April 11, 2018 ·

Plaza Francia Market & Fair in Recoleta Fair & Market: Not your everyday flea market

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outdoor market

 Recoleta Craft Fair in Buenos Aires

If you’re not quite in the mood for being the travel-guide wielding foreigner at one of Buenos Aires’ many tourist locations, the Recoleta Market & Fair in Plaza Francia is a perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Glittered with artisan stands and packed with porteño hippies, hipsters and tourists alike, the weekly fair exudes Buenos Aires’ bohemian spirit but with a family-friendly twist.

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Guide to Buenos Aires Street Markets

 

 

I went to the crafts fair last Sunday with a friend to try an alternative to San Telmo’s cobble-streeted version of the Buenos Aires flea market, and could tell right away that the Recoleta Fair had a more laid back, spending-the-afternoon-drinking-mate-and-people-watching sort of vibe to it. Across the street and just outside the fair, there were two local alternative rock bands competing neck-and-neck to draw in the largest crowd, with one crooning Yellowcard-esque tunes and the other giving a tribute to 90’s grunge. While sidewalk tango shows may be a staple of San Telmo’s traditional antique fair, the bands that occasionally set up shop along the grassy hills in Plaza Francia can range from reggae and acoustic guitar, to mellow background music for those chatting it up on the hill.

Once inside the fair, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the variety of hand-crafted jewelry and trinkets, souveneirs, cityscape paintings, and stylish summer clothes. Basically, it’s filled with all stuff you probably didn’t think you needed, until you began walking through the stands and wondering if your wallet could handle a few skirt steals and a new mate gourd. Among the unique finds at the Recoleta Fair are monedas that have been made into retro necklaces and earrings, multi-colored strappy sandals that are cheap and comfy (according to multiple sources), and Buenos Aires classics from quality leather bags to mates in every design possible. And, of course, those harem pants that you desperately want to try but fear will look more like pajama pants with a built in diaper rather than chic porteño street wear …

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Mataderos Sunday Market in Buenos Aires City – Argentina

 

With so many quirky goods that can’t be found in big-box shopping malls back home, it’s easy to fall into the tourist spending trap and want to buy everything. Afterall, it’s “one of a kind,” so how can you not? To shield ourselves from this doomed mindset –and to still have money left for food and basic living –my friends and I have instated a pocket-book protecting policy, i.e. a limit of one or two purchases each visit. I should note that this policy comes with the caveat that more purchases are allowed in the case that they are to be “souvenirs” for friends back home. Luckily, whether or not these souvenirs ever make it past our own wrists or earlobes and into gift boxes intended for our friends and family is beyond the jurisdiction of the policy …

So, go enjoy an impromptu humor skit accompanied by bongo drums and crude jokes lost in translation, eat an empanada on the grass hoping to blend into the hip (and cute) mate-sipping Argentinean locals next to you, and pick out a few earrings and a new wardrobe … I mean, “souveneirs” … at the Recoleta Fair this weekend, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

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