Seattle, WA

Winter at the Pike Place Market

Maria Shimizu Christensen

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Photo by Maria Shimizu Christensen

The Pike Place Market is a tourist staple in Seattle, and deservedly so, but that also means its walkways are overflowing during the summer months. It can be a challenge to move through the crowds and get any shopping done. But, the market is open year-round – in fact, it’s only closed two days out of the year, on Thanksgiving and Christmas – so savvy locals know that the off season is prime time to shop the market.

Produce vendors have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, the fish guys are still slinging fish, craftspeople and artisans have their tables set up, and all the shops and restaurants are open. The parking rates at the market garage are reasonable for downtown Seattle, at $4 per hour, but if you enter before 9:00 am you can get an early bird rate of $10 for the day.

Early mornings are especially good for starting your market visit in the winter. Go before the vendors set up for a unique view of an empty market, and grab breakfast and a mimosa or Bloody Mary at Lowell’s Restaurant. By the time you finish your meal the market will be in full swing, but still light on visitors.

If it gets too cold for you, head to the two floors full of shops under the main thoroughfare. Some of the best indie bookshops in the city are located there, and there are many amusements for the kids.

The Pike Place Market website has suggestions for planning your visit, whether it’s early morning or you’re looking for things to do with the kids. It’s also a good destination for date night. The suggestions include places to browse, drink, and dine, and the garage offers a special rate of $5 after 5:00 pm.

Whenever you go, and whatever you plan to do, just make sure to call it the Pike Place Market, or just The Market, because calling it Pike’s Place will make you sound like a tourist or a newcomer. Nothing wrong with that, but it never hurts to learn the local lingo.

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Author of a Seattle handbook for newcomers, Maria provides news, guides, and tidbits for city dwellers, visitors, and day trippers

Seattle, WA
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