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16 Markets Around the World That Put Your Local Grocery Store to Shame

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Warm up your bargaining skills—you’ll need to be a shrewd negotiator to get a deal at the best markets in the world. Groceries stores in the United States are nothing like these local spots. These landmarks—mostly open-air—are the heartbeat of the cities they’re located in.

Local markets are some of the most thrilling places in any city to try authentic street food and shop for unique souvenirs. Some markets, like the souks of Marrakech, are so expansive that they’re practically reasons to make the trip on your own.

These are the unique markets around the world you need to visit at least once:

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

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With over 4,000 shops and stalls spread across seemingly never-ending lanes, the Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. Explore a treasure trove of Turkish carpets, ceramics, spices, textiles, and jewelry.

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan

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As one of the world’s largest fish markets, visiting Tsukiji is a fascinating glimpse into Tokyo’s culinary scene. Stay in one of Tokyo’s nearby neighborhoods to easily experience the frenetic auction of fresh seafood in the early morning hours and feast on sushi and sashimi at nearby eateries.

La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain

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Located just off Barcelona’s popular La Rambla, La Boqueria is a food lover’s paradise. This market is one of the best things to see in Barcelona and is renowned for its colorful stalls brimming with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and seafood. You can also enjoy tapas and local delicacies at the many bars and restaurants here.

Borough Market, London, UK

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Nestled in the heart of London’s Southwark district, Borough Market is a culinary mecca that dates back over 1,000 years. Here, visitors can browse an array of artisanal products, from British cheeses and charcuterie to international street food. The market also hosts regular events and demonstrations by renowned chefs, cementing it as one of the top things to do in London.

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok, Thailand

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Spanning over 35 acres with more than 15,000 stalls divided into 27 sections, Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest weekend markets in the world, according to its website. Visitors can purchase everything from clothing, handicrafts, and antiques to exotic pets and street food. You’ll definitely walk away with a few well-priced souvenirs.

Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

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Located in the heart of Madrid, Mercado de San Miguel is a historic market housed in a stunning iron-framed building. Add this market to your list of places to visit in Madrid to try a diverse selection of Spanish cuisine, including tapas, seafood, wines, and gourmet delicacies.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, USA

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Overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public markets in the United States. Visitors can explore the market’s colorful stalls, watch fishmongers toss salmon, and enjoy stunning views of the Puget Sound.

Allow extra time at the market for dining–Pike Place Market is home to some of the best restaurants in Seattle, like Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. You can’t visit Seattle without visiting this well-known landmark.

Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar

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Souq Waqif is an Arabian market that dates back over a century. Wander through its labyrinthine alleyways lined with spice shops, perfumeries, and cafes. The market also hosts cultural performances, camel rides, and falconry displays.

Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile

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Mercado Central is Santiago’s largest and most iconic food market, renowned for its fresh seafood and Chilean cuisine. Indulge in local specialties like ceviche, empanadas, and pastel de choclo while soaking in the market’s vibrant atmosphere.

Varvakios Agora, Athens, Greece

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Varvakios Agora, also known as Athens Central Market, proves that culture in the city isn’t just limited to that on display in its museums. The market is divided into two sections: the meat market, where vendors sell a variety of fresh meats, poultry, and seafood, and the fish market, which has an impressive selection of locally caught fish and seafood.

Weave your way through the crowd of stalls, marveling at displays of fresh produce, spices, olives, and cheeses, while soaking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the market.

St. Lawrence Market, Toronto, Canada

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St. Lawrence Market is one of the oldest and most beloved attractions in Toronto, offering fresh produce, meats, cheeses, bakery items, and specialty foods. The market is housed in a historic building dating back to the 19th century and features a mix of indoor and outdoor vendors, as well as a farmers’ market on weekends.

Explore the market’s three floors, sampling local delicacies like peameal bacon sandwiches, butter tarts, and maple syrup, or pick up ingredients for a picnic in nearby St. James Park.

Mercado de San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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This market in Buenos Aires dates back to the late 19th century and features a mix of indoor and outdoor stalls selling everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to fresh produce, meats, and cheeses. Shop the market’s eclectic goods, browsing through antique shops and artisanal boutiques, or sampling Argentine specialties like empanadas, choripan, and dulce de leche.

Mercado de la Merced, Mexico City, Mexico

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Mercado de la Merced is one of Mexico City’s biggest markets. The market’s origins date back to the 16th century and to this day, the traditional market stays true to its history. Gawk at the array of fruits, vegetables, and chilies on display, or sample Mexican street food favorites like tacos, tamales, and quesadillas.

Khan el-Khalili, Cairo, Egypt

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Khan el-Khalili is one of the oldest and most famous souks (markets) in the world, placed in Islamic Cairo. The market is so well regarded that few tourists leave Cairo without visiting this well-frequented attraction. Khan el-Khalili’s history can be traced back to the 14th century and is renowned for its sprawling alleys, overwhelming atmosphere, and array of products.

Get lost in the market’s narrow streets, browsing through shops selling everything from spices and perfumes to jewelry, textiles, and souvenirs. Khan el-Khalili is also home to numerous cafes and restaurants where visitors can relax and enjoy Egyptian cuisine, such as koshari, falafel, and ful medames.

Mae Klong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

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Mae Klong Railway Market is a unique market located in the town of Samut Songkhram, about 80 kilometers southwest of Bangkok. What makes this market truly special is the fact that it sits directly on an active railway line, with vendors setting up their stalls on the tracks themselves.

Several times a day, a train passes through the market, forcing vendors to quickly retract their awnings and move their goods out of the way. Witness this incredible sight firsthand and explore the market’s stalls, which sell a variety of fresh produce, seafood, meats, and local snacks.

Medina of Marrakesh, Marrakesh, Morocco

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This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its maze-like configuration, bustling souks, and energetic street life. The medina is actually several markets in one—numerous different souks compose it, selling everything from spices and textiles to ceramics, jewelry, leather accessories, and home furnishings.

Jemaa el-Fnaa square is at the heart of the medina, where tourists and locals watch street performers and eat local delicacies like tagine, couscous, and pastilla at the night market. To get a bird’s eye view of the expansive medina, dine at one of the many rooftop restaurants in Marrkech, like L’mida or Nomad.

17 Worldwide Festivals Not To Miss

Cultural festivals around the world, by travel blogger What the Fab.
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There’s no cultural experience quite like immersing yourself in a traditional festival. The world’s most interesting festivals are not to be missed, from dancing on the benches in the Oktoberfest tents in Munich, Germany to lighting lamps for Diwali in India.

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