The Italian Market is a colorful district with painted shop signs and murals, and a decidedly international feel. The small, family-owned shops, as well as more than 100 street vendors with stalls and carts, sell their wares along South Ninth Street. Locals come here to shop for affordable pasta, mozzarella cheese, panini bread, ice cream and quality meat.
Springing up in the 1880s, the city’s Italian community founded what is now one of the oldest and largest working outdoor market in the U.S. Italian culture is still prominent today, but the street has become a multicultural hub with grocers and merchants of all nationalities selling their wares. Take a guided tour for background on the area’s history and its characters, and then explore on your own for browsing.
Take in the aroma of freshly baked breads, combined with pungent homemade cheeses and steaming cannoli, while you browse the stalls. Watch the the modern-day Italian-Americans prepare your lunch in the same way as their ancestors cooked centuries ago. They may even offer you some free samples.
If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, pick up freshly butchered meat for a meal. Homemade gelato and chocolate-covered fruit could be a scrumptious dessert! Also make sure to check out the non-food items: jewelry, lingerie, crafts and more. There are a number of shops selling clothing and other affordable Italian-influenced fashion. The surrounding streets are also great to sit down for lunch or dinner if you have no way of cooking all the market-fresh ingredients yourself. Visit Christian Street for Italian spaghetti or Mediterranean falafel and kebabs. A little further down Ninth Street and on Washington Avenue you will find Mexican and Asian restaurants.
The Italian Market operates from Tuesday to Sunday. It’s located in South Philadelphia and is easy to reach from downtown by foot, bicycle, car or public transport.