Wandering Pike Place Market

Treasures weird and wonderful await when you skip the flying fish, go subterranean and get lost on purpose at this sprawling and iconic destination.

Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington

One of Seattle’s largest and most popular attractions, the nine-acre, 11-building empire that is Pike Place Market isn’t just for tourists. With more than 500 shops, eateries and vendors to explore, locals love the spot, too.

If you’ve popped into the overwhelmingly crowded market to see the guys throwing fish and snapped an Instagram of the tulip stalls, you might not really get it. You might think that’s all there is. But you’d be so wrong.

With five more floors below the Main Arcade, there are a myriad of nooks and crannies to explore. As Visit Seattle advises, “It can be easy to get lost here, but that’s entirely the point – in Pike Place Market, there’s no such thing as a wrong turn.”

So follow the neon hands pointing down and down and down. Follow winding ramps and crooked stairs to where the crowds thin out and it becomes quiet. These halls are like a mash-up of the Iowa State Fair and a lost episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?

And it’s here that you can find the real hidden treasures.

Neon sign at Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington


Market Magic Shop is more than a toy store. The turn of the century magic posters and art create an Instagram wonderland. From beginner tricks to pro illusions, there’s so much to browse. And the Zoltar-esque machines out front still work – the fortune card that pops out is a great (and cheap) Seattle souvenir.

Halloween enthusiasts will want to find Orange Dracula, a dime store for really weird stuff. Browse pins, knickknacks and odds-and-ends from ’80s and ’90s cult classics. There’s also a fun photo booth inside.

True believers can sit for a Tarot card reading at herbal apothecary Tenzing Momo. Or seek out Christopher’s Lamp for a palm, psychic or astrology reading from clairvoyant Darleen Christopher.

Magic Shop in the Pick Place Market in Seattle Washington


BLMF has, well, “books like a mother f*****.” The used bookstore with the best name ever requires patience, but the messy stacks can be oh-so-rewarding.

If shopping local concerns you, you’ll love stumbling upon Chin Music Press. This tiny printing press sells books on contemporary Japan and other Asian fiction and non-fiction. And even though you can’t judge a book by its cover, the designs are beautiful.

For new books or if you’re wandering the market with children (God help you) Lion Heart is a great stop with a friendly and charismatic shopkeeper.

For music, Holy Cow Records is worth a browse, offering rather cramped aisles of common and not-so-common LPs and 45s. Don’t miss the posters and bargain bins filled with tons of surprises. 

Book shelves in a book store at Pike Place Market


Crafters and sewers can revel through shelves and shelves of vintage fabric in every color at Our Fabric Stash. If you like to make handmade gifts or just a rad Halloween costume, there’s so much inspiration here.

Rummage Around is exactly what it sounds like. No afternoon spent at Pike Place would be complete without taking in all the random, creepy and totally awesome stuff. If your family plays White Elephant at Christmas, this is the place. You can find some real gems here, like jadeite vases and flamingo salt-and-pepper shakers, for dirt cheap.