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The scent of spring-fresh flowers, freshly baked bread and fish straight out of the sea greets you as you enter Pike Place Market. These market halls in the centre of Seattle are an impressive attraction and offer a huge selection of fresh ingredients, as well as clothing and artwork. Street artists also perform here and a wide range of restaurants offer fantastic local cuisine.
Pike Place Market is somewhat of a precursor to the farmer’s markets that have become so popular today. This is where the concept was introduced back in 1907, when local farmers came to the city to sell their products directly to consumers. Back then, they were only allowed to sell their fruits and vegetables via special commission houses. Unhappy with this arrangement, a group of 8 farmers started a market at Pike Place where they sold their goods from their carts, and within a few hours they were completely sold out.
The news of this successful farmer’s market spread quickly and more and more farmers made their way to Pike Place. Within 2 weeks, the number of farmers had grown from 8 to more than 70. A market hall was erected out of necessity. The Municipality of Seattle lost no time in doing this and the first market halls were opened 2 months later. More than 120 vendors could display their goods here in covered stands and Pike Place Market was born.
Pike Place Market has no fewer than 4 fish markets. Every day, van loads of fresh mussels, swordfish, tuna, crab and many other types of seafood arrive at the market. Pike Place Fish is located directly under the large clock, where the fish literally fly past your ears as the market vendors throw them to each other over the counter all day long, bringing entertainment to the market. You can also gawk at gigantic anglers and huge tuna.
“Market vendors put on a daily show at Pike Place Fish”
There are more than 60 restaurants at Pike Place Market, making it the perfect stop for lunch, a quick bite or a relaxing dinner. A local favourite is the Russian bakery Piroshky Piroshky, where they bake Russian breads with different kinds of fillings (piroshkies). Beacher’s Handmade Cheese is another great spot to satisfy your appetite. Many claim that they make the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the U.S. The very first Starbucks opened at Pike Place in 1971. The interior is different from all of the other Starbucks in the world and the original logo still hangs above the door.