Feeding my Addiction at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Pike Place Public Farmers' Market in Seattle Washington
Pike Place Public Farmers' Market in Seattle Washington

One day I’ll come home from work to find my family and close friends sitting around my living room, drinking coffee and discussing my future. They’ll stop talking when I come through the door and mom will hug me as she explains “we’re doing this because we love you.”

I’ll sit down and ask “what’s this about?” And they’ll tell me “we think you have a problem…”

I’ll fight back, maybe throw some chairs and swear at grandma, but they’d be right. I have an addiction and I don’t care who knows it.

I’m addicted to public markets.

Big ones, small ones, fruit carts, meat stands, craft tents, baseball cards, live performers, you name it, if it’s at a public market… I’m in. From the funky Camden Markets in London to the Sunday San Telmo Market in Buenos Aires I have a serious addiction to the awesomeness that is open air commerce. You can tell so much about a place, the people and it’s culture from public markets. I’ve been known to skip entire days of sightseeing to hangout amongst the vendors.

Being able to admit this problem helps me justify my most recent trip to Seattle, Washington. I didn’t see the Space Needle, I didn’t see the Museum of Flight, and I didn’t go on the famous underground city tours. Aside from a 90s hip-hop party in Capital Hill one night, I didn’t leave the Pike Place Market for 3 days.

Pike Place Fish Co at Pike Place Market in Seattle
Pike Place Fish Co. crew showing off their crabs

Pike Place Market opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. Pike Place overlooks the Elliot Bay waterfront and is just a few blocks from many Seattle hotels.

While it’s not the biggest market I’ve ever been to, Pike Place lives up to the hype with the incredible quality of it’s vendors. The Pike Place Market in Seattle is to me, what I think a Charlie Sheen party would be to a drug addict. It’s awesome!

Below is a photo journey of how a public market junky tackled Pike Place Market in Seattle…

Beecher's Homemade Mac and Cheese at Pike Place Market in Seattle
Beecher's Famous Homemade Mac & Cheese at Pike Place Market in Seattle

I started my day just after 8am and was surprised to find the market wasn’t crowded yet. While most people were devouring delicious pastries and danishes around the original Starbucks Coffee shop, I went with Beecher’s famous mac & cheese. You can’t beat macaroni and cheese from a place where you can see the cheese being made right in front of you.

Oyster Shooter at the Pike Place Market in Seattle
Oyster Shooter at the Pike Place Market in Seattle

From there I walked across the street where fish mongers were preparing their daily displays. They had just chucked some massive oysters for oyster shooters, so I snagged 3 for $5 and chased them down with some hot sauce.

I took a quick break from the food porn and walked down to the lower level to checkout some impressive vintage comic and print shops. On this level you can find some Seattle-focused touristy stuff, but one of the things I love most about Pike Place market is that it’s not all Seattle snow globes and t-shirts like other tourist friendly public markets.

Hum Bow from Mee Sum Pastry at Pike Place Market in Seattle
Hum Bow from Mee Sum Pastry at Pike Place Market in Seattle

By the time I made it back up to the main level the crowd was starting to fill in so I grabbed a chicken-filled Hum Bow from Mee Sum Pastry and just cruised around people watching. I must say, this was my first ever Hum bow experience and they’re wonderful. It was like chicken stew stuffed inside a soft, sweet, super fresh oversized dinner roll.

After about an hour of watching magicians, smelling flowers and testing everything from fresh spaghetti to chocolate-covered cherries, it was time for lunch. I quickly snagged an abandoned barstool at the humble Market Grill and settled in for some fresh clam chowder and blackened salmon.

Blackened Salmon at Pike Place Market in Seattle
Blackened Salmon at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Lunch pushed me over my daily budget so I spent the next few hours just walking around watching people interact. I literally stood at the famous Pike Place Fish Co. for almost an hour watching them work the crowd as they threw giant salmon behind the counter.

When I was approached by one of the orange-overalled fisherman, I explained that I just liked watching them work and that I really like markets. He gave me a “ooookay… weirdo” look and walked away. It probably would have been fine if I didn’t stick around for another 45 minutes. Who knows, maybe he’ll show up to my intervention.

I finished the day with a juicy peach…

Fresh Fruit at the Pike Place Market in Seattle
Fresh Fruit at the Pike Place Market in Seattle

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


  1. No intervention necessary – i feel much better having you smell fresh fish and flowers than tear gas and pepper spray !!

  2. Nice Gareth. I am the same exact way with markets. I could visit a market every single day if it was possible. On our RTW, one of the first things we would do when arriving in a new city was seek out the markets. The Sunday market in San Telmo was one of our favorites as well. Then we got to SE Asia, and good God, it was like heaven for a market junkie. You need to make it to Bangkok for their weekend market. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. It’s a massive labyrinth of stalls with nearly a quarter of a million people visiting daily. Ridiculous!

    Great meeting you in Vancouver!

    1. Oh man, I can’t wait to get out East. From the photos and videos I’ve seen, it looks incredible. We’ll have to catch up soon for a TBEX reunion party.

  3. We loved Pike Place too – the Mac & Cheese and chocolate covered cherries were our favourites. The fresh produce looked such good quality it made me wish for a kitchen to cook in.

  4. I completely understand this addiction! There’s nothing like visiting a local market to make you feel like you’re part of a community! I think every time I see some sort of open air market like this my heart skips a beat :c) Thank you for sharing and your photos are fantastic!

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