Things to do, see and eat in and around Pike’s Place Market

One of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions and beloved local hangouts, Pike Place Market attracts nearly 10 million visitors a year and is the world’s 33rd most visited tourist attraction. Constructed in the twentieth century, the market is one of the longest-standing farmer’s markets in the country. From produce stands, artisan shops, a crafts market, flying fish, restaurants, and a variety of shops at every turn, Pike Place Market has a little something for everyone. 

 

History

Founded in 1907, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest and largest operational public markets in the United States and has served as an economic beacon to hundreds of farmers, crafters, and small businesses. Before Pike Place Market, local farmers would sell their goods to wholesalers for extremely slim commission margins that did not offer a livable return on investment. The farmers were frustrated with the lack of profit and approached the Seattle city council about a regulatory fix. Despite the wholesaler’s best efforts, Pike Place Market was founded on August 27, 1907. On the market’s opening day, about eight (8) farmers with produce and goods in hand showed up to sell at the market and managed to completely sell out of their offerings by noon that same day. By 1911, additional vendor stalls were needed to accommodate the demand for market goods and expansion of the market began. 

 

Since its founding, Japanese American farmers were among the biggest sellers at Pike Place Market. World War II brought disruption to the market and following the bombing of pearl harbor, many  Japanese Americans on the west coast were forced into internment camps, resulting in a loss of nearly half of the market’s vendors. Pike Place Market came close to an end in the early 1960s because of a proposal to turn the space into a hockey arena, hotel, and office space. Although the local elected officials of the time supported its demolishing, the community was adamantly against it. In the early 1970s, Seattle residents voted to create a Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (“PDA”) and the Market Historical Commission.

 

Eventually, the PDA formed Pike Place Market Foundation,  a not-for-profit organization, established to help raise funds for the market’s social services and manage the day-to-day operations of the market. The Pike Place Market PDA is governed by a twelve-member council alongside the historical commission, these groups are responsible for the creation of guidelines and regulatory oversight of the buildings and activities within the historic district. 

 

Pike Place Community and Vendors of Today

Featuring over 500 vendors, Pike Place is sure to offer something for everyone and is Seattle’s original and largest incubator of small, independent businesses. The market is centrally located in one of Seattle’s vibrant historic downtown neighborhoods and is open seven (7) days a week, year-round. The surrounding neighborhood, and thanks in large part to the Pike Place Market Foundation, the area is also home to five social service programs, 220+ independently owned shops and restaurants, 150+ craftspeople, 70+ farmers, and 60+ permitted buskers. 

 

Best Day and Time to Visit the Market

Beat the lines and large crowds by visiting Pike Place Market in the morning or between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.