If we added up all the hours we have spent at Pike Place Market, it would probably amount to years of time. But what do you do if you don't have unlimited hours to explore this epic hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment? Well, the answer is you cram in as much stuff as possible – especially eating – because this is a place you don’t want to just skim through. It's the heart of Seattle, and it has a crazy amount to offer to tourists and locals. Here are our recommendations for absolutely slaying your way through 24 hours at Pike Place Market.
8:00 AM – Get Going with Storyville Coffee
Storyville Coffee is located on the upper level of the Corner Market Building and has one of the best views of the iconic red “Public Market” sign hanging over the main entrance to Pike Place Market. Their coffee shop is comfy and inviting, full of great lighting and warm décor, a perfect place to ramp up for the day with one of their many delicious coffees.
9:00 AM – Roll Call
Roll Call is a market tradition that is open to the public. Every day you can watch the day stall vendors gather to claim their spot for the day. Stall vendors are called upon based on seniority and then they can select their stall location for that day. Because of this tradition, some vendors consistently sit in the same spot, while others have a need to move around. It’s not the most exciting process, but it can give you an insider look into how the market gets set up everyday!
9:30 AM – Breakfast at The Crumpet Shop
The Crumpet Shop is a place that looks and probably sounds unassuming, but this place happens to have some of the most delicious breakfast pastries on the planet (that's right, the planet we said). They make their crumpets fresh every day and customers can top them with a variety of goodies like nutella, honey, pesto, tomato, jams, eggs, and ham, etc. The line can get long in the mornings, especially on weekends, so plan for a little time there, but we promise these little guys are worth the wait!
10:00 AM – Shop the Main Arcade
The Main Arcade is the most well known shopping area at Pike Place Market. It stretches from Pike Place Fish Market all the way down to the day stall vendors. It’s where you will find the beautiful flower vendors, a few fish markets, veggie stands, and tons of unique crafts and goodies. One stall could be selling custom leather goods and the next will be selling lavender products. Further down you might find ceramics or art. The options are endless and ready for you to explore. Some of our favorites in the Main Arcade are All Things Lavender, Ravel and Unravel, and of course all the bright and beautiful flower stands.
12:00 PM Lunch at El Borracho
El Borracho is the perfect spot for someone with a hungry belly. They serve up great casual Mexican food at a good price and they usually don’t have a wait. We basically love the whole menu, but if we had to call out our favorites they would be the Coca-Cola braised pork burrito (it is the size of a small child, so order the taco version if you aren’t super hungry) and the Tacos de Hongos (mushroom tacos). Pair it all with some chips and guacamole and an ice cold Pacifico and you’ll be full and happy in no time! They also have plenty of vegan options as the owner, Kitty, doesn't eat meat!
Amazing alternatives if you aren't feeling Mexican: Honest Biscuit for some good ole fashioned fried chicken and biscuits, DeLaurenti for some great italian sandwiches, or Pike Place Chowder for a traditional bowl of clam chowder in a giant bread bowl.
1:00 PM – Explore the Lower Levels and Perimeter Buildings
Most visitors don’t make it past the Main Arcade when it comes to exploring the shops at Pike Place Market. These visitors are missing out on a huge amount of great places though. We recommend setting aside some time to go into the “Lower Levels” and the various other areas with great shops like the Atrium, Marketfront Expansion, First Avenue, and Post Alley.
We wrote a blog on our favorite spots in the Lower Levels and you can also check out all the fun details of the Marketfront Expansion here -- it was the first addition to Pike Place Market in over 40 years!
3:45 PM – Experience the famous fish toss at Pike Place Fish Market
This is a no-brainer. Obviously every visitor to The Market has to watch the crazy lads at Pike Place Fish Market toss that big ole salmon. It’s perfectly done every time and makes for a great boomerang. They toss all day, no schedule needed, just show up and wait for the magic to happen!
4:00 PM – Pike Place Urban Garden with a snack
The Market is a busy place. They have 10 million visitors every year (seriously, it gets REALLY busy) and it can feel a little overwhelming at times. We like to have an escape route planned to the wonderful Urban Garden behind Maximilian. This little space overlooks the Puget Sound and offers a quiet getaway from the chaos of the Main Arcade. The garden is cared for by the Pike Place Market Senior Center and all the produce goes to the Pike Place Market Food Bank. It is full of fun art and unique items to discover. Grab a snack from one of our favorite spots and enjoy it here.
The Athenian is not only featured in the romantic and life-changing film, Sleepless in Seattle, it is also home to the coldest mugs in Seattle. It’s our favorite spot to grab a cheap, cold beer, along with some cheap, delicious appetizers. When you arrive let the attendant know you’d like to sit in the bar and then head to the back left. You’ll be greeted with an old bar, filled with wooden booths and great views of Puget Sound! Watch the ferries take off, the ferris wheel spin, and take in the views of the Olympic Mountains as you sip your ice cold brew!
6:00 PM – Dinner at The Pink Door
The Pink Door serves up amazing Italian food in an incredible space. It’s a bit hard to find, with no sign marking their entrance, but if you head to Post Alley with their address plugged into GPS you should be able to locate their salmon-colored door. Enter into a world of amazing cocktails and unbelievable delicious Italian dishes. We love their risottos and lasagna, you can't go wrong with either option. They also have entertainment certain nights, check out their schedule here to see what they have going on!
8:30 PM – Catch a show at Unexpected Productions
Unexpected Productions is the oldest improv group in Seattle and a great place to end your night. They have 10 different options for shows throughout the week, all of them equally hilarious and full of amazing talent. They have a small bar to help get those laughs a little louder and their location is full of history. You can thank them for the massive wall of gum located directly outside their front door!
10:30 PM – Grab a nightcap
Obviously you aren’t done yet! There are still so many bars to try! We love Radiator Whiskey and Jarr Bar for our late night drinks. They both offer housemade cocktails that are to die for and have friendly staff and cool vibes (we wrote about some of them here). Be careful though, they make their drinks stiff!
Ok, now it’s time for bed. Go home and crash hard – you’ve just crammed nine acres of Pike Place Market into one day!