San Angel Market, Mexico City

Shopping the mercados in Mexico City offers a sumptuous feast for the senses. Vibrant colors dance across shirts, blankets, pottery, paintings and dolls’ dresses.

One of Mexico City’s most famous markets occurs in an upscale neighborhood in the southwestern part of the city, San Angel. The market is known as the Mercado del Sabado or El Bazaar Sabado (Saturday market), because it happens once a week on Saturdays. A group of artists first began to gather for the market in the 1960s.

A caveat: many of the vendors at the market sell paintings and art at a significantly higher price than you will find elsewhere in the city.

I looked, but didn’t buy anything on my recent visit there. I couldn’t quite convince my husband to spend more than US $100 on a painting of Frida Kahlo. I fully intend to buy some art the next time, however. (If you want to further indulge your artistic leanings, the Diego Rivera Studio Museum is also located nearby.)

As pictured below, the artists selling paintings lined the circular Plaza San Jacinto.

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I did happen upon a few more affordable vendors.

Unlike markets in many other countries, the vendors were not overtly pushy. That made the experience a whole lot more enjoyable.

The woman selling the dolls pictured below was lovingly brushing their hair. The dolls only cost a few dollars (I paid around US $4 for a large one). She told me the ones with un bebe, a baby, cost a bit more (understandably, right?).

I could not resist buying a doll wearing the tricolor colors of the Mexican flag — red, green and white.

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There also were musicians performing, which added to the wonderful mood. We came across the man below playing guitar, who reminded me of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.

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As noted earlier, the Saturday market is in a wealthier area of the city. This was quite apparent as we noticed men washing the expensive sports cars of the wealthy residents.

The pastel colors of the colonial era homes are beautiful, and a wandering walk through the cobble-stoned streets is well worth your time. Fuchsia-colored bougainvillea spilled over walls and seemed to wrap itself around every corner.

However, we were struck by the empty streets surrounding the gated homes of the wealthy. More than one resident seemed to glance nervously at my husband and I as we walked by, before quickly darting past a door that quick shut. We were obviously out of place. The only other person we came across was a man walking through the street, calling out to collect trash from the residents.

Still, we enjoyed seeing the historic homes. Even if they were hidden behind walls and high wrought iron fences. They were like beautifully wrapped presents — ones that we would not be allowed to open.

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