How we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Citizens’ Initiative to Keep the Market!

50 years ago, Pike Place Market was saved by Seattle citizens who voted to keep the Market. This year we are celebrating!

We all know the Market today as the Soul of Seattle, a place to shop local and Meet the Producer. It is a 9-acre historic district of one-of-a-kind shops, iconic landmarks, housing, social services and an essential establishment for our locals. It’s hard to imagine the Market not being here, but 50 years ago we almost lost it to a wrecking ball.

In the early 1960s, the Market was a target for urban renewal and extensive demolition. In 1964 the Friends of the Market organization was established to advocate for preserving the Market and protecting it from being destroyed. The Friends undertook a city-wide campaign to “Keep the Market.”

Through the grassroots efforts of Seattle citizen advocates, the “Let’s Keep the Market” initiative was mounted on November 2, 1971, the Seattle community voted to save the Market. This initiative preserved the largest continuously operating public market in the nation and protected not only the Market complex but a community of farmers, small independent businesses, and low-income and elderly residents.

Now 50 years later, we are celebrating our Market and the remarkable community that kept the Market alive and those who keep it strong today. Come enjoy your Market with us by Making it a Market Day and join us in the celebration.



Here is how we celebrated!



  • Oct. 13 & 18 –  The Market Foundation Hosting Documentary View Events  
  • Oct.16  – Documentary, “Labor of Love: Saving Pike Place Market” premieres on KOMO4 TV at 9:00pm​
  • Oct. 23 – Let’s Keep the Market STRONG 50th Celebration Event – Join Pike Place Market, Friends of the Market and Pike Place Market Foundation as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Citizens’ Initiative to Keep the Market! Enjoy a variety of Market activities that celebrate the Market we all love today, including special commemorative gifts, craft demonstrations, one-of-a-kind shopping and more!


  • Nov. 2 – Anniversary Date: Proclamation Day
  • Documentary, “Labor of Love: Saving Pike Place Market” Re-Air Dates 
    • Sunday, November 7 at 3:30pm
    • Friday, November 26 at 9:00am
    • Friday, November 26 at 5:30pm
    • Saturday, December 25 at 9:30pm

Virtual Events

Download the Pike Place Market free digital book and mark your calendars for the upcoming Market documentary
digital book cover pike place market

Download Digital Book - Inside Pike Place Market

FREE Digital Book Download Inside Pike Place Market: Building a model public market into the 21st century. 

Chapters Include:

  • Urban Design
  • Citizen Activism
  • Market Management Today
  • The Diverse Market Family
  • 21st-Century Growth
  • Epilogue: The Market’s Resilience

Download Digital Book - Inside Pike Place Market
friends of the market pike place market

Labor of Love: Saving Pike Place Market Documentary

Watch the 50th Anniversary Documentary on KOMO – “Labor of Love: Saving Pike Place Market”

Premiered Saturday, October 16 at 9:00pm
Documentary Re-Air Dates Include:

  • Sunday, November 7 at 3:30pm
  • Friday, November 26 at 9:00am
  • Friday, November 26 at 5:30pm
  • Saturday, December 25 at 9:30pm

Watch the Trailer

Three Organizations Working Together to Keep the Market STRONG


Pike Place Market: Shop, Eat, & Support Local

Nestled in the heart of downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market offers nine-acres of world-class shopping, fine dining, fresh ingredients and more. The Market is made up of 500+ small businesses that include restaurants, eateries, fish markets, produce stands, small retail shops, farmers, artists and crafters, buskers, 450 residents that live above the Market businesses and five social services.

In 1973, the City of Seattle created the Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) to manage the historic Market district. The PDA manages and operates the daily activity of the Market and preserves, rehabilitates and protects the Market’s historic buildings; increases opportunities for farm and food retailing in the Market; incubates and supports small and marginal businesses; and provides services for low-income people in the community.

Whether you visit the Market daily or have never been, you are sure to discover something new. When you shop the Market, you are supporting generations of families and local business owners, so come shop, eat and support local!




Friends of the Market: The Work Continues

Friends of the Market was created in 1964 to protect and defend the Market from the “black wrecking ball.” Against incredible odds, Friends of the Market worked for seven years to educate the public and advocate for preserving the Market before ultimately mounting this ground-breaking ballot measure. It was a true grassroots effort and accomplished a monumental feat. The subsequent hard work of the Market PDA, Market Foundation and Historical Commission made the vision of the Friends of the Market a reality.

50 years later, Friends of the Market remains steadfast in its commitment to education and advocacy. Since 1964, it has singly, or with allies, advocated for or opposed public policies affecting Pike Place Market and fought for historic preservation and renewal in downtown Seattle and the Market.

Today, this story is particularly relevant as Seattle residents and neighborhood communities face many modern challenges. This anniversary occasion is a time to visit the Market, learn about its preservation and support ongoing efforts to ensure its vitality for our future generations. As we celebrate this anniversary, please join us to continue the work of keeping Pike Place Market!

To learn more about the work and mission of Friends of the Market, click the button below.



Market Foundation: Give Today

The Pike Place Market Foundation nurtures a thriving Market community so that everyone within it has the opportunity to live their best life possible.

Established in 1982 to uplift the charter of Pike Place Market, the Market Foundation has invested more than $32 Million in the Market community to support low-income housing, culturally-appropriate health care, access to healthy food, high-quality preschool, and a healthy community as well as the preservation and restoration needs within the historic district.

The Market Foundation supports a neighborhood model that allows a diverse community to live and thrive at Seattle’s historic Market.

By partnering with our social services in the Market and supporters from Seattle and around the world, we are keeping the Market community strong today and for generations to come.

Let’s Keep the Market STRONG!