I love going to markets in towns all over the world. And Boston has one of the better food markets here in the U.S. Haymarket has been the focus of produce bargain shopping since 1830. It is here you can get the best deals on bulk fruits, vegetables and also seafood. It's all out in the open and the vendors hawk their wares and shout out their bargain prices. It can be quite a chaotic scene and is also a great spot to experience the diverse cultural residents of Boston as many recent Asian, African, and European immigrants come here to get fresh produce. It's a great experience just to take in the madness and cultural diversity.
Note that the vendors only set up on Fridays and Saturdays.
What to buy: Vegetables, fruits, seafood
What to pay: Varies but the prices will be lower on Saturday afternoon as closing time draws near.
Squashed between a modern hotel and the green hulk that is the Central Artery, Haymarket seems to be just on the edge of extinction. The Haymarket is tiny, even for a small city like Boston. Some even worry what will happen when the Big Dig (that giant project to put the Central Artery underground), finally takes away the land on which the two-day (Friday and Saturday) market now sits.
What to buy: The Haymarket is Boston's great outdoor market, where you can buy everything from fruits and vegetable to sugar cane to fish just off the boat.
The website listed below gives you some pictures of a "neat and orderly" Haymarket, but the one I'm posting is more to reality. I took it from the car as we inched our way to the Callahan Tunnel.
You can still get bargains. Besides, it's an exciting adventure you shouldn't miss!
What to pay: As the website below says, the common cry of the Market is ...
"Buck a box!"
"Dollar a pound!"
"Buck a box!"
"Dollar a pound!"
Bargain prices ... but don't expect to go through the box! You're still getting a bargain you know!!
This is no swanky store, but Boston's extremely raucous outdoor market. Although formerly in the shadow of the I-93, the Big Dig has finally put that undergournd and the area is finally getting some sunshine!
Haymarket only operates on Fridays and Saturdays, but on both days it's a mob scene. The fact that everyone seems to specialise in produce that is just a little bit on the old side, doesn't slow down business...probably because everything is so cheap. The thing is that you'll spend virtually nothing, so even if you have to throw some produce out, it's still a lot cheaper than the supermarket. And plus, this is way more fun than your average Shaw's!
The place has a culture all of its own. The vendors yell and scream at you, at everyone else and at each other to get you to part with your dollars. The atmosphere of barely controlled chaos, and the constant yelling, make Haymarket more like a market in Africa: you come around the corner and the elegance of Quincy Market is behind you in every sense! Things are made worse by the ridiculously narrow passage along which you have to squeeze: just persist, and don't let the elderly women with shopping carts intimidate you!
What to buy: Fruit and vegetables, single or by the box!
What to pay: For most things, a buck or two will seal the deal: the sellers here want you to buy fast, since the produce is on the way out and they want to clear their tables.
Haymarket Pizza, in the heart of Haymarket Square, is bustling with open-air market shoppers on Friday and Saturday, and bustling in general any other day. Stop in for a quick slice - the cheapest, hottest, and yummiest pizza in the area - North End style.
What to buy: Pizza
What to pay: as little as $1 for a big slice, or around $6 for a pie.