Down an unassuming alleyway next to Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market is a hidden work of art dubbed the Gum Wall or the Wall of Gum. The unexpected and colorful display is an excellent representation of Seattle’s unique charm and character.
Started in the 1990s when local patrons in line for an improv show at Post Alley’s Market Theater stuck their used gum on the wall, the Gum Wall has grown piece by piece to cover an enormous expanse of brick wall and continues to expand down the alleyway. The resulting colors and overall imagery are fascinating.
The stench of decaying and aged chewing gum can be a bit offensive, but the Gum Wall is still an intriguing sight. Some consider the wall to be a monstrosity or a glorification of littering, but to most the Gum Wall stands as a beautiful work of collective art.
For 3 days beginning November 10th, 2015, the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority pressure-washed, scraped, and cleaned the wall for the first time in 20 years … but beginning the very next weekend, locals and tourists have collectively started to recreate the wall at the same location as before.
Know Before You Go
Head down a ramp to the left of the main entrance (marked by a large neon "Public Market" sign) to Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Follow the alley left. The gum wall will appear to your left.