The Top 10 Street Markets Worldwide

For generations, street markets have served as important hubs for trade. These informal retail spaces—which are typically occupied by tiny, independent vendors—are nevertheless relevant in various regions of the world even in the era of Walmart and Amazon. Cities with vibrant markets provide excellent travel destinations for travelers. Visit the local market, such as this one in Marrakech, Morocco, if you want to throw away the guidebook and truly see what the locals are eating, purchasing, and chatting about.

Even if the outing was initially intended to be solely for sightseeing, visitors to the market eventually seem to include dining and bargain shopping on their objectives. There is a market of some kind in almost every major city on the planet that can provide tourists with a genuine experience. But the marketplaces listed below should not be missed and should be on everyone’s schedule.

1 of 10 Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

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Other North American cities, weary of malls, can only gaze on in envy at Toronto’s expansive St. Lawrence Market. With two centuries of history, the market now features three sizable shop locations. St. Lawrence is open Tuesday through Saturday and features specialty exhibitors offering handcrafted crafts, organic meats and veggies, and artisan delicacies. The South Market building has more than 100 vendors on its lower levels, and on its upper level, art and cultural exhibitions are frequently hosted. Hungry customers have even more alternatives on Saturday thanks to the Farmers Market held in the nearby North Market building, while on Sunday, collectors and bargain seekers flock to the antiques show. Completing the triple crown for market aficionados is the ground floor of St. Lawrence Hall, one of Toronto’s most historic buildings and the location of additional businesses.

2 of 10 Barcelona’s La Boqueria

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Barcelona is well-known for its architecture, beaches, and renowned soccer team. But for foodies, at least, La Boqueria is perhaps the most intriguing destination in the city. The origins of this market date back to the thirteenth century, and some tourists find its ambiance and design to be just as appealing as the goods available in the numerous market stalls. The delicacies at Boqueria include artisanal cuisine, Catalan specialties, fresh seafood, and veggies. It’s certain that some guests will become motivated and want to do more than just browse the market and eat their fill. Fortunately, Boqueria offers an on-site culinary school for people who wish to learn Catalan cooking techniques and bring them back to their own country.

3 of 10 Delhi’s Chandni Chowk

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Since many hundred years ago, Chandni Chowk has been Delhi’s busiest bazaar. Situated in the neighborhood that bears the same name, and just a short distance from the well-known Red Fort in the old town, this vibrant shopping district provides visitors with the ultimate experience of the subcontinent. Many superlative words can be used to characterize the market, but for some people it’s just too much to process. However, Chandni Chowk may really be the only market on this list where you can find anything, even reconditioned used shoes, exotic fruits, and made-to-order bridal gowns. This vibrant retail center has alleyways filled with either incredible or unforgettable things.

Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market, 4 of 10

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The Chatuchak Weekend Market is a legendary event for both visitors and locals in Bangkok. It is by far the biggest market in Thailand and among the biggest weekend marketplaces globally. Known by its simple abbreviation JJ (which makes sense because the Thai “ch” sound is occasionally Romanized as a “j”), this expansive market receives up to 200,000 visitors every day on weekends. This location is a treasure trove for anyone looking to buy trinkets, since it offers a wide variety of unique crafts, antiques, and collectibles for sale in addition to live animals, boxer shorts and socks, and almost anything else you could possibly need or want. Although the 35 acres of market stalls can be confusing for newcomers and even many locals, there is an enormous variety of food vendors, so even if you get lost, you won’t go hungry or thirsty. In addition, JJ prohibits smoking, so although you will smell a variety of things, cigarette smoke won’t be among them.

Taipei’s Shilin Night Market, 5 of 10

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The biggest of Taipei’s well-known night markets is called Shilin Night Market. Its enormous food court is its most famous feature. Many residents and tourists rank this as one of the greatest locations to eat in all of Taiwan, where independent merchants engage in a veritable feeding frenzy as they offer their specialties. Although the original market building’s renovations have forced several local vendors to relocate, these culinary artisans—many of whom have a loyal following of regular customers—continue to serve the same foods they always have. Along the streets that encircle Shilin are hundreds of other vendors, as well as a variety of non-food-related shops.

6 of 10 Morocco’s Marrakech

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Some of the best and most genuine shopping experiences in the Magreb may be found in Marrakech. For many years, the city’s souks have been the focus of travel books, movies, and daydreams of avid readers. The uninformed commonly refer to it as the “Marrakech Souk,” but in reality, it is actually a network of interconnected markets that each specialize in a different commodity rather than a central market area. Along one short lane, real Moroccan handicrafts are on sale, while down an alleyway beyond, street stalls and store houses overflow with flatbreads and dates. This commercial sector is one of the best attractions in all of North Africa, whether you are looking for a handmade pair of sandals, a genuine Moroccan dinner, or just want to take it all in for free.

7 of 10 London’s Camden Lock Market

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The vast network of interconnected retail areas that makes up the Camden Lock Market is home to traders selling everything from food and clothing to furniture and art. During weekends when shopping is at its busiest, at least 100,000 people visit this market, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in London. There’s always dining and shopping to do, but there’s also a calendar of special events, like concerts and art exhibits.

8 of 10 Venice’s Rialto Market

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One of the world’s most atmospheric shopping areas is the Rialto Market, located in Venice, a popular tourist destination in Italy. With a market having moved to the region at the end of the 11th century, it is also one of the oldest. The market now is located on the bank of the Grand Canal, which is crossed by the well-known Rialto Bridge, a 1500s Venetian masterpiece that embodies style and history. Every day, the market is a flurry of activity as goods are unloaded from barges and residents compete fiercely to get the best and freshest products. Although vegetables, fruit, and other items essential to Venetian cuisine are also on exhibit, fish is the main source of revenue at Rialto. When it comes to tourists, the experience is more important than the shopping, and what an experience it is!

Ver-o-peso, Belem, Brazil, 9 out of 10.

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The largest markets in Brazil may be found in its major cities, including São Paulo, Rio, and Salvador. The Ver-o-peso Market, located in the mid-sized city of Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon, is arguably the most peculiar location. One of the most identifiable mainstays in this market is açai berries, while many other items are entirely unfamiliar to tourists. Here you can buy fish and fruits that can only be found deep within the Amazonian forests—you won’t find them anyplace else in the world. This location showcases the genuine abundance and variety of this extensively uncharted area of the globe.

Portland Farmers Market, Page 10 of 10

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Although there are several great farmers markets in the United States, the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University is the American entry on our list due to its diversity of offerings and local, organic focus. This Saturday shopping destination in the City of Roses offers unusual items that are produced and farmed nearby in addition to exceptionally fresh fish. Everything from buffalo meat to organic berries and Asian veggies that are difficult to find on this side of the Pacific is sold by vendors. All in all, Portland’s farmers markets offer a very varied selection.

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