The Reading Terminal Market, established in 1892 at 12th and Arch Streets in downtown
(or center city, if you’re from the area), is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. Through its long and interesting history, it has seen times both good and bad, but has emerged in the 21st century as one of the greatest public markets in the country. The Reading Terminal Market occupies the ground floor and basement levels of the Reading Terminal's former train shed, now part of the Philadelphia . Long after the demise of the Reading Railroad and the transformation of the old train shed into a majestic hall as part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center , the Reading Terminal Market is more popular and prosperous than ever. Convention Center
The Reading Terminal Market is a must-see attraction for both tourists and locals. Over 80 merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, ice cream, flowers, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods. Every space in the market is rented out; three of the vendors are descendants of original market merchants. When I worked in center city for two years, the market was my favorite place for lunch. The market currently houses 32 restaurants of every type imaginable – for example, various Deli’s, Thai cuisine, Pennsylvania Dutch, BBQ, Middle East, Vegetarian, Greek, Chinese, Seafood, and of course Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies. The only problems were deciding what to eat and finding a place to sit since it was a very popular place at lunch time. My favorite stands for sandwiches now are DiNic's Roast Pork and Beef, and The Original Turkey for delicious roast turkey sandwiches.
Along with the many eating establishments, there are also five produce markets, six butchers, five seafood stands, six bakeries, and 13 Pennsylvania Dutch vendors. If you live in the area, you can also pick up delicious meats, vegetables, and desserts for dinner. The Market East commuter rail terminal is adjacent to the market so, if the timing is right, you can pick up your groceries and be home in the suburbs in less than an hour. We can’t visit the market without picking up cannolis at Termini Brothers Bakery to take home on the train.