Faneuil Hall Marketplace
By Susan M. Keenan © 2007
Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the ultimate one-stop shopping Mecca of the world, is an experience in and of itself. This particular area of Boston has been an important part of this city’s life pulse for more than 200 years. Today, the marketplace, which covers more than 6 acres, is actually four places in one- the South Market, North Market, Quincy Market, and Faneuil Hall.
Faneuil Hall dates back to 1742 when Peter Faneuil, the wealthiest merchant in all of Boston at the time, built the hall as a gift to the city. Nicknamed “The Cradle of Liberty,” Faneuil Hall has hosted many a famous individual including Samuel Adams, George Washington, Oliver Wendall Holmes, and Bill Clinton.
Faneuil Hall served as an urban marketplace as well. It became so popular that Quincy Hall, built in Greek Revival style, was added in the 1820s. Over the years that followed, the marketplace became weathered and worn until the 1970s when a renewed interest led to its revitalization.
In an atmosphere that vibrates with excitement and the unusual, this cobblestone walkway features magicians, mimes, caricature artists, jugglers, puppeteers, acrobats, clowns, and musicians in an ever-changing entourage. Every April an audition is held to select the performers who will be permitted to schedule performances during the months between March and October. Approximately fifty are selected from the very talented group that tries out. Six separate locations in the marketplace showcase the performers.
Three very interesting types of shopping are available in Faneuil Hall Marketplace including pushcarts, specialty shops, and national retailers. Considered the original models for pushcart shopping, the pushcarts at Faneuil Hall offer a wide array of goods from sheepskin items to handmade wool sweaters to oddities and collectibles. The specialty shops have just as wide an array of offerings including toys to imported goods from Ireland to sports footwear and more. National retailers offer the same line of goods no matter where they are. Such well-known stores as Victoria’s Secret, Coach, and Ann Taylor have set up shop in this super-sized marketplace.
The marketplace is open seven days a week all year long. On Mondays through Saturdays, the hours begin at 10 am and continue until 9 pm. Sundays have shortened hours from noon until 6 pm.
It features 49 shops, 44 pushcarts, 18 restaurants, and 35 food stalls. Additionally, one of the most popular comedy clubs is located at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Plenty of parking is available at the 75th Street Garage. Plus, commuters can easily walk the distance between the subway system and the marketplace.
Part of Boston’s Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is only five minutes to other popular attractions including the New England Aquarium, The Children’s Museum, The Old State House, and Paul Revere’s House.