5 things not to miss at the Pike Place Market, Seattle

When you tell anyone you are going to Seattle, they will tell you to make sure you check out the Pike Place Market.

And it’s no wonder – the place is like a fun maze!

As Dave and I got amongst the hustle and bustle of the food stores and art and craft stands for an hour, I thought we’d seen most of it.

Then I realised there were six floors.

Six floors.

That’s more than most shopping centres!

Market sign at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

Prepare to be overwhelmed at the Pike Place Market in Seattle

It was unlike any market I’ve ever been to. Parts of it were unusual, a lot of it was colourful and many delights were just damn tasty.

And the best thing about it all?

Like most markets, the people behind the counters are often the people who have crafted the art you see, picked the fruit you’re eating or baked the pie you’re tucking into.

But the market can be overwhelming – with more than 200 stalls it’s easy to see why.

So I’ve broken it down for you.

5 things not to miss at the Pike Place Market, Seattle:

Flowers at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel2

The colours of the flowers at Pike Place Market will brighten you up on a gloomy day

1. The flowers

Need something to brighten your day?

Pike Place Market has a huge variety of blooms and I couldn’t get over how cheap the flowers were.

Coming from London – where flowers are super expensive and I only ever bought them from the supermarket – the Pike Place Market is a delight.

Flowers at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

2. The quirky stalls

I’ve never been in an old school magic shop and Pike Place Market – Seattle’s Market Magic – didn’t disappoint.

The magic store is on the lower level is fascinating – if not a little eerie.

Magic shop at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

The creepy magic store at Pike Place Market

You can buy little gimmicks, magic DVDs and get your photo taken in a creepy looking photo booth.

And across the hall they have the world’s largest shoe museum. It’s kind of the bizarre hangout area of the market.

If you’re into comics and collectables, Pike Place Market has the USA’s oldest comic store, so that should keep you busy.

I’m not really into that kind of thing but it was interesting to see the kind of stuff people spend their money on – like large cut outs of superheroes for a few hundred bucks… what?!

Giant shoe museum at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

The Giant Shoe Museum at Pike Place Market… a little weird!

If you walk in the surrounding streets of Pike Place Market, there are a few stalls more down my alley (pun intended).

I love the cute vintage stores you can find, and even though we don’t have the cash at the moment, nor the storage, I love rummaging through all the little vintage finds.

For some reason I love looking at vintage wedding dresses. A little strange, I know.

Vintage shop near Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

Inside a vintage shop near Pike Place Market

3. The delicious fresh produce.

It wouldn’t be right to write about the Pike Place Market without mentioning the food.

When we visited, we decided to cook a pasta that night using the best fresh produce we could find.

We went to a seafood stall and contemplated the prawns.

There was such a large variety, we struggled to choose as the fishmongers threw a large fish over our heads in a game. It was a lively atmosphere and many of the shopkeepers were glad to help us explain what prawns would be best.

Fresh seafood Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

Yummy fresh seafood at Pike Place Markets

Next, we headed over to a fruit and veg stand to pick up some onions, parsely and capsicums to add into the pasta.

Then we went to the fresh pasta store and bought the best pasta I have ever purchased.

The vendor knew exactly what type of pasta would work well with our prawns and the purchase came with a little recipe, which I loved.

Lastly, we finished our purchase with fresh cream from the creamery store.

Needless to say, we ate pretty damn well that night!

(Did I mention Dave is a kick ass cook? Make sure you marry a man who can cook ladies!)

4. The tasty tea and spices.

I must admit, I am a little bit of a tea nut.

Living in London only fuelled my love for this tasty drink.

Spice and tea stall at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel2

So many spices, so little time…

Brits have a bad rep for bad teeth and it’s probably because the amount of tea they drink. No joke, at my old workplace in London I used to have more than five cups a day, not to mention the one cup of coffee in the morning.

Probably not the best for my health, let alone my teeth.

Anyway, there’s a delightful store called Market Spice which not only sells a huge variety of teas and tea accessories, they also do a great range of spices.

Each spice jar has a label that is hand drawn and comes with a description of what’s inside.

I love it.

The staff were especially friendly here too as we bought our Rooibos tea. Ever since reading The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Dave has become a little obsessed with this type of tea. Unfortunately the supply he’d brought over from the UK had run out so he was delighted to find Rooibos tea in Market Spice.

Spice and tea stall at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

5. The disgusting gum wall.

Dave and I debated about whether or not to include the gum wall on the list at all. Dave thinks it’s too disgusting and you should give it a miss but I was a little fascinated by the grossness.

What is the gum wall? It’s exactly that… a wall covered in chewing gum.

gum wall at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel

Dave is clearly disgusted by the gum wall at Pike Place Markets

The wall has actually grown and now it’s a couple of walls covered in disgusting sticky goop that attracts swarms of big black flies in the summertime.

When we were there, a woman was instructing her four young children to finish up with their chewing gum so that they could stick it on the wall.

I’m not sure how many germs are on that thing but there’s no way I was going to touch it with my bare hands.


But you’d be amazed how many people you see doing just that. Not to mention getting their faces right up close for that all important Facebook photo. I was just waiting for one of them to slip and get stuck onto the sticky mess…

gum wall at Pike Place Market in Seattle Double-Barrelled Travel2

So gross…

Ok, enough from me, what about you?

What’s your most favourite market? Is there one better than Pike Place Market?

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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