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Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia: A Complete Tourist Guide


If you’re visiting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you must visit the iconic Reading Terminal Market. It is a mecca for foodies, history buffs, and shopping enthusiasts. Located at 1136 Arch St, it is one of the oldest and largest indoor markets in the country and has been a Philadelphia staple since 1893. In this article, we will provide you with a complete tourist guide to Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia, including its history, unique offerings, and tips for exploring the market.

History of Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market is located in the Reading Terminal train station, which was built in 1893. It was named after the Reading Railroad Company, which operated trains in the region. The market was created to serve the passengers and the local community with fresh produce, meats, and other goods.

Over the years, the market has grown and evolved, and today it features over 80 vendors selling everything from artisanal cheeses to handmade crafts. Despite the changes, the market has managed to maintain its charm and historic character, making it a beloved destination for both locals and tourists.

What to Expect at Reading Terminal Market

Walking into Reading Terminal Market is like stepping into a food lover’s paradise. The aroma of freshly baked bread, sizzling cheese steaks, and exotic spices fill the air, making your mouth water. Here are some of the highlights you can expect at the market:


The market is known for its diverse food offerings, with vendors selling cuisine from all around the world. You can find everything from classic Philly cheese steaks to authentic Amish dishes, fresh seafood, and authentic Mexican food. Here are some must-try food items at Reading Terminal Market:

Philly Cheese Steak

No visit to Philadelphia is complete without trying a Philly cheese steak. The market has several vendors selling this iconic sandwich, but two of the most popular ones are Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies & Cheesesteaks and Rick’s Philly Steaks.

Beiler’s Doughnuts

Beiler’s Doughnuts is a must-visit vendor for those with a sweet tooth. They offer a variety of freshly made doughnuts in flavors like blueberry, apple cider, and chocolate peanut butter.

Dutch Eating Place

For a taste of Amish cuisine, head to Dutch Eating Place. They serve classic dishes like chicken pot pie, ham and bean soup, and their famous shoofly pie.


Apart from food, Reading Terminal Market is also a great place to shop for local products and souvenirs. Here are some of the unique vendors you can find at the market:

The Head Nut

The Head Nut is a specialty store that sells a variety of nuts, dried fruits, and candy. They also have an extensive collection of hot sauces and spices.

The Cookbook Stall

If you’re a foodie, you’ll love The Cookbook Stall. They offer a vast collection of cookbooks and food-related literature, including rare and hard-to-find titles.

Events and Entertainment

Reading Terminal Market hosts several events throughout the year, including cooking classes, food tours, and live music performances. Check their website to see what’s happening during your visit.

Tips for Exploring Reading Terminal Market

With so much to see and do at Reading Terminal Market, it can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:

  • Go early in the day to avoid crowds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
  • Bring cash, as not all vendors accept credit cards.
  • Take a food tour to sample multiple vendors and learn about the market’s history.
  • If you’re driving, park at the nearby Convention Center parking garage for easy access to the market.


Reading Terminal Market is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Philadelphia. Its historic charm, diverse food offerings, and unique vendors make it a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you’re a foodie or a history buff, you’re sure to find something to love at this iconic market.

In addition to its many attractions, Reading Terminal Market is also steeped in history. The market has been in continuous operation for over 125 years, making it one of the oldest indoor markets in the United States. Its location in the historic Reading Terminal train station adds to its appeal, providing a glimpse into the past while offering modern conveniences.

Visitors to Reading Terminal Market can enjoy an array of food options, from classic Philly cheese steaks to exotic international cuisine. The market’s vendors are known for their high-quality ingredients, unique recipes, and friendly service. Whether you’re in the mood for a savory meal or a sweet treat, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings at Reading Terminal Market.

In addition to food, the market also offers a wide variety of shopping options. Visitors can find everything from artisanal cheeses to handmade crafts and unique souvenirs. The market’s vendors take pride in their products and are happy to share their stories with visitors, providing a personal touch to the shopping experience.

To make the most of your visit to Reading Terminal Market, be sure to plan ahead. Check the market’s website for upcoming events, including cooking classes, food tours, and live music performances. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking. And most importantly, come hungry! The market’s food offerings are not to be missed.

In conclusion, Reading Terminal Market is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Philadelphia. Its history, unique vendors, and diverse food offerings make it a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned regular, you’re sure to find something new and exciting at this iconic market.


  1. Why is Reading Terminal Market famous?
    Reading Terminal Market is famous for being one of America’s oldest and largest public markets. It has been a Philadelphia institution for over 125 years, offering visitors an array of fresh and local produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, and artisanal products.
  2. Why is it called Reading Terminal Market?
    Reading Terminal Market is named after the Reading Railroad Company, which operated a terminal station on the site from the late 1800s until the mid-1900s. The market was established in 1893 as a way to feed the thousands of railroad workers passing through the terminal each day.
  3. Is Reading Terminal cash only?
    No, Reading Terminal Market accepts cash and all major credit cards, as well as mobile payments and some vendors may also accept other forms of payment such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
  4. Where to park when visiting Reading Terminal Market?
    There are several parking options available near Reading Terminal Market, including several parking garages and lots within walking distance. Some of the nearby parking facilities include the Reading Terminal Market Parking Garage, the Parkway Corporation Lot, and the Convention Center Parking Facility. Street parking is also an option, but it can be limited and often has time restrictions.
  5. What food is Reading PA known for?
    Reading, PA is known for its Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, which includes hearty dishes like potpie, schnitz un knepp (dried apples, ham, and dumplings), chowchow (a pickled vegetable relish), and shoofly pie. Other popular foods in the area include soft pretzels, scrapple, and Lebanon bologna.
  6. Is it safe to go to Reading Terminal Market?
    Yes, Reading Terminal Market is generally considered a safe and popular tourist destination. However, as with any urban area, it is always advisable to take basic precautions such as keeping your valuables close and being aware of your surroundings.

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