A Different Side Of Pike Place Market: Seattle’s “Gum Wall‏”

Last Updated on June 19, 2015

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Pike Place Market is a great place to shop for souvenirs, dodge flying fish, but the most memorable of the experiences is seeing the Gum Wall. The Market Theater Gum Wall is a local landmark in downtown Seattle. The brick alley Gum Wall runs for about 50 feet along Post Alley and is literally covered in used chewing gum.

The tradition began back in 1993 when those attending Seattle Theatresports were irritated they had to wait in line to get tickets and would stick gum to the wall and placed coins in the gum blobs while they waited in line to get inside. In time the tradition of the coins disappeared and only the gum remains today. Theatre workers tried scraping the gum away, but the sticky gum graffiti just kept getting added again. Eventually the theatre workers gave up after market officials declared the gum wall to be a tourist attraction in 1999, welcoming those who “chew” to add a wad.

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The gum is stretched, molded and arranged into a variety of miniature artworks that show off the properties of chewing gum: soft and pliable when freshly chewed, yet tough and colorfast when dried.  Hot weather during the summer may cause the gum to droop over time, but for the most part, all other weather seems to have a very small effect on the gum.

But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. As gross and germ-filled as it sounds, our gum had to be added, too.

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Would you want to add your gum?