In addition to its iconic destinations, such as the Space Needle, Seattle, and its surrounding suburbs is home to a number of stranger destinations, such as the Fremont Troll, Fremont Lenin, and of course, Bruce Lee’s grave. While all of these spots and many others have a certain amount of quirkiness, there is only one spot in all of Seattle where the quirkiness and the mainstream meets, and that is the Gum Wall at Pike Place Market. In all fairness, even without the Gum Wall, Pike Place Market is a unique spot that has more than a bit of quirkiness on its own. From the fresh produce, to fish being thrown, to all sorts of stores that sell almost anything new and used from all over the world, the market is a spot that represents Seattle in the minds of tourists from around the globe. With this backdrop, perhaps it is unsurprising that the Gum Wall arose one night in the midst of souvenirs, ghost stories, and street performers.
The story of the Gum Wall is actually quite simple: in the 1990’s, local patrons in line for a performance at the Post Alley Market Theater started sticking their gum on the wall of the alley. The rest, they say, is history. From that point the gum collection on the wall grew and grew and grew and became the slimy, sticky modern art spectacle that it is today. In 2009, the Gum Wall was named the second germiest attraction world-wide (the first was the Blarney Stone), but that did not stop the gum from being placed on walls - or people from visiting it. In November of 2015, the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority elected to scrub the walls of the alley clean - and did, removing 2,350 pounds of already been chewed gum. Notwithstanding this massive cleanup, people came - and started the Gum Wall anew. Today, the alley - and the surrounding area - is once again covered in gum.
Directions: The Gum Alley is located at 1428 Post Alley, and the simplest way to find it is to orient oneself directly under the center of the market, and descend a slight alley. From that point, it is impossible to miss.
Tips: A massive pile of chewed gum on walls, complete with photos, germs, and lots of people is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re concerned about tight spaces - or germs - this is not for you. For everyone else who wants to see the art or gum or stick a piece on it, it’s open year round and is most definitely strange and unique. And, for those that don’t have gum when they get to the market - there’s plenty of places to purchase gum to stick on the wall.