Social Media Has Turned This Sticky Alley Into One Of Seattle’s Top Tourist Destinations

By Craig Sailor
The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The gum wall in Seattle has become one of the most popular tourist destinations. It began in the early 1990s outside the entrance to the Market Theater. The theater audience would line up on the wall and put a penny and a piece of gum on the building. The practice soon caught on and the gum wall was born.

SEATTLE

It’s the photo every tourist visiting Seattle has to have: the gum-wall selfie.

The quirky oddity at Pike Place Market, for years just 15 feet wide, has turned into a canyon of chewing gum.

Today, the gum wall is eight feet tall and over 50 feet long, on both sides of the alley.

On a sunny weekend day, hundreds of people can be found crammed into Post Alley, chewing gum, blowing bubbles and documenting the entire experience.

The odor of gum hangs heavy in the air.

Mika Liao was in the alley with three of her co-workers on a recent weekday. The four Taiwan residents were visiting Seattle on business.

They had seen the gum wall on Instagram before leaving Asia. It was on their must-see list.

“It’s the top three: Pike Place market, first Starbucks, gum wall,” Liao said.

Space Needle? Passe.

The women were all holding Starbucks coffees as they stuffed gum in their mouths.

Asked what they thought of the gum wall, the women grimaced in unison. “Interesting,” Liao said finally between chews.

They were careful not to brush up against the multicolored wads of gum.

“Everyone’s DNA is here,” Liao said. “Everywhere.” She paused for a moment.

“I’m going to leave my DNA here.” The women giggled.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
The gum wall is perhaps Seattle’s purest, most interactive public art project. It began in the early 1990s outside the entrance to the Market Theater. Unexpected Productions had just rented the space.

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