Top Open-Air Markets

A short list of the world’s most special alfresco shopping spots for local foods, flowers—and most of all, culture.

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Perusing a city’s market is more than just an exercise in the age-old act of commerce—it’s also a reliable way to tap into a region’s culture. A tour of Borough Market in London, for example, sheds light on the city’s pastoral heritage (sheep’s milk, fresh cider, seafood from the coast) and shows off its cosmopolitan side (French duck salami, Spanish chorizo sandwiches, mounds of Turkish delight). Mercado Ver-o-Peso in Belém, Brazil, a national heritage site, gives visitors a chance to sample produce sourced from deep in the Amazon—items that aren’t available anywhere else in the world. While bazaars like China’s Kashgar Sunday Market, a key hub in the Silk Road for thousands of years, are still as vibrant as ever, newer gatherings like the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg offer a vision into the future, as launching pads for small vendors on their way to becoming the next big thing (we’re looking at you, Ramen Burger). Plus, in a world where the product supply chain is steadily lengthening, it is refreshing to meet the woman who spent her morning making your mozzarella. From the far reaches of Marrakech to the misty climes of Portland, Oregon, here are markets that are sure to impress.