24 July 2012


There is nothing I love more than a street fair. Any kind of outdoor social event, really. Carnivals, flea markets, yard sales, food fests, whatever. Something about gathering with strangers to check out whatever it is the vendors are hawking is really pleasing to most of my senses. I love the slow pace of walking through the stalls. I want to see every single thing, taste every single sample, and pet every single dog. I don't even care about buying anything, though I get excited when something awesome is cheap. It's more the looking and being out, and even talking to the vendors and other people who are strolling the market, that really draws me to these kind of events.

Philadelphia is pretty good at street fairs. The Philadelphia Flea Markets Association hosts markets in parks all over the city every weekend in the summer and in warehouses every winter. A lot of the same people and new people participate each week and there are always new things to be seen. There are farmer's markets every day of the week in Philly and even night markets where food trucks battle it out for the "Best Taco" or "Best Pulled Pork" awards. I love this stuff!

Lucky for me, Buenos Aires could be called the Street Fair Capital of ... well, at least Argentina! Ferias are a way of life there and cater to not just tourists but locals as well. These markets sell anything from fresh produce to antiques to clothing to lunch! Everything I want in life? Pretty much. On our trip to BA last year, I dragged Sandro to a new market everyday. I mostly just perused, but I did pick up some handmade jewelry as gifts, as well as a hip bag and a mate gourd for myself! The real pleasure was in chatting with the vendors (read: fumbling through my Spanish!), sipping hot mate, and people watching in a new place.

Here are a list of some of the ferias I really loved:

Feria de Plaza Serrano
Located at Plaza Serrano at the corners of Serrano and Honduras in Palermo Soho. Open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 11am-7pm, but don't be surprised if the vendors are still setting up shop at noon or 1pm! This is where I found my handmade hip bag of denim and neon, woven Bolivian fabric for $8 USD. The crafter was a sweetheart who helped me find the perfect fit. I also bough inexpensive leather earrings here for all my girl friends back home.

Feria de Recoleta
This market circles the Recoleta Cemetery on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 9am-6pm. Mostly catering to the tourists who are admiring the graveyard, this market offers a thousand takes on the traditional mate and bombilla, prints and paintings of Buenos Aires, and a variety of leather goods. I bought my mate gourd here for $6 USD. It's not the best quality, but it got me through half a bag of tea on our trip!

Feria de San Telmo
This market stretches all the way down Defensa and to Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo. There are hundreds of vendors every Sunday, with some showing up on Saturdays as well. The indoor mercado there on Defensa is open everyday from 10am-7pm. These ferias are packed with antique furniture, housewares, clothing, and art. Crafts, electronics, modern housewares, and of course, food make up this eclectic, high traffic event. We spent hours walking up and down, and I picked up a hand carved and painted lechuza, a tiny wooden owl (a reminder of our favorite Italian restaurant, La Lechuza in Palermo Viejo).

Disclaimer: I am aware that many of the vendors and their wares at these markets are inauthentic. Being open to conversation and critical about high priced items are the keys to not getting ripped off in any situation where money changes hands. Enjoy the people watching, the local street cuisine, and pick up a small token for yourself or a friend.


  1. In my opinion, the absolute best feria in BsAs is the Gaucho Fair in Mataderos on Sundays (closed in summer.) Not only are there fabulous handcrafts and regional foods from all over Argentina, there's live music and dancing and the sortija, or gaucho riding contests. Great asados too!

  2. Cherie, That sounds perfect! I'd seen this mentioned online, but didn't get the chance to visit when we were there. Do you think it will still be going when we arrive in October?
    Thanks for the tip!