I’m a fourth generation Seattleite and I love Pike Place Market! Pro tip: It’s Pike Place Market or The Market, NEVER Pike’s or Pike’s Place! It does get really crowded and touristy, but I still love it. Even if you are visiting our town for only a day this is a must do (same for visiting relatives and friends!). I will admit I tend to avoid it in the summer, but when the rain starts and the crowds diminish a bit, I make it a ritual to return to the market. I don’t have any great crowd avoiding tips for this one (other than to go between late October and March), but if you avoid the main arcade (the area inside the market along Pike Place) you can avoid the most crowded areas or at least feel like you can move your elbows. If you really want to avoid crowds and are planning a summer visit, you might want to consider a VIP early access tour of the market. The most important part of any visit to Pike Place Market is eating, so here is where to eat at Pike Place Market!
But first, Coffee
This is Seattle and we have coffee! The original Starbucks is located across Pike Place from the actual market and generally has a crazy long line. CRAZY. Spoiler alert: once inside, it’s like any other Starbucks! A smart move is to go to the Starbucks a couple blocks away on 1st and Pike, get your coffee and then come back and get your photo without waiting in the crazy line. If you’d consider delicious coffee that is not Starbucks, I recommend either Seattle Coffee Works one Pine between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave, or Storyville Coffee on the top floor of the Corner Market Building (great view of the market entrance).
Produce Stands and other Food to go
Don’t miss Pike Place Market’s incredible year round produce stands! The so called “high stalls” closest to the center of the market (the ones that have tables higher up, hence the name), have gorgeous artistic displays of fruits and vegetables that include local produce as well as produce from around the world. This means that the displays are gorgeous all year and there’s always something delicious to pick up. From Rhubarb in April, to asparagus in May, to cherries in July to peaches in August to Apples in the fall, to year round fish and crab don’t miss out on Washington’s deliciousness at any of these spots.
- Sosios Produce: Inside the market (it can get really crowded here) with tons of local produce, even in mid winter. They are super friendly and will advise you on the best purchase if you’re looking for something specific.
- Produce stands along Pike Place: in the summer months there are lots of produce stands that line the street just outside the market, and this is a great way to pick up local fruit and vegetables without feeling quite as crowded. There are also permanent stands along the opposite side of Pike Place that also have lots of options
- Fish: Pike Place Fish is probably the most famous place in the Market (home of the fish throwers!), and it is certainly one place to get delicious and super fresh seafood, but it’s not the only one! Consider trying one of the other fishmongers in the market such as City Fish.
Where to Eat at Pike Place Market: Quick Bites
There are tons of quick and affordable bites to grab in Pike Place Market and my favorite way to do the market is to shop around for food to take home for later while snacking my way around the market as I go. Here’s where to eat at Pike Place Market for quick and affordable bites:
- Ellenos yogurt: I am telling you this yogurt is LIFE CHANGING. Better than ice cream, really. They have a small stand that looks like an ice cream stand right across Pike Place from the fish throwers. You can get a cup to eat right now (do it!) and also some to take with you.
- Beecher’s Cheese: Their mac and cheese is DIVINE. The best you’ve ever had. They often have a line but it’s worth it, so worth it. You can also buy their incredible cheese in various sizes for a picnic later
- Speaking of picnics, you’ll probably need some bread to go with that cheese (or a pastry for right now!) so head to Three Girls Bakery or Le Panier to grab some.
- Pike Place Chowder: another place with frequent long lines, it’s worth it to get your hands on some hot tasty chowder, especially on a rainy day!
- The Crumpet Shop (on 1st Avenue in the Corner Market Building): if you’ve not tried a crumpet, you’ve not lived! It’s a bit like an English Muffin, but better. You can get a variety of toppings on it too. They often sell out in early afternoon so don’t put this off. Also, this is the THE BEST cup of tea you can find in downtown Seattle. Tea drinkers, come here for the tea!
- Delaurenti: A specialty shop with lots of interesting grocery items and an extensive wine shop, they also have affordable and delicious sandwiches (and a relatively quiet upstairs room to eat them in).
- The Mexican Grocery (next to the original Starbucks): delicious Mexican food including burritos and tamales, YUM.
- Honest Biscuits: These biscuits are really, really good. Their sandwiches (the fried chicken sandwich is A-MAZE-ING) are good too, and this is a great place to sit down for a few minutes in the new building that faces the waterfront. It’s also right next to Old Stove Brewing, where you can try some local craft beer and sit out on the deck if you like to take in the view of the waterfront, the ferries coming and going and the Salish Sea and Olympic Mountains beyond.
Where to Eat at Pike Place Market: Restaurants
If you’re looking to sit down and enjoy and more leisurely meal in or next to Pike Place Market, there are several excellent options. All of these are significantly more expensive than the quick bites, but all are delicious.
- Maxmillien: This is my favorite restaurant in Pike Place Market and a favorite special occasion restaurant in all of Seattle. It’s a french restaurant with gorgeous views of the waterfront, Salish Sea and Olympic mountains. In the summer they have beautiful outside seating. A good happy hour option as well!
- Lowell’s: Made famous in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, a classic long term Seattle institution is spacious with great views. This is a good breakfast option before the market gets too crazy!
- The Athenian: Another long term Seattle institution, the Athenian serves up tasty seafood in another beautiful view location.
- Across the street from the market, with views of the busy market activity and built around the market’s fresh seafood, Etta’s is another excellent choice (especially for brunch!).
Other Places not to miss in Pike Place Market
In addition to all the incredible food mentioned so far, a few other stops not to be missed include:
- Flowers! Pike Place Market has gorgeous, affordable bouquets March through early November. From daffodils and tulips in spring to dahlias in the fall, these flowers are incredible. There are lots of stalls through the market arcade and along the street during the summer.
- Market Spice Tea: Located in the market behind the fish throwers, this tea and spice shop is not to be missed. Their signature tea is a citrus spice tea (which you can sample) and they have many others as well.
- Eighth Generation: Native owned with gorgeous blankets, clothing, jewelry and more. This is the place to go if you’re looking for Coast Salish and other Native art.
- Metsker Maps: Map lovers, travel lovers, don’t miss this incredible store! Any map you can imagine, plus travel books and accessories. You can also buy recreation passes here for National Parks, forests and State Parks.
- Hands of the World: Fair trade items from all around the world and located in the lower market level (go downstairs one level below the produce stands and fish throwers).
- Arts and Crafts stalls: Throughout the main market area and the new market area (above Old Stove and Honest Biscuits) are lots of stands where local artists sell jewelry, photography, painting, knitted items, journals and more.
- Wines of Washington Tasting Room: Located in Post Alley a few blocks from the market, this delightful wine shop features many Washington wines and offers tastings too!
- Rachel’s Ginger Beer: A popular drink you’ll find at many restaurants around Seattle, stop in to try them all or pick up one to take with you. While you’re there, try a Moscow Mule or a Float! Also located in Post Alley.