Souvenir shopping is a burden that all travelers must face at some point during their travels. Fortunately in Buenos Aires, there is a way to combine the chore of souvenir shopping while still exploring new neighborhoods and being immersed in a cultural experience. Ferías in Buenos Aires take over the city every weekend; covering parks and shutting down streets. Ferías, or craft fairs, are where local artists and vendors sell their work. This can range from cheesy gifts to original oil paintings. You will find ceramics, jewelry, mates, clothes, toys, antiques, and much more. When shopping at ferías you buy directly from the craftsmen and are therefore supporting local artists and get to experience authentic Porteño identity.
Ferías are great because you can stroll leisurely through the fair, while also soaking up the ambiance, local food, music, architecture, and people-watching. These street fairs began in 1970 and have spread to all corners of the city. Surely you will stumble upon a fería no matter where you are, but here are a few of the best:
Top Choices of Buenos Aires Ferías:
San Telmo Fería
It is the oldest and the most popular fería in Buenos Aires. It takes place every Sunday in San Telmo, on calle Defensa, spanning over ten blocks between Plaza Dorrego and Plaza de Mayo. There are hundreds of booths and stands carrying the prettiest and random hand crafted items you could think of. What make this market famous and unique are the antiques. In the many antique booths you can find valuables, one-of-a-kind items, and hidden treasures. Visiting this market is also a great way to explore San Telmo which is one of the oldest, most diverse, and unique neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.
Tip: Check out the free tango shows as well as awesome street performers.
Plaza Francia Fería
This fería takes place every Saturday and Sunday in Recoleta, in the park/plaza in front of the beautiful Recoleta Cemetery. Browse through the market, drink mate and sunbathe in the park make a great day out on the weekends.
Tip: While you’re there, check out my favorite tourist activity – the famous Recoleta cemetery, as well as the Recoleta Cultural Center and the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes, which are all in close proximity to the park.
Fería de Mataderos
It takes place a little off the beaten track every Sunday in the southwestern neighborhood of Mataderos in the Mercado de Hacienda. You will not stumble upon this fería as you might with those in Recoleta or San Telmo, but the lack of the typical touristy experience makes it worth the trip. The neighborhood of Mataderos is a mix of city life and country life (Mataderos literally meaning slaughterhouses), and historically was a main point of interest for the gauchos (Argentine cowboys). The influence of the gaucho history is evident throughout the fería as it has over 300 booths showcasing gaucho traditions and culture. You will find lots of stands cooking up traditional Argentine food such as empanadas, locro (a corn stew with different types of meat and sausages), and of course asado (Argentine bbq), as well as booths where you can purchase gauchos memorabilia.
Tip: Stay long enough to see the main event: The Sortija – where gauchos stand on their horse saddle and ride up and down the streets, with traditional folklore dancing and live music in the background.
Fería in Plaza Serrano: Most simply, this fair features in a great location. It is very easily accessible in Plaza Serrano in the heart of trendy Palermo Soho.
Tip: Go out to breakfast or brunch in one of the awesome cafés in Palermo, then stroll through the fería in Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia. There is always a great energy in Palermo Soho over the weekends.
Fería de Costanera Sur: Held every Sunday along the river in Puerto Madero, this is another fería where you can find inexpensive good and hand-made crafts. The riverfront promenade offers nice scenery and beautiful views of the ecological reserve. This fería runs along a relaxing environment parallel to the many, many food trucks where you can take a break for a cheap choripan or bondiola.
Tip: The Costanera Sur is also a great place to rent bikes and ride through the ecological reserve.