El Mercaro, or Market Square, is the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico. You should plan a visit here if you like to hunt for bargains, shop for souvenirs, or appreciate the colors and sounds of Mexican traditions. Expect to find Mexican restaurants, arts and crafts, shops, bakeries, etc. Items for sale are either in stores or set up in carts.
Market Square is the best cultural shopping experience in downtown San Antonio. Located west of the River Walk, it is a good fifteen minute walk to reach Market Square. On your journey above ground you will pass the San Antonio government buildings, San Fernando Cathedral and the Spanish Govenor''s Palace. If you choose to drive, parking is $5.00. You can also take a streetcar ride from downtown for $0.50.
Stalls in the indoor El Mercado sell everything from Mexican blankets and cowboy hats to high-quality crafts from the interior of Mexico. Shops sell more than just Mexican items. Here you can find goods from aroudn the world. You will find things like Chinese porcelain jars and hand-carved religious figurines, but most people come here for the Mexican crafts. You won''t miss the colorful skeleton figurines for the Day of the Dead. You''ll also find plenty of salsas and hot sauces to bring home. One store had an entire wall of hot sauces on display. I could have spent hours looking through to pick the perfect one.
Also, look for a variety of colorfully decorated pottery items such as crosses, bowls, plates, and jars. There is a large selection of hammered silver mirrors as well. Most of these items are very affordably priced, but unfortunately, they seem too difficult to take home in the suitcase, so you should be prepared to ship your items home. You will also find leather goods, Mexican apparel, glassware, hand-crafted furniture, jewelry and more.
You can enjoy some great Mexican food at either Mi Tierra or La Margarita. Both serve up traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex items and are popular spots for lunch and dinner. Mi Tierra is open 24 hours, so you can stop in to get some huevos rancheros, chile rellenos, chalupas, or other meal at any time. The mariachi band plays into the wee hours of the morning. Their bakery offers Mexican pastries that I have never seen before, along with standard cookies and cakes.