It’s THE tourist thing to do in Seattle. Cruise ships passengers march up its harbor steps, and even locals can’t resist the cheap flowers and fresh produce. It’s also a fantastic free place to go exploring with kids.
- All-day browsing
- Great people watching
- Covered, for those rainy Seattle days
What to do:
- Watch the exuberant fish throwing at Pike Place Fish (near the pig). Tell them you want to take a picture, or better yet a video, and they’ll oblige, though snarkily of course. That’s part of the fun.
- Ask to see a magic trick at the Market Magic Shop.
- Enjoy the tunes of street performers.
- Taste test some yummy Chukar Cherries. They’re always happy to offer a sample.
- Watch how they make cheese at Beecher’s.
- See the first Starbucks. There’s really not much to it, but it’s something people like to do.
- Pet the brass pig for good luck.
Know Before You Go:
- Avoid driving around here. Take a bus or cab. If you must drive, beware the one-way streets and aimlessly wandering pedestrians.
- Accompany your kids to the market bathrooms. Sometimes they’re a bit sketchy.
- If you go in the summer or on a weekend, it’s going to be crowded—as in shoulder-to-shoulder crowded. Be patient or pick a less busy day. If you need to bring a stroller, this is especially important to note.
- If you’re from out of town, don’t buy fish to ship home (they will offer to). I can tell you, as a local who’s brought fish there and brought it straight home, 9 times out of 10, it wasn’t exactly fresh. I can’t imagine what you’d end up with after shipping it.
- Lowell’s is a nice little restaurant with a good view, but I say, skip the crowds (inherent to Lowell’s central location) and head to the Pike Street Pub on the second floor, kitty-corner to the Pike Place sign. It has a fantastic view of the market, plenty of seating, reasonable prices, and decent food, too.
For more free Seattle fun, try one of these adventures:
- Golden Gardens
- Olympic Sculpture Park
- Green Lake
- Gasworks Park
- Bayview-Kinnear Park
- Ballard Splash Park
- Tulip Festival
- San Juan Islands
Have your own tips for free things to do in and around Seattle … or your city? Please share!