Get a Bite at Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Called the Emerald City of the Pacific Northwest, a visit to Seattle should include many famous staples such as the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, and one of the many available cruises on Elliot Bay. However, among those destinations, once of the most quintessentially Seattle-based attractions is Pike Place Market. Home of the original Starbucks store along with hundreds of stores, markets and eateries, this nine acre city staple is the perfect destination regardless of the time of year you visit the Emerald City.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place History

The original Pike Place Market opened for business in 1907 where eight local Washington State farmers gathered to sell their wares. The city’ population, reacting to the increased prices of onions and other produce at local stores where the “middle men” gouged prices, descended upon the corner of 1st Avenue and Pike Street in droves that numbered up to 10,000. When the farmers sold out by 11 am, the city knew it was on to something big.

Over the course of 1907, the market was built and the stalls were filled to capacity each week with eager farmers looking to sell directly to buyers and buyers looking for a deal on their produce. Over time, the offerings at Pike Place Market have grown to include retail stores, eateries and craft vendors. However, the heart of Pike Place, the farmers who grow the food and the people who consume it, still remain today. The market is called the “Soul of Seattle” and rightly so. It stands as one of the largest and most beloved Farmers’ Markets in America hosting more than 10 million visitors from around the world each year.

Must-See Attractions

Pike Place is open year-round from 9 am to 6 pm Monday thru Saturday and 9 am to 5 pm on Sundays. This makes it a great destination for families looking for a good meal or unique gift as well as individuals and couples interested in some of the best of Seattle cuisine, produce and entertainment. Regardless of your age or interests, however, the following must-see attractions should be included in your Pike Place stop:

  • The Original Starbucks – whether you’re hyper-caffeinated like us or a decaf kind of soul, the atmosphere of the original store that began the international coffee revolution is almost a history lesson. Starbucks is located on the north end of the market, right on the cobblestone.
  • Pike Place Fish – almost as quintessential as coffee, the fish-flinging workers at Pike Place Fish will not disappoint. These fishmongers still throw around their massive catches to the delight of the crowd and are happy to package your purchase for the flight home. Pike Place Fish is located in the Main Arcade, off of Western Avenue by the Bay.
  • The Tasting Room – while many people associate wines with Washington State’s neighbor to the south, the vintages and grapes from this fertile part of the country are actually quite impressive. The Tasting Room, located at 1924 Post Alley, is a cooperative of seven Washington State wineries.

Your Seattle Vacation

When traveling to the Pacific Northwest, the number of attractions that you can experience is quite great. From the soaring heights of the Space Needle to the beauty of Elliot Bay, there are many places to see and experience this “gem” of a city. But no trip to Seattle is complete if it does not include taking the time to visit Pike Place Market. You can shop, eat, and simply take in the amazing ambiance of Seattle, pack a bag of goodies for home and support local, boutique businesses all at once.

10 Cities to Consider for Your Next Vacation

When it comes to choosing a destination for your next vacation, many different factors come into play.  Climate, activities and cost are all aspects to consider when deciding where to travel to next, and with choices ranging from Oahu to Chicago to London, there are many cities worthy of a trip!  We’ve compiled this list of 10 places to consider visiting on your next trip to make your decision making process a little easier.

1. New York, New York. NYC is a city full of good food and fun, with more activities to do than you can imagine.  There are plenty of sights to see no matter what age you are!  From amazing zoos (Bronx, Queens and Central Park) to a tour of the Empire State Building to visiting the NBC Studio, there is truly something for everyone.  If music is your passion, there is much history to be enjoyed in New York City, so considering checking out Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. And of course, don’t miss all the amazing museums New York has to offer, including the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The weather can vary – in the summer, temperatures and humidity levels are high, while the winter months will offer blustery days.  Fall days will provide a crisp feeling in the air, and picturesque streets with multicolored leaves covering the city.  Spring showers may bring flowers, but the fickle weather in spring has proven to be unpredictable. And though the city is beautiful in every season – you will want to visit when you are most comfortable walking city streets to see the sights.  Overall, NYC has amazing activities that are fun for the whole family – no matter when you decide to visit!

beach party Luau on Big Island Hawaii after sunset

2. Oahu, Hawaii. Hawaii is a beautiful state, and the island of Oahu has a lot to offer a tourist.  Since there is so much to do, it is recommended to invest in a Go Oahu card to enjoy activities and attractions at a discounted rate.  You can easily see all the sights of the island by taking a tour, including the Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour or the full-day Grand Circle Island Tour.  And while in Oahu, you won’t want to miss the sea life native to the area, so be sure to check out Sea Life Park.  To see the sea life up close, consider kayaking, surfing or snorkeling!

Weather on Oahu is very stable – with most months averaging temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees, though the rainiest season is winter.  Even if it rains on your Hawaii parade – you will surely enjoy your trip full of gorgeous scenery, fascinating plant and animal life.

3. Los Angeles. Los Angeles, LA, The City of Angeles, LALA Land… whatever you call it, the city is a great place for a vacation trip!  If roller coasters, funnel cake and people watching are among your favorite pastimes – Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm are all within a reasonable distance from the city.  If movies are of interest to you, LA is the perfect place for you!  Don’t miss Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Sony Pictures Studio Tour for a behind the scenes look.

The weather in Los Angeles varies a bit – with the best months to visit reported as April through June and September through October. In the summer you can expect sunshine and high temps, while the fall is cool, winter chilly and spring full of showers.

4. London. If your budget allows for a trip overseas, consider visiting the city of London.  There is so much to see, including the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Thames River cruise and much more. The London Zoo and the London Aquarium are great activity options for children and adults alike.

With rainfall being common – the highest temperatures are naturally in the summer, but winter temps rarely plunge below freezing.  London is a city with much to offer from beautifully designed buildings to precious views – it is worth the trek!

Tower Bridge - London

5. Boston. Though the weather can be fickle in New England, Boston is an amazing city to visit any time of year. With winter bringing snow, sleet, and all kinds of precipitation – you must be prepared to visit in wintertime – though the snow on the trees and buildings is very picturesque.  Spring showers are frequent, summer months are full of sunshine and warm weather, with autumn breezes blowing colorful leaves around your feet.

With some much history surrounding it, the city of Boston offers a great deal of activities.  Between the Freedom Trail, the Trinity Church, museums, memorials, breweries and of course, Fenway Park, you will be busy every day of your trip!

6. Chicago. Known as the “Windy City,” be prepared for the weather in Chicago!  While winters are cold, summers can be humid.  Spring and fall can also be chilly but offers great scenery for sightseeing!

With the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and architectural tours at your disposal, you definitely won’t be bored during your stay.  And if you are, be sure you add SkyDeck Chicago, Hancock Observatory and the Navy Pier to your list of must-sees!

7. San Francisco. If you love beautiful sights, amazing seafood and unique culture, then the city of San Francisco is for you!  You’ll enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks and the entire city – especially if you ride the cable cars.  If you’re a foodie – you’ll be in heaven, as the San Fran streets are full of restaurants and cafes.

San Francisco temperatures are on the cool side all year round, with summer temps averaging between 60 and 70 degrees – though winter weather does not bring temps much lower than 45 degrees.

8. Las Vegas. If you and your travel buddies are over 21, Las Vegas is a city you have to visit at least once!  Vegas is full of bars and clubs – if that is your kind of vacation, but there are also a great deal of entertainment options.  With shows ranging from The Lion King to Cirque du Soleil to David Copperfield, there is surely an event that will suit your interests.  And don’t miss the roller coasters on the strip – including theStratosphere Tower and The Roller Coaster at New York-New York!

With more than 300 days of sun a year, chances are you will be able to enjoy at least one sunny day on your trip! And since the weather is usually warmer and drier than other parts of the country, don’t forget your sun screen!

9. San Diego. Beaches, museums, parks, and more – San Diego has it all!  With so much to do, San Diego is a great city to visit with family and/or friends!  The beautiful weather – withtemperatures barely reaching below 50 degrees – allows for outdoor activities all year round.

When making your San Diego itinerary, don’t forget to plan for the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum, Torrey Pines State Reserve and SeaWorld San Diego!  With so much to do, your San Diego trip will be full, but if you have time, try to plan for the amazing beaches in San Diego as well!

10. Seattle. Though Seattle is known for its sometimes dismal weather, contrary to popular belief – it does not rain all the time!  While it does rain often, summertime (specifically the last half of July and the first half of August) is the driest time of the year in Seattle and winter is the wettest season.

And if it is raining – have no fear. There are plenty of indoor activities in Seattle that will make your vacation worthwhile, like the Museum of Flight, the Seattle Aquarium and the Original Starbucks – a must visit for coffee lovers!  If you are visiting and the skies are clear, don’t miss Seattle Center, Woodland Park Zoo and the Space Needle!

With 10 great recommendations of cities to consider for your next vacation – start planning today!  Whether you decide to visit Boston, explore Hawaii with the Go Oahu card or drink coffee in Seattle, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.

Explore the Gem of the Pacific Northwest at Discount Prices

The arrival of summer means that Seattleites are moving outdoors. Coffee shops, movie screenings, theater, restaurants—everyone is anxious to enjoy the Emerald City’s mild summer temperatures. Indoor attractions are still a top draw, of course, and the Seattle CityPASS offers you discounted admission to all of it.

Seattle Skyline with Mount Rainier

With the Seattle CityPASS ticket booklet, visitors can see Seattle’s top six attractions for close to half off the regular price, plus they can skip to the head of the admission line. Adult passes are$59 (a$52.60 savings) and passes for kids aged 4 to 12 are $39 (a $32.40 savings). You’ll get admission to the Pacific Science Center, the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, and Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. Plus choose either the Museum of Flight or the double Experience Museum Project/Science Fiction Museum.

A great way to enjoy a sunny day and get a feel for the city is on a one-hour narrated cruise of the Seattle Harbor and Elliott Bay. Argosy Cruises takes you by views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and tells the story of Seattle’s historic waterfront.

The most iconic building in the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The panoramic indoor and outdoor view from the 605-foot-high observation deck is a great way to get oriented to the city and take in sweeping views of Puget Sound and the surrounding mountains. Even the elevator is a thrill ride—visitors are swooped up to the observation deck in just 41 seconds. Don’t miss the revolving SkyCity restaurant, stocked with local cuisine, wine, and microbrewed beers. The CityPASS includes two separate trips to the observation deck within a 24-hour period, so you don’t have to choose between daytime and nighttime views.

The Space Needle is part of the Seattle Center, which you can access with a quick ride on the elevated monorail. The monorail departs every 10 minutes from the Westlake Center Mall and passes the Experience Music Project before dropping you off at the Space Needle. Rides are just $4 round-trip for adults, $2 for seniors, and $1.50 for kids ages 5 to 12.

Also at the Seattle Center is the Pacific Science Center, rated by Zagat’s as one of the top 50 family attractions. Explore under the earth’s surface while viewing a creepy-cute naked mole rat colony, and zoom to the stars with planetarium shows. The Just for Tots area is perfect for little kids, and everyone in the family will love the tropical butterfly house. Outside at the Seattle Center, grab a cup of joe and watch the scene—everyone from locals on their laptops to street performers to kids splashing in the nearby fountains

Animal lovers can enjoy both the Seattle Aquarium and the Woodland Park Zoo. At the aquarium, enjoy a tropical coral reef as well as the “Window on Washington Waters” that shows sea anemones, salmon, and other local wildlife as explained by scuba divers with underwater microphones. Put your hands on local sea creatures at the large tide pool exhibit, and watch sea otters frolic. At the zoo, you can wander 92 acres of reptiles, great apes, big cats, and elephants. The new penguin exhibit is a top draw, and young visitors can crawl and run around the Zoomazium play area.

Some free diversions just outside of downtown include the Golden Gardens Park, with jogging trails along the coastline, hikes through the forest, pier fishing and a boat launch, and a sandy beach for catching some rays. The Washington Park Arboretum illustrates the saying “April showers bring May flowers” as it bursts into a 30-acre assortment of unique flowers and plants.

Night view of cruise pier at Seattle, WA

The Seattle CityPASS also comes with an option to visit one of two museums, the Museum of Flight, or the two-in-one Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum. The Museum of Flight has a collection of 85 aircrafts. View the jet-speed Concorde, the first Air Force One, and a Blackbird spy plane—all accompanied by interviews of the men and women who flew them. Wannabe rock stars can take in the Experience Music Project, a shrine to local rocker Jimi Hendrix and those who came before and after. In the same Frank Gehry-designed building is the Science Fiction Museum, which includes an interaction with E.T. and the chance to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair.

Evenings outdoors are a great time to experience the free spirited neighborhood of Fremont. For a donation of $5, you can join locals at the Fremont Outdoor Movies. It’s a bring-your-own-seat event, and folks get extremely creative. Don’t be surprised to find boats, couches, or little kids’ racecar beds being used as “theater” seating.