Why you should spend this holiday week at Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market’s Santa display from last year is shown.

Reading Terminal Market is an iconic location in the City of Brotherly Love. It’s your one-stop shop for a lunch break, a showcase of what local Philly vendors have to offer, and it’s home to a couple bars as well.

But during the holiday season, the country’s No. 1 public market (voted so by USA Today) also offers more than what meets the eye with specially designated days of giving, receiving, and also a brand-new holiday display with the big man in red himself. 

This past weekend, Santa Claus posted up shop in the market’s new holiday display across from Beck’s Cajun Café. What recently has been an unoccupied space has now transformed into a winter wonderland of sorts with snowy features, bright lights and a throne for Santa to sit on while welcoming pictures and visits. But, even if Kris Kringle isn’t in, kids can still have the opportunity to write their Christmas wish list and put it in a mailbox to the North Pole (it will get there by the big day). 

Each day of the week means something different for Reading Terminal, which boasts over 70 vendors all with unique offerings. But it’s not just about the assortment of food (as a representative told Metro, you will never find the same kind of cuisine more than twice), it’s also about the community. 

As a release states, all month long the market has been spreading holiday cheer with Thoughtful Thursdays. On Thursdays in December, they are hosting local non-profits at the market to highlight the amazing work they’re doing in the city. Thoughtful Thursdays are an excellent opportunity to learn more about these organizations and make a donation to support their mission.

During Thoughtful Thursdays, the market also invites visitors to come enjoy live entertainment in the center food court and purchase specialty holiday crafted cocktails from Molly Malloy’s. The last Thoughtful Thursday will take place on Dec. 23rd with Families Forward Philadelphia – FFP (a not-for-profit social services agency that helps homeless families become healthy, productive and self-reliant while maintaining the terminal’s historical role of assisting travelers).


Fridays have also kicked off the weekend on a playful note at Reading Terminal with “A Time for Joy,” where different chefs put on their own personal showcases and live demonstrations. Some talented merchants have prepared a program of exciting demos that have showcased what they have to offer, and they’ve invited curious minds to come learn from the market’s experts in-person in City Kitchen, or follow along at home on Facebook Live. Although this particular event won’t continue this week, Philadelphians can still taste for themselves treats from the Sustainable Farm, El Merkury, Tambayan and the Head Nut. 

On Saturdays, Reading Terminal also has been hosting a Jingle Mingle event with live entertainment from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. But this Sunday holds an extra special occasion. 

According to the release, Kwanzaa begins on Sunday, Dec. 26, and Reading Terminal invites everyone to celebrate with them by enjoying special discounts at select Black-owned businesses, including Amazulu, De’Village, and Careda’s Caribbean Cuisine. Visitors can also shop the market’s pop-up shop of local craft vendors in the Rick Nichols room from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and shop for all the things you need for your Kwanzaa feast from their merchants (online delivery through options like Mercato is also available).

All visitors are required to wear masks at all times when inside the market, regardless of vaccination status (visitors may only remove masks when seated at designated indoor dining spaces or at merchant counters). Hours for this week and holidays are: Monday to Thursday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Christmas Eve 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Christmas Day, New Years Eve 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed New Years Day.

For more information, visit readingterminalmarket.org