Reading Terminal Market Has Offered Everything in Philadelphia, Since 1892

Reading Terminal Market Sign

Closeup of Reading Terminal Market neon sign, 12th Street between Market and Arch Streets

Center City District - TEAL - Convention Center District

Regardless of your taste(s) in food, you'll be able to find it at Reading Terminal Market. (And you can also buy other things there, as not every merchant sells food, or only food.)

Its central location at 12th and Arch Streets, near the Convention Center at the heart of Center City Philadelphia, make it ideal for visitors from out of town (and for locals as well)...

Also, this eclectic collection of vendors has a long and fascinating history. It has been serving Philadelphians fresh, high quality food since 1892, making it a historical attraction as well...

The Market has long survived the demise of the Reading Railroad, its original purpose for existence... We would strongly recommend visiting the renovated train shed in the Reading Terminal Headhouse as well, which has kiosks detailing the Market's remarkable history.

In addition, by visiting the Headhouse, you can get a sense of what the Reading Terminal was like in its heyday, and the sense of awe that a visitor would have had upon arriving at it for the first time. It only requires a small amount of time, it's free, and is open roughly 18 hours a day. A good rule of thumb is that if the Market East train station is open, you'll be able to visit the Headhouse.

Aside from location and history, there are two other important advantages of Reading Terminal Market.

One is that it is very low in cost- particularly in light of how good the food is.

Another is that everyone in your party can get the food and drink that they want, from different merchants. Odds are that the more people in your party, the broader the variety of tastes, budgets - and the levels of tolerance for exotic adventure - when it comes to food.

This is in favorable contrast to a restaurant, where everyone has to agree on the place- and the price(s). At the Reading Terminal Market, your party can split up, everyone can get what they want, and you can easily reassemble to eat at the tables, in the central dining area.

Getting to the Reading Terminal Market

The official Reading Terminal Market web site is the best source of information for anything regarding the Market, particularly on driving direction and the complicated parking arrangements.

Given its location, we would strongly recommend using SEPTA to get there, given that it is directly adjacent to Market East Station, as well as two Blue Line/Market-Frankford Line/El stations- 11th Street and 13th Street.

But if you choose to, you can drive there, and Reading Terminal Market offers a parking deal at the nearby parking garage at 12th and Filbert Streets. You can park anywhere in that garage, and take your ticket into the Market.

If you spend $10 or more at any one vendor, you can have your ticket validated, and be charged only $4 for two hours of parking. An important note is that if you remain for longer than two hours, you get charged the normal rate (minus $2/hour), and it is one of the reasons we recommend using SEPTA, or the Phlash, to get there.

Also, it is located only a few blocks from Old City, which begins at 6th and Market Streets. And it's a convenient place to eat either prior to, or after, your visit to the various attractions there. You can also eat there, prior to your visit to the Ben Franklin Parkway attractions, although it's a significantly longer walk from there.

A Map of Reading Terminal Market and the Surrounding Area

View Reading Terminal Market in a larger map

Hours of Operation

Reading Terminal Market is open Monday through Saturday, from 8 AM to 6 PM (although some vendors shut down at 4 PM or so). Previously, the Market was not open on Sundays, but the boom in Center City Philadelphia, both in terms of tourism and residents, has made it worthwhile for the Market to be open seven days a week (which is great for you).

Only about 2/3 of the vendors are open, though, with the Amish vendors, most notably, closed. (Should you decide to visit Lancaster County and its Pennsylvania Dutch country, we would recommend not doing so on Sundays for precisely that reason. Most of the Amish vendors are closed there, as well.)

It is also closed on major holidays, including the prominent summer ones of Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

The History of the Reading Terminal Market

So how and why did this smorgasbord of food nirvana come to be? And how has it survived so long, even in a city as rich in history as Philadelphia?

Let's find out, by clicking on the Reading Terminal Market History.

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