Pike Place Market is a creative and culinary hub for Seattle, one that when you visit you know you’ll end up there at one point in your trip. Since we were just a short walk down the street from it, we toured it twice during our two day stay in the city. There are plenty of mainstays within the market, like Rachel the giant bronze piggy bank, Don and Joe’s Meats, or the Athenian Inn. Honestly if you don’t go through it at least twice you’re going to miss out on some of the best shops, artisans and even street performers, because it’s always changing in some form or another. The first time we went to see Seattle together back in 2008, we actually took a guided food tour of Pike Place Market called Savor Seattle. We highly recommend their tour if you are visiting the market for the first time. You can get a sampling of all the wonderful things the market has to offer and bypass all those crazy lines.
Since we are seasoned pros of market walk throughs now, we decided to just take in as much as we could, and whatever we were to tired to see by the end of our tour, we could just come back and see in the morning. Pike Place Market has been open over a century. Its age really can be seen when walking by the classic architecture of the buildings that surround, but it’s beauty hasn’t been manipulated and has stood the test of time. When first stepping foot on to Pike place, if it weren’t for the cars whizzing by, it would feel as if you took a step back in time. The first things you see are the open air produce stands, a horse and carriage, and all of the colorful vibrancy of the people milling about.
We wanted to get inside of the main drag of the market and see what all of the vendors, merchants and artisans had to offer. Though it was labor day weekend when we were there and the crowds were bustling through, head down and shoulder to shoulder, we still were able to see the beauty of all of the gorgeous floral arrangements, shops stocked with fresh seafood and handmade jewelry. We knew that we had to go to one of our favorite places in the market which is Daily Dozen Doughnuts. They make the most delicious mini-doughnuts I have ever had in my whole life. I could eat them all day until I was sick and I almost did too.
After our trip to doughnut heaven, we ended up in line at Beecher’s Handmade Cheeses, because you know… cheese balances out sugar intake and whatnot. Beecher’s have won more than 20 awards for their natural cheeses since opening a decade ago. We opted to share a cup of their “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese, which is perfectly cooked penne pasta and their award winning Flagship cheese. After almost going in to a cheese induced coma we agreed that it really does live up to it’s world famous title. Another stroll through the market to take photos of the beautiful flowers was all we needed to get us back on track.
On our second day going through the market the crowds had barely subsided but we knew there was food to be eaten and treasures to be seen, so we pressed on into the streets like starving, blood thirsty warriors on a mission. But first we had to settle some curiosities. We have seen photos and heard tales of the Gum Wall in Post Alley but had never actually ventured to see the horror/glory of the mythical sounding landmark. It turns out that it is in fact a wall covered in chewed gum and smells like a third grade classroom the day after halloween. Much like a car crash, it was truly horrific… but we couldn’t look away from the saliva infused terror.
Lastly we had to end our time in Pike Place Market with some delightful baked goods from Piroshky PiroShky Bakery. They have been open for over two decades and have been serving up the best tastes of Russia in a pastry. WARNING: the line is always long… but always worth the wait. We decided we would have two savory and one sweet. First a Cheddar Cheese and Garlic Roll and a Smoked Salmon Pate Piroshky, the latter my personal favorite, followed by a Chocolate Cream Haselnut Roll. We enjoyed them on one of the back balconies of the market overlooking the docks, were serenaded in the background by a golden tongued street musician and shared some laughs over the fat, homely looking pigeons hanging around. We had a ton of fun in the market and still have only touched the surface of all of its wonders. That just means we have to go back next time we’re in our fair sister city.