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The Baltimore Experience > Virtual Itineraries > Baltimore’s Markets


Discover Baltimore's Public Markets

Dotted across the city are a number of public markets offering a variety of products ranging from fresh produce and flowers to sumptuous meals and snacks. While many of today’s market buildings were built in the mid-1900s, the location of the markets is deeply rooted in history and in some cases date to the 1780s. These historic markets, which offer both locals and visitors a unique shopping and dining experience, are noted as comprising the oldest continuously operating public market system in the United States.
 

  • Baltimore’s best known public market is Lexington Market. Founded in 1782 on land leased by Revolutionary War hero John Eager Howard, Lexington Market is the city’s oldest and most iconic public market.  The first structure was built on this hilltop site in 1803, and was expanded in subsequent years to consist of three rectangular, one-story, block-long sheds.  A fire destroyed these structures in 1949 but the market was quickly rebuilt.  Today the market is a popular “foodie” destination to experience iconic Baltimore foods, including crab cakes, coddies, and Berger’s cookies.     
         
  • In its form, layout, and style, Hollins Market is a classic example of a mid-19th-century public market.  It was first established in 1836 at a site not far from the historic B&O Railroad’s Mount Clare Station.  It is the city’s only market structure that retains a second story.
     
  • The Cross Street Market is located in Baltimore's historic Federal Hill neighborhood.  It was constructed in 1873, and consisted of a two story, rectangular brick market house at Charles and Cross Streets, with long, rectangular sheds extending one block east to Light Street.  The original building was Italianate in style, with the market located on the first floor, and a public meeting hall on the second. The market burned in 1951 and was rebuilt on the same site.  
     
  • Broadway Market is a popular destination in the historic Fell’s Point neighborhood. The first market on the site, just steps away from the waterfront, was established in 1784. Today the market consists to two structures; the northern building contains architectural elements dating from 1864.
     
  • Originally constructed in 1885, the Northeast Market consisted of a large one-story brick market hall.  This was a typical architectural form for markets being built across the United States during the second half of the 19th century.  The current structure at the site dates to 1955.
     
  • Located steps from the Upton Metro Station, the Avenue Market is a popular dining and shopping destination in the Old West Baltimore neighborhood. Formerly known as the Lafayette Market, the current market replaces an 1871 structure which was destroyed by fire in 1953.
     
  • The Centre Market served as the city's central wholesale district for the distribution of meat, fish, and produce. The original structure was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1904 fire; it was rebuilt in grand style and consisted of multiple buildings and market sheds located along Harrison Street between East Baltimore and East Lombard Streets.  The old Fish Market Building is the only structure from the Centre Market complex that remains and today is home to the Port Discovery Children's Museum. 

Visit the Resource Center for an article by John Gentry on the history and architecture of the Baltimore public market system.

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