Whether you're there for half an hour or a whole day, Pike Place Public Market is a fabulous place to wander. This foodie paradise is packed with fresh fish and seafood from the Pacific Northwest, gorgeous blooms, handmade goods, and ready-to-eat treasures that will tempt even the pickiest of eaters. The best part about the market is that there's no one way to navigate the 225 independent businesses. Let your eyes and your stomach guide you, but keep an eye out for the following treasures as you meander from stall to stall.
If you start by snapping a photo of the iconic public market clock and neon sign to share that you've arrived, you'll find people online will jump in with all kinds of suggestions about places you should visit. Rachel the Pig stands underneath the sign to greet you. She's a 500 pound bronze behemoth that collects donations for The Market Foundation and makes for a great photo opportunity. Just behind Rachel you'll find the infamous Pike Place Fish Co, scene of the flying fish. It's worth stopping there for a moment because the people in front and behind the counter always have a friendly word to share between slinging and catching fish.
There's lots of instant gratification to be had at Pike Place if you've brought your appetite. Food from around the world, fresh hot donuts, fish jerky and more are ready to tempt you onto a walking culinary adventure.
As you make your way among the freshest fish and seafood that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, marvel at the selection from the produce vendors, and don't turn down the juicy samples of whatever is in season. Pick up tasty treats along the way, and take your finds down one of the hallways that leads towards Puget Sound and enjoy the breathtaking view. Window seats offer the perfect spot to perch on as you feast upon your new-found foodie delights.
Once you've eaten your fill, take the stairs down to explore the multiple levels of the market below. Don't miss the Giant Shoe Museum - more like a wall painted in the style of an old circus flyer, rather than a typical museum. You'll discover an assortment of giant shoes that are well worth your $1 in quarters for a peek.
Upstairs you'll find handmade souvenirs a plenty crafted by talented local vendors whose special products make for great keepsakes for yourself or loved ones back home. Hand-hammered bracelets with beautiful sayings from Hammering Girl affirmation bracelets or delicate cloisonné art earrings and pendants are definitely not your typical souvenirs.
If you have young rock stars in your life, head just a block up the hill to Post Street and look for the corner with the colorful umbrellas. There you'll find Boston St., a fabulous children's store that sells cool vintage-like Tees with logos featuring all the great bands.
Outside, you'll spot the first ever Starbucks just across the street. The always crowded location serves the same Starbucks as any other, but if you're a fan of their "you are here" series of mugs from cities around the world, stop in and grab the Pike Place one for your collection.
With your coffee in hand, head back to Rachel the Pig and walk up Pike Street towards 2nd street and down the cobblestone street to the infamous Gum Wall. You'll know you're approaching this equally interesting and gross landmark when the smell of spearmint starts to fill the air. Marvel at the rainbow of chewed up pieces of gum and be grateful that you're ending your time at Pike Place Market instead of just starting out, since it'll probably cost you your appetite.
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