When looking for a quick bite to eat or some unique Boston souvenirs, it’s hard to find a better place to go than Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Faneuil Hall Marketplace is really several separate facilities in the same location, which together form Boston’s central gathering place. The original building in the complex, Faneuil Hall, was built in 1742 as a gift to the citizens of Boston by wealthy colonial businessman Peter Faneuil. The building was originally designed to serve as a public market and meeting place, and its large central meeting hall was used by Samuel Adams as early as the 1760s as a place to rally the colonists against "taxation without representation," earning the building the moniker "the cradle of liberty." In later years, as Boston grew, so did the Faneuil Hall market. The building was expanded several times in the 19th century. Finally, when the market outgrew Faneuil Hall, the "new" market was created directly behind the original building. This new Greek-revival building and its two adjacent warehouses gained the name Quincy Market in honor of Boston Mayor Josiah Quincy, who had the vision of expanding the original market into new buildings. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market remained in use for many decades, but by the 1970s, had fallen into disrepair. The entire facility was saved in the mid-1970s by a highly successful redevelopment that included a restoration of the historic Faneuil Hall building and renovations to the Quincy Market colonnade (central building) and conversation of the two warehouses into spaces for retail shops and restaurants.
Today, the facility remains highly popular, serving over 40 million guests annually. The central Quincy Market Colonnade building houses a popular comedy club, several full-service restaurants, and over 40 local quick-service food vendors. This is an excellent place to get a great, affordable lunch, with plenty of variety to choose from. During the lunch hour, many vendors have tables set up in front of their stalls offering samples. With so many options, it’s often hard to choose, but rest assured, it’s hard to find a bad meal here. The beautifully restored central rotunda of this building is filled with tables where guests can stop to eat their meals. Most of these are long, high tables without chairs designed for eaters to stand at; expect it to be busy and to share your table with others. There are also some smaller tables with chairs on the upper level.
In addition to the Colonnade building, the North and South Market buildings house a variety of upscale retailers and full-service restaurants. Retailers range from national chains to local stores selling clothing, souvenirs, art, local crafts, and other items. There are also a few shops in the original Faneuil Hall building, which operates as a historic site with ranger-led interpretative talks and tours of the building’s meeting hall.
For a full listing of the restaurants and retailers operating at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, see the market website at www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com.