Pike Place Market and Seattle Waterfront

* distances indicated refer to walking distance from the Seattle Convention Center - Arch Building; ticket/admission prices are per person


Pike Place Market

Seattle is a city of communities and Pike Place Market (0.5 miles) has been the star since 1907. This historic public market overlooks the Seattle Waterfront, just blocks from the Convention Center. With 10 million global visitors annually, it is not uncommon to overhear multiple languages while exploring on foot. Whatever you like can be found here — it even contains its own bodega and modern day visitors can consult its online interactive map to help with navigation.

View of Pike Place Market entrance


Beyond locally-grown produce and flowers, at the Market you’ll find a community of buskers, the famous Gum Wall, a Giant Shoe Museum, and a Miniature Car Dealer. This is the place for souvenirs from kitschy to truly unique, including maps, 3D wood puzzles, cutlery, records, rare coins/memorabilia and leather goods. It is home to the only magic shop in the Pacific Northwest and also has Seattle’s highest concentration of bookstores, including:

For writers (or those seeking a bespoke lab notebook), three different artisans offer leather-bound journals: No Boundaries, Glen’s, and KSWB.


Food at Pike Place Market is the deserved subject of numerous articles and local tours. For a quick bite between sessions, some shorter lines can be found near the main Market entrance. DeLaurenti’s Italian Grocery serves decadent pizza slices, and Pike Place Nuts roasts and glazes nuts for a portable snack. The  Piroshky Piroshky queue at Pike Place often snakes the sidewalk; not so for their new location at the Convention Center - Summit Building (0.1 miles). Also, skip the longest lines at the “Original Starbucks” (not actually the original) and head instead to Storyville Coffee for better coffee, an out-of-this-world cinnamon roll and an inviting sitting area.


Pike Place Market bustles during the day, but nightlife hums beneath the relative evening calm. Several restaurants and bars are open at night (see also: White Horse Tavern and Kell’s Irish Restaurant & Pub) and the Market houses a few theater spaces. The Can Can offers lively dinner cabaret shows loved by locals and visitors alike ($70-90+, group packages available). Live, often literary-inspired music is a treat at the intimate Rabbit Box ($15+), or enjoy hearty laughs from Unexpected Productions Improv ($10-20) in a theater that was once a horse stable. Like many old structures, the Market has a colorful and storied past; believers and skeptics have plenty to experience on a ghost tour from Nightly Spirits or Seattle Terrors ($30).


Seattle Waterfront

The Seattle Waterfront is in transition as construction is underway to connect Pike Place Market to new public spaces along the water. The waterfront is still accessible from the Market, and the centerpiece Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57 (0.8 miles; adult tickets $16+) guarantees stunning views over the water. Otters, seals, puffins and giant octopi greet visitors at the Seattle Aquarium (0.7 miles; $40+, CityPass participant) which is also undergoing a major expansion.

view from the water of Seattle waterfront

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Michelle M. Giarmarco, PhD

A proud Seattleite since 2002, Michelle Giarmarco became fixated on vision science in 2012. She earned her doctoral degree in biochemistry at University of Washington (UW) under the mentorship of James Hurley, PhD and Susan Brockerhoff, PhD, developing tools for live ex vivo imaging to answer questions about retinal metabolism, calcium signaling and more. Since 2021, she has been a lead scientist in the UW Ophthalmology Microscopy and Histology Core. Giarmarco enjoys supporting the department in an endless variety of projects, working with Ophthalmology trainees, and exploring new imaging methods to better understand the retinal landscape. Away from the microscope you’ll find her on her houseboat, kayaking or cycling along the Seattle Ship Canal, or making carbohydrates disappear at Pike Place Market. An aspiring retiree tour guide, she loves to show off the many facets of the Emerald City.