Maxwell Street Market: Thrift Shopping every Sunday.
The Maxwell Street Market is a Chicago tradition of bargains and bargaining with an international flavor and an eclectic mix of food and merchandise.
Where: 800 S. Desplaines St., Desplaines from Polk to Taylor 312-745-4676.
When: Every Sunday, 7 am – 3 pm
There’s limited FREE parking on Desplaines from Harrison to Polk, and on Desplaines from Taylor to Roosevelt.
New to the market: The Market will offer Chicagoans a chance to sell their gently-used clothing, household items, furniture and more in a new, weekly Pop-Up Yard Sale. (Interested sellers should contact Maxwell Street Market at 312.745.7038 during these office hours: Wednesday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm. 10 ft. x 10 ft. spaces are limited to availability, for $20.)
Summer music schedule:
Sunday, May 1, 7 am – 3 pm
Maxwell Street Market Summer Season Kickoff
Reggaetón/Banda musicians and performers, DJs and children activities
Sunday, May 15, noon
Sunday, May 22, noon
Maxwell Street Blues Band
Sunday, May 29, noon
Sunday, June 5, noon
Sunday, June 12, noon
Elishema and Company
Sunday, June 19, noon
Sunday, July 10, noon
Sunday, July 17, noon
DJ Queen Bee
Sunday, July 24, noon
Sunday, July 31, noon
DJ Gene Hunt
Sunday, August 14, noon
‘Get Fit’ Zumba® Day
Sunday, August 21, noon
Sunday, August 28, noon
The Ken Davis Project
History of Maxwell Street Market per the Chicago Public Library
Chicago may not have the oldest municipal public market in the country–Pike’s Place Market in Seattle claims that title. But Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market may be the most colorful. Some may argue that Maxwell Street’s heyday was between the 1930s and the 1960s, the same period discussed in the One Book One Chicago selection, Thomas Dyja’s The Third Coast. At one point, Dyja refers to Maxwell Street as “the city’s running outdoor junk shop, flea market, and bluesfest.”
Maxwell Street Market started within a few blocks on the Near West Side. A heavily immigrant neighborhood, it was not far from where Jane Addams later positioned her settlement house.The Maxwell Street Market began around the 1870s, but it was not until 1912 that Chicago passed an ordinance making it an official public market.
Located outside of the central business district, the market was free from the barriers and prejudices that could deter would-be entrepreneurs. Pushcart owners could set up shop for a small fee according to the Rules and Regulations Governing the Chicago Municipal Market at the Goldsmith School, Maxwell and Union Streets. Clientele was welcome from all walks of life and Maxwell Street quickly became a thriving produce and goods market.
In the 1990s, the University of Illinois at Chicago wanted to expand, discontinue the market, and re-develop buildings and land surrounding the market’s area. The Maxwell Street Market Area report noted that the Great Chicago Fire had missed the area and thus the buildings were very old and vacant.
After an outcry from the community and users of the market, the city designated Canal Street as the market’s new location. As with the South Water Street Market, the name of the market did not change after relocation. Today, “Maxwell Street Market” runs every Sunday and is still home to produce stands, apparel vendors, and is the place to buy things you didn’t know you needed.