One of the first things we do when we arrive in a place is head to the local market and we make a habit of shopping at markets over supermarkets whenever and wherever we can. Food markets aren’t just fun and fascinating places to hang out — as the markets are in Jerez, Barcelona and Venice — they’re also (but not always: I’m talking about you, Marrakech!) more affordable places to shop than supermarkets.
Locals love nothing more than to hit the markets on a weekend, and while you will find plenty of tourist tat among the great local buys, locals definitely outnumber the tourists by a long shot at all of the city’s markets.
The buzziest markets are in Palermo Viejo, San Telmo and Recoleta, but my favourite is the Sunday market which stretches right down Calle Defensa from the Microcentro all the way to the antique market on Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo.
At all the markets you’ll find beautiful leather and cow skin products, indigenous handicrafts and gaucho gear, and stunning silver jewellery. If you only have room for one souvenir? Make it a maté gourd and bombilla, the traditional vessel and drinking straw with which to drink the Argentine tea yerba mate from.
The Best of Buenos Aires Markets — Super Mercados!
Feria de San Pedro Telmo, San Telmo
You’ll find antiques and bric-a-brac, including those gorgeous green and blue seltzer bottles everyone loves, (along with flamenco performances!) in Plaza Dorrego most days, though Sunday is when all the traders are out and Calle Defensa is closed so arts and crafts stalls can set up shop along the street all the way to Plaza Dorrego.
Feria Artesanal Plaza Independente Alvear, Recoleta
Combine a visit to this sprawling arts and crafts market with a stroll around the wonderful Recoleta Cemetery, then join the locals on the lawn to sip maté or strum a guitar.
Feria Plaza Serrano, Palermo Soho
This is quite a compact market compared to Recoleta’s and San Telmo’s taking up Plaza Serrano itself plus a side street, however, it’s more about the atmosphere than the stuff on sale. Wander around then find a sunny spot at a pavement table for a beer.
TIP: Watch your valuables at all of the markets; there are pickpockets everywhere!