Last week, Seattle celebrated the grand opening of the new Pike Place MarketFront. It was a long time coming. Not only for folks who tried to navigate Western Avenue amid the mass construction, but for all of us who love Pike Place Market and use it regularly, whether we’re showing off the city’s historic centerpiece to out-of-towners or eating, drinking and shopping there — as I regularly do.
This week on Food for Thought I told Stein that yes, I’d already paid a visit to the beautiful Pike Place Market addition that better connects the existing Market to Western Avenue and, once the Viaduct comes down, will connect it directly to the the waterfront.
Among its many features: Glorious views! Thirty thousand square feet of public space! A covered pavilion for nearly 50 additional farm and craft tables! A Producers Hall, where four existing Market businesses will soon move and expand to produce “artisanal” goods on-site!
Stein’s burning question, however, was about parking. Yes, Stein: The MarketFront added 300 underground spaces, accessible via Western Avenue and adjacent to the Market’s existing lot — for a total of 800 slots. Pro-tip for height-of-summer tourist season: Access it from the south, not from the north, where you’ll have to navigate through the pedestrian hell of stop-signage in front of Steinbrueck Park. Better yet? Ride your bike. They’ve got slots for those, too.
I also told him something that too few people know: Pike Place Market has long been a hub for social services and is home to low-income housing, a food bank, medical center and preschool. The MarketFront’s new Market Commons, operated by the Pike Place Market Foundation, will now be the neighborhood community- and resource center for those and other programs. I failed to mention that the agency also provides 59,000 free meals for seniors each year. And that some of that food comes from the Market’s own Urban Garden. Cool, right?
Of course, this being the start of the summer, it’s not only Pike Place Market that’s abloom with activity.
It’s farmers market season everywhere you look! And here in the Puget Sound, you don’t have too look far to find one. Given our cornucopia of fabulous farmers markets, you might consider making a day-trip to a far(ther) flung market. Need some ideas? Check out Puget Sound Fresh, with a list — and a map — directing you to every farmers market around the Sound.