Friday, March 9, 2012

Pike Place Market & the Seattle Art Museum

Opened in 1907, Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA is the oldest continuously running public market in the United States. And after breakfast as Beth's Cafe, this is where Greg and I started our Pacific Northwest vacation. 

Downtown is the one place in Seattle that we had trouble finding parking. Eventually, with the help of my GPS, we found a parking garage that wasn't full and hoofed it over to the market, which was bustling even in the middle of the week. There were tons of interesting shops with lots of things that I wanted to buy, but since this was my first day in town and I was stubborn to stick to a modest budget, I ended up only buying a magnet for my fridge to add to my collection (I have magnets from all over the world; it's a fun collection). 

I also bought Kimmy a signed copy of Market Ghost Stories by Mercedes Yaeger to use for her blog American Haunts. It turns out that Pike Place Market is hella haunted. (Big surprise.) I did't notice anything unusual during my time there, but in addition to the corridors we walked down, the restaurant where we later dined, Pan Africa, which was delicious, and the theater behind the disgusting and smelly Gum Wall in Post Alley where we went to see my first improv show put on by Unexpected Productions are both famously haunted. The theater is allegedly the abode of five spirits, though my friend Amanda, who was with us and even won free tickets to a future show for one of her improv suggestions, said she only saw four. (I didn't ask her to clarify. Perhaps I should have.)

One place that may or may not be haunted by ghosts, but is certainly swamped by the living is the original Starbucks, store #1, right there in the market. Though the line was just out the door when we decided to stop, it moved quickly. These folks are efficient! They are also friendly and cheerful, and this is the only coffee shop that has asked to be certain they were getting my name correctly, spelling and all, on the cup (which is why I don't usually give my real name - it irritates me when they get it wrong). I kept the coffee sleeve as a fun and re-usable souvenir.

It is thanks to the friendly folks at Starbucks that Greg and I learned that day was free at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) just up the road. In fact, the first Thursday of every month is free admission, so if you are in Seattle the first week of the month, consider dropping by. It's hard to miss with a giant statue of a man hammering out front. (It kind of freaked me out.) We saw some fantastic Australian aboriginal art as well as some native Pacific Northwest pieces, and even some ancient Greek and Egyptian artifacts.

SAM isn't the largest art museum I have been to, so it should only take you a few hours to get through it (especially if you largely skip the modern art as I did). I believe this is because Seattle, like San Francisco, has many art museums spread across the city rather than having it largely in one place, like Detroit. Maybe on my next trip to Seattle, I will be able to see more of the art museums, like the one devoted to Asian Art, which is apparently also free  the second Thursday of every month.

As far as I know, none of the museums are haunted. If you hear otherwise, please let me know!

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