Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking Elliot Bay in Seattle, Washington. Opened in 1907, it is one of the oldest public farmers markets in the country. It serves as the primary Seattle venue for small farmers, craftsmen, and merchants. The central street running through the market is Pike Street, which is where the name originates from. Pike Place Market is the city of Seattle’s most popular tourist destination.
The market is actually built on the edge of a steep hill, and has many levels underneath the main level of the market. Each of the levels in the market features a variety of unique shops, like comic book stores, small collectible shops, antique dealers, and many other small family-owned restaurants. The top level or upper street level contains fishmongers, fresh produce, and many craft vendors. In the covered vendor shops, local farmers and craftspeople sell their wares year-round from the tables and vendor shops that they rent on a daily basis. The Markets mission and founding goal was to allow the consumers to “Meet the Producer.”
Pike Place Market is also home to nearly 500 residents who live throughout the market in 8 different buildings. In the past, most of the buildings have been used for low income housing, though some of the residential buildings no longer are for low income residents. The Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority of PDA serves as the markets quasi-government. Every year, the Pike Place market sees as many as 10 million visitors.
The Pike Place Fish Market is the Market’s key attraction, where the fishmongers throw around three-foot salmon and other sea fish to other fishmongers rather than passing them by hand. After a fish is ordered, a fishmonger will pick up a fish and hurl it over the countertop, where another employee catches it and gets is ready for sale.