The Historic Roanoke City Market, also called the Farmer's Market due to the profusion of plants, fresh fruits, and vegetables available during the growing season, is the oldest continuously operating open air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It began when 25 licenses were issued to "Hucksters" (Vendors) in 1882.
The first City of Roanoke Charter formally authorized a municipally owned market in 1884. The first 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. After serving as an indoor market for many years, the City Market Building was renovated in the mid 1980's and currently houses an International Food Court - a hugely popular lunch time destination in downtown.
The Historic Roanoke City Market is open year-round, seven days a week, and closes only on Christmas and New Year's. There are 42 permanent tables covered by yellow and white awnings that mark an inviting display of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants during growing season. There are additional spaces in Market Square where vendors erect tents to display their wares. In recent years, a number of artisans have joined the farmers and planters offering handcrafted items, unique jewelry, and other art objects. The market even boasts a variety of fresh meats!
The Historic Roanoke City Market has been recognized as a "Great American Public Place" by the Lyndhurst Foundation along with other winners like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC and Central Park in New York City. Locally, the market receives many "Best of Roanoke" awards by readers of the Roanoker Magazine.