I don't know what it is about markets that appeal so much. The only words that come to mind come off awfully pretentious. Exuberant comes to mind, and lively, and organic and dynamic and then my mind just starts looking for rhymes and alliterations and I should just stop that line of reasoning.
The Granville Island Market in Vancouver, and even more so the gigantic multi-level Pike Place Market in Seattle, are both simply fun to walk around in. The Vancouver market is mostly a food market while Seattle's has many other shops as well, but it's the food areas that are more fun. While the markets I know at home have their own charm, they can't compete with the multicultural attractions and sheer diversity of commodities that the American markets have, especially on the coast.
Seafood, always fun to look at, fills long rows of ice, clam-shells and crab-claws and lobster-tails in big buckets, 5-foot salmon gazing numbly into space. Fruits and vegetables that are always a bit different than the ones we have at home. Giant cucumbers and tiny tomatos, odd pears and strange mushrooms and 7 different kinds of pumpkins, squashes and gourds, all of them doing their best to look twisted and creepy for the coming Halloween. Stalls with fruit preserves and hot sauces and glazed nuts and smoked sausages (and sometimes all four at once), spices and syrups and eclectic gourmet sodas (yum!) and coffee roasters and cheese slicers and many, many other things.
Going past shelves containing curry powders or organic potatos or fresh mutton, I feel a huge desire to cook something, and quickly. I'll have to try to recapture this feeling when I'm home. I don't cook hardly enough. It's not as fun to cook for yourself. I need someone to cook for.