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Steps away from the most historic square mile in America, the Market East neighborhood serves as a gateway to the city’s business, shopping and entertainment district. Originally known as High Street, what is now called Market Street is a busy boulevard, particularly during the daytime as shoppers, workers and visitors fill the street.
Dominated by Philadelphia’s elaborately embellished City Hall, the Market East neighborhood is largely commercial, with boundaries that stretch roughly from Arch St. and Chinatown on the north to Walnut St. and Washington Square West on the south, and from Broad St. on the west and 6th St. and Old City on the east. Unlike other neighborhoods in Center City, the neighborhood has little residential development, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t activity.
Several museums and galleries are located in the neighborhood, along with the always-packed Reading Terminal Market, where visitors can feast on delicacies from Philadelphia and around the world. And with the city’s two newspapers, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, located in a former department store, visitors might just rub elbows with a Pulitzer Prize winner. In recent years, a number of owner-operated, independent shops and restaurants have cropped up, adding a distinctly local flavor to several national chains that serve the area.
Since 1892, the historic Reading Terminal Market has been the go-to place for professional and home cooks who want farm-fresh produce, meats, cheeses, herbs and other treats. Here more than 80 merchants sell everything from apples to Amish baked goods. Tours are available, and special events and festivals take place often.
The largest City Hall in the U.S. is also one of the most elaborate. Designed by Alexander Milne Calder, the exterior is covered with sculpture representing the seasons and continents, as well as allegorical figures, heads and masks and topped by a 27-ton sculpture of William Penn. Its observation deck provides a panoramic view of the city, and tours lead visitors into some of the most lavishly decorated rooms in the city. Stay tuned for the completely revamped Dilworth Plaza, opening in the fall of 2014.
“Meet me at the Eagle” is a longstanding tradition among locals who gather in front of the iconic statue in the Grand Court of Macy’s Center City, at what was formerly Wanamaker’s department store. In addition to picking up the latest style trends, shoppers can marvel at the elaborate architecture and enjoy the daily concerts on the historic 28,500-pipe organ — the largest playable instrument in the world.
Market East is as a transportation hub for SEPTA’s regional rail lines with service to the suburbs and Philadelphia International Airport. The train — known as the El to locals — makes stops at 8th, 11th and 13th Streets along Market, while numerous SEPTA routes and New Jersey transit buses traverse the numbered streets between 8th and Broad Streets and along Arch, Market and Chestnut Streets. At City Hall, passengers can catch the Broad Street Subway and interchange between it and the El for free.
Located in the heart of Center City, there are numerous hotels available near the Market East area. They include the Home2 Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Loews Philadelphia, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown, Residence Inn Philadelphia Center City, Holiday Inn Express Midtown, Rodeway Inn Center City, The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia and more. For more hotels in the area, click the button below.
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