10 Markets to Visit When You Study Abroad in Buenos Aires

May 19, 2015 1:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

Markets can be some of the most lively and colorful places to visit when you're exploring a new city, where locals and tourists come together around everything from food to antiques to secondhand treasures. Here are 10 of our favorites to explore in Buenos Aires:

1. FERIA DE SAN TELMO. One of the most famous markets in the CAPA global city of Buenos Aires - one that even local porteños visit - is the Feria de San Telmo which takes place every Sunday in Plaza Dorrego. It's fittng that this is the city's oldest neighborhood considering that one of the requirements to sell here is that all of the vendor's wares must dated before 1970. The market draws antique collectors from around the world who come to search for some of the important pieces that end up for sale in the stalls. In addition to the antique section, there are also streets full of craft stands and various pieces made by local artisans. Even if you don't go to buy, visit for the atmosphere. It's a key place to listen to tango music and dance along the way.

Buenos Aires - Feria de San Telmo
Photo: Feria de San Telmo vendor by Wally Gobetz

2. MERCADO DE SAN TELMO FAIR. San Telmo also has an indoor market, not far from Plaza Dorrego where the Feria de San Telmo takes place so you can easily visit both on the same day. The Mercado de San Telmo Fair is one of the city's oldest, having first opened in 1897 to sell food in support of a neighborhood of European immigrants who had moved into the city. Now, the market (housed in an historic building designed by Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo) offers unique antiques as well as fresh fruit and veggies - often those that are hard to find. It's open daily with limited vendors, but it's best to visit on a weekend, especially on Sundays when the most stands are open. 

Photo: Mercado de San Telmo via Buenos Aires Ciudad

3. FERIA DE PLAZA SERRANO. Located in the middle of the buzzing hot spot of Palermo Soho's Plaza Serrano (also called Plaza Julio Cortazar), this market is the place to visit if you want to find costume jewelry, t-shirts, leather goods and other local crafts. It draws plenty of independent designers and artists who open their shops around the area and sell from the indoor market stands. It attracts an eclectic mix of locals and tourists who make up a vibrant crowd and provide plenty of excellent opportunities for those who enjoy a bit of people watching. 

Buenos Aires: Feria de Plaza Serrano, Palermo Soho
Photo: Feria de Plaza Serrano by jennifer yin

4. RECOLETA / FERIA DE ARTISANOS DE PLAZA FRANCIA. Head over to the affluent Recoleta neighborhood on the weekend - popular with both locals and tourists. In Plaza Francia, you'll find the artisan's market which originally became famous in the 1960s, nicknamed "feria hippie". Now the artisans are led by Interferias, an organization that requires them to register and go through an evaluation process. It's now one of the city's largest markets where vendors sell all sorts of high quality goods from handmade crafts to jewelry to household items to photography every Saturday and Sunday. Once you've done your shopping, you're in the perfect place to have a bite to eat and then take a walk around to see some of the city's other important landmarks like the Recoleta Cemetery to see the tomb of Eva Perón.  

Photo via Feria Plaza Francia Facebook page

5. CABILDO PATIO FAIR. Near Plaza de Mayo in the center of Buenos Aires, you'll find a colonial building called the Cabildo where the Cabildo Patio Fair takes place. In the 1600s, it served as a mercantile center and then a government building, so it has an interesting history. Every Thursday and Friday, there is a small market on the back patio that welcomes members of the public to browse and buy some of the best quality crafts in the city including pottery, stained glass and jewelry. 

Photo via Feria de Cabildo's website

6. LA BOCA FAIR. If you're looking for tacky souviners to bring home, head to La Boca Fair. It's open every day on the colorful Caminito and is the most touristy of the markets in Buenos Aires. The stands sell crafts, silver jewelry and other goods but they do tend to be overpriced. It's worth a visit for the atmosphere, however! Stop to listen to the music and watch the tango dancers who provide entertainment in the streets. Keep an eye open for the "pintor sin manos" (painter without hands) who is an extraordinary artist painting live scenes from La Boca. It's a true treat if you have the opportunity to meet him. 

Look, no hands!
Photo: Pintor sin manos by Michael Klein

7. PARQUE RIVADAVIA FAIR. Another one of the city's oldest markets, the Parque Rivadavia Fair opened in 1928. You'll find it in one of the less touristy neighborhoods of Buenos Aires - Caballito, where traders set up their tables every day from 10am-8pm. It's a great place to find books and magazines as well as old coins and mail stamps which are traded on weekends. Also on weekends, there are a lot of unofficial street vendors that tag on to sell everything from plants to t-shits. 

No se apoye sobre los libros
Photo: "Do not lean on the books" in Rivadavia Park by Daniel Iván

8. FERIA DE MATADEROS. Probably the most authentic gaucho fair in the city of Buenos Aires, Feria de Mataderos is located in the historical working class neighborhood of Mataderos. The fair has become a permanent space in which to promote Argentine cultural roots and some of the city's traditions. There are beautiful artisan-made crafts to shop, authentic foods to eat like locro (a corn and meat stew) and humita (a savory corn and cheese mixture wrapped in husks) as well as plenty of gaucho entertainment and dances. The lively market is held every Sunday from 11am until 8pm. Sortija competitions are another highlight, starting mid-afternoon.

Feria de Mataderos 01
Photo: Feria de Mataderos by Sebastian Ilari

9. FERIA PASEO DEL RETIRO. Head over to Puerto Maders on the weekend to catch the Feria Paseo Del Retiro - a cross between art fair and flea market with a large number of stands where vendors sell artisan goods, some antiques and secondhand items. The government of Buenos Aires has stepped in to liven up the experience by adding a few weeky performances which draw a crowd to the area. The market is between an ecological reserve, an exclusive neighborhood and some small parks so there is plenty to explore beyond the stalls. 

Image credit: prensar.com

10. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITITES' FAIR / PASEO DE LAS COLECTIVIDADES. On the first Sunday of every month, Buenos Aires celebrates its cultural diversity with Paseo de las Colectividades by inviting different international communities of expats to showcase their traditional foods and crafts at the intersection of Avenida Donato Alvarez and Bacacay streets. This is a place of historical significance where milkmen (typically immigrants) used to wait for the train that transported their goods from the countryside to be sold on the city's strets. Now, people from all over the world - Armenia, Germany, Bolivia, Greece, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Ukraine, etc - come together to share a small slice of their culture with the wider community. 

Mauricio Macri participó de los festejos por el 197° aniversario de la Independencia Nacional. (3 de 3)
Photo: Inauguration of Paseo Porteño de las Colectividades by Mónica Martínez/GCBA via Mauricio Macri

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Topics: Buenos Aires, Argentina