Do I need a reservation?

Yes, reservations are required and can be made online with a Visa, Discover or Mastercard here or by calling 800-838-3006. Please provide a cell or other phone number where we can reach you last-minute when making your reservation.

How much does the tour cost and how do I pay?

Cost is $16.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids ages 7 to 11. Younger kids are free. Right now we do not offer senior or student rates. Tours often sell out so we strongly advise making a reservation per the instructions in the question above. Procrastinators can check on last minute availability by calling 215-545-8007 x3 up to an hour before the tour start or by simply showing up at the Market Info desk and hoping for the best. (Last-minute ticket purchases are cash-only.)

Where do the tours start from?

The Welcome Desk, which is right inside the 12th and Filbert corner of the Market. (If you don’t see the Welcome sign and brochure racks, you’re in the wrong place.)

How do I get there?

See this ( part of the Reading Terminal Market Web site for great driving and public transportation directions.

Where do I park?

Parking is only $4 or $5 for two hours with a purchase of food in the Market if you park in the Parkway Garage – entrance right across from the Market on 12th Street between Arch and Filbert – or the Hilton Garage – entrance on Arch between 11th and 12th. There are lots of garages around the Market but these are the ONLY ones that have this special deal. Two hours is long enough to do the tour, but not to eat a leisurely meal before or after it. Rates go up to their regular hefty rates after the first two hours. Street parking is another option if you can find it but you probably shouldn’t do it at a kiosk offering less than two hours (since parking regs are strictly and very efficiently enforced in Philly).

Should I plan on skipping breakfast/lunch before/after the tour?

Definitely not! This is mainly a food history tour. While you will get to try small bites of about five of the foods you learn about, these will not add up to a meal. In fact we recommend getting to the market early or planning to stay late to enjoy a meal before or, especially after the tour, from some of the many great places in the market you will see/smell/learn about during the tour.

I’m a vegetarian. Is there any point in me taking the tour?

This is more of a food history tour than a food sampling one and the information is consumable by anyone! One or two of the five food samples contain fish or meat; the others should be fine.

How long does the tour last?

75 to 90 minutes.

Is the tour based inside the Market?

Yes, 80 percent of the tour takes place in the Market. We are outside it (examining the building) for about 10 minutes. Which brings us to the next questions:

It’s winter: Will I be cold on the tour? It’s summer: Will I be hot?

Only for the 10 minutes mentioned above if you don’t dress appropriately. The Market has heating and air conditioning and so is a comfortable place to be year-round.

Is the tour appropriate for children?

Although the tour is not geared for kids, it has been enjoyed by many families and school groups. It’s probably best for kids ages 10 and older (although younger ones who are into food or trains and are mature have enjoyed it)

How much walking is there? Can my elderly grandparents handle it?

Although you will be standing or walking for most of the hour and a half, the distances are not great (within two city blocks). Road Scholar and many other senior groups have taken the tour with no apparent problem.

How far in advance do I need to make reservations?

One to two weeks in advance is usually sufficient; slightly longer is advisable during peak summer tourist season.

What if I’m not absolutely sure I can make the tour or of the number of people who will be in my party on a certain date? Should I sign up anyway?

Since ticket sales are final you should probably wait until you are sure. Feel free to call or e-mail us (at, not brown paper tickets) with any special situation (including the need to reserve spots more than 6 months ahead) and we’ll try to work something out.

How does your tour differ from your competitor’s?

The Taste of Philly food tour is less than half the price and also won’t take up your whole afternoon. I’m primarily a food writer, you get the benefit of the food history and information I do while researching my articles and books, including my “Great Philly Cheesesteak Book” (Running Press). The emphasis is on that information which you can use to get the best local foods on your own both in the Market and outside it (some food samples are included but it’s only a few small bites). Ours is not a slick, multi-city tour operation. Ours is also the only local food tour owned and usually led by someone frequently seen on the Food Network and the History Channel.

I belong to a group that might be interested in a private tour. How many people can you accommodate and how does that work?

Private tours are available for groups of 7 or more (or equivalent payment); a discounted rate kicks in at 10 people. Our maximum guide-to-tourtaker ratio is about 1 to 17 but using several guides up to 60 people can take the tour almost simultaneously (more if tour times are staggered). The tour has been especially popular with school culinary classes, culinary professionals and college student and alumni groups. One big advantage to a private tour is that it can be scheduled at your convenience although the best days for tours are Wednesdays through Saturdays, when the Amish are there, and best times are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (to avoid the Market’s peak lunch rush – and also so tourgoers can enjoy lunch or breakfast on their own before or after the tour). But other days and times are possible. Call 215-545-8007 x3 or e-mail us at to discuss! The tour does include a few small food bites of the foods discussed but not enough that people would want to skip breakfast or lunch that day (and the Market is one of the few places in the world where a group of people of different tastes can sit together while eating different delicious (non-chain!) food). The current discounted rate for groups is $15 per person (providing 10 or more people guaranteed by deposit, which is fully refundable up until one week before the scheduled tour). An abbreviated version of the tour, focusing mainly on the history of the Market, is also available for large groups with limited time and/or money. Or you might want to have us come to you and talk cheesesteaks! Click here to find out more about that fun PowerPoint lecture.

Do you sell gift certificates?

Definitely, for any number of people. Click here or call 800-838-3006 to buy them with a credit card. Call us at 215-545-8007 ext. 3 or e-mail us at (and NOT Brown Paper Tickets) with questions or to redeem a gift certificate for a particular tour.

I went on the tour last week (month/year) and would like to revisit the stand where we got the great ice cream/pretzel/snapping turtle soup/fill-in-the-blank but I can’t remember its name. What was that again?

Please patronize our Market friends! They include:

  • Iovine’s Produce (928-4366)
  • Godshall’s Poultry (922-7589)
  • Spataro’s Sandwiches (925-6833, for cream cheese and olive, egg and tomato, and cheesesteak sandwiches)
  • Bassetts Ice Cream (925-4315)
  • Pearl’s Oyster Bar (627-7250, for snapping turtle soup)
  • Carmen’s Hoagies (592-7799, hoagies and cheesesteaks)
  • Hatville Deli (925-5065)
  • Dutch Eating Place (922-0425)
  • Down Home Diner (627-1955) preceding three for scrapple
  • Beiler’s Bakery (351-0735, for sticky buns)
  • Flying Monkey Bakery (928-0340, for butter cake)
  • Hershel's Deli (922-6220, Jewish apple cake)
  • Miller’s Twist (717-669-6409, pretzels) and the
  • Pennsylvania General Store (592-9772, for pretzels, candy).

NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, all Market merchants use the 215 area code.

What are the names of the books you’ve written and where can I buy them?

So glad you asked! Click here for all the details, including links to buy online.