Country’s oldest open air market open in Chicago’s South Loop

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CHICAGO -- The longest running open air market in the country is right here in Chicago.

Over the years, Maxwell Street Market has moved around, now it's here on 800 south Desplaines in the South Loop.

"This is one of the greatest open air markets in this country. It's 105 years of continuous operation and it's the new Maxwell street," said Mary Kelly, commissioner of the department of cultural affairs and special events. "So anyone who has this idea that Maxwell Street is about the past is wrong, it's so alive and vibrant."

It is hard to describe Maxwell Street in a single sentence, it's an eclectic mix of authentic new items, flea market finds, clothing and fresh foods.

"It's really about access you know providing that access to fresh goods," said Matt Nielson, deputy commissioner of the department of cultural affairs and special events.

Maxwell Street is also renowned for its authentic Mexican and Latin style street food. Some say it's the best in the city.

Manuel Ochoa's family owns Manolo's Tacos. Their green sauce is like "heaven in your mouth" said Ochoa.

"Its a very special recipe, it came from my Grandfather."

Passed on to the next generation, the recipe helped turn a little girl's dream into a reality.

"My Mom was only 11 years old when she ran these streets when she was selling produce, she came to the United States as an immigrant and she is living the American Dream now she opened her own restaurant," said Ochoa.

Tradition lives on at Maxwell Street Market.

The market is open every Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the South Loop.


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