How many cities do you know of that have a Farmers’ Market in the middle of downtown? I don’t know of any, but I’m sure there are a few. In the heart of Shockoe Bottom, just off of Main St. sandwiched between 17th and 18th St. is the 17th Street Farmers’ Market. This space has been a public meeting place since 1737 and is one of America’s oldest public markets.
Depending on what day of the week it is will change what you see at the market. Thursday is the Growers’ and Crafters’ Market, full of pottery and jewelry and anything crafty; Saturday is the Mercado Market, full of eclectic homegrown produce; and Sunday is the Vintage Market with antiques and clothing.
Each vendor has a very distinct personality, and they’re all very good at trying to get you to buy their products and not the neighboring vendor’s. Kick up some dirt and banter with them if you’re looking for a fun conversation, or ask about an antique coffee grinder they have and see what stories are behind it. If you’re looking to show off your dog (or puppy!) the market is a great place to do it. With a constant flow of people, you’ll be covered in attention. Interspersed in the market are usually traveling musicians trying to make enough to catch a bus to the next city, and they’re usually very good!
After you’ve finished your walk through of the market, check out Walnut Alley for some fun graffiti, see who’s playing at Alley Katz that evening, walk over by Main Street Station, grab a coffee at Café Gutenberg, or grab some delicious sushi at Sumo San, right across the street! Being located in the middle of downtown allows you to not have to go out of your way to find homegrown produce and goodies!(www.17thstreetfarmersmarket.com)