Playing Tourist: Seattle’s Market Theater Gum Wall

by Cate on May 24, 2011

When Sarah and I were planning our trip to Seattle a few weeks ago, I asked one of the local Starbucks reps that we were working with to suggest a few off-the-beaten path things for us to do and visit while we were there.  As soon as I saw her mention of Seattle’s gum wall, I was so in.  I mean, visiting the Space Needle is a given.  But a disgusting gum wall?  Even better.  Sarah, on the other hand, needed a bit more convincing.  And that was before we knew it was voted the second germiest tourist attraction in 2009 (the Blarney Stone took top honors).

We knew the general area where it was, but not an exact location.  As soon as I saw this graffiti-filled alleyway, I knew we were in the right place.
Seattle Alley

And I was right.

I thought it was awesome. In a disgusting sort of way. My inner germophobe might have been hurling just a bit, but it was just one of those fun things to cross off our virtual bucket list. Even though Sarah still swears this never appeared on her bucket list, I bet she’s secretly glad we went anyway.

Seattle Gum Wall - Other Tourists


It’s across the alley way from a little club, in the vicinity of a theater, and the start of a ghost tour (totally missed that! we’ll just have to go back). Back in 2008, Jennifer Aniston actually filmed a scene from Love Happens right by this very wall. If disgusting gum walls are your thing, there is another one in Cali that bears checking out.  That one has been around a lot longer, with its inception dating somewhere around WWII.  By comparison, the Seattle one “officially” started in 1999, after locals were unsuccessful in getting people to stop putting gum there.

Apartment Building


Luckily I had some semi-stale Juicy Fruit gum with me. You didn’t think I was going to fly six hours across the country and visit a unquestionably gross landmark and not leave my mark, did you?

Marking My Territory

My Gum
The yellow piece front and center is mine, thankyouverymuch.

And I wasn’t going to drag Sarah to said gum wall and let her leave without her own spit being left behind. I’m very proud of her.
Sarah Stakes Her Claim

Project 365
May 24, 2011

Minty Fresh Breath
We go through a lot of Mentos in the O’Malley household. Thank goodness for Costco and their supersize packs. And for kind friends that pick it up for me.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia May 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Do they do anything to preserve the colours of the gum on the wall?


Kris #40 May 25, 2011 at 8:15 am

How amazingly gross! I would totally be chewing gum and sticking it on too. Love the windowsill photo.

I remember they used to have one wall by the Runaway Train at Six Flags Great Adventure that was full of gum.


joanne May 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

That is insanely gross. But also insanely awesome.


Cyndi May 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm

We have a wall like that at our junior high. It was started when Mrs. D, one of the PE teachers, insisted that the students discard their gum before class. It’s a 3′ x 5′ spot on the wall right outside the locker room. No custodian ever cleaned it off and it just grew. I need to go photograph it.


bart May 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Whoa. Can’t decide if it’s disgusting or interesting… But one thing is for sure. This is an art. Although i must say that it’s kinda gross, i find it cool… i love the different colors. I guess a lot of people liked it too because they have contributed on it. Cool post!


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