Arguably the world’s most famous coffee chain, Starbucks got its start in 1971 in downtown Seattle—it’s one of the reasons the city is synonymous with coffee. There’s often a line out the door at what’s called the original location, with coffee drinkers eager to say they’ve had a cup of joe at the birthplace of a worldwide phenomenon.
Though not actually the first Starbucks location, this is the so-called original, the oldest remaining store of the thousands around the world. Located in famous Pike Place Market, this Starbucks is a tourist draw and has a feel unlike any other. Often you’ll find buskers playing lively music just outside the front door.
Throwback logos are the theme here, and the decor takes a similar bent. The bar is covered in leather sourced from scrap at nearby shoe and automobile manufacturers; the walnut on the doors, tables, and bar top came from a local farm; and the signage on the bar is recycled slate from an area high school. In all, it’s a humble birthplace for a commercial powerhouse.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The original Starbucks is often crowded, with a line out the door. It moves quickly, but if you want to avoid it altogether, come first thing in the morning.
- The café is a draw for tourists of all stripes, but coffee buffs and Starbucks fans will especially love it.
- Pike Place Market and the original Starbucks are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get Here
Located in Pike Place Market, in downtown Seattle, the original Starbucks sits at 102 Pike Street, near the corner of 1st and Pike. It’s easily accessible on foot or by a slew of Seattle city buses running through downtown.
When to Get Here
The café is small and gets crowded quickly. Come in the early morning hours, before the downtown area has truly woken up and filled with tourists, though if you do encounter a line, know that it moves quickly.
About Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a worthwhile diversion if you’re visiting the original Starbucks. Opened in 1907, the sprawling marketplace is one of the country’s oldest continuously operated public farmers markets. In addition to fresh produce, dozens of stalls sell fresh flowers, jams, honey, jerky, pasta, olive oil, and more. Craftspeople offer worthwhile souvenirs, and small, independently owned restaurants and shops make up several levels of the market.