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A Local's Guide To Pike Place Market

June 10, 2007

Few tourist attractions are as colorful and varied as Pike Place Market, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this summer. Its conspicuous popularity obscures the fact that it is also a dynamic, well-loved facet of daily life for those who live in Seattle. Even on the most crowded day, you can find a quiet corner to peruse delights such as marionberries and zinnias. Seattle travel writer Eric Lucas offers some tips on finding Pike Place's treasures:


Take an interactive tour,



Market Monument

Victor Steinbrueck Park

The park honors the activist who helped fend off market demolition. Great view; grassy knoll is an outstanding spot for an after-lunch nap.

Pike & Virginia Building

Pike & Western Wines

They'll guide you to the best Northwest wines, such as the Oregon pinot noirs that knocked the French off the top of the barrel.

Soames-Dunn Building

Starbucks No. 1

Yes, the global coffee octopus started right here. Just outside is a busker station at which my favorite group, a Moment in Time, often sings gospel.

Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar

Nothing fancy here, just good old-fashioned lunch-counter seafood. (Emmett Watson was a curmudgeonly newspaper columnist.)

Triangle Building

Cafe Copacabana

Food is passable, but the view is superlative from this second-level Peruvian bistro. If you really want a balcony table, be here at 11:15 a.m.

Seattle Garden Center

Sur La Table

Yes, you do have room in your luggage for a properly balanced omelet whisk. The enamel Dutch ovens might be a bit heavy, but you can dream.


They make handmade cheese here, serve it here and explain it here. Did you know cheese has nose, finish, aftertaste? Don't miss the Flagship Reserve.

Corner Market

Shy Giant Yogurt

Three paces from Oriental Mart is this counter where you can order a marionberry smoothie -- extra berries, please.

Oriental Mart

It's simple, quick and good -- pork and chicken adobo are the mainstays at this Filipino lunch counter. About $11 for two.

Left Bank Books

Need a nihilist deconstruction of sexual politics? This holdout '60s book collective is a time and space warp. Great 'zine collection.

Sanitary Public Market

Metsker Maps

Here's a low-key place to dream of faraway, exotic places -- wherever you might want to go, they have a map or a travel guide.

Jack's Fish Spot

Jack Mathers has the best fish and chips at the market and the best prices on smoked and fresh salmon, which he'll happily pack for the trip home. Jack's a musician too.

Economy Market / La Salle buildings


The iconic bronze pig weighs in at 550 pounds -- 200 less than the real pig that artist Georgia Gerber used as her model in 1986. "Meet me at the pig" is a common localism.

Daily Dozen Doughnuts

A six-pack of assorted doughnuts costs a bit more than $2. They roll right off the fryer and into the sack minutes later and taste just as good as they smell.

World Spice Merchants

The swirl of aromas as you step inside is almost hallucinogenic. Check out the pu-erh in the downstairs tea room.

Main Arcade and DownUnder

Woodring Orchards

Real cherry cider, unsweetened, in tidy portable bottles, is just what you need for the walk back to your hotel.

Flower sellers' stalls

Fancy bouquets run $10 to $15, but you can buy single stems and make your own.

Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Tucked in the sublevel is one of the best-known magic stores in the country. Finding it's a trick; follow the signs to "More Shops Below."



The Fairley and Leland buildings house the DownUnder shops. Located just below the Main Arcade shops, DownUnder sits on a very steep hill descending from Pike Place down to Western Avenue.

The five-level labyrinth of shops includes a variety of fine collectibles, imported clothes, gemstones, records, books, a museum, knickknacks and more.


Imports, candy, incense, jewelry, barbershop, collectibles, used goods, Tibetan products and a cafe

4th level

Souvenirs, jewelry, electronics, smoke shop, clothing, candy, shoe museum, vintage magazines, vitamins, leather goods

3rd level

Vintage clothing, collectibles, used records and books, Mexican and Egyptian goods

2nd level

Artists' studios, Pike Place Bakery baking area and Pike Market Childcare and Preschool

Western Avenue

This bottom level faces Western Avenue. You will find shoe and botanical shops as well as a cafe and tattoo parlor.



The Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Aquarium have just completed expansions. With its iconic "Hammering Man" statue out front, the art museum holds an extensive collection of images by Western photographers Edward S. Curtis and Asahel Curtis. The aquarium focuses on Puget Sound sea life.

Parking and transportation

Although street parking near the market is almost always occupied, more public parking is available nearby.

Metro Transit bus is free within the marked zone.

(You can get the 194 bus to and from the airport for $1.25.)

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