A lunchtime tourist in her own city: The Reading Terminal Market

February 27, 2012 – Hungry? This lunchtime vacation features some of the speciality foods that Philadelphia is famous for, so you’re in luck. Almost everything you desire relating to food and other specialty items can be found at the city’s historic Reading Terminal Market.

Situated at 12th and Arch Streets in downtown Philadelphia, the terminal is no longer a part of the Reading Railroad; these days, rail services are part of SEPTA’s local transportation service and contained in the building across the street. Instead, the terminal hosts a grand marketplace that has maintained its name and historic charm, and is conveniently adjacent to the Philadelphia Convention Center.

This year, the Reading Terminal Market celebrates its 120th anniversary. It first opened as a farmers market in 1892 to sell produce and other farm goods, and today still sells locally grown produce, along with a variety of other famous Philadelphia foods, such as soft pretzels, scrapple and cheese steaks from over 100 vendors. Tony Luke’s is one of Philly’s favorite places to get a cheesesteak, or his famous pulled pork with brocolli rabe. The sandwiches are so good that Tony Luke beat famous chef Bobby Flay when they had a cheesesteak cook off a few years back. Philly does it best!

The market also includes many Amish specialties from nearby Lancaster County.

Time spent at the Reading Terminal Market is often an event, as it offers more than just vendors selling their wares. Visitors are welcome to participate in a variety of activities. Earlier in the month, for example, in honor of Valentine’s Day couples were invited to get married in the center court at lunchtime. But if that’s not your thing, you can wallow in the sounds of live music, or take a cooking class from one of Philadelphia’s top chefs.

If you’re a tourist, a trip to Philadelphia isn’t complete without visiting the Reading Terminal Market. And if you’re a local who has never experienced it, what are you waiting for?

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