Reading Terminal Market is one of the premier destinations in Philly, and is the 3rd most popular behind the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
During the establishment of the city that is now Philadelphia, there was a crucial need to usher all of the aspiring merchants into one pseudo-confined area of the city so that potential consumers weren't being bombarded by sellers every few steps. This area soon came to be known as Market Street. It has since flourished into a very organized, yet still a historically accurate replica, of what was once known as Farmer's Market and the Franklin Market -- now merged to represent Reading Terminal Market -- located on 12th & Arch.
Originally, markets were held out in the open air, but due to health concerns, moved inside with organized stalls and counters. The Reading Terminal Market is the first of its kind to establish a successful refrigeration system. Another unique historic feature of the market, which has been operating since 1892, was its delivery system of groceries and goods via suburban trains and horse-drawn wagons, which were later replaced by refrigerated trucks post-WWI. During the 1960s and 1970s, the railroad company went bankrupt, threatening the existence of the market whose location on prime real estate might have led to its sale. Market revitalization efforts by the city were finally acted upon during the 1990s after the demand of angry Philadelphians for the restoration of their local bazaar.
The market is home to about 80 vendors and is a sensory rollercoaster. Gourmet truffles and fresh dipped fruit, Italian and Amish pastries, artisan breads and stinky cheeses. Pickled veggies, African art, used books, French linens, a shoe shine stand, hand-carved Jewish deli sandwiches and certified kosher products. Mouth watering, handmade confectionaries and rich chocolate. Vibrant fresh cut flowers, slimy oysters, Polish hotdogs, old fashioned Dutch soft pretzels, roasted nuts, rare aromatic spices and teas, Middle eastern cuisine, Thai curry. Handmade soaps, beeswax candles and honey, fresh squeezed fruit juices, and of course, a beer garden. Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market has an abundance of specialty goods, gifts, and ingredients, but also contains sit-down restaurants, including a creperie, sushi bar, hot n' cold buffet, and even a version of the "classic American diner." Gift certificates are available to the Market.
- Monday through Saturday: 8am to 6pm (some Market restaurants close after 4pm)
- Sunday: 9am to 5pm (not ALL merchants are open Sundays - about 2/3 are, though)
- PA Dutch Vendors Hours:
- Wednesday: 8am to 3pm
- Thursday through Saturday: 8am to 5pm
- Closed Sunday
- 12th St and Filbert St parking garage is $4 for 2 hours when you spend $10 in the Market and have one of the merchants validate your parking. The discount expires after 2 hours.
- Location: 51 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-922-2317
- Website: www.readingterminalmarket.org