Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Chris Whitehair
The Rochester Public Market – Not Your Average Farmer’s Market!
Voted one of the best Public Markets in the country, the Rochester Public Market is where new meets old through a blend of tradition and innovation.
21st-century amenities meet cobblestone streets and produce vendors that look much the same as they did a century ago.
A visit to the market is a rite of passage in Rochester, where the scents of fresh coffee, roasted nuts, and empanadas mix with the hustle and bustle of city life.
The Rochester Public Market has long been the cultural hub of Rochester.
People from all walks of life come together to enjoy the best fruits, veggies, artisan meats, and local vendors the area has to offer.
Whether you’re headed to the market for a coffee date, ingredients for dinner, or a morning out with the kids, plan to take your time here.
The market is best enjoyed at a leisurely strolling pace, browsing the abundance of rotating vendors.
History of the Rochester Public Market
The Rochester Public Market first opened in 1827, but moved to its current location on Union Street in 1905.
For over 115 years, Rochesterians and visitors alike have been wandering the cobblestone center of the market, browsing the freshest produce and unique finds you can’t get anywhere else.
In 2017, the market underwent an $8.5 million renovation, updating vendor stalls and expanding the indoor section of the market.
The Market is open year-round on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays, but Saturdays are when the fun really gets going!
There are five free lots to park in, and a Market Trolly runs May through October for easy access.
The Public Market also hosts a variety of specialty and seasonal events, so there’s always a reason to stop by.
Notable Vendors at the Rochester Public Market
Saturdays are the busiest day at the Public Market, with over 300 local vendors.
These vendors are spread out under three outdoor sheds(A, C, and D) as well as a permanent indoor shed (B).
You have a vast selection to choose from – including local produce, regional and exotic meats, seafood, eggs and dairy, honey, snacks, ethnic delicacies, specialty items, and too much more to list!
Some vendors rent stalls seasonally, some are permanent fixtures, and others stop by for a day or two, so there are always new businesses to discover.
When you’re planning your visit to the Public Market, be sure to stop by a few fan favorites:
Juan and Maria’s Empanada Stop
Juan and Maria’s have been a staple of the Rochester Public Market for over 20 years. Home of the “Highly Addictive Spanish Foods”, their menu includes empanadas with a variety of fillings as well as lunch and dinner plates. Whatever you get, your tastebuds will thank you!
Davis Honey has been selling raw, unfiltered Finger Lakes honey for 4 generations. Think there is just one type of honey? You’ve thought wrong! Try Springtime, Summer, Buckwheat, Cream Honey, Orange Blossom, and more!
Flower City Flavor Company
Shameless self-promotion, I know. We are your one-stop shop for all things flavor! We have Rochester’s largest hot sauce selection as well as a unique selection of seasonings, condiments, jerky, and more!
Some of our own branded products include flavored olive oils and Balsamic vinegars. The big difference between ours vs. other you might find at the market or elsewhere in Rochester, is ours are made with real ingredients. Real blueberries, real figs, real blood oranges. You’ll never find an artificial or natural flavor in our products!
The Pierogie Guy
The Pierogie Guy’s selection of artisan pierogis can be found throughout New York, including at the Rochester Public Market. From buffalo chicken to cheesy spinach, you’ve never had pierogis quite like these!
The Chai Guy
The Chai Guy got his start at the Rochester Public Market and even with their new Park Ave location, they have kept their roots planted. Stop by for a hot or iced mug of chai and delicious pastries.
Take your time to explore!
The buildings surrounding the market house small businesses, from coffee shops and food stands to breweries and restaurants.
They’re also decorated in some of the best public art in the city.
You can find murals, portraits, and stunning displays of creativity around every corner.
The Rochester Public Market is also the home base of the Flower City Pickers, a volunteer-run non-profit that collects excess food from the market and brings it to neighbors in need.
They also repurpose food waste for animal feed and composting on local farms, increasing the market’s sustainability.
Their mission of getting good, affordable food into the hands and bellies of the community is something we can all get behind!
Rochester Public Market Events
The market is more than a great place to find affordable, local produce and artisan vendors. It also hosts nearly 50 days of free-admissions events!
Book a free tour to learn about the history and the future of this market. Tours are 60 minutes long and are customizable to group interests.
Community Garage Sales/Flea Markets
Explore dozens of garage sales all at once! Market Garage Sales host a fantastic array of collectibles, curios, trinkets, and more.
Flower City Days
The market comes into bloom on Flower City days in May and June with legendary horticulture sales. Rows and rows of every flower imaginable- annuals, perennials, ornamentals, and shrubs.
Brands on the Bricks
The Public Market isn’t just for morning people! Bands on the Bricks are a free concert series hosted on Friday nights in July and August, featuring local bands.
Food Truck Rodeos
The last Wednesday of the month, April – September, sees the market come alive. Food trucks from across the city congregate on the market bricks and offer a night of delicious and creative cuisine options. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and set up for a night of live music, local brews, and delicious food.
This annual event hosts inspirational music groups from the Rochester, Finger Lakes, and Western New York regions, as well as with food and local vendors.
Produced by the Friends of the Public Market, Artist Row is more than your average art show. With over 180 talented local artists in attendance, the creative spirit of Rochester is truly on display. Browse local vendors and enjoy food.
Halloween at the Market
Go trick or treating at the market! This event is perfect for families to have their kids trick or treat in a fun and safe environment. With dozens of community organization
Holidays at the Market
No grinches here! A Rochester tradition for a quarter of a century, Holidays at the Market are when the spirit of the holidays comes alive! Holiday-specific vendors take over market stalls, including trees, ornaments, indoor and outdoor decorations, holiday treats, crafts, and gifts. You can enjoy visits with Santa, hayrides, cookie decorating, and more.
You’ve Got to Go!
For the best showcase of small businesses, locally grown produce and artisan goods, the Rochester Public Market is the place to be.
If we missed your favorite vendor, let us know in the comments!