While locals shop for their everyday groceries here, visitors flock to the 100-year-old market to simply immerse themselves in the experience.
Inside, more than 100 vendors sell meats, cheeses, baked goods and prepared foods in a subway-tiled, barrel-vaulted concourse. Outside, colorful produce lines a covered arcade.
Food Network Magazine recently named it America's "Best Food Lover's Market" and Travel Channel episodes gush about food finds here. But this is not a shi shi place.
People of all types come because of the quality, the deals, and, in many cases, the memories. Many families have run the market's stands for generations and developed loyal followings.
The market is open five days a week (Su, M, W, F, S), with Saturday being the most popular. Sunday is a new addition to market hours, open 12 to 6 p.m.
Travel up and down the rows. Kids tend to get a gross-out thrill (beef tongues, and eels and chicken feet, oh my!) from the butcher cases in the center. Next, choose an assortment of treats, from falafel and gyros to shepherds pies, pickled veggies and bratwurst sandwiches.
If overwhelmed, ask locals for recommendations. Everyone has favorites.
Finally, take the steps along the W. 25th Street side of the building to the balcony. There, you can sit, nosh and enjoy a view of the crowds below.