When you think of Philadelphia’s gems, you think of institutions that have stood the test of time — places that continue to welcome both enthusiastic locals and city visitors alike. One of those gems is decidedly Reading Terminal Market, a collection of beloved food stands ranging from places to pick up groceries and freshly butchered meat to sit-down restaurants serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The market first opened in Center City in 1892 and has prevailed through two pandemics, the Great Depression, recessions, war times, and more. It has always been a place for community, for gathering, and for good food.

There are 72 food stands within the market today and it’s a must-visit spot for both out-of-town guests and those who have spent their entire lives here. You can pick yourself up one of the city’s best roast pork sandwiches, tasty Greek food, fresh smoothies, flavor-packed salmon curry, celebration-ready cupcakes, grab-and-go burgers, and so much more.

If you haven’t been to the market for a little while (and even if you have), it’s time to go back for a meal. Don’t know where to go? Here’s your complete guide to Reading Terminal Market.

Complete guide to Reading Terminal Market’s 72 vendors

With 72 food vendors — some ideal for a meal, others for a quick grocery stop — Reading Terminal Market is an almost-overwhelming place to visit.

Dating back to 1893, the market has long been a staple for Philadelphians, selling everything from crêpes to classic roast pork sandwiches to tasty Filipino breakfast. There’s a lot to choose from at this favorite place, and you could easily visit for years and still not try everything the market has to offer.

We have a complete guide to the market’s 72 vendors — what they sell and what they’re known for — so you can easily figure out where you’re heading next in the market.

Here’s our complete guide to all 72 vendors in Reading Terminal Market.

The 25 best Reading Terminal Market vendors

When you think of Reading Terminal Market, you likely think of the spots that make the market what it is. Places like Bassetts, which opened with the market over a hundred years ago and is still a go-to spot for ice cream, Dutch Eating Place, where blueberry pancakes and apple-cinnamon French toast come piled high, Pearl’s Oyster Bar, which has been in its 12th St. spot since 1981 with seafood for diners, or John Yi Fish Market, a spot for fresh fish, live lobsters, and prepared seafood since 1974.

You’ll want to check out these spots first: here’s a guide to the 25 essential Reading Terminal Market vendors.

The best breakfast at Reading Terminal Market

Early mornings in Reading Terminal Market can be kind of like an oasis — it’s quiet, the lines aren’t too long, and the market has not yet welcomed a rush of hungry diners. It’s the time to explore the market at a leisurely pace and have no trouble finding a spot to sit and eat your meal.

And while the beloved food hall may be best-known for its lunchtime options, there’s a wide breakfast selection, too, ranging from grab-and-go doughnuts and coffee to sit-down meals of everything from Filipino breakfast food to Pennsylvania Dutch classics. You can even get mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Here’s where to get breakfast at Reading Terminal Market.

Classic Philly foods to order at Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market itself is classic Philly, and with the addition of food stands that serve quintessential Philly foods, it’s even more Philly.

Within the sprawling market, you can find vendors serving traditional Pennsylvania Dutch staples including scrapple, shoofly pie, and whoopie pies, one of the city’s best roast pork sandwiches (from DiNic’s, of course), cheesesteaks (try the one from Spataro’s Cheesesteaks), pretzels, and more.

Here’s where to go to get classic Philly foods in Reading Terminal Market.

Where to park near Reading Terminal Market

Center City parking comes with its ... challenges. Towing, ticketing, spot-searching — it can be hard. But, Reading Terminal Market makes it as easy as it can thanks to partnerships with a few nearby garages.

Did you know you can park across the street from Reading Terminal Market at 12th and Filbert for $5 when you get your parking ticket validated by a market vendor? At that rate, it’s almost cheaper than public transit — especially if you’re going with a group.

Here’s where to park near Reading Terminal Market.

The enduring Reading Terminal Market

Like all small businesses, the vendors, both old and new, that make up Reading Terminal Market faced trying times when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the city. But, many longstanding vendors prevailed while new spots opened up to welcome the returning crowds. The COVID-19 pandemic was not the first pandemic the market faced — the vendors (some of the stands, like Godshall’s, are still around today) struggled during the 1918 flu pandemic, too.

But, Reading Terminal Market has proven that it’s here to stay as the market welcomes crowds of people again and new vendors, which are now beginning to more accurately represent the diversity of Philadelphia, open up throughout the historic space.

Here’s a story of the market’s strength as it prevailed through two pandemics.

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