Best Kept Secrets of Pike Place Market: Part Two

Honestly, it seems like Pike Place Market is a giant onion and we could explore our whole lives and never peel back all the layers! This 9-acre playground is full of secrets. We covered some of our favorite ones in Pike Place Market's lower levels a couple months ago. We had such a good response from that post we decided to share some more fun secrets of the market here!  

Lantern men

Pike Place Market Lantern Men
Pike Place Market Lantern  Men

Hanging upside down, sideways, and walking out of a door to nowhere these guys are easy to miss, but fun to find. First, make your way to the back side of the market (Western Avenue). When you get to the small courtyard by Choukette Eclairs take the stairs up into the belly of the market and try to find all the men holding lanterns.

Hint: There are six! 

Morning roll call

 Roll call at the market.  Photo source

Roll call at the market. Photo source

Morning roll call is a tradition and a way of life at Pike Place Market. Every morning at 9:00 AM the daystall vendors and the Market Master gather at the north end of the North Arcade to have roll call. This determines which vendor will get what booth in the market. It is based on seniority, so how long you have been selling at Pike Place Market gets you higher on the list to pick your spot. Anyone can watch this and if you are interested in seeing how the market comes to life every morning this is a good place to start. After roll call is complete the vendors all disperse to set up their stalls and start selling. 

Urban Garden

Pike Place Market Urban Garden
Pike Place Market Urban Garden

In the middle of all the hustle and bustle and throwing of fish, there is a peaceful garden with views of Puget Sound and seating to relax from the crowds. Make sure to explore the different art and produce that is scattered around the rooftop garden and don't forget to write your name and where you are visiting from on one of the chalkboard surfaces! This garden is cared for by the Pike Place Market Senior Center and all the produce is donated to the Pike Place Market Food Bank to help feed people in need. The garden boasts 18 types of vegetables and enough harvest to feed hundreds of people per year. 

Window seating in Main Arcade

Window seating in main Arcade
Window Seating in the Main Arcade

There are many places to grab food to-go in Pike Place Market, but if you don't have an office or home to take it back to, seating can feel limited. Luckily there is a bar-type seating area at the end of the hallway to the right of Pike Place Fish (if you are facing it) in the Main Arcade. This little area is a spot you can usually find a seat to eat. Best part? It comes with a view!

Insider Tip: Read some of the writings scrawled across the window sills. You might find some inspiration for the day! 

Hidden artwork

 Artsy benches are all over Pike Place Market

Artsy benches are all over Pike Place Market

 Eat lunch with a giant Sasquatch

Eat lunch with a giant Sasquatch

 Self-watering storm drain

Self-watering storm drain

There is fun artwork scattered all over the market. We have several favorites.

  • Sasquatch - Located in the Atrium on the first floor, this carved sasquatch is a perfect photo opp! He looks so sad to be out in the open, seen by all! 
  • Two faced bench - This green bench located in the lower levels courtyard is a fun and functional piece of art! Take a seat and enjoy the buskers that gather nearby.
  • Self-watering planter - This storm drain turned planter is such a quirky little addition to the side of the apartments that sit at Virginia St. and Post Alley.
  • Giant squid - There is a 200 pound metal sculpture of a giant squid hanging from the ceiling in the Market Atrium. We don't need to explain why we love this one, everyone does! 

Bird sanctuary

Bird Sanctuary
Pike Place Market Bird Sancutary

Another great place to eat is a small alcove beneath Post Alley and behind the Soames Dunn Building (take the hallway two doors north of the original Starbucks all the way back). It boasts a bird sanctuary, but to be honest we aren't sure how many birds reside here besides the little owl someone has hung for decoration and maybe to keep pests away. Regardless, it's a nice hidden spot to enjoy some food or take a break away from the crowds. 

Insider tip: Country Dough makes delicious Szechuan flatbreads and is right by this sanctuary.

Original hitching post

Pike Place Market hitching post

Outside of Rachel's Ginger Beer you can find an old, wooden post. Most people walk right by it and never notice it, including us for many years. Once you know the significance though it is definitely worth a walk by to admire it as a piece of Pike Place history. This old, wooden post is one of many posts where farmers and customers used to hitch their horses when they came to the market, hence the name of the alley it is located in: Post Alley.


What are you favorite secret spots in the market?