One of the most culturally rich and distinct countries in the world, Mexico is a vibrant patchwork of several different diverse cultures, both indigenous and post-colonial. Prior to Spanish conquest, the country was home to over 50 distinct cultures and this diversity has increased considerably in the centuries since. For shoppers, there is an embarrassment of riches here, ranging from the bustling high streets of Mexico City to one-of-a-kind local craftsmen throughout the country.
Main Shopping Areas
Mexico’s eponymous capital city is the biggest city in the Americas and one of its most unique and exciting metropolises. The city is filled to the brim with a diverse range of shopping opportunities ranging from department stores, markets to small, off-the-beaten-track stores. There is no shortage of retail therapy in this fascinating city.
With a history stretching back to the early 14th Century, Patzcuaro is a town in the state of Michoacan and is well-known for its particularly vibrant and colourful ‘Day of the Dead’ celebrations. Outside of festive season, the town remains a vital destination for those seeking the very finest level of craftsmanship in Mexico. The town has a rich and distinct artistic heritage that is well-worth seeking out.
Another town off the beaten track well-worth seeking out, Zacatecas is known for being a major mining hub in Mexico mainly due to its substantial silver deposits. Coming into prominence during the 16th Century due to the discovery of nearby rich natural resources, it became a major part of the burgeoning colony New Spain. A major historical battleground in a number of conflicts, it is still known for its mining industry. It draws a number of tourists for its rich history, which is personified through its distinct Baroque architecture. Due to the prevalence of the silver industry in Zacatecas, it is a haven for silversmiths and subsequently a great destination for local craftsmanship.
Main Shopping Markets
One of Mexico City’s most popular and unique markets, Ciudadela Market has been a major tourism attraction since its establishment in 1968 in conjunction with the city’s hosting of the Summer Olympics. It is known for specialising in handicrafts and folk arts, and with over 350 separate vendors, it is the best place in the city to indulge these retail desires. The market offers a diverse range of different cultural products ranging from Aztec masks to sun stones to tailored mariachi suits. For those seeking the latter, the Arreola family’s stand is worth tracking down.
Mercado de Sonora
One of Mexico City’s more off-beat markets, the Sonora Market is located outside of the city centre and specialises in all things occult. Mexican culture is known for having an undercurrent of witchcraft, another aspect which makes its identity so unique. While there are a wealth of other products and goods to find here, this is definitely the place to go for those seeking something more bizarre.
Dulceria de Celaya
One of the best sweets shops in Mexico City, Dulceria de Celaya has been open since 1874 and offers some of the finest desserts in town. Having mastered their craft over the course of 150 years, this is one of the finest and most popular specialty shops in town, known as much for its amazingly-detailed design as it is for its delectable desserts.
A more recent modern development, Case Fusion has quickly cemented itself as a major cultural hotspot in Mexico City. Known for its series of authentic restaurants, produce market and local artists and craftsmen, Casa Fusion is well-worth seeking out.
House of Eleven Patios
A former convent in Patzcuaro, the House of Eleven Patios is now one of its chief tourism sites. A collection of shops and art galleries against the beautiful backdrop of historical courtyards, this is an essential cultural destination in the city and one of the finest places to get your hands on the wealth of local crafts.