Overview : For those looking for something unique and "off-the- beaten-path" in Mexico City there is a neighborhood southeast of Mexico... more »
For those looking for something unique and "off-the- beaten-path" in Mexico City there is a neighborhood southeast of Mexico... more » City’s Historic Center called La Merced. It is an older part of the city dating back to the Spanish Conquest, but today it is primarily known for its market, the largest in the city selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry.
La Merced has been an important commercial area since its beginning. In the 1930s, La Merced attracted immigrants and foreigners as a place to make a new home and life. With these changes it started developing into a unique and charismatic neighborhood.
Beyond the large indoor market (that unofficially sprawls outside as well) are various points of interest that blend Old World history, foreign influences, and traditional Mexico. This walking tour crosses about eight blocks and it is best to start on at Plaza Alonso Garcia and make your way to the market. Make sure you leave plenty of time for shopping. less «
To get to La Merced from the Zocalo is easy. You can either walk an interesting 13 blocks full of shops and restaurants (easiest way),... more » or you can take the metro (Blue line, transfer at Pino Suaraz to the Pink Line and get off at La Merced stop). It currently costs 3 pesos.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times and do not flash any items of value (money, jewelry, watches) in the crowded market.
Bring smaller pesos for shopping. Exact change is not always easy to find. And although you can get by without Spanish it is best to practice and try the words you do know. It helps.
Finally, make sure you visit in daylight hours. Although the market and route is safe, outlying streets can become a bit less desirable in the evening. less «
Plaza Alonso Garcia is located on Calle Manzanares, but known to locals as Venustiano Carranza. It borders a street that is closed off as a pedestrian walkway and goes by several names (Alhondiga, Talavera, and Jose Baez). You’ll know you are in the right place when you see green tents of vendors selling a collection of the most random... More things-anything from beauty supplies to tacos.
Located in this plaza is a large fountain dedicated to Garcia Bravo, a Spanish man who drew the outline map and boundaries of “the New Mexico City” – the Mexico that we know today. Three men accompany him in a canoe, including two wise men from the indigenous Mexicas (Aztecs) and a canoe guide.Less
The Claustro del Convento de la Merced (La Merced Cloister) is all that is left of a monastery that was founded in the 17th by the Mercedarian order. The neighborhood takes its name from the monastery, Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de la Merced. The temple, before being destroyed by the Reform Laws, was proclaimed to be the most lavish during the... More viceregal times.
The Cloister occupies almost a whole block (enter on Republica de Uruguay) and is elaborately decorated in a mix of Baroque and Moorish style. What makes this building extraordinary are the intricate quarry carvings that can be seen in the numerous columns that support the impeccably designed arches. The upper and ground level arches are designed differently, some with fruit and flowers, others with images of the monks.
The site is open to the public during the day, but the hours are not posted.Less
The pedestrian walkway on Calle Talavera is known to locals as Calle Niño Dios (1 block). Along this stroll you will find various types of architecture; beautiful neoclassical style, Baroque wall niches, art deco balconies and pastel colored buildings.
You will know you have arrived when you see a traditional candy store on the corner.... More The walkway is lined with statues of important figures, mostly religious.
The street is nicknamed Niño Dios after the important holiday, Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas). On this day (Feb 2nd) it is a Mexican tradition to adorn and dress baby Jesus figures. The government nicknamed the street to bring more awareness and preservation to the holiday. In order to accomplish this, they put a giant statue of Niño Dios and there are numerous shops filled with every embellishment you can imagine to dress your baby Jesus: dresses, Aztec costumes, cribs, jewels and so on.Less
After a stroll down Baby Jesus Avenue, you’ll cross Republica del Salvador and be in front of Casa Talavera.
The exact date is unknown but is speculated it was built in the 18th century. Its colossal façade is covered in red volcanic rock and its doors open to high ceilings, a mixture of colors and contrasts on the wall and a picturesque ... Moremain patio that offers a historical ambiance.
The building was declared a Historic Monument December 1, 1931, as a colonial civil building of baroque style.
Once a talavera pottery factory, Casa Talavera is now a cultural art center. It holds exhibitions and workshops open to the public on topics such as culture, sustainability, popular art.
There is also a museum inside open to the public during normal business hours.(Closed on Mondays, free admission.)Less
Crossing the next street, the pedestrian walkway turns into the large Plaza del Agulita. In the middle of the square is a fountain with the Mexican eagle and a snake upon a column. This represents the old legend of the eagle devouring the snake given by the God Huitzilopochtli to the Aztecs to locate the place on which to build the great city of... More Tenochtitlan.
In the plaza are tiled block benches that have images of the Mexican emblem and how it has changed in design over the centuries. Also, you can find Café Bagdad, the most traditional and famous coffee shop in the neighborhood. It is here where the Lebanese community still meets to drink ‘café arabe.’ Make sure to check out the old cash register!Less
At the end of Plaza del Aguilita, you’re going to follow east on Misioneros street to a large avenue. Across is a large sign “Mercado de las Flores” and where the interesting chaos of the market begins. It is best to enter in Mercado de Las Flores, where you will immediately be overwhelmed by the vibrant colors and abundance of artificial flowers ... Moreand party supplies.
Working through the flowers you find the large complex of La Merced. Old Mexican ladies will be greeting/shouting at you to eat their fresh quesadillas or ‘antonojitos’ (snacks). They can be a bit aggressive, but there is no reason to be worried. The best typical Mexican foods can be found in markets such as these, so don’t be afraid to sit down and try a few items, especially tacos.
Although the complex is the size of a giant airplane hangar, don’t be afraid of getting lost; you can always find an exit. Enjoy weaving along the aisles as your senses are captivated at every turn. Fresh cheeses of every sort (recommend buying a ball of Oaxaca cheese), towers of tomatoes, pyramids of apples – the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables is amazing, and the prices are cheap.
Also, there are lots of chiles, peppers (both dried and fresh), spices, and other common Mexican cooking items--some that foreigners have never seen or heard of. It is possible to make a few confusing turns and end up in the candy sections (Willy Wonka has nothing on the amount of candy you’ll find here) or piñata section, or household items, or so on. Eventually you’ll find your way out of the market.
The traditional markets, such as this one, are a great way to immerse yourself into Mexican culture and view the daily way of living. Buying (and selling) in markets like this one is a routine for most Mexicans.
Market Hours: 6am - 6pm daily.Less