Everything You Need to Know When Visiting Pike Place Market

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After living in Seattle for over a year, I now consider myself a Seattle local.  I love all the activities that Seattle has to offer (even in the rain) and can direct you to just about any restaurant in the city depending on what you’re craving.  I say all of this to tell you that one of the most touristy activities in Seattle is to visit Pike Place Market; in fact, most locals avoid it at all costs.  But not me, I adore Pike Place Market so much so, I oftentimes find myself wandering around on my days off hoping to stumble upon a new hidden gem.  Aside from all of that, the food stalls and restaurants at the market are every bit delicious as any other restaurant in Seattle – despite their touristy nature.

And while it’s taken me multiple visits to discover the true gems of Pike Place, I’m sharing all of my tips, tricks, and favorite spots so that you can have a successful first visit.  Below you’ll find my top recommendations for visiting Pike Place Market.


Everything You Need to Know When Visiting Pike Place Market


If you’re visiting Seattle and limited on time, I suggest taking a guided food tour through the market so that you can try multiple things!  I participated in this one and would highly recommend it.


History of the Market

Open in 1907, Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously run farmers market in the USA.  Not only is it a Seattle staple, but it’s recognized around the world.  Of course, some of the more popular attractions – the first Starbucks, the infamous Bubblegum Wall, and so on attract thousands of visitors each year.  But it’s really what’s underneath the surface that makes Pike Place Market shine.

Currently, every store in the market has been there for years and subsequently built out (i.e. Starbucks).  You cannot buy your way into the market so there are no “new” stores present.  There are over 200 food stalls to choose from, in 24 different buildings; so there is truly no end to exploring this incredible farmers market.


6 Practical Tips For Visiting Pike Place Market

1. Pike Place Market is open seven days/week from 9 am-6 pm.  If you want pictures in and around the market, I highly recommend going early (7 am) before the crowds arrive.  Once the crowds pour in its difficult to move around, and will be nearly impossible to snap a photo without anyone in it.

2. Pike Place Market does take credit cards, so don’t worry if you don’t have cash on hand.

3.  If you take food to go there are many different areas with seating throughout the market.  Feel free to sit anywhere you’d like!

4.  If you want to be dropped off at Pike Place Market you can drive right up to the front.  I wouldn’t recommend driving yourself because there is very limited parking around.  If you’re coming from a different part of Seattle it might be worth it to take the Link Light Rail (the train) and get off at Westlake.  From the Westlake station to the market it’s only about a five-minute walk.

5.  The market is covered so if it’s raining, you’re safe once inside.  However, there are multiple side streets and alleyways worth checking out that won’t be covered so I do recommend coming prepared with a raincoat, umbrella, and comfortable walking shoes/rain boots.

6.  Currently, it is legal to walk around the city of Seattle with alcohol.  So if you want to grab a drink you can legally walk around Pike Place as long as it has a lid and does not have a straw.


Pike Place Market Itinerary – The Best (Non-Food) Stops

The best place to enter Pike Place is on 1stand Pike so you see the big “Public Market Center” sign.  This is generally considered to be the beginning of the market.  (You can also enter the market on Virginia and Pike or Pike and Pine).  Start your adventure down Lower Post Alley stopping at Ghost Alley Espresso for a cup of joe.  You’ll see this small (but quaint) coffee shop right before hitting the…. bubblegum wall!  The bubblegum wall is underneath Pike Place and has been collecting gum since the 1990s.  The wall has been cleaned in the past but continues to lure people into sticking their chewed gum on the concrete walls.

After sticking your gum on the wall, head back upstairs making a stop at Left Bank Books Collective.  This quaint bookstore is on 1stand Pike and carries more than 10,000 books!  Prepare to lose yourself for hours sifting through all the books Left Bank offers.

Once you’re done at Left Bank, you’re ready to head into the madness at the market with your first stop at Pike Place Fish Market.  Besides the throwing of the fish, the Market gives out free food samples which I highly recommend trying!  This is by far my favorite thing in the market and always draws quite the crowd.  It’s here where you’ll see the fish flying, workers yelling, and more fish flying!  Make sure to stick around even if fish aren’t being thrown for a chance to try the catch of the day.


As you continue to walk through the main arcade (if you’re looking at the Fish Market, turn right), you will pass by food stalls, restaurants, flower vendors, and even people selling trinkets.  Take it all in and enjoy it!  You’ll definitely want to scope out the Made in Washington store where everything is… made in Washington!


The Best Food at Pike Place Market

There is a lot of incredible food to be found at Pike Place.  Some places are tucked away and hiding.  Some places have lines so long you can’t miss it if you tried.  Some places are quick, to go places; while others are sit down restaurants.  Below you’ll find a list of my suggested Pike Place Market restaurants and food stalls.



Famous for their “worlds best Mac & Cheese”, this is definitely a don’t miss.  Located on Pike between Pine and Stewart, indulge in a dairy-filled meal and watch through a window as the works make cheese right in front of you.



Hellenika is one of the newest additions to Pike Place Market, having opened in the summer of 2023.  It’s already made quite a splash with its delicious gelato made of Greek yogurt, a brilliant idea from the Greek yogurt purveyors, Ellenos.

The gelato at Hellenika is truly unique and hands down some of the best gelato I’ve eaten in my life.



If you’re looking for a sweet treat, make a stop at Indi Chocolate for their amazing chocolate chip cookies.  Not only is the chocolate itself impressive, but the amount of thought that goes into harvesting the cocoa for these small batch chocolates is also impressive.  Indi Chocolate is ranked in the top 24 best chocolate shops in America.



Kitchen and Market is an upscale grocery store perfect if you need just a few ingredients.  However, I particularly like this store for building a picnic as you can get tons of artesian foods here, pack them in a basket, and enjoy one of Seattle’s many beautiful parks!



Maiz has been around Pike Place since 1914 and they serve delicious Mexican food, particularly antojitos, tamales, and guisados.  They’ve been featured in huge publications across the US so to say they’ve made a splash is an understatement.



This is one of my favorite spots to grab a sandwich to go, or grab a quick prepared meal to go.  They have pre-made salads, sandwiches, pastas, fish, making it super easy for a night you don’t have dinner prepared or simply for takeaway!



This award winning chowder speaks for itself.  It’s so amazing that it’s been banned from several chowder festivals because they keep winning!  Whether its a cold or warm day this is a dish you don’t want to miss.  You’ll arrive here from 1stand Pine, tucked away from the crowded market but still popular enough to have a line out the door.



Located at the main entrance of Pike Place Market near the fish throwers, if you’re craving a hearty meal of BBQ, don’t skip Pike’s Pit. They’ve combined the best BBQ techniques from across the United States and have created a symphony of flavors and textures that compliment each other and showcase what good BBQ should taste like.



One bite of these flakey Russian handheld pies and you’ll feel as though you’re in heaven.  Located on Steward and Pike, this is one of those places you won’t miss because of the line snaking throughout the market.



For those of you who have seen Sleepless in Seattle, then you already know that this is the restaurant where that famous scene is filmed.  For those who haven’t seen the movie, it’s still worth it to visit Athenian.  Sit in the bar for fabulous happy hour prices and great views of Elliott Bay.  Oh, and don’t pass on their calamari!



Located in Post Alley (an alley up a few hundred feet from Pike Place), The Pink Door is a Seattle staple.  Open since 1981 this Italian staple draws people in for its incredible food, intimate atmosphere, and nightly entertainment.  While each night differs, at The Pink Door you can expect to walk into trapeze artists, cabaret, tarot readers, and more!  It’s a popular restaurant so I highly recommend making a reservation before arriving.




Where to Grab Drinks at Pike Place Market

Radiator Whiskey

While Pike Place Market might be primarily known for its food, it also has some really great drink spots as well!  Whether you’re grabbing coffee, cocktails, or beer, below you’ll find the best spots to stop for a drink at Pike Place Market.



What I’m about to suggest here is a little random, but I promise that it’s worth it.  Skip the (always long) line at the “first” Starbucks and sneak into the Chocolate and Ice Cream Delight for the most incredible rose lavender latte.  This is truly an unexpected treat!



This is one of my favorite coffee spots at Pike Place Market simply because it’s a bit of a hidden gem.  Located near the infamous Bubblegum Wall, pop into this tiny espresso shop for a pick me up before browsing the rest of the market.



While you can find Rachel’s Ginger Beer throughout Seattle, you’ll find one store outside of the market in Post Alley.  It’s a great spot for cocktails or mocktails as their signature drinks generally include handcrafted ginger beer.



If you’re looking for a lively bar scene, Radiator Whiskey is the place to go.  Mainly serving whiskey and barbecue, I suggest Radiator if you’re looking for a drink or comfort food.  Radiator Whiskey is located on 1st between Pike and Pine, upstairs.



If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed from the crowds and coffee is more up your alley, you’ll want to head here.  Storyville overlooks the market so you’re able to people watch from afar, away from the crowds.  A bit tricky to find, it is located on 1stbetween Pike and Pine, upstairs.



One of my favorite cocktail bars in Seattle, Zig Zag Cafe is located underneath Pike Place Market.  Serving craft cocktails in an intimate atmosphere I prefer Zig Zag as a place to get dressed up and go out for a night on the town.  (Click here for more cocktail bars in Seattle).


Where to Stay Near Pike Place Market

Views from Thompson Seattle

If you’re traveling to Seattle, staying near Pike Place Market is a prime location in the city.  Not only are you close to the market, but you’re close to the water taxi, public transportation, other fun neighborhoods in the city, and near loads of great bars and restaurants.  Below you’ll find my very favorite hotels to stay in – all just steps away from Pike Place Market!


Although touristy, Pike Place Market is iconic in Seattle.  I continue to be amazed that after all of the time I’ve spent in and around the market, I keep learning new things.  There is always something new to discover and always some form of entertainment happening in and around the market.  Don’t be deterred by the crowds, I still think visiting Pike Place is well worth it.


And if you’re looking to spend more time in Seattle and want a more comprehensive guide to the city, don’t miss The Ultimate Guide to Seattle.  Or if you’re planning a weekend trip to Seattle make sure to read How to Have a Perfect Weekend Trip to Seattle.


For more ideas on Pike Place Market or Seattle, in general, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlights for more tips.  Search for the hashtag #ppinwashington or watch the highlights “Seattle Eats”, “Seattle Drinks”, “Seattle, WA”.


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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.  Passports and Preemies is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees.


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Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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  1. Amy
    September 19, 2018 / 4:27 am

    Hiii!! First comment here. I always love your post and think they’re going to be extremely
    Helpful for my upcoming trip. Loved the fun facts!

  2. Sandy
    September 19, 2018 / 4:55 am

    There are some places listed here that I will not miss next time I am in town. Thanks and keep blogging on!

  3. January 10, 2019 / 2:04 am

    So, I am looking through all of your Seattle posts for my (possible) trip and wow I had no idea you had so many posts about it! I am looking through them all and I will be sure to come to you if I have questions!

    • January 10, 2019 / 2:17 pm

      Seattle is when I finally started to get the hang of this whole “blogging” thing :). And yes, if you have anymore questions I’d love to answer. Thanks a mil for reading!!!!

  4. Casper Christianson
    March 3, 2021 / 1:17 am

    Please stay out of my city. We were already hit so hard and don’t need self-centered milliniels who travel all over the place adding to the sadness. You are a disgrace as a human. Your blog about “there are other problems in the world” just shows how clueless you are. Over 500K dead. More than three major US wars. You don’t deserve to work in healthcare.

    And let me guess. Even though you advocated for pretty much living selfishly and spreading the disease, (yes, indirectly you did) you were probable the first to get a vaccine. Pathetic.

    • March 3, 2021 / 2:31 am

      LMAO… this was posted in 2018. Honestly Casper, get a life. Apparently YOU don’t deserve to own a device that allows you on the internet. And yes Casper, all year I’ve been at work exposed to COVID, so you’re right, I was one of the first to get the vaccine. Go cry about it somewhere else away from my website.

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