Buenos Aires Stories and Tips

Street Markets

Bargains? Photo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

One of the pleasures of Buenos Aires is its open-air markets, many of which combine shopping with entertainment. The bargains that you may find are often accompanied by the wonderful, romantic sounds and sights of tango dancers or musicians putting on a show. There are several popular markets throughout the city. Probably the easiest one to visit is off Avenida de Mayo just west of Plaza de Mayo. This is a very low-key affair with most goods displayed on the ground and you can just wander without being hassled. The following are some of the more celebrated markets which you would enjoy visiting.

The San Telmo Antiques Fair, which takes place every Sunday from 10am to 5pm at Plaza Dorrego, is a vibrant, colourful experience that will delight even the most jaded traveller. There is a smaller version on Saturdays. As street vendors sell their wares, singers and dancers move amid the crowd to tango music. Among the stands, you will find antique silver objects, porcelain, crystal, and other antiques. Many musicians, street performers known as "Artistas Callejeros" and antiques vendors come from all parts of Buenos Aires to bring and share their talents. It's especially famous for tango performances that can go on into the late evening, even if most of the vendors themselves close up at 5pm. I highly recommend this fair as a not-to-be-missed sight while in Buenos Aires.

Recoleta Fair, which takes place Saturday and Sunday in front of Recoleta Cemetery from 10am until sunset, offers every imaginable souvenir and type of craft, in addition to food. This has become one of the city's largest fairs, completely taking over all the walkways and then some in the area, and even the Iglesia Pilar, Recoleta Cemetery's church, gets involved by selling religious souvenirs. Live bands sometimes play on whatever part of the hill is left vacant by vendors.

The Cabildo Patio Fair is held on Thursday and Friday from 11am to 6pm in the small garden patio behind the Cabildo in the Plaza de Mayo. You'll find lots of locally made crafts here, especially pottery, stained glass, and jewellery.

Friday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm, the Madres hold the Feria de Madres de Plaza de Mayo fair in front of their headquarters overlooking Plaza Congreso. The fair has antiques, crafts, food, and a few interesting book vendors. Sometimes there is also live music. This is among the most casual and least touristy of all of the fairs, so it offers an interesting chance to chat with locals while supporting a good cause.

The La Boca Fair is open every day (but bigger on the weekend) from 10am to 6pm or sundown on the Caminito, the pedestrianized and art-filled thoroughfare in the heart of this neighbourhood. It's the most touristy of all the fairs, and most of the items seem overpriced. Still, if you need souvenirs in a hurry, you'll quickly get it all done here. Perhaps the tango singers and other street performers will keep your mind off the inflated prices.

Plaza Serrano Fair is at the small plaza at the intersection of Calle Serrano and Honduras, which forms the heart of Palermo Hollywood. Bohemian arts and crafts are sold here while locals sing and play guitars. Officially, the fair is held Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm, but impromptu vendors will also set up at night when the restaurants are crowded.

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