7.4 out of 10

Pike Market

Ranked 29th best neighborhood in Seattle
47.608903806374 -122.342479543672
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
  • Public Transport
  • Neighborly Spirit
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Cost of Living
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Schools
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Mar 15, 2016

"Worth an occasional visit"

After the Space Needle, Pike Place Market is the main tourist attraction in the Emerald City. I personally don’t frequent Pike Place often, though I’ve taken visitors here, and my nieces and nephew love it. If I do visit, I generally leave my dog at home, because much of the market is either not dog-friendly, or too crowded for dogs.

When the kiddos visit we ALWAYS have to go to Daily Dozen Donuts and get a dozen donuts to share. I usually wash it down with a coffee from Ghost Alley Espresso.

For lunch my favorite place is piroshky piroshky. But apparently it’s everyone’s favorite place, so you must avoid peak hours on the weekends or you'll easily spend half an hour standing in line.

Other than that, the places I can recommend are:

--Three Girls Bakery makes delicious hand-made baked goods, as well as soups, sandwiches, and other items. One of my go-tos is the spinach and feta croissant. Delicious!

--El borracho: They have hands-down the best tacos in downtown. In addition, the atmosphere is fun and energetic, and the drinks are high quality.

--Unexpected Productions is an improvisation comedy venue. The early show on Fridays (7pm) has happy hour in the bar during the show, which is nice seeing as how it’s much later than most happy hours run. The show I saw was quite funny and interactive, though I’ve also heard that it’s not always this funny. There were a good amount of tourists in the crowd.
Pros
  • Plenty of restaurant options
  • Plenty of shopping options
Cons
  • Limited parking
  • Crowded
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
Mar 05, 2016

"A fun day at the market"

Pike Place Market has many fun things to see and do. However you have to be careful of where you go because it is not all kid-friendly. But we enjoy going to the vendors. They have many creative children’s toys like a cloth play tent, wooden toys, and also things for the home. My daughter loves the hand made "beanie babies" in animal shapes. I like the fresh flower bouquets for sale. Very good value and beautiful too.

Also there is the big “piggy bank” where we put in a quarter for good luck. Near the pig there are sometimes musicians playing different kinds of music. They are street performers, called buskers.

We enjoy very much the food. We like to try the different types each time. Some of the restaurants are difficult to find, however, hiding in alleys and down the stairs.

The other shops that are good for children are the Market Magic Shop, and the Lamplight Books, which has many children’s books.

After we see the market, we like to walk down the stairs to the big wheel. Then we walk next to the water to the sculpture park. It can take a long time with a child so you should bring a stroller and some snacks. But all the activities together make a long, fun day.
Pros
  • Plenty of shopping options
  • Waterfront
Cons
  • Limited parking
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Dec 23, 2015

"Shop, eat, sightsee, play"

Pike Place Market is not really considered a neighborhood per se, but is Seattle’s most famous sightseeing destination, a funky, odd market full of quirky little stores, vendors, and eateries.

If you’re planning a visit, make sure to book a good half-day to wander around the maze of different levels, not just the street level. As a local, I like to come here to check out the vendors about once or twice a year, usually when someone is visiting from out of town.

Pike Place is so much more than the fish market, which you see on every brochure, picturing a smiling young man wearing an apron while tossing a salmon to a co-worker. There’s also the flower market, where you can get huge, stunning bunches of arranged flowers for $10. What many visitors don’t know is that the flower vendors are mostly Hmong people, originally from Laos and Thailand, many of whom arrived in the US as refugees during the Vietnam war. They grow all their flowers here in Washington, and arrange them daily by hand. They are such wonderful people, and you really can’t beat the price. A bouquet that large would easily cost $30 at the grocery store. Also, when you’re at the main entrance to Pike Place, look up, and you’ll see some murals painted on the beams about the Japanese farmers of the area, who used to be a large percentage of vendors at Pike Place until we forcibly shipped them off to internment camps in Eastern Washington during World War II. Not something we’re particularly proud of.

On a lighter note, a few other favorite places are:

-Pike Brewing: This is a huge brewpub underground (enter on 1st Ave), where you can try a wide variety of beers, as well as get a meal.
-Market Spice: A spice and tea store that has the locally-famous, orange spice “market tea,” that is sweet and tangy. They’ve been open for more than 100 years! That’s a long time for Seattle, which is a relatively young city.
-Hands of the World: This one’s downstairs, and a little tricky to find, but has beautiful fair trade gifts.
-Artwork vendors: There are rotating artist vendors on the street level of pike place with creative pieces. Skip buying the generic fridge magnets and pick up a local artist's screen print tee, yard art, or a hand made toy instead.

Food:
Just wandering the alleys around Pike Place, you’ll find little gems tucked away here and there. Can you find the Perogi place? That one’s amazing. A few other, easier-to-find recommendations:

-Biscuit Bitch: You guessed it, they make biscuits and gravy. Lots of different kinds, all delicious.
-Kells: So-so as far as food goes, but this is the place to be in Seattle on Saint Patrick’s Day. Expect multiple live Irish bands, lots of rowdy dancing, and unseemly amounts of beer.
-Zig-Zag café: Located on the steps from the back of Pike Place down towards the water, Zig-Zag is a classy, dimly-lit joint that does good happy hour cocktails.
-The Alibi Room: if you want to escape the tourists, duck inside the door directly across from the gum wall into the Alibi Room. I don’t know the story behind the name, but it’s a chill place to have a beer with a friend. Inside, it’s dark wood and brick with a European or speakeasy feel to it. The apples and brie are a-ma-zing.

The last thing I’ll mention is the waterfront, just west and down the hill from Pike Place. Now, to get down to the waterfont isn’t as easy as you would think, because Highway 99 (also called Aurora) goes through downtown via an overhead roadway. This is called the Alaskan Way Viaduct (it hovers over Alaskan Way, the street that runs along the waterfront). This is great for people driving on Hwy 99. But for those who have to go under it, it’s not very pleasant. You come out the back of Pike Place Market and walk down a very long flight of stairs. Then, you cross under the Hwy 99, and through some parking lots. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but at night, it’s pretty empty and doesn’t feel very safe. Finally, you cross Alaskan Way, and you’re at the waterfront.

The closest things to see at the waterfront are the Seattle Aquarium, waterfront park, the big ferris wheel, and Pier 62, which is open to the public. Right now, though, you may see a lot of construction, because the Seattle Waterfront has been undergoing renovations for more than a year.

The main reason for this waterfront renovation, in fact, is the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The plan is to replace it with a tunnel. But, “Bertha,” the giant tunnel-digger machine, has been out of order, underground, for more than a year now. Ruh-roh. It’s up for debate in Seattle whether this project will ever be completed. Stay tuned!
Pros
  • Plenty of shopping options
  • Waterfront
Cons
  • Crowded
  • Limited parking
Recommended for
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Seattle's Flagship Neighborhood For Tourism"

Apart from the Space Needle (http://spaceneedle.com), Pike Place Market (http://pikeplacemarket.org) stands as the iconic landmark for Seattle, if not the entire Puget Sound region. From flying fish (http://pikeplacefish.com) to the “Pork’n Beans” pig statue, named Rachel (http://bitly.com/awnJKN), the market is a diverse collective of commerce from around the Emerald city, inspired by virtually every culture. Found at the heart of the waterfront, the Pike Market neighborhood is a parallelogram of pleasure—contained between Lenora Street, 2nd Avenue, Union Street and the Seattle Waterfront.

History

Having opened on August 17, 1917, primarily as a farmers produce market, Pike Place has seen a number of threats to its existence. However, in the 1980s a nonprofit group, the Pike Place Market Foundation was formed by the PDA (Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority - http://bitly.com/d9rYhq). The PDA has been instrumental in preserving social and economic order in and around the market. The first Starbucks Coffee (http://starbucks.com) store, having opened in 1971, located to within one block of the market in 1977. Entertainers of all sorts descend upon the market daily, having done so since the 1960s. The fishmongers, of course, with their reputation for chucking Salmon and other varieties when purchased. This technique is not native to the fishmongers, as they used to walk to the fish table to retrieve the salmon for each order. More or less, it became an act of efficiency that gradually birthed its own trademark.

Housing/Demographics/Culture

Pike Place Market is home to around 500 people, with around 90%, interestingly, being low-income seniors. A senior center exists to serve around 900 people with a variety of helpful programs. A few other low-income services exist around the neighborhood to assist children and families around the city. Much of the Market’s culture revolves around tourism, with thousands passing through each year, giving it a reputation of its own. Downtown professionals find pleasure in exploring the variety of restaurants, many with expedient service—a must with short, corporate lunch hours.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

The sheer volume of people filling the neighborhood (vendors, tourists and corporate professionals) makes it a goldmine to own a food or drink service. Restaurants are found around almost every corner, with some being difficult to locate. One such unassuming place is The Pink Door (http://thepinkdoor.net) in Post Alley. A homespun Italian-American “netherworld”, even featuring a trapeze artist. Several other notable restaurants: Etta’s (http://bitly.com/cNVwMa) - The classic “Market Brunch”, Virginia Inn Restaurant and Bar (http://virginiainnseattle.com) - A casual bistro, Post Restaurant & Lounge (http://postinthemarket.com) - A romantic atmosphere catering to a wide audience, Campagne (http://campagnerestaurant.com) - Southern France-based cuisine, Steelhead Diner (http://steelheaddiner.com) - Casual atmosphere with chef Kevin Davis’ cuisine, Matt’s in the Market (http://mattsinthemarket.com) - Gourmet food with a view, Alibi Room (http://seattlealibi.com) - Cocktail lounge featuring seafood and pizza dishes, and Pan Africa Restaurant and Bar (http://panafricamarket.com) - Delicious African dishes.

The Pub scene at Pike’s Market is also strong, featuring: Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub (http://kellsirish.com/seattle), The Pike Brewery (http://pikebrewing.com) - Family owned brewing company, and The Showbox (http://showboxonline.com/market) - Hosting great independent music with the intimate Green Room lounge.

Coffee has its roots here with Starbuck’s first store (http://bitly.com/9DwA5W), which is not the original location, but close to it, nonetheless. Not a lot of other cafes exist around the market. Here’s a brief list: Seattle’s Best Coffee (http://seattlesbest.com), Cafe D’arte (http://caffedarte.com) - Italian traditional artisan coffee, Seattle Coffee Works (http://seattlecoffeeworks.com) - Family-based store that began in 2006, Caffe Ladro (http://caffeladro.com), and Tully’s Coffee (http://tullys.com).

Shopping and other Amenities

This, other than the restaurants, is where the Market shines. The lined daystalls, filled with products ranging from rings to flowers to clothing, bring an indoor-outdoor shopping experience much like that of a third world country. Warm weather brings additional vendors to set up shop along Pike Place. In addition to the daystall merchandise, several more-established shops can be found inside the Market building. Samples of other stores around the Market are: Savor Seattle Food Tours (http://savorseattletours.com) - Sample the multiple tastes around the city, Nordstrom Rack (http://nordstrom.com), Shoefly (http://shoefly.com) - Hot selection of shoes for men and women, Pike & Western Wine Merchants (http://pikeandwestern.com) - Find that perfect wine for any occasion, Alhambra (http://alhambranet.com) - Women’s clothing and accessories, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (http://beechershandmadecheese.com), Dragon’s Toy Box (http://dragonstoybox.net) - Educational and other high quality toys from around the world, Seattle Antiques Market (http://seattleantiquesmarket.com) and the Chocolate Box (http://sschocolatebox.com).

Schools and Recreation Facilities

Schools are not that prevalent in Pike’s Market, consisting mainly of child care facilities. However, several recreation options await. Here are a couple: Steinbrueck Native Gallery (http://steinbruecknativegallery.com) - Indigenous art of the Northwest coast and the Market Theater (http://unexpectedproductions.org). A great social green space is Victor Steinbrueck Park (http://bitly.com/9dimqP), north of the market. A popular hangout during warm months, crowded with teenagers, business people and couples—even featuring free WiFi. Another great “natural” area is Waterfront Park (http://bitly.com/9bXImm) - filling the area between piers 57 to 59. The Seattle Aquarium (http://seattleaquarium.org) is a fabulous place to discover the wonders of marine life in the Northwest and abroad.

Medical Facilities

The lack of a major hospital within Pike Market is no cause for concern—the other side of Interstate 5, just blocks away, features Virginia Mason (http://virginiamason.org), Swedish (http://swedish.org), and Harborview (http://bitly.com/dhPLZL) medical centers. There is only a handful of medical and dental offices exist within the Market’s neighborhood. Here is a sampling: Pike Market Medical Clinic (http://neighborcare.org), The Seattle Integrative Center (http://seattleic.com) - Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Ageless Acupuncture (http://agelessacupuncture.org), and Pike Place Dental (http://pikeplacedental.com) - Holistic Dentistry.

Housing for Seniors

As mentioned at the beginning of this review, hundreds of low-income seniors call Pike Place Market home, with the majority residing at the Pike Market Senior Center (http://pikemarketseniorcenter.org). The Downtown Food Bank (http://bitly.com/aRQpeD) is also located here since many of its patrons are over 50 years of age.

Access

Those residents with careers located in downtown Seattle can hit the snooze button multiple times; getting to the office is a cinch. The Financial District’s distance from the Market could almost be measured in feet, so no vehicle required if work is located in one of the high rises. Commuting to Boeing (http://boeing.com) in South Seattle will have more of a challenge, though still possible without a car. When trying to reach the Boeing site in Everett or crossing Lake Washington for jobs on the East side, this will require much more patience. The easiest way to access I-5 South is via Howell Street. To head north, Olive Way is ideal. Highway 99 is a great alternative when the Interstate is bogged down. The bus and light rail tunnels are just five blocks east, making public transit transportation the logical choice around the city.

Summary

Whether it’s flying fish, street musicians, the original Starbuck’s store, exotic cuisine, or just a great tourist spot—Pike Place Market delivers. Walk the market and the surrounding streets, observing the wide range of visitors to Seattle; let this be a vivid testimony of the value and cultural breadth of this Northwest metropolitan area.
Pros
  • Plenty of shopping options
  • Waterfront
  • Little or no commute to downtown offices
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Crowded
  • Limited parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Historic, Iconic"

The Pike Place Market is a historic area that runs like a veritable, upscale fair every day. The market looks out Southwest toward Elliott Bay and sets the scene for the seaside soiree. It’s not easy to pick out and explain every building, vendor, or exhibit because there’s a lot going on, but also because it’s hard for one to make a distinction about where the market actually ends when they’re on scene. To that extent, I urge the interested reader to visit the Pike Place Market website at http://pikeplacemarket.org. Among the attractions that you’ve got to see are City Fish (the iconic fish market that has had any number of articles and media appearances, including their own morale business video—but don’t expect fish to just be flying unless you buy something), fresh produce and craft stalls in the main arcade and a comic book store and magic shop in the underground levels. Maybe the best thing about the market is also the cheapest—to simply go people watching.

The residencies in the area are in the urban setting, and as such as limited to apartments and condos. Some are dedicated to low-income families, like those adjacent to Cliff House. Other big-deal attraction in the area are the Moore Theatre (Seattle’s oldest) and The Seattle Aquarium.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
2yrs+

"One of the most fun shopping areas in Seattle"

Many tourists' favorite spot in the city, Pike Place Market is a top shopping destination for locals and visitors alike. One of the oldest public farmers' markets in the United States, Pike Market is over a hundred years old, and operates every day of the year. At Pike Market, you'll find fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, bouquets of flowers, handmade crafts, and much more. Pike Place Market is known for fish vendors who throw the fish back and forth, as well as street entertainers performing near the shopping stalls. Pike Place Market is also home to the very first Starbucks and dozens of cafes and restaurants.

Pike Place overlooks the waterfront of Elliott Bay and is in the heart of downtown. Besides plenty of businesses, Pike Place Market is also home to Victor Steinbrueck Park, a beautiful waterfront park that provides a welcome respite from the busy shopping areas nearby. Whether you're a local or a tourist, make a whole day of your trip to Pike Market. Though it gets busy on the weekends and any sunny summer day, it is well worth fighting the crowds. You'll find Pike Market on Pike Street along the watefront. Though best known as an open-air shopping center, there are also several buildings with unique boutiques and shops built into the very steep hillside.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Flying fish abound"

This is the heart of Seattle and the number one tourist site in the area, attracting frenzied crowds of visitors and locals. The oldest continually operating farmer's market in the country, Pike Place features fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, and arts and crafts as far as the eye can see.

Abundant restaurants in the area include Maximilien in the Market and Lowell's. Shops offer goods from around the world, but you really shouldn't barter - although some do. Bring some change as there are always street musicians singing for their supper.

The Market is built on the edge of a steep hill, and consists of several lower levels located below the main level. Each level features a variety of unique and artsy shops. Antique dealers, comic book sellers, and small family-owned restaurants all populate the area. There is even one of the few remaining head shops left in Seattle. The upper street level contains fishmongers, fresh produce stands and craft stalls operating in the covered arcades.

One of the Market's major attractions is Pike Place Fish Market, where employees throw three-foot salmon and other fish to each other rather than passing them by hand. When a customer orders a fish, an employee at the Fish Market's ice-covered fish table picks up the fish and hurls it over the countertop, where another employee catches it and preps it for sale. This is worth seeing!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles

Travelling to Pike Market?

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Best Streets in Pike Market

1

Pike St

4.5/5
"Pike Street is the center of the Seattle experience."
47.608511265429 -122.340736762395
2

Pike Pl

4/5
"Half Tourist Attraction, Half Vendor Paradise"
47.6091451622729 -122.34134767487
3

Post Aly

4/5
"Postcard: The Real Pike Place"
47.6093629256585 -122.341294491228
4

Pine St

3.5/5
"Pine Street- A great link to what's going on!"
47.610001504654 -122.340471843554

Unranked Streets in Pike Market

Lenora St

3.5/5
"Excellent for dining and watching a good movie!"
47.6118824052382 -122.34385242102

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