An iconic American neighborhood, Pike Place Market has earned its reputation as "the soul of Seattle." Simply take a stroll down the bustling brick-paved roads of Pike Place, with its unparalleled food offerings and musical festivity, and you'll understand why more than 10 million visitors pack into this nine-acre plot every year.
Defined by the public farmer's market at its core, Pike Place Market exists today as a historic district wedged between Belltown
to the north and the Central Business District
to the south. It's well-earned reputation as a tourist hub means that living near Pike Place is never dull. Compact streets, pedestrian-centric walkways and a sense of national importance make this an ideal setting for urbanites looking for more than just the standard big-city experience.
Pike Place Market borderss the Pacific Ocean, not even a full mile north of downtown Seattle.
Restaurants & Nightlife
More than 30 restaurants, ranging from small deli carts to those offering expensive, high-end cuisine, share Pike Place's crowded streets. The eclectic dining options only add to the market's appeal.
Open since 1909, the Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar serves up fresh seafood and produce along with a magnificent view of Puget Sound. It can be difficult to get a table here later in the day, but the Athenian opens at 6:30 a.m and hosts an excellent happy hour beginning at 4:00 p.m. daily. For a tasty meal, try the Athenian Seafood Bowl complete with prawns, clams, squid and mussels.
Executive Chef Shane Ryan's menu at Matt's in the Market offers the best of the Pacific Northwest with its internationally acclaimed fare. You do need to make reservations at this place, but the prices are reasonable. Be sure to try one of the many unconventional dishes on the menu.
Many of the best establishments in Pike Place have been around for decades and grew into their reputations, but Radiator Whiskey was an instant hit. An active throwback whiskey bar, Radiator features a meat-heavy menu for serious carnivores. When you're thirsty, stop by for Showgirl, a drink that puts a delightful twist on the standard Manhattan.
History & Culture
In the early 20th century, an exponential rise in the price of onions caused outraged Seattle residents to petition for a change in agricultural arrangements. The proposed change came in the form of direct access to farmers -- no middlemen. Eight farmers pulled up their wagons on the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street to legions of shoppers.
Despite being threatened with relocation or absolution several times, Pike Place Market has endured to become a regional and national symbol. When you see depictions of the quintessential Seattle streets, full of open markets and fishmongers, you're seeing Pike Place.
One of the market's main attractions and its unofficial mascot, Rachel the bronze piggy bank, was placed on the corner of Pike Place in 1986 directly under the "Public Market Center" sign. Donations placed into Rachel go towards the social services in the district.
Unlike most neighborhoods in North America, Pike Place makes all forms of assisted transportation a little tricky. Dominated by pedestrians, the streetwalkers always have the right of way and whole crowds walk down the middle of the road without any fear. The actual Pike Place street runs north and south through the market, and patient drivers should be able to (slowly) navigate the neighborhood that way.
Parking in Public Market Parking Garage
on Western Avenue may be the best choice. You can even settle further away and take the Metro or Sound Transit Link Light Rail, the nearest station for which sits four blocks away.
Bicycles aren't disallowed, but the crowded streets and hilly terrain make them a tenuous proposition at times.
Above the cobblestone streets of the busy market are a number of modest apartment buildings, some of which offer balconies with a view of the bay. Pike Place Market offers affordable housing attracting a restful, quaint community of seniors and other residents who make a modest living. You can find welcoming studio, one-bedroom
apartments in the neighborhood. The average rental rate hovers around $1,920. With fresh meats and produce just steps away, you can bet Pike Place Market is an affordable place to live.
A gallon of gasoline in Pike Place will cost you about 5% more than national average, and a cup of coffee runs more than 25% higher than average. Most bars offer a pint of beer between $8 and $10.
Pike Place Market may best be described as a bazaar, exploding at the seams with small, locally-owned shops that specialize in their own unique items. Spend an afternoon (or several) exploring the streets and you're bound to run into antiques and collectibles of all stripes.
Every new resident of Seattle needs an umbrella, and look no further than Bella Umbrella for umbrella designs from all over the world. The store teems with color, odd shapes and more variety than you knew existed in the umbrella world. You can even rent umbrellas for special occasions or one-time outfits.
The Lion Heart Book Store can't really be understood without meeting David, the effervescent and gregarious caretaker who will sing you poetry if you let him. You'll find everything from children's books to Pride and Prejudice here, but it's really more of an experience than a shopping destination thanks to "that happy bookstore man."
Grocery store shoppers won't find an experience like Pike Place anywhere else -- the entire district acts as an outdoor grocer. Managing a cart will be a little tricky, so bring some helping hands and don't be shocked if it takes you all day to navigate your way through the excitement.
Seattle's coast houses
an extensive list of parks, piers and other areas for public recreation. Nearby Pike Place Market sits Waterfront Park, where you'll find unbeatable views of the Puget Sound and glorious Pacific Ocean sunsets. Modern, clean and altogether urban, Waterfront Park doesn't have all of the amenities of a traditional park and might not be the most pet friendly,
but it's perfect for romantic stroll with that special someone.