Since San Antonio is touted as the birthplace of Tex-Mex cuisine, you may want to visit El Mercado or Market Square, the largest Mexican marketplace in the U.S., and reputedly the site wherein the early 1900s,
The Mexican Mercado also was known as Market Square or El Mercado, along with the Farmer’s Market, is the largest Mexican market in the state of Texas. As a matter of fact, it is the largest in the entire United States of America.
San Antonio’s rich culture abounds in Market Square’s plazas. Market Square is the biggest Mexican market in the U.S., a three-block outdoor plaza lined with restaurants, bars, and produce stands near San Antonio’s city center. It is, according to Frommer’s, one of the top-ten outdoor markets in America. Dozens of shops sell everything from hand-embroidered dresses to leather belts. Market Square’s working artists, musicians, dancers, and major cultural events give it a rich and lively cultural atmosphere.
At El Mercado, guests walk through 32 supermarkets, and at the Farmers Market Plaza, 80 niche shops. Market Square is also the site of many Hispanic festivals where, along with Guadalajara lights, food and drinks stalls pop up as the sounds of mariachi music mix with the thrill of Mexican dances.
Mexican women cooked tamales and chili on pushcarts and sold them to passersby, thus combining the two cuisines. It is also claimed that a Mexican restaurant owner in San Antonio actually invented Tex-Mex in the 1930s when he combined various items from his menu onto a single plate and doused it all with chili. Whether either of these stories is true, El Mercado is well worth visiting.
A variety of shops and gourmet joints are placed in the pedestrian plaza within the market square. Pharmacies, famous bakeries, cafes, and much more are all found here. The famous Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery is a very old Cafe and witnesses a number of visitors every day.
The famed Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery is located on the square, and no one should leave San Antonio without trying Mi Tierra’s famed green chile hot sauce. Mi Tierra is open around the clock. There are dozens of shops on the square and 80 more shops and stores in the adjacent Farmers Market. And you’ll find excellent Tex-Mex cuisine in almost every neighborhood in the city. LeReve, a tiny 38-seat restaurant downtown near the River Walk, recently earned the accolade of “Best French Restaurant in Texas” from The New York Times for its French-accented cuisine using familiar Texas ingredients.
This market is located along with two city blocks of West Commerce Street, near downtown San Antonio. The address ranges from 514 West Commerce to 612 West Commerce.
The market square includes a large indoor area along the main perambulator walkways and 32 shops called El Mercado. Travelers can engage in a range of activities here and they can shop in this square for hours. Enjoy the tasty Mexican food and listen to Mexican music with margaritas in your hand.
Many of the shops here sell pinatas, Mexican dresses, curios, jewelry, and fine art. There are also farmer markets in the square where the farmers bring their fresh fruits and vegetables to attract more tourists. You will see the great influence of Texas and Mexico in food habits, dressing, and culture in San Antonio.
Shopping is so much fun here. You can buy just about anything made in Mexico at this huge indoor market. Clothes, games, firewood, handmade leather purses, handmade blankets, meats, produce, and so much more.
Buy beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry at the Mexican Mercado. Handmade earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, belts, buckles, scarves, and pottery, etc., all crafted in Mexico are for sale here. Buy all of your souvenirs from Mexico right here for all of your friends and family back home. How about an authentic traditional Mexican dress or a man’s shirt? You can find them here.
You can find unique handmade toys and try out Mexican candies. They are very different than American candies.
A great souvenir to take home from El Mercado is a pinata to keep or to use at your next party. Fill it with wrapped candy and let the kids take turns hitting it with a bat or a stick. When it breaks, the candy pours out and everyone gets a treat!
Pinatas are beautifully handcrafted replicas of almost anything from stars and Santas to popular cartoon characters and animals.
Oil paintings on black flocked canvas are a big seller at El Mercado. Blown-glass figurines are also a popular item.
You and your family will have a blast pretending that you are shopping in old Mexico. Buy a poncho or a colorful Mexican blanket made in bright colors with fringe. Find the finest in Mexican goods right in the heart of San Antonio at Market Square.
The center of the market square is a very beautiful area and so it is a very appropriate place for conferences, social and civic activities, dance and drama appearances, art demonstrations, and concerts. You can travel here by two very best systems-streetcar and horse-drawn carriages.
You can see that San Antonio’s market square is a perfect example of the preservation of the past.
After this many market squares are coming up similarly which are also quite famous and doing well in the area. All these market squares are present in San Antonio’s travel guide.
El Mercado-Market Square
514 W. Commerce, San Antonio, TX 78207
Phone: (210) 207-8600
Fax: (210) 207-4287
San Antonio Market Square Hours:
June – August: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
September – May: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.