Baltimore’s public market system is the oldest, still operating public market network in the U.S., predating the Declaration of Independence by more than a dozen years. The markets are a history of the city itself—harkening back to a time when public markets were the major source of food for city families. Historic Lexington Market, pictured above, in West Baltimore claims to be the world’s largest, continually running market, attracting local residents and tourists alike.
On land donated by John Eager Howard after he returned from fighting in the Revolutionary War, Lexington Market was an immediate success as local farmers flocked to the site with their produce.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, visiting Lexington Market, declared Baltimore “the gastronomic capital of the world.”
Established in 1786, this was among the first markets as Baltimore’s population boomed. Farmers came by wagon, boat, and ferry to serve immigrants and sailors.
Located in an old Lithuanian section of town, the Hollins Market operates in the oldest public market building still in use in Baltimore, dating to 1877.