See fish fly at the Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continually 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, and remains one of Seattle's most popular tourist destinations.

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. Antique dealers, comic book sellers, and small family-owned restaurants. 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." 10 million visitors visit the market annually.

One of the Market's major attractions is Pike Place Fish Market, where employees throw salmon and other fish to each other rather than passing them by hand. When a customer orders a fish, an employee at the Fish Market's ice-covered fish table picks up the fish and hurls it over the countertop, where another employee catches it and preps it for sale. According to the employees, this tradition started when the fishmongers got tired of having to walk out to the Market's fish table to retrieve a salmon each time someone ordered one. Eventually, the owner realized it was easier to station an employee at the table, to throw the fish over the counter.

The first Starbucks Coffee store, founded in 1971, was originally located a couple of blocks away from the market, but in 1977 it moved across the street to the market where it has been in continuous operation ever since. The sign outside this branch, unlike others, features the original logo - a bare-breasted siren that was modeled after a 15th century Norse woodcut.

Pike Place Market's unofficial mascot, Rachel, a bronze cast piggy bank that weighs 550 pounds, has been located since 1986 at the corner of Pike Place under the "Public Market Center" sign. Rachel was modeled after a pig (also named Rachel) that lived on Whidbey Island and was the 1977 Island County prize-winner. Rachel receives roughly $6,000–$9,000 annually in just about every type of world currency, which is collected by the Market Foundation to fund the Market's social services.

Here's what you'll see:

The Pike Place Market is a Seattle experience that should not be missed. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle and millions of people experience the market annually. While you are at the market, make sure you see everything:


Flying fish at the Pike Place Market


The Flying Fish – Don't miss the fish mongers at the Pike Place Market! They love to entertain tourists (and sell a lot of fish in the process) by throwing freshly caught seafood over the counter whenever someone orders.

Rachel the Pike Place Pig


The Pike Place Market Pig – Right by the Pike Place Fish Market is Rachel the Pike Place Market Pig. This is actually a giant piggy bank and you are welcome to donate to the Pike Place Market charitable cause. $6K - $9K in all different currencies gets donated every year. The proceeds go towards charitable works for the Pike Place Market charities. Be sure to get your picture with Rachel!

The first Starbucks Coffee store


Starbucks – Across the street from the main level of the market is the original Starbucks Coffee store where you can get your coffee fix and see the original Starbucks logo. If you have any trouble finding it, just ask a local and they will tell you exactly where you can find the store. Every Seattleite knows where Starbucks is!

Street performers at the Pike Place Market


Street Performers – It is always fun to take a few minutes to watch the talented street performers. They can be found on the main level in one of several performing spots (including right next to Rachel the pig). Taking in a musician or juggler at the Market is a very entertaining way to spend some time at the Market.

Entrance to the Lower Level Shops at the Pike Place Market


Additional Levels – While the main level is the most popular, there are other levels that you can explore if you go down the stairs. There are many stands, shops, and restaurants. Make sure you take the time to browse these other levels to get the full Pike Place Market experience. You can get some good Seattle souvenirs at the market.

The famous gum wall in Post Alley


The Gum Wall – If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can venture into Post Alley right next to the market and check out the famous gum wall. The brick wall has been made bright and colorful - by people leaving their gum on it! It's amazing and disgusting all at the same time.