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Things To Do

The Sticky Story Behind Seattle’s Famous Gum Wall

By Emma Colosia

picture great wall gum seattle

It was named one of the top 5 germiest tourist attractions in the world in 2009! 

Considered a collective art project, The Wall of Gum in Seattle has become a popular landmark. Bubble gum of all flavors and colors await you inside Post Alley, just below Pike Place Market. The wall is eight feet tall and over fifty feet long… and it just keeps growing.

Weekends have become busy days for businesses surrounding the wall. Hundreds of people walk through the alleyway, chewing and sticking their own gum to leave a little piece of their DNA on both sides. Efforts from locals to stop people from decorating the walls have been in vain.

 

The covering of the alley started almost 30 years ago, in 1993, just outside the entrance to Market Theater. Ticket holders would stick their gum on the walls of the venue while standing in line waiting to go in. The market’s administration asked for it to be cleaned and even though it was done twice, it wasn’t long until the passers-by would re-gum it.

However, fame of the alleyway exploded after it appeared in the 2009 movie “Love Happens” where Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart stick their bubble gum on top of thousands of others. The visitors at the site grew exponentially and replicating the scene with your loved one became a romantic ritual that has been compared to the love locks in Italy and Paris.

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Tourists fears became a reality in 2015, when the wall was cleaned completely for the first time. Pike Market wanted to avoid the damage that the sugar in candy would cause to the historic brick walls. Men worked for more than 130 hours and tore down a little over a ton of gum. It was then cleaned again in 2018. Both times, it has taken visitors approximately 5 months to return it to its original colorful look.

Even governor Jay Inslee confessed it was his favorite spot in Emerald city during an interview with The Stranger a couple of years ago. It appears the wall will not be going anywhere soon!

Featured image from Shutterstock.