, you’ll be ready for a nice sit-down dinner where you can relax. The market offers everything from a dinners and cafes to full-service restaurants. One restaurant that stands out in particular is Red Cedar & Sage located up on level 2. The Red Cedar & Sage serves a chef-inspired Pacific northwestern cuisine. The Red Cedar & Sage sources all of its food in local markets where the quality is the first word and offers a robust menu, drink list, signature cocktails, and a friendly staff and atmosphere.
In this day in age, it is hard to find a place where you can find local shop owners and small restaurateurs, but to find a place with real history behind it that has yet to be overcome by large corporate interests is almost magical. Pike Place Market has all of that and no two trips to the market are ever the same.