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Travel Tip: Hit the Street Markets

One of my favorite things about travel is exploring street markets. No matter where we go, you can bet I’ll be looking for a good market. If you’re a regular reader, you know we hit the German Christmas markets HARD in November.


I’m no expert, but I think Paris has the most beautiful shopping stalls. So lovely.


The Complete Package is a big fan of the Petaling markets in Kuala Lumpur. He likes to spend quality time browsing there when he travels to KL for business.

I loved the markets on Amsterdam’s canals and squares. Oh, the glorious cheese!

And I have very fond memories of a farmer’s market in McMinnville, Oregon and the dry-roasted hazelnuts, huckleberry syrup and artisan cheese I bought directly from the hard-working farmers who produced them. Let’s not forget the Pike Street Market in Seattle. Give me a grande Starbucks vanilla latte and a tub of Beecher’s cheese curds, and I’m a very happy camper. I really love Seattle.

But one market we BOTH loved was Camden Lock northwest of London. If I had to choose a favorite street market right now, this would be it. Hands down. It’s indoors and outdoors. It’s old and new. It’s also fun, funky, and wildly popular.

There really is a lock at Camden Lock. It regulates boats along the Regent’s Canal as is runs through the heart of Camden Town. The markets can be found along several streets, along the canal, and in the old Camden Stables. The heart of Camden Town has been home to one type of market or another since horses pulled boats to the Thames in the 1800’s. Old meets new here in an exciting way.

While you browse, don’t forget to take advantage of the food stalls. We followed our noses to a small stand where morning orange juice is squeezed to order while you wait. Then we followed our stomachs to this little Chinese food vendor for lunch. And a few days later, we followed them back to eat there again.

Camden is also known for its dynamic music scene and numerous pubs. If an English pub crawl is on your “to do” list, you may want to consider jumping the Tube for the short ride from London. Think of it as your public designated driver. While you’re there, keep an eye out for Amy Winehouse. She is known to frequent the pubs of her hometown. Who’s surprised? Anybody? No? {crickets} Here’s a photo of my favorite resident of Camden Town. Little tough guy.

The thing I loved most about the Camden Lock market is the atmosphere. It’s so far removed from the sedate, conservative lives we live at home. It’s not just fun, it’s funky. And it’s not just outrageous, it’s totally over the top. Camden is exciting, and gritty, and exotic, and fascinating. If variety is the spice of life, the markets of Camden are a multi-sensory feast. And this is one party you’ll want to attend over and over again (if you’re of age & behave responsibly, of course).

I'm pretty sure Sexy Goth are two words that will never be used to describe me.

I'm confused. Are they selling scorpions or shoes? It's Camden, so it's probably both.

I'm not going in there, but that facade is definitely a work of art.

There are so many markets I haven’t seen yet – the grand bazaar in Istanbul, the wet markets of Bangkok, the historic downtown market in Philadelphia. There are far too many to list. It’s a big, wide world out there, and I intend to see as much of it as I can before I ring the bell at the Pearly Gates, if I get that lucky. So, please share your suggestions. Where do you go when you “hit the streets”? I’d love to add your favorites to my list!

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