The Reading Terminal Market is an indoor attraction in downtown Philadelphia. You’ll find a wide range of international cuisine, but most out-of-towners head straight to the merchants selling local treats before browsing the craft stalls. The farmers’ market is a good place to stock up on organic produce for a picnic lunch while you take in the aroma of freshly baked treats and exotic spices.
Some of the present-day vendors are descendants of those who first traded inside the very same building. It was built by the Reading Railroad in 1892, below a train shed. Two existing local markets and their multicultural mix of merchants relocated to this building.
The market is at its busiest at lunchtime, with locals grabbing something to eat before heading back to the office. For a quick snack, try the famous local soft pretzels brushed with butter, or the heartier Philly cheesesteak. This iconic Philadelphia sandwich is made from thin slices of steak topped with melted cheese. If you prefer healthy Asian or European cuisine, there are plenty of options.
If you have a sweet tooth, stop at a local favorite: Bassett’s Ice Cream has been serving up unique flavors since 1861. At the Dutch Eating Place, Pennsylvania Dutch bakers offer old-style Amish cakes that still delight today. It’s the place to learn how their shoofly pie earned its name.
Sit and enjoy a meal while people-watching in the central food court. Everyone in your group can enjoy a meal together after selecting lunch from a food stall of their choice. With about 100 different stalls throughout the market, you will want to stay and explore after your meal. Find jewelry, flowers and rugs alongside South American and African crafts.
The centrally located Reading Terminal Market is open daily, except on major national holidays. Note that some of the restaurants close early and that the Pennsylvania Dutch vendors don’t sell on Sundays. It’s easy to get there by foot or public transportation from the center of town. Expect to pay for parking if you’re driving. The Parkway Garage is across the street, and other nearby garages offer discounts for two-hour parking if you purchase something at the market.