Photo Friday: Pike Place Market

One of the best things about living in Seattle is watching travelers enthuse over the Pike Place Market. Visitor linger over fresh blackberries, laugh at the salmon-slinger’s antics, clap along with the buskers and marvel at the hand-made goods. Kids try fruit samples, while parents give in and buy a wind-up toy. Or three.

I took this photo about a year ago. The market, for some reason, was awash in the prairie-print dresses, somber black stockings and head-coverings of a religious community, probably Amish. In predominantly liberal, agnostic Seattle, the conservative clothing choice was more unusual than piercings and tattoos (which function as everyday work accessories here).

Vendors looked mildly surprised, then welcomed the newcomers with smiles and samples.  Although the visitors’ dress was of an era long ago — and you’d expect some gravitas to go with that style — the younger women could hardly contain their excitement over the market’s goods, as they buzzed from one stall to the next.

The market has historically been a village’s collective space, a place where populations can share ideas, food and merchandise on common ground. Shots like this remind me how lucky I am to live in a city with a thriving market culture.

This photo and post is a proud participant in DeliciousBaby’s Photo Friday.

Seattle Things To Do

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.


  • Kerry

    been my experience as I’ve worked with memebrs of such communities that the manner of dress is a reminder and a witness, and that the people in the dress are still lively and interested in the world around them. like the way you have respected these women while giving an idea of the contrasts and excitement. thanks.

  • Small Footprints

    Oh I love Pike’s Market. I grew up in Seattle and now live in North Carolina but whenever I visit my family, we head for the market. Doesn’t matter what time of year it is … it’s a great spot.

    Thanks for the pictures … you’ve made me homesick!

  • Dominique

    Great shot.

    I’m guessing your Pike Place visitors may more likely be Mennonites. The more conservative Mennonite women wear print dresses and white caps, while I think the Amish women more generally wear darker solid colors and black bonnets out in public.
    Mennonites are more accepting of modern conveniences, including things like driving, so I think you’d more likely see them farther from home than Amish. When the Amish need to travel great distances for something like, say, a funeral, they’ll often find an “English” friend to take them. At least that’s my understanding.
    We see a good number of both, especially when we travel in Ohio.

  • Lora

    Thanks for that observation, Dominique. I’ll bet you’re correct. We get many visitors (dressed like this) from the Midwest and East via Amtrak; Amtrak connects Seattle directly to Midwest destinations. But you’re right, I think Amish women dress differently. We have conservative religious communities in our region that I can easily identify (like Apostolic Lutherans), but I’m not familiar with visiting communities.

  • Peter West Carey

    Thanks for the reminder that we live in a ‘travel destination’. I sometimes forget. Gotta get down to the market now that the weather is nice! Do they still do Organic Wednesdays?