Seattle Gum Wall

If you’re wandering around Seattle’s Pike Place Market at a loose end, pop a wad of gum in your mouth and get chewing as you wander over to the Market Theatre on Lower Post Alley. The theatre is the venue for late night improv shows and back in the 1990s, patrons waiting in line for shows started sticking gum on the wall outside. Over time, the wads of gum grew in number, despite theatre staff scraping the wall clean on at least two separate occasions. Eventually they realised they were fighting a losing battle and so the gum wall was born.

seattle pike place market lower post alley market theatre gum wall

seattle pike place market lower post alley market theatre gum wall

seattle pike place market lower post alley market theatre gum wall

The window sills are the most gruesome, with long strings of gum trailing down like multi-coloured gum icicles. People get very inventive with their gum art; I spotted a Swedish flag high up on the wall.

seattle pike place market lower post alley market theatre gum wall

seattle pike place market lower post alley market theatre gum wall

seattle pike place market lower post alley market theatre gum wall

From some angles it looks for all the world like a gingerbread house straight out of Hans Christian Andersen, but with a lot more germs. It has proven so popular that it has been recognised as an official Seattle tourist attraction and to date there are an estimated 750,000 pieces of gum on the wall. It looks like the gum wall might “stick” around for quite some time. Sorry, I couldn’t resist it. 🙂

About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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121 Responses to Seattle Gum Wall

  1. Barbara says:

    Well, I have missed this on our more-than-a-few visits to Pike Place … Guess I’ll look for it the next time we’re there . . . .

  2. I always used to take friends to see this when I lived in Seattle and they would come visit. One friend I bet $20 he wouldn’t lick the wall… 5 minutes later I was $20 poorer but with an amazingly disgusting photo! 🙂

  3. mvschulze says:

    We walked down the stairs at the Public Market some years ago on vacation, and thankfully, their were only smelly fish and fresh produce bins. The gum wall was not there. But…OMG! just think of all the DNA!

  4. Great photos. Gross but fascinating!

  5. scsurfbutler says:

    My Lord, chewed up gum on a wall is very photogentic! So colorful!!

  6. In San Luis Obispo CA there is a narrow street with the same thing 🙂

  7. I think it’s the fact that the gum is brightly coloured that stops this from being completely revolting! Just think of the germs….yuk.

  8. StillWalks says:

    Flabbergasted! Yuck!

  9. museconfuse says:

    Kinda fascinating but really gross at the same time!

  10. Fast Pam says:

    how did I miss this when I was there?? the colors are pretty – I will say that! lol

  11. Wingclipped says:

    There’s a guy in London who goes around painting little pictures on bits of gum that have been trodden down onto the pavement, using acrylic paints. I once spent a very happy afternoon wandering around Muswell Hill in North London, spotting them. People even started commissioning him to paint the bits of chewing gum stuck on the pavement outside their houses and shops! Do a google search on Ben Wilson Chewing Gum and you’ll see his work!

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh how cool – I just did a google search, how much fun! I love the sausage and egg Finchley Cafe one. Brilliant. Thanks Wingclipped. 🙂

  12. Karen says:

    The Welsh word for disgusting is pronounced yuck-a-vee! Very apt for this post, methinks:)

  13. markd60 says:

    Disgusting. Nothing cool about it.

  14. Gross but intriguing :p

  15. This is excellent and very very disgusting both at the same time!!

  16. viveka says:

    Who could I miss this …. was down there nearly every day – I think it’s a cool thing .. it’s like art, feel sorry for the theater _ great shots.

  17. ideflex says:

    It says alot about Seattle… Jason Kronenwald was one of the first to take gum to another level, have a look at http://www.gumblondes.com/ and http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/art-and-design/news-famous-blonde-portraits-crafted-used-gum-jason-kronenwald-0

  18. That is disgusting, but photographically interesting. I’m not sure I would want to see it in person, but it looks like a good photo op.

  19. Pamela says:

    Gross! Yeuch! Absolutely disgusting! Best not inhale as you’re walking past it.

  20. Anna Marie says:

    Like many others I am both repelled and drawn to this curious spectacle! I can’t believe that people actually touch this wall to add more gum – or maybe they throw the gum from a distance and hope it lands in the spot they intended?

    • ailsapm says:

      I used my zoom lens rather than get too close, but I saw plenty of people wander right on up to add their own bit of sticky DNA to the wall; one girl was so perilously close her hair got stuck a little. Eww.

  21. Sorry, i just find this really gross. Nice photos though 🙂

  22. dwanblog says:

    EWWWWW! I was actually looking to be in Seattle hopefully this year, I’ll make sure to pack some gum… This is a true testiment that people want to belong or be a part of something bigger than them! kinda cool in a sense

  23. anne says:

    How colourful! British gum only ever seems to be grey/white!

  24. Being a Seattle native, I am not surprised… not on my bucket list but colorful just the same! lol

  25. Reblogged this on patriciaddrury and commented:
    What’s wrong with this picture? Being from Seattle I am not surprised, but like I said, not on MY bucket list! lol

  26. I think that has got to be the most (st)icky, grossly disgusting thing I’ve ever seen! The girl getting her hair stuck in it made me cringe and my stomach turn! Yuckity yuck yuck!!! Great shots though! 🙂

  27. MarieAtWork says:

    This is precisely the reason why gums are a big no-no in Singapore! Hehe. (Unhygienically) Cool idea, though! 😀

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