Shopping can be a real joy in Mexico City, with artesanías (handicrafts) vendors, quirky shops and street markets all competing for your disposable income.

Where to Shop

The streets around the Zócalo in the centro histórico are lined with stores that specialize in everyday goods. To the west, used books show up on Donceles. Jewelry and gold outlets, as well as numismatics shops, are found along Palma, while opticians are east of the square on Avenida Madero. To the south, shoes are available on Avenida 20 de Noviembre, while along Bolívar, dozens of stores sell musical instruments. To the north, you’ll find costume jewelry on República de Colombia and República de Venezuela.

Condesa presents an enticing array of trendy boutiques, quirky shops and gourmet food stores. In Roma much of the retail activity is along Álvaro Obregón and Colima. Polanco’s Avenida Presidente Masaryk, aka the Rodeo Drive of Mexico, is lined with designer stores and other high-end establishments.

Malls & Department Stores

Chilangos increasingly shop in modern malls with designer-clothing stores and Starbucks franchises, and more of these shrines to consumerism are popping up all the time. Among the more pleasant are Plaza Loreto in San Ángel; the open-air Antara in Polanco; and Reforma 222 at the east end of the Zona Rosa.

Mexico City’s smartest department-store chains, El Palacio de Hierro and Liverpool, both maintain their original 1930s stores downtown.

Markets

Mexico City’s markets are worth visiting, not just for their varied contents but also for a glimpse of the frenetic business conducted within. In most neighborhoods you’ll find a tianguis (street market) at least once a week, selling everything from fresh produce to clothing and antiques. Tianguis generally set up by 10am and break down around 5pm. Weekend markets with designer gifts, clothing and even food are growing in number in the Roma and Condesa and Juárez areas, and make for a pleasant excuse to explore as much as shop.

Bargaining is common in markets without labelled prices (except for food), and sometimes even then. It is best to always be polite and ask for a slightly lower price than you are willing to pay, with a smile, wait for a response, then meet in the middle. Insisting is usually not appreciated.