Everybody has one eye on winter break as the anticipation for home, leisure and time with family builds. But if you’re a college student, unfortunately, the other eye is firmly planted on finals week. For you, the next week will be a raging marathon through a minefield littered with lukewarm coffee, consecutive all-nighters and assignments that you never knew existed. If you survive this mess, you have many ways to spend the remaining days in Seattle before you head home. If you’ve never been to Pike Place during the holiday season, this might be a good year to start.
Every year Pike Place hosts Magic in the Market, the one time a year where the crowded, but fun, tourist-riddled market we all know is transformed into a wintery, peaceful place where friends and family can enjoy the best that Seattle has to offer.
“It’s sort of the antithesis of the over-commercialized shopping holiday. It’s really a friends and family kind of event,” said Emily Crawford, Director of Communications and Marketing for Pike Place Market PDA.
This year, Magic in the Market was on Nov. 28 and had something for everyone. There was a free Santa with whom pictures could be taken with, cider, hot chocolate and Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes.
Every year, thousands of people come to celebrate the holidays in the iconic heart of Seattle. Many of the people who come, Crawford said, are locals.
“We know from the numbers that local shoppers are here throughout the year. They’re the ones who make sure our small businesses survive, even when tourist season ends.”
Seattle University junior Khyree Smith has lived in Seattle for most of his life. He first visited the Pike Place Market when he was in kindergarten or the first grade—he’s not sure which—on a school trip. He remembers the excitement he and his classmates felt when they saw the golden pig for the first time. They took turns getting their pictures taken while riding it.
Years later, Smith still makes occasional trips down to the market when he needs spices or ingredients that he can’t find anywhere else. His favorite shop is the comic book store on the lower level.
“That’s a real awesome place,” Smith said. “If I go, I at least stop by there and look around for anything new.”
Erin Andrews owns a small business in Pike Place Market, called Indi Chocolate, where she makes and sells dark chocolate along with a variety of body care products. For this holiday season, Andrews is working with a local master woodworker, along with Alchemy Fine Coffees, to make wooden boxes from locally harvested wood filled with their handmade chocolate and roasted coffee. Indi Chocolate is located on the 5th floor, down the ramp from the fish throwers and next to a mini car dealership. Literally every day, she said, someone calls her saying that they’ve been walking around the market for hours and they still can’t find her store.
“I probably have the hardest spot to find.” Andrews said.
Indi Chocolate, along with a handful of other small businesses from the original market, will relocate to the Pike Place Marketfront upon its completion. The Marketfront, which according to Andrews is expected to be finished some time in 2017, will provide locals with new ways to enjoy the city. Key features include the following: 30,000 square feet of open space with a viewing deck and a public plaza, 47 stalls for farmers and artists to display their creations, 12,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, multiple access points to the waterfront, 40 units of low-income and senior housing, a Neighborhood Center with expanded social services, 300 covered parking spaces, 33 bicycle spaces and multiple installations of public artwork.
“The Marketfront will allow us to do all of our production where everyone can see it,” Andrews said.
Pike Place Market is a pillar of Seattle culture. In the next few years, it will change drastically with the completion of the Marketplace. As the community has embraced the market, Crawford said, the market will strive to embrace the community in return.
“Everybody has a secret spot in the market that’s their favorite,” Crawford said. “Explore the market and find your place. There’s so much here to be discovered.”
Nick may be reached at [email protected]