When we first started researching things to do in Seattle, we knew that touring Pike Place Market would be on our weekend Seattle Itinerary. We debated visiting the market on our own, but ultimately decided to try out a chef-guided Pike Place Market Tour with Eat Seattle Tours. We are beyond thrilled that we did!
The benefits of taking a Pike Place food tour over strolling around on your own:
- skipping the line at many of the popular establishments
- having someone guide you through the maze of the building so you don’t get lost
- discovering hidden gems (like gardens and artifacts) within the Market
- learning about the history of how Pike Place came to be
- meeting the people and their stories behind the delicious small bites
- tasting so many yummy items that you will have eaten at least a light lunch by the time you are through. I was actually stuffed!
- learning where your favorite places are so can go back for more the next day with your tour discount card
Eat Seattle Chef-Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market
We met our tour guide, John, across from the Market at Seattle Coffee Works a few minutes before our 12:30pm tour. He introduced himself to the group, which was made up of 8 people (10 is the limit ensuring a personal experience).
Pike Place Market History
John began by giving us a brief history of the making and politics behind Pike Place Market being what it is today. He was able to give us many details based on his connection to the Market for over 30 years and I think he knows literally every merchant in that place!
In a nutshell, Pike Place Market is separate from the governing politics of the rest of the city of Seattle, and therefore is captured in time. Businesses pay their lease on a sliding scale, no business can be in the Market if they have ever been in another location previously, and street vendors claim their time slots around the market with their name on a piece of tape on a pole. Craft vendors show up each morning to choose their booth location based on seniority. It was fascinating to step back in time to the early twentieth century and watch a whole new world emerge inside Pike Place Market.
The cornerstone value of the market is that it gives consumers the ability to “Meet the Producer.” From berries to baguettes to fresh fish, the Market brings suppliers directly to consumers in a magical way.
Pike Place Market Tour Samples
The history of Pike Place was fascinating to me, but the samples were the highlight – of course. We sampled a total of 10 treats, including meats, fish, teas, produce, chocolates, soup, pasta, and fancy oils (truffle, anyone?). I won’t list our exact tour path here because honestly, being surprised with what was coming next was half the fun! But if you really want to know everything you will put in your mouth on this tour, drop me note below and I’ll happily give you every detail!
We began our tour by getting a hearty sample of Elleno’s Real Greek Yogurt. Literally the best Greek yogurt you will ever taste. My husband happens to despise Greek yogurt but even he gave his nod of approval. Our sample was Marionberry flavored and I went back the next day for the Lemon Curd. Both are AMAZING. Buy more than you need and save some for breakfast the next day. You will be so glad you did and you’re welcome.
My husband’s very favorite stop was Uli’s Sausage. Uli proudly displays his German sausage maker certificate on the wall of the small but mighty restaurant. We were given a hearty taste of sausage and sauerkraut during our tour and came back the next day for lunch and ordered Garlic Breath Sausage (the hubby chose it – at least we both ate it!).
We also really enjoyed the smoked salmon from Pike Place Fish Co. The singing chants each time someone buys a fish, followed by a huge fish being tossed in the air from person to person is icing on the cake. Pike Place Secret: The fish that they throw is really a test fish later fed to animals – so no worries if you see one slip right through someone’s fingers!
Lastly, another favorite was the infamous Pike Place Chowder. The line from the counter that runs about an hour long at all times of the day is testament to the deliciousness of this place. Luckily, we were on a tour, so John hopped right up to the counter and grabbed our tray of samples lickety-split. It was warm, creamy, clammy, and everything that chowder should be and more. Work it into your itinerary to come back and stand in that long line for a flight of clam chowder of all flavors. We didn’t, and as I write this post, I am regretting it!
Eat Seattle Food Tour of Pike Place Market Tickets
Tours are 2 hours long and are held daily at 10am and seasonally at 12:30 as well. Tickets are $49.99 per person and worth every penny. We did not have any children on our tour, but depending on your child and their attention span, it could be a very fun family activity as well.
Eat Seattle Food Tours Review
We were highly impressed by the delicious food we ate, the professionalism and definite entertainment factor by our guide, and the education about Pike Place including history, hidden garden spots to eat your lunch, and stories about this unique landmark in Seattle.
We would not have been able to try half of the places that we did had we browsed the Market on our own. You will be given a discount card for 10% off of any of the places that you visited so that you can come back for more of your favorites.
If we had to choose only one paid activity for our three days in Seattle, Eat Seattle Tours would have won the vote! We loved this afternoon touring Pike Place.
I have gotten hungry just writing this post! Which tasty spot are you most excited to try?
A special thank you to Eat Seattle Tours for hosting us on this tour. As always, all opinions are our own, honest feedback, as we share our experiences with you!
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