Nothing is more typical of Mexican life than an open-air street market, or tianguis, selling colourful, hand-crafted clothing, jewelry and food. These markets, both the haphazard street versions and the more structured, covered versions can be found in practically every town and village across Mexico. It’s therefore no surprise that the capital, Mexico City, boasts some of the best clothing and accessories markets in the country. Here are the top five.
This open air tianguis is held on Saturdays only, but its reputation is legendary and its appeal is widespread. Located just off one of Mexico City’s more lovely plazas, El Bazaar Sábado is a sprawling maze of stalls and vendors, from the artisanal to more well-known designers. For example, popular Mexican designer Carla Fernández (who has a boutique in La Roma) is known to sell her pieces here on a weekly basis. From 9am to 6pm, the place is buzzing with activity and you can get your hands on any and every kind of accessory or item of clothing that takes your fancy. An unmissable Mexico City market experience.
If you’re busy on Saturdays, then head down to the Sunday tianguis (known as el baratillo) at La Lagunilla from 9am onwards. A mish-mash of goods, from weird and wonderful dusty old books, to ornate and traditional Mexican outfits, Building One of the sprawling complex is where you’ll find plenty of clothes and accessories to choose from. Although if you want to get your hands on the best bits and bobs you need to get there early, because this is a crazy popular market. The one thing to be careful of here though is pickpocketing and the bordering Tepito tianguis; famous for many of the wrong reasons, you can easily get lost or robbed if you look too conspicuous. But don’t be put off – the market is popular for a reason.
A Mexico City stalwart, La Ciudadela market is a handicraft haven that sells hand-made goods from all over the country – from huipil blouses to San Miguel de Allende tin mirrors and Oaxacan alebrijes (carved wooden animals), you can find the souvenir you’re looking for here. As there are so many stalls, you might want to shop around for the best price on the items you want, because there’ll almost certainly be more than one vendor hawking the same pieces. The greatest thing about La Ciudadela is that it’s open daily and has everything under one roof.
Mercado de la Merced
Perfectly located right near the zócalo in the centre of Mexico City, Mercado de la Merced is a great spot to buy traditional clothing and accessories if you don’t want to venture too far from the historic centre. Clothing isn’t all it specialises in either, as this market is famed for its fantastic fresh and street food that you can pick up cheaply. Snack on a gordita as you peruse the stalls and soak up the atmosphere. Allegedly the biggest and one of the oldest markets in Mexico City, La Merced is open from 7am daily. You’ll want to visit in the day as it doesn’t have the best night-time reputation.
Mercado Artesanal de Coyoacán
No guide to clothing and accessory markets in Mexico City would be complete without a mention of Coyoacán. This notably quirky neighborhood to the south of the city was once the home to Frida Kahlo and now has a suitably artsy reputation. Stop by the Mercado Artesanal de Coyoacán, located right across from Jardín Centenario, and pick up some typical Mexican blouses, dresses and accessories. From handwoven bags and purses to Chiapan handicrafts, this market opens from 12pm daily.