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One of Seattle's most famous landmarks, Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously working public market in the United States and one of the world's top 50 most visited attractions. Pike Place opened in 1907 as the city's first public market, expanding to keep up with its growing popularity as a convenient option for both shoppers and merchants. The market remains a veritable cornucopia of culinary and artisanal options, its crowded aisles and bustling halls thronged with customers jostled between vendors of fresh produce and gourmet eats, alongside fishmongers and craftsmen. The street level is dominated by the food and produce stalls, while the lower levels house a fantastic variety of shops including antique dealers, head shops, florists, and local artisans. A whirlwind of sights, sounds and aromas, Pike Place Market is nothing short of paradise for foodies and connoisseurs of unique wares.
This famous fish market is one of the most well-known spots in Seattle where you can watch fishermen and sellers throw fish through the air. The fish and shellfish are fresh, displayed in crushed ice all around the counter. The stand sells wild salmon, yellow fin tuna, halibut, crab, prawns and more. You can simply browse or buy some to go, most fishmongers will ship it anywhere. Make sure to stop and watch the famous fish-throwing show. Pike Place Fish Market is located right through the main entrance to Pike Place Market.
Watching over Pike Place Market since 1986, Rachel the Piggy Bank is a mascot and the best fundraiser for the lower-income neighbors living in and around the market. Created by Georgia Gerber, a sculptor from Whidbey Island, Washington; Rachel weighs about 550 pounds (250 kilograms) and is named after a 750 pound (340 kilograms) pig who won the Island County Fair in 1985. Legend has it that if you rub her snout and make a donation, you will be blessed with good luck. Rachel steals the limelight at Pike Place Market as thousands of tourists visit her everyday.
Coffee lovers may want to check out this branch of the ubiquitous coffee shop chain; it happens to be the first Starbucks that was ever opened. The building has retained the same facade over the years, and is still busy with folks on the go looking for their coffee fix. This first Starbucks opened in downtown Seattle in 1971. It was originally housed at 2000 Western Avenue, where it stayed until 1977 when it moved to its current location one block south, at Pike Place near Stewart Street. Today, the Starbucks global empire has shops in 55 different countries, where they sell an assortment of gourmet drip-brewed coffees, teas, sandwiches and other snacks, as well as coffee beans.
As part of your visit to Pike Place Market, be sure to grab a cup of chowder from this spot, it's an obligatory Seattle stop. This multiple award-winning seafood joint is a must-visit for any lover of seafood, chowder or local Seattle flavor. Enjoy the energy of fellow market-goers bustling by as you taste different concoctions of chowder, soups and seafood. Diners here have described their eating experiences here as "emotionally moving," so be prepared for a transcendent experience. The first thing you will notice is the giant line, but don't fret, it moves rather quickly. If you want to capture the essence of Seattle in one meal, this wouldn't be a bad choice.
The Seattle Art Museum is internationally recognized for its excellent collection of Asian, African and Native American art and for its fine collection of modern art produced by Pacific Northwest artists. The permanent collection includes 21,000 pieces and while it doesn't have huge collections of European art, it does have plentiful local art and wonderful visiting exhibits. The museum is centrally located downtown near the waterfront and Pike Place Market.
After a day at Pike Place Market, you'll want something to eat in calm surroundings safely from the fishmongers and hordes of tourists. This restaurant provides both a charming old-world decor and some of the best French food in the city. The menu changes often, in accordance to what is fresh in the market, but you will likely find appetizers such as Montrachet souffle, yearling oysters, steamed mussels and twice baked goat cheese souffle. Tempting entrees include Roasted Rabbit Roulade, Duck Aromatique, Seared Alaska Weathervane Scallops or Lamb with Curried Eggplant. The bar delights patrons with its creative concoctions and everything is always carefully prepared. Additionally, the dining room boasts stunning views of the market and Elliott Bay, so come here and watch the sunset or simply sit out at the patio if you're dining with someone special.
With the prow-like marquee, The Showbox looks like a standard concert venue planted in the grit of First Avenue. A closer look will reveal much depth as you'll find that the popular music venue has been enthralling music lovers since 1939. And indeed, the musicians who perform here are well-known, like P.J. Harvey, Zap Mama and Les Nubians to name a few. Small raised platforms offer seating around the dance floor, and there are two separate bars. The attached Green Room bar offers cocktails and a varied bar menu.