By Emma Esteves

This summer, I had the opportunity to explore the West Side Market for the first time. Being one of the most popular places to visit in Cleveland, I heard many interesting things about it. Yet, I still had no idea what to expect, but I was looking forward to my first visit.

When I first arrived, our family walked through the produce section of the market. Even though this area is separate from the main vendors themselves, it was still very overwhelming. Everywhere I looked, I either saw crowds swarming around a specific stand or fruits displayed in wooden crates. While exploring I thought that this part of the market was particularly appealing. Although extremely crowded, I noticed the stands filled with fruits of all different colors and sizes. The cardboard signs which displayed their prices were equally as beautiful. Overall, I thought that this part of the market was very interesting, even though it doesn’t get as much attention as the main building.

When we finally entered into the true, West Side Market, I was experiencing a sensory overload. Everywhere I looked, I happened to see flashing lights, tons of unique food, and people EVERYWHERE. Not knowing what to do first, my parents decided it would be best if we did a basic walk through of the market. This allowed us to see all the vendors and the items they sold. My mind was in a complete frenzy, as items ranged from pigs feet and cow heart to freshly baked bread and homemade desserts. When we finished exploring almost 100 different vendors, I went back to my favorite ones and chose a few goods to bring home. This was my favorite part of our visit.

I first went to Kim Se Cambodian Cuisine, where I purchased a type of Japanese soda known as Ramune. At first I was very skeptical of how it would taste, but when my brother raved about how good it was, I decided to eventually try it. After a few sips, I was actually pleasantly surprised! The soda came in a variety of fruity flavors and it was sold at a very cheap price. In the end, I finished my bottle and would definitely go back for more. Then, our family stopped at a variety of bakeries where we bought fresh bread and pastries before heading home. The food was amazing and I loved every moment of the experience.

If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend you visit the West Side Market in Cleveland. The vendors sell delicious fresh food, and it’s a truly unique experience. Even though I couldn’t spend all day there, I still had a great time and I can’t wait to visit again!