With over 40 ferias (street fairs, flea markets) in Buenos Aires, how do you decide where to focus your time? While I have not visited all of them, I have done extensive research and enlisted the help of my Buenos Aires correspondents (aka my cousins Isa, Pilar and Carol) to point out the best ferias. Aside from this post, check out my Quick Guide on ferias for a comprehensive list, including hours, addresses and available links.
Check out the vibrant fashion scene at the FERIA DE DISEÑO in Plaza Serrano (Serrano 1557) in Palermo Hollywood. It features clothing from up and coming Argentinean designers, as well as shoes, accessories, and crafts. The vibe is fun, young and trendy. Take a break in one of the numerous neighboring bars and restaurants. Carol recommends Oro y Candido, a combination food market and restaurant. Walk over to the feria in the PLAZA CORTAZAR, for crafts, jewelry and leather goods. Later in the day, Isa advises a visit to the nearby Las Cañitas neighborhood. It’s currently the hottest place for trendy Argentineans. Hours: Wednesday thru Friday 2pm to 8pm Saturday, Sunday and holidays 3pm to 9pm
Head over to the Caballito neighborhood to the PARQUE RIVADAVIA (aka PARQUE LEZICA, Av. Rivadavia and Rosario) to browse through books and magazines. You’ll also find used albums and CDs. There’s also a section for stamp and coin collectors.
Hours: Every day from 10am to 7pm
For Hard Core Folklore
In Mataderos, PASEO ALBERDI (Av. Lisandro de la Torre and Av.Directorio) features 400 stalls specializing in traditional Argentinean folkloric art – think gaucho belts, mates, knives, silver pieces, and leather goods. The vibe is rustic and authentic. Traditional foods, music, and performances (dance, horse riding shows, concerts) also figure prominently.
Check their website for hours – usually it’s afternoons and evenings on Sunday. The site provides updates on special events and shows. The season begins April 5, 2009.
The world renowned feria in PLAZA DORREGO at the Feria de SAN Telmo (Humberto I and Defensa) has been featured as one of the “Top 10 Markets” by Travel and Leisure. Vendors offer antiques as well as crafts, and performers put on tango shows. With 270 stalls, the varied performances and nearby restaurants and bars, you’ll spend a wonderful Sunday afternoon in this one-of-a–kind market.
Hours: Sundays, 10am to 5pm.
For Bargains, Waterviews and A Break From The City
Want to get away for the day? Take a cab or remis and head over to the river delta in Tigre and check out the PUERTO DE FRUTOS (Sarmiento and Córdoba). It’s about a 40 minute drive but you’ll feel like you’re a world away. The Puerto de Frutos feria features jewelry, leather goods, crafts and furniture, with a special emphasis on wicker goods. There are numerous food stands, and bars and restaurants close by. Make a day of it and take a river cruise, visit the amusement park and try your luck at the casino.
Hours: Weekdays from 10am to 6pm, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10am to 7pm. Not all stands are open on weekdays.
Quick Tips for Shopping at the Ferias:
- Wear shoes made for all day walking. Some of these ferias are vast, and some are next to other ferias in adjoining parks, so you want to have energy and be pain free to stroll comfortably for extended periods.
- Dress comfortably. If you visit in the summer, it can get hot, so dress for the weather. This is not an excuse, however, to dress like a slob. Daisy Duke shorts, shoddy sweat suits, wife beater tanks, sloppy t-shirts and droopy pants will make you stick out like an unsophisticated outsider in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. Yikes, I sound like my mother! Good advice, though.
- Cash is king (and usually the only option for feria shopping), but be careful of pickpockets and purse snatchers. They are looking for distracted tourists. Put your bills in a money belt if possible, and leave the purse, along with your good jewelry in a safe in the hotel room.
In the rare case of problems with vendors, or any difficulty you may experience as a tourist, call the tourist office of the government of Buenos Aires, at 0800 999 2838 (toll free from anywhere in Argentina).
Note: Most of the web sites I’ve included are in Spanish. If you don’t know the language but are an enthusiastic shopper, I encourage you to take some time to navigate the sites anyway, because often there are photos and descriptions of the products, websites and even contact information for each individual artist/vendor.