Dec 162014

Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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…Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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!Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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.

Fresh fruit and vegetables as far as the eye could see…ok, 40 feet.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

Just take your pick! The gal with the glasses leaning over the boxes is handing out candied dry pasta. Yep! I got one with chocolate and it was yuuummers.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

Strolling outdoors for a bit we stumbled across the well manicured Pike Place Market Urban Garden that opened up in May of 2013. Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

It is manned by volunteers who use tools out of the onsite shed to perform daily chores to help this previously unused patio become a thriving provider. Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

The produce is donated to the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank. Hey, you in the white shorts! What are you looking at? It’s a 5 story drop buddy.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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. Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

There are numerous patios and walkways to step out onto and take in the beautiful views of the Puget Sound.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

Just below the front entrance is an inclined driveway with graffiti ranging from spray paint and concert notices to the hot new bands on the scene.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

This would be my last view of the Puget Sound on Saturday. I just noticed that I always had a ship in each water picture (including the previous post). The Port of Seattle is a very busy place.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew

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.Pike Place Market Seattle Washington Past My Curfew
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.Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Stepping inside the shop was like going into a time warp.

Charles Joseph Carter made his mark when he first toured the Midwest in 1906 as Carter The Great. Ironically, a year before the market opened.Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Not sure who this was supposed to be but the sideburns sure needed a good trim.Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Give me the legendary tandem of Laurel and Hardy (or Abbott and Costello) all day long on a Saturday afternoon when I was a kid and it was a good day.Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Does this get reported to the Internal Revenue Service for taxable income? Just sayin’…Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Mine said, “Naughty but Nice”…just perfect, dimed off by a machine.Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

A victim of last year’s Black Friday and having over-shopped the life out of themselvesPike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Staring can be rude and in this case very much so. His eyes followed me everywhere. Creepo.Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

Finally, the world’s most awesome sign for unattended, out of control children! (Breathe…I like kids…)Pike Place Market Magic & Novelty Shop

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…


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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 50+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories and commentary.

  86 Responses to “Pike Place Market and the Market Magic & Novelty Shop”

  1. Mike, It seems from the pictures that you are a talented photographer! This thought suddenly hit me! And isn’t it amazing that there is no nagger around to make you feel guilty for giving all the attention to your camera and surroundings!!

    Thanks for the pictorial description of Pike Place market. It made an interestingly informative reading.

    • I don’t know how talented I am but I sure do appreciate the photography compliments, Balroop! You made a great point on the nagger and that would be a huge part of me traveling. I want to do my own thing without restriction. Thank you! 🙂

  2. I never, ever go to Seattle without going to Pike’s Place…I absolutely love it. I love the fish-throwing, food-touting, chaos of it all. Great post, Mike and Happy Holidays!

    • Oh thank you, Corinne, and I agree with you as I’ve been there on every visit prior myself. There is a fun vibe there that I want to participate in each time. Happy Holidays to you and Jim! 🙂

  3. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for sharing the article about Pike Place Market and the Market Magic & Novelty Shop. Very interesting article. I liked it.

  4. What a fantastic walkthrough! I love markets like these, where you can find almost anything under the sun. That magic shop would have interested me too, I love stuff like that, especially if it is vintage.

    • I’ve been to other markets but for me (and maybe I’m just biased) Pike Place is a unique experience unlike any other, Tarana! Vintage stuff is always cool 🙂

  5. A fish market isn’t really my cup of tea (being a vegetarian and all) and the vegetable market is more my thing 🙂 Market Magic & Novelty Shop looks really awesome by the way, it looks like the kind of place you could roam around in for hours.

    • Oh, it’s definitely not a fish market but fresh fish is sold there, Melissa. Trust me, you would absolutely love it as a vegetarian and be right at home! 🙂 It is fantastic place to roam around for sure! 🙂

  6. I love markets and this looks like such a great one! Or else you are an exceptional photographer:-)

  7. Oh I’ve been WAITING for a post on Pike’s Place Market! Thank you! That looks so amazing. Seattle is definitely on our travel list, someday some day, and I can’t wait for Pike’s Place. We love seafood, and I’ve seen them throw the fish on television, it looks hilarious and beautiful at the same time. I know just what you mean about thinking about living where you vacation! I do that pretty much EVERYWHERE I travel, imagine what it would be like to live there. What would be good about it? Bad about it? And I always romanticize it because I haven’t actually experienced it. It’s fun to think about different places to live. Not sure how it would work out until it happens, but it’s interesting to think about.
    I love LOVE that magic shop, what a fun place! I’m fascinated by magic, from the sleight-of-hand to those big ‘disappearing’ acts, the whole thing is show biz in a nutshell, but to me even MORE interesting than a lot of show business, because it requires a very special talent. Or several talents, more likely! I want to see your last post, but I couldn’t resist looking at the market post first! Looks like a really fun trip, thanks for sharing. Your pictures are fantastic! They’re really making me want to go RIGHT NOW!

    • Well, if you can guys can arrange a spontaneous trip then step into the warm waters and do it, Joy! I’m with you and magic and their incredible craft. I just watched the movie Now You See Me – definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it. You and I are so alike in romanticizing vacation spots. My (ex) wife and I did that everywhere we traveled even going so far as to visit the government offices to get citizenship papers. I’m glad we sobered up lol 🙂 Have a great day! 🙂

  8. How amazing! I have always wanted to go there. So fun to read and I love all the pictures! Glad you are doing these trips, Mike.

    • So far it’s only been this one trip, Chareese, but I hope you and your family can get there soon, my dear friend! 🙂

  9. Great photos, great post. I can see you are really enjoying that camera. I can’t wait to here the rest of the story.


    • I’ll enjoy it even more when I learn how to use it better, Pete! The lenses make me look good lol 🙂

  10. Seattle is definitely one of the United States’ great cities and it is in such a beautiful setting. The Pike Place Market is one of those places you can visit time and again. Personally, I’m not that big a fan of flying fish—-especially dead ones. I can understand why you went a little (a lot?) shutter happy. I’m sorry you only had one day for sight seeing. Mr. Excitement and I have both had several professional conferences in Seattle—a great excuse for the long trip out there from Philly. Our first visit there was in 1992. I had a law conference that coincided with our 10th wedding anniversary, so Mr. E. tagged along—-the first and last time he agreed to hang out with 1,000 Social Security lawyers. The scary highlight of that trip was that a friend of his from med school who moved out to Seattle flew us to an island for dinner in his seaplane! We didn’t need to “land” on the water, but he insisted on showing us how it’s done. Personally, I was willing to take his word for it. He also let Steve take a turn at the controls. I was in the back with my eyes wide shut!!

    • LOL I busted up laughing at the “first and last time with 1,000 Social Security lawyers…” part! 🙂 That is absolutely awesome that you were able to take the seaplane to dinner with your old friend, Suzanne! My (ex) wife I took one from Lake Union to Victoria and spent the night there. Arrgh…the pictures you lose in a divorce! We had 2 days of sightseeing…you just haven’t seen what we did with Day #2 yet. And I bet Dino would like the flying fish…especially if they landed by him so he could snag one! 🙂

  11. I love the market,Mike and what great snap shots you took of it all. Especially the fish thrower (and the blond). Once when I stayed in Seattle for a few nights we stayed at the Water’s Edge Hotel. It’s actually on the water! It was gorgeous and we could walk to the market from there. It’s such a fun city with a cool edge to it. Some great rockers have come from there too. I love the urban garden. So, is the dessert going to be on the next post…?

    • Yes Lisa, dessert is coming up next…well, there may be a Christmas post first. Anyhoo…it will be the next one for this series 🙂 How spooky as I had reservations for the Edgewater Hotel with a girlfriend one weekend for a U2 concert in Seattle – but we broke up that very same week lol. We are still friends. So, I’m envious that you were able to follow through on what I didn’t! 🙂

  12. Love your photos, sweetheart 🙂
    So fun to click over here today. xxxx

  13. I’ve never been but I’ve certainly eaten a whole meal in samples at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. It’s probably somewhat similar.
    And butter hazelnuts?? Sign me up!
    Although candied dry pasta with chocolate? I’d have to try that.

    • Oh yes, the Ferry Building in S.F. does have some similarities, Tamara! Those buttered hazelnuts were crazy good…it’s hard to know the line on how many samples to keep taking without just pulling up a barstool with a napkin lol! 🙂 The pasta was….just weird…but good. 🙂

  14. Seattle is definitely on my list of cities to visit. Pike Place Market looks amazing; any place that I can eat a lunch worth of samples is worth a trip! Love that photo of the guy with the guitar.

    • Thank you for the compliment on the photo with guy and the guitar, Dana! I hope you guys make it there soon someday. I always love to hear from friends/blogger friends their experiences of similar places. I’m with you…bring on the samples! 🙂

  15. No trip to Seattle is complete without a trip to the market. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased anything, I just get caught up in the experience. I have to say I think the flower vendors are my favorite. I’ve always wondered if locals actually go to the market, or if it’s just filled with tourists. What do you think?

    • That’s actually the unique thing is that the majority of all the produce goes to the locals, Patti. And interesting note of staying power for a place that’s been actively doing this for over 100 yeas now, huh? You and me both – I’ve never purchased anything there! 🙂

  16. It takes a lot to make me regret living in the boonies where nothing cool is nearby like the Market. We have local farmers’ markets in the summer but nothing like what you showed. I love those type markets where everything is available. I especially love fresh cut flowers. I can’t pass up a fresh flower stand no matter where it is or what they’re selling!! You do have a way with words and a way with the camera! Thank you for sharing so those who live vicariously can have our fix!!

    • Ha, I live vicariously almost every day through everyone else’s blog too, Nan! Aside from the ocean area the entire market has a beautiful, fresh aroma! I need to invent smell-o-blog 🙂 Thank you for your compliment 🙂

  17. Beautiful place…

  18. wow! what an amazing place / great time! thanks for sharing and letting me go on a mini vacation~

    • The only place close to a comparison in the U.S. would be San Francisco. Even then, Seattle is still most definitely a jewel of it’s very own, Hilary 🙂

  19. I love this post, Mike. The photos are great. I would love to be able to go to US one day.
    I actually saw these mongers on TV once. I remember thinking that I will go there one day and see it with my own eyes. I still want to do that.

    • I hope you can make it to the U.S….that would be fun to hear your Top 10 Places You Wish To Visit. Seattle is a must see…but there are a ton of places in the U.S. that are also. Come visit! 🙂

  20. One of the things I miss about not being in London – markets like this. I would just loose myself in the fish section (to see that salmon catching) and the flowers.

    • You know as well as anyone that there isn’t a fish smell because it is so fresh. It is an ocean smell…gawd, I love that about Pike Place, Bintu 🙂

  21. Haha that scream?! GO FISH! Love your use of words there, Mike!;-)

    What a great concept that community garden is, and very cool that it’s manned by volunteers! I have to say, I think you have a knack for travel writing…you need to get more trips lined up for 2015!:-)

    • I would make a pretty sure bet that you would have been annoyed by that unnecessary scream too, Jessica, lol! What an awesome compliment and thank you so much, my friend! 🙂

  22. I absolutely love these flowers and organic food <3!!

  23. I like Seattle and the Pike Place market! All the fish, fruits and veggies, so great! How was the candied pasta?

    • Hi PM, the candied pasta is so hard to describe. It was a very dry, crunchy texture yet it had that chocolate overtone of flavor. It’s just one of things folks have to try at least once! 🙂

  24. You sure have taken some amazing pictures mike! The notice sure is a heads up to careless parents :P:P

    • Ha, ha…the sign was a humorous slant considering the environment it was in, Rashmi 🙂 The novelty store..

  25. Oh Markets are my all time favorite places to stop in when we travel, there is one in Melbourne that is so big it takes hours to see it all, and another Market in Sydney {Paddington Markets} which I haven’t been game enough to see cause I know that I will end up with buying way too much stuff that we don’t have room for!
    Oh that Magic Novelty shop was a gem – those eyes in that painting, that’s way too creepy!
    Love exploring new laces, sounds like you had so much fun.
    Why do crowds upset you so much Mike?

    • Ah yes, the big markets can definitely be a big time investment not to mention a bite out of the wallet, Lisa. I wouldn’t describe crowds as upsetting me as much as I would getting in the way of the view. Along with that personal space thing and I just like the freedom to breathe. It can be very Claustrophic and even more so if they become rude 🙂

  26. Thanks for sharing your trip to Pike’s Place. It brings back some awesome memories and makes me anxious to head that way again someday. So much to experience and discovers there 🙂

  27. I love Pike Place Market.Going there is a quintessential Seattle experience. Lol at the girl screaming about the fish. And candied pasta?! Hmmm…how is it?

    • That girl must have been a real peach to see the movie Jaws with, Dana! 🙂 Candied pasta…well, I think a lot of us have taken a bite of dry pasta. Now dip it in chocolate and take it a bite. It’s a totally unique texture…a really dry, sweet wafer maybe? 🙂

  28. Sounds like a great place to spend a few hours. I love what they did with the patio, and l think l would like that novelty shop.. Mentalo says proceed! – stupid king of queens Christmas episode that l love !

  29. Great post! Keep ’em coming. We love to visit these sorts of public areas when we travel to different places, they are such a reflection of the culture and personality of the city.

  30. Reading this delightful description of your experience makes me want to visit Seattle all the more! You are such a great writer, Mike, you had me smiling all the way to the finish!

  31. You so make me want to go to Seattle Mike! I’ve never been. Your amazing photography really captures the feel of the beautiful city. I love the market and street performers! This whole post just makes me happy for you that you went. Hugs friend!

    • Thank you so much, Kristi, and I’m very glad I went too. I hope you will make it there…it’s spectacular. Just beware if you go during the rainy season. It’s a mist more than a full on downpour though 🙂

  32. Great post Mike. I have been to Seattle twice for business, so I did not have a lot of free time while I was there. I did manage to see Pike Place Market and Nordstrom! LOL

    • Hey, we’ve pounded the same pavement up there…how cool is that, Diane? If you go up there again try and tag an extra day on to go play 🙂

  33. That looks great! I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle 🙂 I love markets ever since I got addicted to one in Barcelona haha 😛

    • Ahhh…I’ve never seen the Barcelona market in person but I know which one you are talking about from bloggers going to it, Michelle! I know you will make it to Seattle and you’ll love it 🙂

  34. Very good stuff!
    It seems like you would need a few days to take all of this in. I would love to walk around and listen to the different performers. They seem pretty harmless, unlike what they look like at the Wharf in San Francisco. Those guys give me the creeps!

    Don’t the cute gals always have neat stuff happen to them? Note to self, whenever traveling, take a cute gal!

    Quit making me think Seattle would be cool to visit! (hate those Seahawks!) ;0)

    • Just the market and direct downtown adjacent area is a minimum of 2 days if not more, Tony. But, there are unlimited different things you can do there in general. It is cool…you wouldn’t be going for football…and absolutely a cute girl on your arm can always get you some perks, buddy 🙂

  35. Hi Mike,
    I love Pikes Peak market and I enjoy revisiting it with you. Yu definitely caught some fun moment, especially that relkay of salmon between mongers. Nice to see that they created the urban garden. It’s always a nice thin. I have not been to the Magic Shop. It looks like fun and it seemed like you were a kid in a candy store! Glad you had anoither nice day.

    • That is so awesome that you’ve been able to enjoy it too, Marisol! We did indeed have a good time and I was a kid in a candy store from the minute we took off from Reno 🙂

  36. What a fascinating place and I loved the beautiful views of the Puget Sound and the quirky novelty shop! 🙂

    • The views are most definitely amazing and that was one of dozens of quirky shops you can browse through there, Becky! 🙂

  37. That guitarist looks like he’s staring right at you and wondering why you aren’t throwing him any money. Just kidding. When we were at Pikes Place Market, my then 7-year-old son gave the fishmonger such a hard time that they caught a fish and then whirled around, practically poking my boy in the nose with it. He was much better behaved afterwards. So glad that you had a good time in Seattle and that it was worth the flight.

    • Ha, ha that made me BURST out laughing about the fish monger and your son, Michele! I would have loved to have seen that. It was an amazing trip and thank you! 🙂

  38. Again with the seafood Mike. Ugh! Feed me. It looks like such an interesting place to visit. Was the Pike Place Market garden on the roof? If so my son’s school has a roof top garden too. SO neat!

    • LOL re” feed me” and seafood…I’m with you there, Krystle! Pike Place Market is multi-tiered and the garden was on the roof of that particular level. With all the moisture they get there no doubt it is a haven for great herbs and veggies!

  39. We were supposed to have gone to Seattle in late October – until John had his retina detach and we couldn’t drive at any altitude. We have friends in town and this is one place I always love to visit.I love the whole area around Pike’s Market.

    • You and I are on the same page there, Leigh! I love the entire area and could spend many more days exploring. I love it because Seattle is a great walking city. Wow on your visit…had you made it…we would have just missed each other! 🙂

  40. Liked your tour of the market Mike. How great that you have started to travel (again). There will be no stopping you now. Re your last photo of the stray kids sign – we were in New Zealand cafe which had written on the wall “Untended Children will be given double shot espressos.” Where will you be off to next?

    • Ha, ha to the double shot espressos for the kids…hey, as long as they are leaving that would be fine by me! No new plans just yet, Jan 🙂

  41. Those markets look almost Italian. And I’d no idea there was so much more to see in Seattle.

  42. Hello Mike! What a fabulous tour around town. I have always wanted to get myself to Seattle, but things have never quite worked out. However, this post is like a sneak peek into several very appealing destinations. The Market Magic & Novelty Shop looks like a blast, as I’m sure it was!

    • Hi Wanda! I hope you can make it there someday and be sure to go in the off-season from the rain. You will love it 🙂

  43. Great photos Mike! What an interesting place is the Market Magic & Novelty Shop. This last picture is creepy!

    • My friend Rita from Down Under! Oh my gosh I have missed you here. Thank you for the compliment and yes there were some creepy things in there for sure 🙂 I hope you are doing fantastic! 🙂

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