An outdoor market by day and packed to bursting with diners, shoppers, storytellers, and singers by night, Jemaa el-Fna (also written Djemaa el-Fna or Jemaa el-Fnaa) is the epicenter of Marrakech life, where locals and tourists come night after night to see the clash of colors, sounds, smells, and sights that make up this memorable location.
Moroccans have been gathering in Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech’s Medina (walled town) for almost 1,000 years. From the traditional storytellers who spin their yarns to rapt groups of locals to the snake charmers and the many food stalls selling traditional snail soup and sweet mint tea, a visit to the square—especially after dark—is a truly special experience.
The best ways to enjoy the square are to go with the flow and enjoy the different performances that spring up from place to place or to tour the area with a knowledgeable local guide who can take you to the most authentic spots.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The square is fun to visit at nighttime when the food stalls operate.
- It can get very crowded, so keep an eye on your belongings.
- If the square gets overwhelming, you can retreat for a mint tea in one of the rooftop cafes.
How to Get There
Jemaa el-Fna square is in the center of the Marrakech Medina. The square is pedestrianized, but you can get a taxi to the southern edge, or visit the square as part of a tour.
When to Get There
Activity in the square kicks off at sunset—during the day, there’s not much more than fruit stalls here. The best times to visit Marrakech are spring and fall, as the weather can be very hot in summer, with daytime temperatures of over 100°F (38°C) at times.
Go Shopping in the Souks
The lanes leading off from the northern side of Jemaa el-Fna head into the warren-like complex of Marrakech's souks, or markets. Here you’ll find everything from rugs and pottery to beauty products, leather goods, and more for sale at stalls crowded with piles of goods. The items make great souvenirs, and haggling over prices is common practice here and even expected, but once you’ve agreed to a price you will be expected to purchase.