Seattle’s Pike Place Flower Market

Since 1907, growers have been bringing produce to Pike Place Market to sell.  76 stalls were built that first year, and now hundreds of farmers, businesses and craftspeople sell goods at Pike Place Market to millions of people every year.   Residents and tourists wander the market for fresh food, fresh flowers, interesting crafts, books, foreign newspapers…it’s a concentrated mix of ingredients.  Perched along a steep hill overlooking the water and loaded with specialty food stores, musicians, fishmongers, and crowds snacking on anything from felafel to freshly made cheese, it’s a great place to spend the afternoon in early spring, when rows of flower stalls packed with a brilliant riot of tulips and daffodils are adding their bright colors to the scene.

Many of the flowers you see at Pike Place are grown and sold by Hmong immigrants, some of whom have been here since the early 80’s.

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Outside the market, a flower cart loaded with buckets of tulips rests on the brick street. If it weren’t for the plastic buckets this could almost be a scene from a hundred years ago, but surprisingly, the brick roadbed was installed in the 1970’s to slow down car traffic.

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Plastic tarps create a wall between the market stalls and the street in warmer weather. When workers slide buckets of flowers back on the work tables, the flowers are pressed against the tarp. From the outside, the effect makes me think of an Old Master still life, its colors slightly obscured by centuries of dust and grime.

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The variety of tulips and daffodils is amazing. They’re beautiful from any angle.

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Yes, only $10.00 for these big, fresh bouquets! And you can ask the workers to add a little more of your favorite color, if you like.

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Here’s a link for the market.


43 comments

  1. What stunning pictures, once again, Lynn. I love them all, but especially the Hmong woman and her flower arrangement in the first one, and the yellow and coral tulips in the 2nd. I’m sure the market must be a fabulous place to stroll through with a camera in hand. I can’t believe those bouquets are only $10!! 🙂

  2. Lovely vibrant post BB 🙂 Flower shots are splendid … I love that those ladies are echoing the flowers with their own bright head scarves too !
    Your Old Masters have come up Beautifully 🙂

  3. Awesome! Pike Place is indeed a feast for the eyes. The flowers are magnificent as are all different varieties of fruits and veggies on display. And you are right, the simple, rustic setting really makes the goods stand out. Lovely post, just lovely.

  4. beautiful, beautiful images! I love the way they’re all so different and unique! and colorful! I’m looking so much forward to when the flowers arrive in Oslo 😀

  5. I particularly like the first photo – it is nicely composed and is full of information, relating to both the flowers and the seller and the relationship between them. The second photo too is colourful and vibrant. I’m less convinced by sepia images in a flower market unless they are stressing shape and form. The last five or six convey the atmosphere very effectively.

    • Louis, your thoughts are valued, as always. I’m glad you like the first one – I’m not one to take a lot of photos of strangers, and often the women don’t seem to want their photos taken so it can be tricky. Thanks!

  6. Thank you for bringing back to my visit to Pike Place several years ago in early September. Instead of spring flowers, there were humongous dahlias, the biggest I have ever seen. The gorgeous, colorful bouquets were huge! Even though we were only staying in Seattle for only a few days, I had to buy a bouquet. We kept the flowers in a water pitcher in our vacation rental. They were glorious.
    What a terrific post about Pike Place. You are a very gifted photographer and I like how you share a lovely back-story.

    • Thanks for your comment. You’re too kind! It’s true, the flowers keep changing through the seasons – so you know they’re really fresh! Not like the supermarket, with roses all year. It’s what’s growing in the fields, and you can see that, too, if you drive northeast a bit. I bet I too would have bought the bouquet – vacation or not! Right now I have a small bouquet of roadside wildflowers, like those I used to pick in your home state of NJ, back when I lived there (too) many years ago.

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