The Best Open-Air Markets in the World Give An Immediate Dose Of Culture And Cuisine

By Todd Neikirk
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The Best Open-Air Markets in the World Give An Immediate Dose Of Culture And Cuisine

Todd Neikirk
 
(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
 
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Many of the most accessible tourist-friendly locations in the world have open-air markets. Tourists love these bazaars as they are a great way to try new food, buy goods not regularly available to them, and get a general sense of the place they’re visiting.

Below are some of the greatest open-air markets in the world, including one spot with a coffee shop that was established in 1773 and another spot that received more than 10 million visitors every year!

Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech, Morocco

The massive Jamaa el-Fna market in Marrakech offers pretty much everything
The massive Jamaa el-Fna market in Marrakech offers pretty much everything (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Djemaa el-Fna market in the city of Marrakech is unlike any other in the world. The massive center offers shoppers pretty much anything they can imagine. 

The dynamic of the market also changes over the course of the day. In the morning, visitors can buy orange juice or water and check out snake charmers. As it gets darker, the entertainment changes with magicians and storytellers joining the fray, along with dozens of food options.

Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Temple Street Market features a wide array of local cuisine
Hong Kong’s Temple Street Market features a wide array of local cuisine (Photo by Philipp Engelhorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Night markets in Hong Kong first began to give people something to do after work. They’ve grown into popular attractions, though, that draw both tourists and locals. One of the best-known occurs on Temple Street.

The Temple Street Market features all the food that one could ever hope to eat. There are also fortune-telling parrots and jade jewelry that can ward off evil. Lucky tourists may even be treated to a performance by the Cantonese Opera House.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Tourist's flock to see fish get tossed at Seattle's Pike Place Market
Tourists flock to see fish get tossed at Seattle’s Pike Place Market (Photo by Dana Nalbandian/WireImage)

Seattle is one of the great cities in America and the Pike Place Market is a good example of why. The market, of course, is most famous for the giant fish being tossed around. But there is so much more to the spot than just that.

The market also features a vibrant food scene with various cuisines represented. There are also booksellers, candlemakers, clothiers, and cheesemakers within the market’s sprawling 10-acre space. More than 10 million people visit Pike Place on an annual basis.

Khan el-Khalili, Cairo, Egypt 

The El-Fishawi Coffeehouse in the Khan al-Khalili has been in existence since 1773.
The El-Fishawi Coffeehouse in the Khan al-Khalili has been in existence since 1773 (CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Khan el-Khalili is certainly the oldest space on this list. The open market has existed since the 14th century and offers up all kinds of wares. 

Shoppers to the Egyptian spot can purchase clothing, perfume, jewelry, and fine-crafted glassware. Despite its age, the market has adapted to the times. Visitors can take advantage of the number of fine coffee shops or cutting-edge food trucks. One of the oldest coffeehouses that can be visited is  El Fishawi’s, which was first established all the way back in 1773.

Camden Lock Market, London

The Camden Lock Market is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London
The Camden Lock Market is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)

Camden Lock Market, which first opened in the early 19th Century, has only grown in size and popularity. Visitors can pick up items ranging from clothing to furniture or handmade wares.

There is also a thriving food scene at the Borough Market. Music is also an important component to Camden Lock and major bands like the Foo Fighters have performed there.

Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid offers high-end tapas offerings
Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid offers high-end tapas offerings (Image via Daniel Dionne/Flickr)

The market in San Miguel has been in operation since 1916. The space, however, was renovated and overhauled in 2009. It is located within walking distance of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor.

Mercado de San Miguel doesn’t offer the traditional wares that most world markets have. Instead, the area is more focused on selling, beer wine, and tapas. Visitors around the world love coming to Mercado de San Miguel to try local ham, baked goods, and olives.

Rialto Market, Venice, Italy

Rialto Market in Venice is a seafood lover's paradise
Rialto Market in Venice is a seafood lover’s paradise (Photo by Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images)

Rialto Market is already going to provide incredible scenery as it is located in the picturesque town of Venice. The center is famous for its seafood with shoppers able to purchase giant tiger prawns, fresh lobsters, and octopuses.

There is also one feature of the site particular to Venice. At the market, fresh produce is sold from gondolas which makes Rialto seem like a floating shopping center.

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia

The Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne began as a series of fruit and vegetable stands
The Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne began as a series of fruit and vegetable stands (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The Queen Victoria Market was first established in 1876. Back then, the center was mostly focused on the sales of fruits and vegetables. Today, the now largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere offers so much more.

In the 2010s, the market was expanded to include more gourmet food stalls. Today, Queen Victoria draws more than 10 million visitors each year.

 
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