Pike Place is without question the MOST popular thing to do in Seattle (for tourists at least!)
I had a chance to visit Pike Place several times during my visit to Seattle because my hotel (Hotel Max) was just an 8 minute walk away.
Every time I visited Pike Place Market I discovered new things.
You can definitely spend an entire day in Pike Place.
It’s so big and there’s just so much to see and eat.
17 Best Things To Do In Pike Place Market Seattle
With that said, here are 15 things to do in Pike Place Market when you visit Seattle!
1// Visit the oldest Starbucks in the world
Did you know that Seattle has the oldest Starbucks in the world? It is located right in the middle of Pike Place Market. You won’t miss it. Now, I always thought it was the FIRST Starbucks in the world, but I read an article on Thrillist that said that actually isn’t true (but it is definitely the oldest!)
But either way, there isn’t a cooler Starbucks in the world you could possibly visit. Even if you like coffee a little bit only, you should see it and go in it, just to say you did (bragging rights yo)
The lines will be LONG, always. But it’s all about the experience!
2// Buy fresh fruit and veggies (or just look at them)
Pike Place is a farmers market after all! You’ll find several fresh fruit and vegetable stands all over the market. They are locally grown from growers around Washington State. Support them and give yourself a boost of health.
Grab a small basket of raspberries or a couple peaches. They are super super fresh stuff and it beats buying a deep fried chicken skewer (health wise at least :P).
3// Eat delicious perogies at Piroshky Piroshky
There were only two places with long lines. The original Starbucks and Piroshky Piroshky. I didn’t get to try their famous perogies, but I’m sure they taste amazing. I mean, they should considering how long their lines are.
You can walk in the side and watch them make their perogies too.
4// Spot the Pike Place characters and people watch
Pike Place market is BUSY BUSY BUSY. Along with all the tourists roaming around, you’ll also see some of Seattle’s most interesting characters. Spend some time to stand in one place and you’ll really notice them as they go about the things they do.
5// Take photos of stuff
Markets are some of the best places to take photos. There is just so much going on and so many things that will grab your attention, you’ll have an unlimited amount of things you could take photos of.
Being a photographer myself, it was like heaving being in Pike Marketplace. I’m not surprised I went there three times.
6// Read the floor
The floor of Pike Place market has words written all over it. I have no idea what they mean or what they are for. They really remind me of Disneyland in California. I visited Pike Market the night I got in to Seattle, and had a chance to really see the floor and how cool it is (without all the tourists in the way).
7// See the golden pig
The Golden Pig is Rachel the Piggy Bank. Rachel is Pike Place’s official mascot. You may not know this, but Rachel is a very important part of Pike Place because she is an actual piggy bank. You can actually put money in her and your donation will go towards supporting social services for Pike Place. You can read more about that here.
She’s very popular. Everyone crowds around her for photos, and I even saw a guy straddling her. Anyway, take a photo with her and make a small donation. It goes towards a great cause. She’s located right under the Public Market sign and in front of the Pike Place fish market.
8// Visit the Gum Wall
I almost forgot to visit the Gum Wall in Pike Place. But I’m so glad I remembered. I hobbled over there on my last day in Seattle as Pike Place was closing down. It was still really busy!
The Gum Wall is an alley (Post Alley) where people put gum on the wall. It’s an incredibly popular place to visit. There are no signs that point you there and you wouldn’t know about it unless you had heard about it earlier.
It’s actually located right beside Pike Place Market (right below Rachel the golden pig). You’re probably never going to accidentally walk through it so you’ll need to seek it out.
I wrote a blog post about my experience at the Gum Wall. You can read it here.
9// Visit Pike Place at night
The first day we arrived to Seattle we walked through Pike Place market at night. It was empty and very few people were around. I thought it was a really cool experience seeing a market bare bones with no fruit, veggies, seafood, or people.
You can see stores like the first Starbucks without people crowding around it. If you have time at night and you’re nearby, I recommend walking through Pike Place. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to see it at night though, unless you also want to see Seattle’s waterfront at night, then Pike Place will be really close by.
10// Eat a turkey leg
There are like an unlimited amount of places where you can get food in Pike Place. If you’re really hungry and like meat, I recommend getting a Turkey leg from Pike’s BAR-B-QUE. It costed $8 (Cheaper than Disneyland where I paid $10) and it tastes great. I couldn’t finish it. So it’s really really massive.
11// Visit Pike Place Fish market
There are vendors selling fish all around Pike Place. The most famous one is Pikes Fish Market. The most popular thing they’re known for is throwing fish! So watch out and avoid getting fish thrown at you! It’s a super touristy thing to see, as you can tell by the photo below, everyone’s got their phone out to capture the moment.
12// Gawk at all the raw seafood
I’m a huge fan of seafood and just looking at all the jumbo seafood options Seattle has makes me super jealous. Living in inland Canada we just don’t get this quality of fresh seafood here.
How about them lobster tails?
13// Check out the dogs everywhere
People love bringing out their dogs to Pike Place. Being a sucker for dogs, I always have to say hi to them.
The dog below belonged to a vendor. She just stood there like she was guarding the place. I went to pet her and she hardly moved. I can see she gets a ton of attention and doesn’t need to acknowledge people. Or perhaps she’s just really really tamed. She did have a limp when she walked though so that was sad to see. Anyway, she was beautiful and chilled out. I loved her.
14// Smell the flowers (or buy them!)
I saw many many people walking around with flowers in and around the Pike Marketplace area. I was surprised so many people bought flowers. Maybe I’m just a dummy I dunno. Anyhow, the flowers are inexpensive and smell fantastic.
15// Watch and listen to all the musicians
All around Seattle’s Pike Marketplace, you’ll find many musicians doing their thing for tips. They rotate them in and out as the day goes on. I saw many many different performers over the three times I visited Pike Place.
I highly recommend standing for a few minutes to take it all in. I feel like it gives Pike Place a nicer vibe and feel. Some of the performers are really young too. I think it just brings life to an already super vibrant atmosphere and it made my experience more enjoyable.
These two children below were really raking the cash in. I could hear people around me making great comments and admiring them.
16// Eat at Pike Place Chowder
The most famous chowder in Seattle is Pike Place Chowder. I had a chance to eat their famous New England chowder twice. It is just tasty tasty tasty.
Pike Place chowder has two locations. One in Pike Place and the other is in Pacific Place mall (12 mins away from Pike Place Market).
If you don’t want long lines then go to the location in the mall. I think a lot of people don’t know it exists. It’s waaaaay less busy there.
Below is a picture of the long line at Pike Place Chowder (Pike Place location). I’m going to guess this line is about a 30 minute wait or so.
But if you want to enjoy eating chowders and seafoods in an environment all about food, then go for it!
I was going to stand in line but my friends didn’t want to wait so I ended up eating chowder at the Pacific Place location twice.
Below is a picture of New England Chowder in a bread bowl. Absolutely delicious.
What to expect at Seattle’s Pike Market
If you’ve been to farmers markets before, you’ll find this market to be similar.
Just a lot bigger.
There will be a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, drinks, fish and other seafoods. And along with this, lots of places to eat. And I mean LOTS.
Pike Place Market will likely be one of the biggest farmers market you’ll ever visit. So enjoy your time here. Spend a few hours walking around, checking out the cool shops and smelling stuff, and don’t get too fussed with the amount of tourists here. That’s just part of the experience.
Pike Place Market Information
The following is additional information about Pike Place that you may find useful.
Hotels near Pike Place Market Seattle Washington
The hotel I stayed at (Hotel Max) was an 8 minute walk to Pike Place Market. If you’re looking for a comfortable and clean hotel that is on the lower end in price (compared to other similarly located hotels), Hotel Max is the bomb! I loved my stay there and would 100% stay there again.
Here are some other hotels near Pike Place I would stay at as well:
Marriott Waterfront (my top choice for a hotel close to Pike Place)
The Marriott in Seattle is a really nice hotel that is right beside the waterfront. The views are awesome and when you get down to street level, you’re right on 1st ave, one of Seattle’s best streets for food, coffee, great views, and of course, you’re super close to Pike Place Market.
Pike Place address
You can see from the map that Pike Place is a fairly large section on the west part of the area. It’s in between a lot of things.
The official address is: Between Pike and Pine st. at First Ave., Seattle, WA98101
Pike Place Brewery
Pike Place Brewery is one of the best places to grab a beer in Seattle. It would have made my list of top 15 things to do in Pike Place but I didn’t get a chance to drink and dine there so I didn’t include it there. Pike Place Brewery is to Seattle as to what Deschutes Brewery is to Portland. It’s their iconic and most famous brewery. You can check out Pike Place Brewery’s official website here.
Pike Place restaurants
There are a lot of restaurants in Pike Place as well as restaurants surrounding Pike Place.
Pike Place is located in one of the most happening parts of town. There are tons of food joints and restaurants just a block or two away. Your choices will be unlimited.
You’re probably good just walking around and when you see a place you’d like to grab a bite, go sit down. That’s what we did anyways.
Here’s a directory of all the Pike Place restaurants.
And Open Table has a list of the 20 best restaurants near Pike Place Market.
Pike Place parking
Parking is difficult to find near Pike Place that’s inexpensive. Parking is actually hard to find anywhere in the Belmont and Downtown area of Seattle (the two neighborhoods closest to Pike Place market). Pike Place is one of the most busiest areas of Seattle. Being close to Elliot’s Bay and 1st/2nd ave, where a lot of restaurants and cool stuff reside, it’s just busy busy busy.
I recommend driving around nearby to find parking. Parking on Sunday’s is free on the streets. You use this link here on tripadvisor for parking recommendations.
Pike Place also has a public parking garage that they run for visitors. You can see where that is here.
Pike Place history
Did you know Pike Place market is 100 years old? Thats pretty crazy! It is one of the oldest continuous markets in the U.S. Which is why it’s so amazing and popular today. If you want to learn about Pike Place history and how it has changed over time, here’s a link to Wikipedia.
Pike Place map
Pike Place is a big place! It seems even bigger when there are huge crowds to navigate through. Though I don’t think you really need a map to get around, you can download a pdf map of Pike Place here.
Though Pike Place is fairly big, it’s not that big that you will get lost (you shouldn’t at least!)
Just wander around and enjoy the market!
Pike Place vendors
Pike Place has over 100 vendors. You can get a list of their vendor directory by using this link here.
And that’s it!
Planning to visit Pike Place Market?
If you’re going to Seattle, let me know about your travel plans!
I loved my time there and will be visiting again sometime.
I’d love to hear about what you’re going to be doing and any other adventures you might be doing.
If you’ve been to Pike Place before let me know about your experience there! I always love hearing about what other people think about places.