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Fill Up on Philly Cuisine with a Day Trip to Reading Terminal Market image
August 24, 2023
Fill Up on Philly Cuisine with a Day Trip to Reading Terminal Market

Join the Philly Foodie Crowd

Six words strike fear into the hearts of all families and friend groups: “What do you want to eat?” There are so many wrong answers and the final decision will never appease everyone. Still, there is hope for you fickle foodies. Believe it or not, there’s a place where the dreaded question opens a world of possibilities.

Reading Terminal Market, in Center City Philadelphia, is the promised land for the indecisive. With more than 80 merchants, Reading Terminal ensures everyone can find their thing. And it’s only a 2-hour (give or take) drive from NEPA, a day trip well worth the incredible selection of delicious, diverse food (and the preservation of your closest relationships).



A method to the madness.

There are a few ways to make the most of Reading Terminal. You can check out the market map in advance, or let your senses be your guide when you arrive. Either way, you’ll want to try a bit of everything, so be sure to pace yourself.

Tip: grab a table first. The market has two food court-style seating areas, both of which fill up quickly. If you’re with a group, make it a team effort. Snag a spot and take turns exploring. Everyone can get what they want and you can eat in (relative) peace. It’s a win-win. But, enough about the mechanics of the whole thing, let’s talk food.



Iconic sandwiches four generations in the making.

While cheesesteaks are just about as Philly as it gets, there’s no cheese-whiz involved on the sandwich of choice at Reading Terminal. DiNic’s roast pork sandwich once held the title of “Best Sandwich in America,” as decided by the Travel Channel.

It might seem like an outlandish claim, but one bite into that fresh hoagie roll stacked with roast pork, provolone and broccoli rabe will have you convinced. It’s not uncommon for the sandwich to sell out, so try to make it your first stop.



Can’t miss Philly favorites.

Don’t worry, you can still find a bangin’ cheesesteak just a few stalls down at Carmen’s Famous. Order a whole or a half, which is the perfect portable size, and finish it off with just about any cheese and toppings you could want.

To break up the sandwich streak, head around the corner for a cookie bag from Famous 4th Street Cookie Company or a Termini Bros cannoli. Both make pretty delicious palate cleansers and they’re the perfect sweet souvenirs to spread the Reading Terminal love back home.



No flight necessary for these international flavors.

You’ll find iconic Philly cuisine all across the market, but Reading’s international selections are truly top notch. From traditional Indian-Pakistani dishes at Nanee’s Kitchen (where they serve generous helpings) to freshly-prepared sushi at Umi, this is the perfect place to get adventurous and try something new.

If you’re unsure about a menu item or looking for suggestions, don’t be afraid to ask. Despite the fast-paced environment, each stand’s employees are glad to help. You might just find a new favorite meal in the process.



Good, old-fashioned Pennsylvania classics.

The Pennsylvania Dutch hold a special place at Reading Terminal. They supply much of the market’s locally-sourced meats, cheeses and dairy products, all of which are available for purchase, but they also make the most delicious baked goods.

For your sweet tooth, make a pitstop at Beiler’s, one of the market’s most beloved bakeries. Their donuts and whoopie pies are Pennsylvania staples. And to fulfill that salty craving, Miller’s Twist has the softest soft pretzel you’ll ever try.



Five star fruits & veggies.

Speaking of locally-sourced, it’s not a marketplace without farm fresh produce, and Reading has plenty to go around. Iovine Brothers and O.K. Produce offer local fruits and vegetables, alongside specialty produce.

Philadelphia’s top chefs frequent these markets daily to pick up ingredients for Michelin Star restaurants and iconic dining establishments around the city, so there’s no doubt you’re getting the best of the best.

Tip: visit the produce markets near the end of your visit for minimal bag-carrying stress.



One more sweet treat before you go.

If you’re like me, no matter how full you feel, you can’t pass up a good ice cream cone. Even if you think you’ve hit your limit, the flavor options at Bassetts Ice Cream will give you the strength to make room for at least a single scoop. Because when a creamery has been in business for more than 150 years, you know it must be worth it.



New foods & new favorites.

There’s no denying that Reading Terminal Market is chaotic, but it’s a communal chaos. From strangers sitting side-by-side at old-school diner counters to the scrubs and suits lunch rush, Reading Terminal proves that people from all walks of life will always come together over great food.

It’s those shared good vibes that keep the crowds coming back for more. Don’t be surprised when the market joins the Bank (Go Phils!) and the Linc (Go Birds!) as one of your regular feel-good, Philly spots. And with every return, “What do you want to eat?” will be music to your ears.

To start planning your Reading Terminal Market day trip, check out their official website. You’ll find parking & transportation information, a merchant directory and all the guidance you need to make your visit a success.