Pike Place Market, Seattle’s most popular tourist destination. If you’ve ever visited Seattle, or even if you’re a local, you’re likely familiar with Pike Place already. Sure, we all know about the flying fish and the iconic neon sign, but Pike Place has much more to offer. It is a massive street market, with vendors providing everything from handmade and local goods that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else, to food from around the world, many of which even locals may not have heard of. To find the best the market has to offer you’ve got to dig deeper than the first Starbucks roastery and the myriad of flower stands. Here are 5 Hidden Gems you’ve got to visit next time you’re at The Market:
Ryan Blythe, the creator of Blythe Duckies first started crafting his glass figurine Duckies in 2002. At first, they came in classic yellow, but these days they come in just about every color imaginable, as well as multi-color combos, and special editions, like the teal ducky and the violet ducky, now used as fundraisers for cancer research. You can order them online, but the Pike Place stand, located in the north arcade, might be the most popular market vendor you’ve never heard of.
2). Frantic Art
Frantic Art is a family owned business created by Wray and Kay Sheen. Wray initially started working in clay in 1966, and in 1973 he opened the stand at Pike Place, making he and his wife Kay members of the market for over 40 years! Frantic specializes in creating functional, yet gorgeous ceramic pieces that provide a refined rustic look to everyday things in your home, like wall vases, serving dishes, light switch covers, bird feeders and houses, tiles, and cookware. If you’re looking for handmade wares to spruce up your home, don’t skip on Frantic Art located in North Arcade.
One of the most unique vendors in the Market, Soul Cat guitars have been cranking out Cigar Box guitars and ukuleles for the last five years. Started by Dean Moller, a professional woodworker, and musician, Soul Cat is committed to the visual and sonic quality of every instrument they make. In Dean’s words, “They are like works of Art that you can play.” Each instrument is one of a kind, professionally built and well assembled. You can check out Soul Cat’s website for audio samples to hear how great they sound. They’re on the Desimone Bridge in the market.
Sure, you may not have heard of Sosio’s, or it may not immediately come to mind when you think of Pike Place, but Sosio’s is well known among market regulars. Their popularity is mostly due to the fact they are the purveyors of the market’s largest mushroom display, peaches that are utterly massive, and other produce from all over the world. If there’s any fruit or vegetable you’re after, Sosio’s is the spot in the market where you’re sure to find it. They’re in the main arcade.
The sheer beauty of this vendor’s work is what got them on our list. The knives made by Swanfield Horn & Stone Craft are probably the most beautiful crafted items you can find in the Market. Swanfield Horn & Stone Craft specializes in hand chipped obsidian stone knives with bone handles (the one in the picture above is a coyote jawbone) sourced from within Washington state. All of their knives are carefully handmade by Gyusup & Robin Park. Even if you don’t purchase one, they are worth a glimpse if you’re heading to the North Arcade.
Whether you’re visiting The Market to check out the first Starbucks, catch a flying fish, or to find the smallest, most obscure vendor you can find, we can all agree that Pike Place is a staple of the city and a must for any Seattle first timer. But, there’s a lot to take in. If, after checking out our 5 hidden gems, you’re interested in experiencing the market’s amazing culinary offerings, a tour of Pike Place is a the best way to learn about the people, stories, and flavors that make it such a special place. Tours allow visitors from near and far to efficiently digest both Seattle’s delicious food and remarkable culture, and nobody does that better than Show Me Seattle. If you’re interested in setting up a tour of Pike Place, check out our ‘Taste Pike Place Market’ Tour. It’s a fun way to try some of the local flavors found at The Market!