Exactly what to eat and do at the iconic Pike Place Market, according to a Seattle native



Slide 1 of 42: 
 Pike Place Market is one of Seattle's most famous tourist
 attractions. 
 But even though it's a major tourist hub, there are also many
 hidden local gems to be found and enjoyed there. 
 From a cheese store where you can watch cheese being made to
 an indie bookstore where the owner sings to guests, these are the
 places worth visiting at Pike Place Market. 
 Visit
 Business Insider's homepage for more stories. 
 When someone asks me what they should do on a trip to Seattle, I
 always tell them to go to Pike Place Market.
 Yes, Pike Place is very touristy. It has been very touristy for a
 very long time, but it's been home to some of Seattle's most
 interesting small shops and restaurants for even longer.
 As a kid, I often went to Pike Place with my family on weekends.
 I'd get three flavored honey sticks for a dollar and nibble down
 the sweet plastic tubes as I browsed stuffed marine animals and
 colorful hand-knitted shawls.
 Over the years, Pike Place has gotten more and more crowded.
 Shops and stands have come and gone, while some have remained the
 same. Some have gotten worse.
 A major expansion and renovation was completed in 2018, allowing
 the market to accommodate an ever-growing number of visitors. 
 Read more: 
 I
 ate the same meal at Texas Roadhouse, Outback Steakhouse, and
 LongHorn Steakhouse. Here's how they compared. 
 Through all these changes, my love for Pike Place has remained
 constant. Inside its winding, sloping maze of halls, there's
 always an unusual book or a tasty morsel to discover. Plus, its
 diversity showcases the history of the immigrants - Russian,
 Chinese, Turkish, Iranian, among many - that made Seattle the
 vibrant city it is today.
 I'm going to take you on a whirlwind journey of the spots that
 make Pike Place Market one of my favorite places in the Emerald
 City.
Slide 2 of 42: Enter the market at the Pike Street, but don't go inside.
Slide 3 of 42: To your left, there will be a bookstore.
Slide 4 of 42: Left Bank Books sells everything from socialist theory to local zines to activist ethnobiology. It's about as leftist as it gets, which means it's a perfect cross-section of Seattle's intellectual culture.
Slide 5 of 42: The interior is cozy and charming, with an upper level and a back room.
Slide 6 of 42: 
 Read more: 
 Popeyes' new chicken sandwich convinced us that we never need to
 go back to Chick-fil-A
Slide 7 of 42: Books are hand-picked by staff, many of whom are volunteers.
Slide 8 of 42: Upstairs, there is a reading nook. Take a book and leaf through it on this picturesque window seat, and maybe you'll learn a little about radical feminist theory or the heirloom seed saving movement.
Slide 9 of 42: On your way into the market, don't forget to pet the brass pig for luck.
Slide 10 of 42: 
 Read more: 
 21 products that prove Costco is a bulk shopper's
 paradise
Slide 11 of 42: But it's worth it to pass by and gawk at the local sea critters on ice. If you come at the right time, you can also catch the famous fish toss.
Slide 12 of 42: Head down the hallway to the right and you'll happen upon Sosio's Produce, which has a rich variety of local vegetables, fruit, and fungi.
Slide 13 of 42: Admittedly, I only come to Sosio's to see if morels are in season — then my family goes to the mountains and picks them ourselves.
Slide 14 of 42: But if you're not a seasoned morel hunter and you'd like a fresh taste of the Pacific Northwest, Sosio's has you covered.
Slide 15 of 42: Aside from flowers and the ever-evolving line-up of honey and soap vendors, there isn't too much else of interest in the main hall. Instead, head down the ramp to the lower level. You'll pass a tiny Cantonese restaurant. Skip it.
Slide 16 of 42: Across the hallway from the restaurant is Lion Heart Bookstore — my favorite bookstore in all of Seattle. It was closed on the day I visited because the owner, David Ghoddousi, was attending a market council meeting.
Slide 17 of 42: This bookstore has been in operation since 1961 and has passed on from caretaker to caretaker. David, who is of Iranian descent, is the fifth caretaker. He welcomes guests with joke and song and personally curates the store's eclectic collection.
Slide 18 of 42: I've bought a dual-language book of Arabic poetry here, as well as literary classics by James Joyce and Kurt Vonnegut, among others. David is also often happy to special-order books for customers.
Slide 19 of 42: Remember that Cantonese restaurant you skipped earlier? You skipped it because across the street from the main market is Mee Sum Pastry, a Pike Place old-timer that sells some of the best Hong Kong pastries outside of the International District.
Slide 20 of 42: Its selection of pastries is a vestige of the earliest iteration of Chinese cuisine in America. Now that Seattle has become popular with mainland Chinese visitors, students, and tech workers, options for authentic Chinese cuisine abound in the area.
Slide 21 of 42: My two favorites at this place are the pineapple bun (sold as pineapple bread) and the char siu pork bun. The first is sweet and the second is savory, so they balance each other out perfectly.
Slide 22 of 42: Make your way up the east side of Western Avenue to Beecher's Homemade Cheese.
Slide 23 of 42: Beecher's cheese is crafted in-store, and you can watch the process through a glass window.
Slide 24 of 42: Beecher's sells all kinds of cheese that you can take home with you, including cheddars and cheese curds.
Slide 25 of 42: You can even sample some of their specialties.
Slide 26 of 42: 
 Read more: 
 I tried mac and cheese from 6 chains, and the winner blew away
 the competition
Slide 27 of 42: Next up, stop by French bakery Le Panier for a petit dessert pause.
Slide 28 of 42: As with most places in Pike Place, it's hard to find a seat here. But this is a place you should really find time to savor.
Slide 29 of 42: Le Panier makes French baked goods that can be hard to find elsewhere. If you're in a rush, you can grab a bag of creamy, melty meringues to take with you.
Slide 30 of 42: Their eclairs are close to perfect.
Slide 31 of 42: 
 Read more: 
 I ate apple pies from 5 fast-food chains, and the winning pie
 blew me away
Slide 32 of 42: Next up: my favorite lunch spot in all of Pike Place. Michou Deli is one of the few places left in the city where you can get a filling, delicious lunch for under five bucks.
Slide 33 of 42: Seating is limited, though, so be prepared to take your food with you.
Slide 34 of 42: Its specialty is sandwiches. You can buy them whole or by the half.
Slide 35 of 42: I recommend getting half a sandwich and filling out your meal with a soup, deli salad, or dessert.
Slide 36 of 42: Everything at Michou is delicious and affordable, so you can't go wrong. There are also vegan and vegetarian options.
Slide 37 of 42: Finally, end your food tour at Piroshky Piroshky, the famous purveyor of the Russian pastry called — you may have guessed — a piroshky.
Slide 38 of 42: Be prepared to brave a long line out the door. But once you get into the tiny shop, you'll be rewarded with the scent of fresh-baked pastries.
Slide 39 of 42: There are sweet and savory piroshkies as well as other baked goods and pastries.
Slide 40 of 42: My personal favorite is the mushroom, onion, and celery piroshky, but the smoked salmon pate piroshky makes great use of a classic Pacific Northwest ingredient. Get out quickly, because the line is long and full of tourists.
Slide 41 of 42: Finally, walk to the end of the market and take your haul across the street to Victor Steinbrueck Park, where you'll be treated to an unparalleled view of the Puget Sound.
Slide 42 of 42: Take a seat on the grassy lawn, dig in, and stretch your legs. You've earned it.

When someone asks me what they should do on a trip to Seattle, I
always tell them to go to Pike Place Market.

Yes, Pike Place is very touristy. It has been very touristy for a
very long time, but it’s been home to some of Seattle’s most
interesting small shops and restaurants for even longer.

As a kid, I often went to Pike Place with my family on weekends.
I’d get three flavored honey sticks for a dollar and nibble down
the sweet plastic tubes as I browsed stuffed marine animals and
colorful hand-knitted shawls.

Over the years, Pike Place has gotten more and more crowded.
Shops and stands have come and gone, while some have remained the
same. Some have gotten worse.

A major expansion and renovation was completed in 2018, allowing
the market to accommodate an ever-growing number of visitors. 

Through all these changes, my love for Pike Place has remained
constant. Inside its winding, sloping maze of halls, there’s
always an unusual book or a tasty morsel to discover. Plus, its
diversity showcases the history of the immigrants – Russian,
Chinese, Turkish, Iranian, among many – that made Seattle the
vibrant city it is today.

I’m going to take you on a whirlwind journey of the spots that
make Pike Place Market one of my favorite places in the Emerald
City.

Enter the market at the Pike Street, but don’t go inside.

To your left, there will be a bookstore.

Left Bank Books sells everything from socialist theory to local zines to activist ethnobiology. It’s about as leftist as it gets, which means it’s a perfect cross-section of Seattle’s intellectual culture.

The interior is cozy and charming, with an upper level and a back room.

Even if you don’t agree with the politics of the books sold here, you’ll get a peek into what Seattle’s intelligentsia are reading.

Books are hand-picked by staff, many of whom are volunteers.

Upstairs, there is a reading nook. Take a book and leaf through it on this picturesque window seat, and maybe you’ll learn a little about radical feminist theory or the heirloom seed saving movement.

On your way into the market, don’t forget to pet the brass pig for luck.

I don’t buy fish from Pike Place Fish Co. My family never has, and I’m not sure if people actually do buy from them. We get our fish from Costco. (Also a local market!)

But it’s worth it to pass by and gawk at the local sea critters on ice. If you come at the right time, you can also catch the famous fish toss.

Head down the hallway to the right and you’ll happen upon Sosio’s Produce, which has a rich variety of local vegetables, fruit, and fungi.

Admittedly, I only come to Sosio’s to see if morels are in season — then my family goes to the mountains and picks them ourselves.

But if you’re not a seasoned morel hunter and you’d like a fresh taste of the Pacific Northwest, Sosio’s has you covered.

Aside from flowers and the ever-evolving line-up of honey and soap vendors, there isn’t too much else of interest in the main hall. Instead, head down the ramp to the lower level. You’ll pass a tiny Cantonese restaurant. Skip it.

Across the hallway from the restaurant is Lion Heart Bookstore — my favorite bookstore in all of Seattle. It was closed on the day I visited because the owner, David Ghoddousi, was attending a market council meeting.

This bookstore has been in operation since 1961 and has passed on from caretaker to caretaker. David, who is of Iranian descent, is the fifth caretaker. He welcomes guests with joke and song and personally curates the store’s eclectic collection.

I’ve bought a dual-language book of Arabic poetry here, as well as literary classics by James Joyce and Kurt Vonnegut, among others. David is also often happy to special-order books for customers.

Remember that Cantonese restaurant you skipped earlier? You skipped it because across the street from the main market is Mee Sum Pastry, a Pike Place old-timer that sells some of the best Hong Kong pastries outside of the International District.

Its selection of pastries is a vestige of the earliest iteration of Chinese cuisine in America. Now that Seattle has become popular with mainland Chinese visitors, students, and tech workers, options for authentic Chinese cuisine abound in the area.

My two favorites at this place are the pineapple bun (sold as pineapple bread) and the char siu pork bun. The first is sweet and the second is savory, so they balance each other out perfectly.

Make your way up the east side of Western Avenue to Beecher’s Homemade Cheese.

Beecher’s cheese is crafted in-store, and you can watch the process through a glass window.

Beecher’s sells all kinds of cheese that you can take home with you, including cheddars and cheese curds.

You can even sample some of their specialties.

But the real draw of Beecher’s is their mac and cheese, which is some of the best mac I’ve ever had. Make sure to get a cup to go, or eat at the counter and watch the cheese in your mac being made.

Next up, stop by French bakery Le Panier for a petit dessert pause.

As with most places in Pike Place, it’s hard to find a seat here. But this is a place you should really find time to savor.

Le Panier makes French baked goods that can be hard to find elsewhere. If you’re in a rush, you can grab a bag of creamy, melty meringues to take with you.

Their eclairs are close to perfect.

And their classic and creative macarons are also worth a spin.

Next up: my favorite lunch spot in all of Pike Place. Michou Deli is one of the few places left in the city where you can get a filling, delicious lunch for under five bucks.

Seating is limited, though, so be prepared to take your food with you.

Its specialty is sandwiches. You can buy them whole or by the half.

I recommend getting half a sandwich and filling out your meal with a soup, deli salad, or dessert.

Everything at Michou is delicious and affordable, so you can’t go wrong. There are also vegan and vegetarian options.

Finally, end your food tour at Piroshky Piroshky, the famous purveyor of the Russian pastry called — you may have guessed — a piroshky.

Be prepared to brave a long line out the door. But once you get into the tiny shop, you’ll be rewarded with the scent of fresh-baked pastries.

There are sweet and savory piroshkies as well as other baked goods and pastries.

My personal favorite is the mushroom, onion, and celery piroshky, but the smoked salmon pate piroshky makes great use of a classic Pacific Northwest ingredient. Get out quickly, because the line is long and full of tourists.

Finally, walk to the end of the market and take your haul across the street to Victor Steinbrueck Park, where you’ll be treated to an unparalleled view of the Puget Sound.

Take a seat on the grassy lawn, dig in, and stretch your legs. You’ve earned it.

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