The Broad Street Market is the oldest continuously operated market house in the United States and is situated at North Third and Verbeke Streets in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It opens on Wednesdays from 7am to 2pm, Thursday and Friday 7am to 5pm and on Saturday from 7am to 4pm. There are 200 free parking spaces around the property although this can be very busy around lunch times, and there is also street parking available, which is free on Saturdays.
Founded in 1860 the market has had a rich history and was built and operated as a private business. The market farmers helped to feed 300,000 Union soldiers, who had stopped at the nearby Camp Curtin during the Civil War. Its peak period was in the 1920s when there were over 725 vendors, many of whom had to set up stalls outside whilst they waited several years for an indoor stall to become available.
Having banned outdoor vending some years ago, this practice is now permitted again in the market courtyard. The market has been owned by the City of Harrisburg since 1979, which has financed and overseen restoration to the complex and market house. It is operated under local community management in the guise of the Broad Street Market Corporation, which is an enterprise owned by the Historic Harrisburg Association.
Nearly 40 vendors are now set up at the market buildings. The Stone Market Building was completed back in 1863 and is where most of the prepared food vendors are set up. The 1870s built Brick Market Building is the larger of the two buildings with a rich array of locally grown produce and a variety of other items for sale.
The majority of vendors at the Stone Market building are selling food hailing from many different cultures across the world with a choice of places to sit and dine. Some are concentrated on fairly simple fare from sandwiches, cakes, dried fruits and nuts to cheese steaks, salads and California style Mexican food. Asian cuisine is strongly embraced here too with Indian curries and Vietnamese, Thai and Korean dishes, whilst a taste of Italian and the Caribbean can also be found here.
The Brick Market building has many stalls selling locally produced meats, vegetables, dairy products plus beverages and sweet and savoury items. There are also a couple of vendors selling plants and flowers or a craft stall with flower arrangements and special event decorating services. Visitors will also find items for the home such as furnishing, carpets and art and whilst there are also novelty gifts, natural body products and herbals are on sale here too.
On Saturdays there are more vendors outside the two buildings selling hand made jewelry, T-shirts as well as live music and the occasional health fair. Visitors often find the vendors are knowledgeable and helpful, whilst encouraging people to sample their food. Towards the end of the day it is often possible to negotiate the price with some of the vendors, who are keen to clear their stock.