San Antonio’s Historic Market Square is filled with the wonderful sights, sounds, smells, and tastes you might typically associate with life south of the border. Stroll the indoor/outdoor malls filled with more than 100 vendors selling handcrafted pottery, leather goods, clothing, toys, and jewelry in the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico.
In Market Square (El Mercado), which occupies three city blocks, take your time shopping for the perfect souvenir—there are unique products here, such as authentic Mexican vanilla or colorful woven sarape blankets, that you won’t find in typical tourist destinations. Then indulge your taste buds at one of the many food stalls or authentic Tex-Mex restaurants that line the square, offering everything from fresh baked goods to handmade tortillas.
Many tours of San Antonio combine Market Square with other points of interest, such as the Alamo, the San Antonio missions, and the River Walk. While these sights are all doable independently, it’s helpful to explore the city up close with a guide who provides history and context about the city and its people. Market Square is also a stop on San Antonio hop-on hop-off bus and trolley tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Market Square is a must for lovers of shopping, Mexican culture, and authentic cuisine.
- It’s free to visit Market Square.
- The market is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Market Square is located on Commerce Street, about six blocks west of the River Walk. Paid parking is available on the street and in nearby garages. Local buses and trolleys all have stops nearby, and you can also rent a bicycle at one of the many B-cycle (bike-share) stations.
When to Get There
Market Square is open daily from 10am to 6pm and is generally busiest on weekends. Any day of the week, its air-conditioned stalls are a lovely refuge from the midday Texas heat. San Antonio has several major festivals throughout the year, including Fiesta in April, which brings larger than usual crowds to El Mercado.
Mi Tierra Café and Bakery is a landmark Tex-Mex restaurant and one of San Antonio’s oldest businesses, operating for more than 75 years. Open 24 hours a day, it’s a worthwhile stop for a pan dulce, breakfast taco, or a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. One of the best parts is the over-the-top vibrant decor, including a shrine dedicated to the late musician Selena, the Queen of Tejano Music, who considered San Antonio her second home.