Seattle. Land of rain, coffee, grunge, Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Costco and Amazon…
Also the closest major American city to my god son’s family.
A Very Brief History Lesson on Pike Place
Located on First Ave and Pike St, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest operating public farmers markets in the entire USA. The market, which opened in August 1907, was built on a steep hill overlooking Elliott Bay with the goal of offering regular consumers the chance to “meet the producer”.
With 10 million visitors a year it is one of the most visited attractions in the Pacific Northwest. It is filled with farmers and craftspeople looking to offer their produce and products to both locals and visitors.
TIP!: The best places to park are Western Ave., 1st Ave., and 2nd Ave.
These are my highlights from our morning at Pike Place Market. Feel free to add YOUR highlights in the comments below! I’d love to hear them!
1. THE ORIGINAL STARBUCKS You can’t start your day at Pike Place Market without first stopping at the original Starbucks.
Being a 23-year-old American female I am basically a religious follower of the coffee brand.
Okay… maybe that’s taking it a little far. But barely.
Starbucks is one of the largest business chains in the world – with nearly 21,000 stores across 64 different countries!
And it all started in Seattle in 1971. The actual very first location, which only sold coffee beans and not fresh brewed drinks, was closed down and then moved to this location in the mid-70s.
Even if you don’t like coffee, this is still a cool place to visit from a entrepreneurial/business frame of mind.
When I landed in Seattle my cousins and I headed from the airport straight to the mecca of caffeine addicts.
Can you tell I was excited?
I was surprised to learn that the original store has been kept in it’s most simple state – only serving certain drinks. And that’s all.
It’s kind of refreshing to enter a vintage version of the mega-coffee-maker. I’m all about bringing things back to basics.
Fun STARBUCKS facts and a tip:
— The brand was first going to be called Pequod, after a whaling ship from the book Moby Dick. Instead, it was named after the chief mate on the Pequod, Starbuck.
— The first Starbucks location outside of the U.S. opened in Tokyo, Japan in 1996.
— If you normally order a latte… stop. Order a cafe misto. It’s very similar to a latte but less expensive (and tastier in my opinion). You can have it plain or add pumps of your favorite flavoring.
2. The Fish Market
The fish guys are world famous for their fish-throwing ways.
It apparently all started when the workers grew tired of walking back and forth to retrieve a fish a customer ordered. They decided to keep a worker in the back with all the fish who would toss the order up to the front, saving time and energy.
I particularly liked this sign – “We sell only wild salmon caught by wild fisherman”.
The other fish and produce market’s around Pike Place are impressive also!
3. Flowers at the market
Thousands of flowers line the hallways of the upper street level. Flowers of every color and shape. The tulips here are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen!
And when do you NOT need flowers in your life?
Flowers are always a good idea.
4. The Market Theater Gum Wall in Post Alley
The infamous gum wall is located in Post Alley, just around the corner from Pike Place Market.
The tradition began back in 1993 when patrons would place coins in blobs of gum and stick them against the alley wall. It caught on, and by 1999 the wall was deemed an official tourist attraction.
My cousins and I couldn’t pass up the chance to make our mark on one of the “germiest” attractions in the world.
We each popped a piece of gum and started chewing away while we scoped out where we wanted to place our sticky artwork. This is me placing my piece of gum on the wall as my little cousin Sidney looks on.
How “Seattle” is this picture? Starbucks in hand, scarf around my neck, placing my gum on the gum wall…. That’s my piece in the very center above. That long stretched-out sort-of white piece. Ain’t she a beaut?
5. Food Highlights
A: The ConfectionalMini peanut butter cheesecake and cheesecake-on-a-stick from The Confectional. No description necessary.
B: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
I HIGHLY recommend the mac n cheese from Beecher’s! It’s just phenomenal. Big penne-style pasta and creamy flavorful cheese sauce. It’s addicting. I warned you.
C: La Buona Tavola
Leek and potato soup (with a few drops of truffle oil)
So while I didn’t order an entire bowl of this awesomeness, I should have…
The sample I was given was TO DIE FOR – clearly, I downed it all before I could even get a photo. If/when I go back to Seattle I’m coming back here and getting a big steaming bowl of it!
So… those are my Pike Place Market (+ surrounding area) highlights.
What are yours?! Comment below and tell me!