An Expert Guide to the Pike Place Market

Erin Wing - Seattle
February 21, 2012

The "Soul of Seattle," also known as Pike Place Market, is nine acres packed full of food, festivities and fun. Whether you go once a year or once a week, you'll see something new on each trip. With tasty treats on every corner, buskers, farmers, craftspeople and plenty of action, it's the perfect spot for a day of exploration with your young Seattleite. And unlike the tourists, you'll have plenty of time to head off the beaten path and discover the Market's most interesting nooks and crannies. So make your grocery list, grab your coins and get ready to visit the most popular tourist attraction in town like a true local.

The Main Arcade

When you hit the Market, you can't miss the Main Arcade. On your way in, be sure to feed Rachel, the huge piggy bank at the entrance. (Don't forget those coins!) The flying fish are a must see, but arrive early. When crowds of tourists pack the area, little ones have little view of the fun. If you're planning to pick up some fish and produce for dinner, grab it on your way back out. There is plenty more to explore, and you wouldn't want that good fish to turn bad. So just check out the action, then get ready to go Down Under.

Seattle's Market Magic Shop

Do you have any Harry Potter fans at your house? If so, follow the arrow "Down Under" to the Seattle's Market Magic Shop. Outside you can drop some change into the coin operated fortune teller and hear about your future. Then venture in for a beginner's magic kit, or a stack of enchanted coins. If you're lucky you can even catch a trick or two.  It's no Diagon Alley, but for Muggles in Seattle, it's the next best thing.

Seattle Bug Safari

After exploring the lower shops, exit from the bottom of the market and follow the Pike Street Hill Climb path toward the Seattle Aquarium. On the way, you'll spot the Seattle Bug Safari. You'll find more than fifty different species of insects, and other creepy crawlies, making it the largest collection of live specimens offered at public exhibit in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. While mom may be itchy and jumpy, the little entomologists of the family will be in bug heaven. Don't worry moms, like the bugs, the Bug Safari is tiny so you won't be spending the whole day there. Oh, and you can't miss the gift shop, so prepare to leave with your very own fake spider.

Lunch at Beechers Handmade Cheese

After all that creeping and crawling, you'll probably be ready for lunch. Head back up, up, up to the main level and out across the street to Beechers. Kids can watch the cheese-making process and enjoy the best, gooey, cheesy lunch in the Pacific Northwest. (Mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese and crackers... You get the idea.) It's a bustling place with a casual atmosphere, so kids are welcome to talk at their normal (loud) volume, and there's a lot for junior to focus on while he devours his meal.

The Gum Wall

After that garlicky mac and cheese, you may need a piece of gum. Chew it while you stroll up to Post Alley, then get out your hand sanitizer and get ready to contribute to a delightfully gross piece of public art, the gum wall. After all, what kids wouldn't love the chance to stick gum on the wall with grown-up approval. If you aren't too disgusted, this makes a great spot for a photo to commemorate your trip to the Pike Place Market.

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From the Parents

  • Su Gow

    Having become an artisan vendor at Pike Place Market over this last year I HAVE to say ... take some $ from your piggie banks and be ready to spend it for a handmade gem created with love by a local artist. There are twistie hair ties, little puppets, plenty of kid clothes and many other treasures to take home with you. (Look for my handmade morel mushroom sculpture, if you're in to that!) This week has been so exciting with all the kids out of school. Come visit us and join the fun!

    over a year ago

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