If you’re still among that group of people who think that the only souvenirs worth bringing back from Mexico are tequila bottles and mariachi sombreros, you definitely need to read this list. Each state in Mexico has its own traditional crafts, like the gorgeous textiles from Chiapas or little folk art sculptures called alebrijes, from Oaxaca. And it just so happens that you can find many of them for sale right here in Mexico City. Your best bet for souvenir shopping is to head to a traditional crafts market, or perhaps a flea market if you’re searching for quirkier, one-of-a-kind items. Browsing these places for unique, authentic products is totally worth your time, and this way, you won’t be panicking at the airport and buying last-minute coffee mugs for friends back home. In fact, you might even find excuses to bring gifts to people you hadn’t thought of before.
It’s a true treasure hunt every time you visit this downtown flea market, where you can find everything from furniture, antique China and jewelry to crazy hats and vintage designer clothes. Refuel after a shopping session with their famous ice-cold beer cocktails, or micheladas.
With the impressive amount of folk art and crafts available at this market, it’s as if you’d taken a trip across the entire country–and all you have to do is head downtown. You’ll find textiles, jewelry, black pottery from Oaxaca and ceramics from Puebla, just to name a few.
El Bazaar Sábado
Located in the lovely Plaza San Jacinto, this indoor market is focused on promoting authentic, high-quality Mexican crafts. After browsing the stands for antiques, artisanal shoes, textiles, ceramics, miniatures and jewelry, sit down for quesadillas at their restaurant. Keep its name in mind before you go, though: it’s only open on Saturdays.
Mercado de Artesanías Coyoacán
This is the place to go for lovely, affordable crafts to bring back to everyone at home. From ceramics for your friend’s new place, wooden toys for the kids, colorful creatures called alebrijes to liven up your desk or artisanal soaps for your bathroom, you’ll get lost among the aisles. Don’t forget to bring a tote bag.
Mercado Insurgentes (aka Mercado de Artesanías Zona Rosa)
Explore all kinds of bright and colorful Mexican crafts at this lively market, where souvenir options include pre-Hispanic-inspired figurines, sarapes, huipiles and other textiles, plus hats, hammocks, and lots of silver jewelry. Don’t forget to check out the cute Nacimientos, the traditional Nativity representations made with hand-painted clay figurines.