At the turn of the 19th century in Seattle, Washington you would have seen the boom of an empire. Produce and fishing were vital commodities as horse-drawn carriages, fishing boats and ferries bustled around the shores of the Puget Sound. Transcontinental railways were making tracks to the Northwest and gold had just been discovered in the Yukon. In 1907 local officials got together and created Pike Place Market.
Along with the Space Needle and Mt Rainer, Pike Place Market is one of the crown jewels of both Seattle and the entire west coast of the United States. That would explain why I was a dimwit and forgot to take a picture of the iconic sign out front that I was standing under. Approximately 10 million visitors stop by each year to take in the music, peruse the fresh produce and shop for an entire spectrum of different trinkets to take back home. Just get onto Pike Street and walk downhill headed west towards the water and you will run into it.
I had been in The Emerald City for only a few hours and was loving it as I wrote about previously with Seattle, Washington – I’m Back And Not Wanting To Go Home! Now, my aunt and I would spend a couple of hours walking around this grand cathedral of what is totally Seattle. Many of you have come to know that I do not like crowds and being here at 5 p.m. on a Saturday seemed to be the ticket because the masses had definitely thinned out.
There is one event occurring all day long at unannounced times that is a must see with the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish. It sits right at the very front entrance of Pike Place Market and you will hear a preceding holler behind the counter, the launching of a salmon (most often) by one monger to be caught on the other side of the counter by another monger (see Mr Crab Hat below). I missed the photo op a half dozen times and just by seconds in this shot here.
It’s a being-there-at-the-right-time-and-place-moment (sans standing there for 20-30 minutes). Unless you are a cute, young blonde gal and curl your hair behind your left ear leaving the monger defenseless to refuse your request. Mr Crab Hat hanging his head in defeat to her powers. It happens buddy…
Look in the lower right of the picture below. I snagged this by total chance. Do you see that dark halibut tail sliding off of the ice? There was a different girl standing there and as it landed at her feet, she exhaled the most blood curdling scream through the market and across the Puget Sound for everyone to hear thinking that the Fish Apocalypse was after her. For that scream…go Fish!
I’ve always considered the market to be a labyrinth of hallways and tunnels but it’s not even remotely hard to navigate. Start at the entrance, go down the length of the upper level, then go downstairs. Get lost. Repeat.
I neglected to mention that you could easily have a day’s worth of meals here from taking in samples while meandering around. I could have included a picture of each that I got but then we would be here all day on this post. I don’t want to lose you.
You are still here reading, yes? Whew, good.
There was never a shortage of street performers both at Pike Place Market and on every other street corner in the downtown area. While the famous grunge era has faded into the background we heard primarily indie music though there was a a bit of pop here and there. I got turned on to my first hip-hop group, hometown legend Macklemore, when their single White Walls came out in 2012. Wow, I had been missing out.
The fresh ocean air filled the market, tourists and locals alike, a rainbow of different global languages and yet we were all sharing the same moment here listening to this man completely lost in his beautiful art.
Approximately 800 residents live in buildings in and around the market. Each time I had visited here in the past I thought it would be so cool to live down here. Probably more romance than reality but still a fun fantasy. Notice the skies continuing to reveal the beautiful warm sun.
Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards out of the Nooksack River Valley had a long open booth for nutty samples and purchases. I humbly admit I had not recall ever eaten a hazelnut prior to this day. Huge mistake. To name a few samples of mine – butter, lightly salted hazelnut, orange honey and a drumroll please…Belgium chocolate hazelnut.
So, take your best guess at the sign below. Mine were…an organized aggressive dog pack? Vampire company? A squadron of snarky people who say “bite me”? Good guesses but the Bite Squad is a food delivery service as a go-between from restaurant to residence. I wish 20-years-behind-the-times Reno had something like this…as our grub is still delivered by chuck wagon out here in the Wild West.
I came out of the public restroom and caught this guy singing a level below me. I thought of throwing him a $1.00 bill didn’t know if that would be cool or not because this is with my telephoto lens; he was a long ways away.
Our last stop inside was the Market Magic & Novelty Shop. I’m always a sucker for shops like this because I’m fascinated by the craft of magicians. Of course there were many novelties from a more nostalgic era.
Stepping inside the shop was like going into a time warp.
That’s a wrap for Pike Place Market and the Market Magic & Novelty Shop. I took a ton of photos and it was a matter of picking and choosing a different variety.
We would head back to the hotel but first would be a very special dessert stop that I had never had before and an amazing experience while we were there…