The Gallery at Market East – Shopping Near SEPTA Trains and El
The Gallery at Market East Station is an underground, completely enclosed, pedestrian shopping mall, in Center City Philadelphia. It is bookended by SEPTA transit lines, and is conveniently located for that reason. By and large, it is referred to for short as “The Gallery” by Philadelphians. (Despite its name, it has nothing to do with art, artwork, as it’s not an art gallery.)
On its western end, there is Market East Station, which is a major SEPTA Regional Rail stop, at 11th and Market Streets. From there, it is easy to travel to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Reading Terminal Market, etc.
There is also the 11th Street stop for the SEPTA Blue Line, also known as the SEPTA Blue Line, the Market-Frankford Line, or most colloquially by Philadelphians, “the el”. This is also located at 11th and Market Streets.
On its eastern end of The Gallery at Market East, there is the 8th Street stop for the SEPTA Blue Line, which is located at 8th and Market Streets.
The original purpose of the Gallery, when it opened back in 1977, was to reinvigorate the commercial corridor between two high-prestige department stores, which had been in decline. The first was John Wanamakers, located at 13th and Market Streets, which subsequently became Lord and Taylor, and is now Macy's Center City Philadelphia store.
The Gallery would begin at 11th and Market Streets, and end at the other high-prestige department store, Strawbridge and Clothier, which was located at 8th and Market Streets.
Regrettably, Strawbridge and Clothier did not survive, and the grand property it occupied for so many decades, at 8th and Market Streets, is currently vacant, awaiting a tenant. The subsequent demise of both John Wanamakers (although it’s still open as Macy’s) and Strawbridge’s had a negative impact on the quality of the stores in the Gallery, which are far less upscale, than had been originally intended back in 1977.
That having been said, the Gallery at Market East is an easy and convenient place to shop in Center City, especially if you are entering and leaving the city via SEPTA Regional Rail. It has a gigantic and diverse Food Court, one of its chief virtues, in its center, around 10th and Market Streets. It also has a smaller corridor with food vendors in the underground corridor between 11th and 12th and Market Streets.
It also is a great refuge during inclement, cold and rainy weather. You can walk underground from Market East Station, all the way down to 8th Street, and exit via escalator to 8th and Market Streets. This is just two blocks away from Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets, and three blocks from the big-time historic icons, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. (Plus, of course, all of the other tourist attractions in Old City Philadelphia.)
The Gallery at Market East is also easy to reach – when you disembark from your SEPTA Regional Rail train at Market East Station, just take the escalator up from the platform, up to the waiting area. That’s the western end of the Gallery at Market East.
If you’re taking the SEPTA Blue Line, you can disembark at either 11th Street or 8th Street Stations.
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