I have to come to Public Market Center in Seattle, Washington. It’s a foodie paradise, which the freshest seafood one can get in US.
Public Market Center
Pike Place Market, aka Public Market Center because of the iconic neon signboard on the market, is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States.
It is a place of business for many small farmers, craftspeople and merchants. Named after the central street, Pike Place runs northwest from Pike Street to Virginia Street. With more than 10 million visitors annually, Pike Place Market is Seattle’s most popular tourist destination and is the 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the world.
The Market is built on the edge of a steep hill, and consists of several lower levels located below the main level. Each features a variety of unique shops such as antique dealers, comic book and collectible shops, small family-owned restaurants, and one of the oldest head shops in Seattle. The upper street level contains fishmongers, fresh produce stands and craft stalls operating in the covered arcades. Local farmers and craftspeople sell year-round in the arcades from tables they rent from the Market on a daily basis, in accordance with the Market’s mission and founding goal: allowing consumers to “Meet the Producer”.
Pike Place Market is home to nearly 500 residents who live in 8 different buildings throughout the Market. Most of these buildings have been low income housing in the past; however, some of them no longer are, such as the Livingston Baker apartments. The Market is run by the quasi-government Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA).
Love all the stalls and folks showing their handmade goods. An assortment of vendors on multiple levels make this place a shopper’s delight. I’m a shopper myself, but I enjoy people-watching even more, so this place was entertaining. I’ve never seen this without tourists everywhere, of course it’s nice to see them but they should also buy something there.
Besides seafood, the place is filled with food stores selling anything you can imagine, from local breads and foods, to more exotic imports from the overseas. Seattle is an open city, the locals have always embraced foreigners, so the food market has seen a shift in stores for Oriental and South Eastern influenced cuisine.
Make no mistake, the place is still a functioning market for locals. So when you are walking around the place as a visitor, do be gracious and let the local go about their daily lives.
There’s a section where tourists can get handicrafts and snacks and souvenirs, but look out for China-made stuff that would camouflage as local produce.
The waterfront is like Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco, a bunch of old piers converted to modern tourist traps. Nowadays, there are many eateries and restaurants along the piers to cater for all budgets and tastes.
World Famous Stores
There are many eateries that you would be familiar with. Their brands are now found all around the world.
Pike Place Chowder
Rated the best clam chowder in the world (well, at least they won the National champions three times in a row), the queue stretched for blocks. If you are lucky, you will get the limit batched of clam chowder New England-style. If you do not want to queue, you can go to their other location downtown, or order using Uber Eats. Only this store still did their chowder in store, the rest are based on the recipe by founder/owner Larry Mellum and manufactured in a central kitchen. American entrepreneurship at its best.
World’s Oldest Starbucks
Of course, how can you miss the world’s oldest Starbucks, opened since 1976. It was not the first, the first was at 2000 Western Ave (1971-1976). I ordered a Venti Pike Place blend (which is always available as the brewed coffee) to go. Somehow, I felt that the roasting here was more robust and the coffee stronger. But still, it is the Americanised coffee that would be considered muddy water down in Australia. No wonder there’s no Starbucks in Italy until 2018 when they opened a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan, and no, Frappuccinos are not on the menu there.
Date Visited : Oct 2019