Story Of The Gum Wall In Seattle, A Germy Tourist Attraction

Seattle has many interesting attractions, and while some are unusual, one of the most unusual is the gum wall. The wall lures you in with its bright colors and slight scents of cherry, spearmint, grape, and other bubblegum flavors. It’s one of those places that pique your curiosity, and like many others, you must be wondering what’s the story behind the gum wall in Seattle.

The gum wall started in the early 1990s in an alleyway in Pike Market. When local performers and those queuing to watch them perform would place their gum on the wall. As more people queued, more gum was added to the wall. Soon enough, the gum wall grew, becoming the famous attraction it is today.

The gum wall only started with seven pieces of gum and spread from there. Many flock to the alley in Pike Market to take a few pictures of the wall, and while many find it gross, it’s a surprisingly good backdrop for photos.

Story Of The Gum Wall In Seattle, A Germy Tourist Attraction

What Is The Story Behind The Gum Wall In Seattle?

The gum wall’s conception began in the early 1990s. It was a random act of just a few performers and patrons sticking gum on the wall while waiting in line to enter the Market Theatre.

In the early days, the cleaning staff from the theater would scrape and clean the gum from the wall, but it was all in vain. As more patrons visited the theater and waited in line, more gum was added to the wall.

Today, it is roughly 50 feet long, 8 feet tall, and covers both sides of Post Alley. As you can imagine, it’s filled with germs and even made it into the list of the top five germiest tourist attractions.

How Much Gum Is On The Gum Wall In Seattle?

It’s hard to tell how much gum is on the wall in Pike Place, but it is estimated that there are 1 million pieces of bubblegum on the wall. This makes it one of the largest collections of gum in the world!

Seattle Gum Wall
My gum wall photo. It was an interesting experience!

Have They Ever Cleaned The Gum Wall?

The gum wall isn’t regularly cleaned, but in 2015, the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority decided to clean the wall. This decision was made due to the weight of the chewing gum and the damage it was causing to the bricks beneath it.

The wall was cleaned with a high-pressure hose and took 130 hours to complete. The total weight of what was removed was 2350 pounds.

Seattle’s gum wall didn’t stay clean for long, and a couple of days after it was cleaned, a flash mob gathered to add the first new layer of bubblegum to the wall.


Today, the gum wall is likely the largest it’s ever been. On weekends, it’s surrounded by visitors who are not only fascinated by this attraction but also visit to put their own gum on the wall while taking a few photos. So next time you’re near Pike Market, don’t miss out on visiting this unusual attraction!


About the author

My name is April, and I’m a Seattle-based writer, traveler, and foodie. I started this travel guide blog to share my passion for Seattle with fellow travelers and locals alike.

Whether you’re looking for the best coffee shops, the trendiest restaurants, or the most scenic hiking trails, I’ve got you covered.

When I’m not writing or exploring Seattle, you can find me watching movies with my husband, reading, or gardening with my dog in the backyard.

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