History of The Historic City Market

The Historic Roanoke City Market (popularly known as the Farmer's Market) is the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It began in 1882, when licenses were issued to 25 area "Hucksters" (vendors).

The first City of Roanoke Charter formally authorized a municipally-owned market in 1884. The original City Market Building was completed in 1886 and formed the core around which the Curb Market and Market Square developed. The original building was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the current building in 1922.

Original City Market Building - Photo courtesy of the Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Libraries
Photo courtesy of the Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Libraries
Photo courtesy of the Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Libraries
1976 - Photo courtesy of the Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Libraries

After serving as an indoor market for many years, the City Market Building was renovated into a food court in the mid 1980s. Nine local restaurants are now located inside the building.

The Historic City Market and has been recognized as a "Great American Public Place" by the Lyndhurst Foundation (other winners include the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC and Central Park in New York City. The Market is also a member of Panetizen's "Top 100 Public Spaces in the US and Canada."

The Historic City Market is open year-round, seven days a week, closing only on Christmas and New Year's Day. There are 42 permanent tables covered by awnings and additional spaces in Market Square where vendors erect tents to display products. Vendors offer a large selection of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and plants. Artisans offer handcrafted items. The market also offers a variety of fresh meats and baked goods.