Any trip to Seattle would be incomplete without a stop at Pike Place Market. Even on one of the rainy and overcast days Seattle is known for, a stroll through the market offered vibrant colors, fresh fruits, and tons of free samples.

Don't get me wrong – there are plenty of delicious treats well worth their prices, but after spending all my money on hotels, museums, and Molly Moon's ice cream, filling up on samples at Pike Place was just what I needed.  

Our Route

Madison Erlandson

After witnessing the line down the block for the original Starbucks, we entered the Market through the northwest entrance near Virginia Street. The stalls on this end of the structure are filled with handmade jewelry, art, and bouquets of flowers that smell much better than the fish at the other end, where we exited.

Fresh Berry Jams

chocolate, cream
Madison Erlandson

Our first samples were homemade jams from Johnson Berry Farm, a farmer-owned farm in Olympia, Washington. We tried one of their pepper jams as well as their signature tayberry jam, each spread on a cracker. The tayberry is a cross between a raspberry and blackberry, perfectly sweet, and if I were to go back to Pike Place with money, it's the first thing I'd buy!

Apple Cider

Madison Erlandson

Just across the aisle from Johnson Berry Farms was Martin Family Orchards, another small stall offering apples, apple cider, and other apple products. The cider was crisp and cold, and with no added sugar and no preservatives, it was a healthy refreshment as well.

"Oh My God" White Nectarines and Taylor Gold Pears

vegetable, apple, pasture
Madison Erlandson

At Sosio's Produce, a very personable salesman offered slices of "Oh My God" white nectarines and Taylor Gold pears. I'm normally not a fan of pears, but this pear lived up to its "OMG" name – it melted in my mouth. The nectarine was firm and sweet, and both tasted like they had been picked earlier that morning.

OMG! Balsamic Vinegars and Dipping Oils

soup, tea
Madison Erlandson

The next OMG!-worthy booth had a lazy Susan holding around 20 olive oils, balsamic vinegars, dipping oils, and BBQ sauces. I probably ate a whole loaf of bread too, using the tiny cubes – usually more than one – of bread to dip in each sauce. Not a single one was bad, but I probably "sampled" the Basil Garlic Parmesan Dipping Oil about 5 times...

Greek Yogurt

ice cream, ice, strawberry, cream
Madison Erlandson

After listening to a string band and watching people throw entire fish back and forth, we exited the market onto Pike Street and were met with a tray of samples from Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt. The sweet marionberry and tart passionfruit flavors complemented each other perfectly. 

Ginger Beer

tea, ice
Madison Erlandson

Our last stop was Rachel's Ginger Beer to wash everything down. To be fair, I did end up buying a 16 oz. strawberry-passionfruit ginger beer, but not before sampling a few of their nearly 20 flavors on tap. It was a refreshing, tangy, and a great end to my meal of samples.

Next time you're in Seattle and low on cash, you too can sample your way through Pike Place Market for free!