Whether you’ve promised souvenirs to friends or just enjoy browsing, these markets represent some of the best shopping in the world. Forget overpriced tourist shops and shopping malls and head straight to the source!
1. Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, USA. This market has been open since 1907 and is one of the oldest markets in the United States. Featuring a world-famous fish market, fresh produce, the first Starbuck’s coffee, artisan chocolates, and unique arts and crafts, the market is also peppered with entertaining street performers.
2. The Khan el-Khalili in Cairo, Egypt. Known as “the Khan,” this massive market has been drawing shoppers since the 14th century. Although some are quick to dismiss it as a tourist trap, it also draws many locals and experienced shoppers. From handmade belly dancing costumes to freshly baked bread, the Khan is worth a look as long as you are willing to engage in some hard bargaining on prices.
3. Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Thailand. This massive market covers over 35 acres and houses over 15,000 separate shops. Although many offerings probably aren’t on your to-buy list (such as livestock), there is a wide assortment of handicrafts and food products.
4. L’Isle sur la Sorgue Market in L’Isle sur la Sorgue, France. Forget Paris; L’Isle sur la Sorgue is one of France’s largest antique markets and home to what many consider the epitome of a classic, traditional French market. While not the cheapest around, go for high quality cheeses, olives and oils.
5. El Rastro de Madrid in Madrid, Spain. “El Rastro” is held every Sunday and on public holidays. Located in La Latina, Madrid’s historical district, this Market is open until mid-afternoon. Stop into one of the many adjacent tapas bars once the stalls begin to close.
6. Leicester Market in Leicester, England. The largest covered outdoor market in England, Leicester is a perfect reprieve from England’s drizzly gray skies. At its current site for over 700 years, this market must be doing something right. Check out the fresh produce, heavily discounted near closing.
7. Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Whatever you might need (and plenty of things that you’ll never need) can be found amongst the 3,000 stalls in the open air Ben Thanh Market in District 1. This bustling market has everything from coffee, crafts, food, clothing and Chinese medicine. So join the crowds and practice your bartering skills!
8. Green Flea Market in New York, New York, USA. The largest flea market in the United States, you’d be mistaken to miss this if you end up in New York. From gourmet food to seedlings, there is a wide array of products from the U.S. and abroad.
By Julie Bowman