Sleepless in Seattle.

Sarah Bohl, Staff Writer

Seattle has a pretty bad rap about being dark, dreary and rainy all the time.  Much to the surprise of many, Seattle is actually a pretty nice place to be in the summer.  The temperatures are moderate and there is a lot of sunshine between July and October. If you like outdoor activities and water sports there are an abundance of activities to choose from with all the lakes, rivers, mountains and forests around.  I personally love to spend time swimming in the lakes and hiking in the woods near Mount Rainier. One of my favorite destinations in Seattle, however, is the Pike Place Market.

The Seattle waterfront is a fantastic place to go spend the day.  Beautiful views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains with ferries taking people to the islands.  There are tons of great seafood restaurants, museums and shopping. The part of the waterfront area that I find most fascinating is the Pike Place Market.  Located right in the heart of the waterfront area, the market was started in August of 1907 so has been operating for more than 100 years. It started as a farmer’s market and today has grown to include more than just fresh foods.  The stalls of the market are occupied by many individuals that make hand crafted goods like glassblowing and jewelry, fish and fresh produce vendors, and various other goods that are mostly hand-made or natural. There are several levels to the market and in the other covered areas there are a variety of interesting permanent shops that include clothing, magic, books, collectibles and many other unique curiosities.  The market does not have any chain or brand name stores so it is always a new experience to wander through the shops.

There are a couple of must do’s for me everything I visit the market.  First stop every time is the donut shop on the street level near the fish vendors.  A brown bag dozen cinnamon and sugar fresh hot miniature donuts is an absolute must.  Hot from the fryer and seasoned right in front of you these are a must have. Bring cash though and expect to wait.  They don’t take credit or debit cards and the line is always long. My next stop is usually the fresh flower section of the market.  Also on the street level and near the produce vendors. In the mornings the stalls are filled with beautiful flower arrangement after beautiful flower arrangement.  Spring and summer are best since the flowers are all fresh. During the winter months many of them switch to dried flower arrangements. It is always so hard to pick because they are so colorful and there are so many varieties.  The prices are much better than the less fresh options at grocery stores or the big flower stores.

After that I like to go to the corner of the market that is home to the market mascot “Rachel the pig” and watch people order fish.  The fish merchant on that corner is quite famous for putting on a show as they shout out the customer’s order and then throw the fish from the display to another employee to package it up.  This is usually at least a ten to twelve foot distance where the fish fly through the air. I once even saw the receiving employee have the fish slide right through his hands the three foot flying fish crashed right into my mother.  After wandering around the rest of the market my final stop is often at the original Starbucks store near all the produce vendors. While the coffee is the same as at any other Starbucks, they sign is the original and it’s amazing to think that is where Starbucks all started.  Store number one out of the now thousands of stores.

Over the years that market has expanded considerably.  When the market started in 1907 it was pretty small and was established to provide a single location for farmers to sell their goods without having to use middlemen that were capturing much of the profit.  Today, the market is quite expansive. There are more than 200 vendors in the market, the market covers more than 9 acres and there are actually around 500 residents in the market as well. The market hosts more than 10 million visitors every year and maybe most impressively, of all the tourist attractions in the world, it is number 33 in the “most visited” list.  


So if you have some free time this summer and don’t know what to do, go check out the market!


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