Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Lamberts might be the home of “throwed rolls,” but the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle is the home of the flying fish. Fishmongers got tired of having to walk out to the Market’s fish table to retrieve a salmon each time someone ordered one. Eventually, the owner realized it was easier to station an employee at the table, to throw the fish over the counter.

It’s become part street theater and part efficiency over the years.

Customers get in the act

Not only can you watch employees flinging fish here and there, customers can get involved, too. Caron St. John of New Jersey was told to practice using her “eagle talons” to grab the fish when it came flying at her.

Caron celebrates catch

She must have paid attention, because seconds later she was holding a hunk of salmon in her arms.

Wide variety of seafood

If if lives in the water, it’s likely to be found in the market. Here is a link to the fish market’s website.

Farmers’ Market opened in 1907

Pike Place Market opened in 1907 and is said to be one of the oldest continuing operating farmers’ markets in the country. Even though tourism has caused the Market’s emphasis to shift towards crafts, there is still a lot of beautiful produce sold there.

Wikipedia has a long piece on the history of the place and how it was almost lost to development.

Produce as a work of art

It’s like walking through an artist’s palette of edible paints.

Covers nine acres

The Market’s official website says that it covers nine acres and attracts 10 million visitors a year.

That’s the good news and the bad news. They must have all been here when we were in town.

“Traffic Alert. Slow traffic ahead”

We’re leaving Seattle early, partly because it looked like West Palm Beach might be visited by Hurricane Emily on Saturday, but mostly because we were tired of fighting traffic. We couldn’t go five miles without the GPS intoning, “Traffic Alert. Slow Traffic Ahead. Expect delay of 52 minutes.”

This afternoon we wait through six cycles of a traffic light before getting through an intersection on our way to a downtown attraction. We decided we don’t have that many more years left to waste them in gridlock, so we bailed.

A tour guide said that the average Seattle resident spends 44 hours a year stuck in traffic. You can see why bicycles are so popular in the area.

There might be a couple days of no updates while we’re flying back home.

Photo gallery of Pike Street Market

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.


18 Replies to “Seattle’s Pike Place Market”

  1. Wow, very nice Place! I thought I rained there all the time…every picture we see is bright and sunny!
    Vegetable art for sure nice shots! and thanks for letting us see ans share your vacation!

  2. Ken – hope you made it to Mt. Rainier. I spent the first full year of my career with the National Park Service there in 1969. Avoided Seattle even then, and did major shopping in Tacoma!

  3. I avoided the traffic for the most part by parking in a lot down by the water and spending the day walking.

    Biggest bummer about Pike Place Market was that I was taking the train home and had no way to keep any of that great food fresh for the trip, so I couldn’t buy any.

    1. George,

      We enjoyed our walking tour downtown very much. (The parking charges, not so much.)

      Because we wanted to be closer to the mountains for the first part of the trip, we stayed to the south of the city in Kent.

      Lila’s cousin, who lives in the north was going to let us stay with him and his wife the second week, which would have helped cut travel time.

      I always said that I didn’t want to live in any town that was so big I couldn’t stop my car in the middle of Main Street to take a picture.

      Seattle takes it to the other extreme: I could STOP my car in the middle of Main Street to watch the light change six times, but I couldn’t go anywhere else.

  4. A few years ago we were in Seattle for my son’s wedding. Everyday was a treat when we visited Pike Place Market. One trip I was talking to a fruit vendor when he offered me a peach. With juice dripping off my chin, I asked what variety of peach I was eating. He replied it was an Oh My God peach. It truly was OMG good. Never had a peach since that could compare.

  5. Thanks for getting these shots for me – above and beyond. I concur – if you had had time, you should have taken the ferry either over to Whidbey Island, or to Victoria. Both are wondrous places there.

  6. starbucks coffee started off at the pike’s market. lower leverlclcoser tot eh the sound.the first time i visited seattle and went to the market.there were vendors selling sweaters.those big bulky ones. you had the try several of them on to find one that fitted.they were 15-20bucks. i saw the very same handmade sweaters in a department store named fredderick and nelson? i’m sure it’s a macy’s or dillards now..LOL any way the very same sweaters were 150 dollars!.the dept would put in a zipper for you

  7. What? no picture of any “pigs” in the market? They are all over downtown and very colorful! Have a safe trip home!

  8. Considering how Seattle is such a North/South city, it would seem that more than the one North/South interstate might just be a good idea.

    My favorite NW moment was when I realized that the tree that was the size of a mid-sized Cape Girardeau Maple was actually a Rainier Cherry tree and I could just walk right up and pick/cram giant handfuls into my mouth. They can’t grow tomatoes up there but, at that moment, it didn’t seem to matter much.

    File this among the hindsight travel tips you’ll be getting: Next time, keep going until you hit Vancouver. In many ways, it’s a perfected version of Seattle.

  9. The time I spent in Seattle was on board a U.S. submarine and there wasn’t any gridlock in traffic back then but sure had some good times ashore. Looks like as of this evening, Emily has fizzled out.

  10. I was there last December with my daughter-in-law and granddaughter. It is an interesting place to visit any time … but was special to see with the Christmas lights.

    I think Sleepless In Seattle was filmed not too far away … but I can’t remember exactly.

  11. Ken, These photos are great! My sister Gail and brother-in-law Joe bought that hunk of salmon for me and had it shipped to New Jersey. The day after I returned I was able to share it with my family. it was fresh and sooo delicious!

  12. Ken,

    What a great article. My sister will have fond memories of her 2011 West Coast visit. Thanks, Gail & Joe Tarcza

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