San Telmo Antiques Fair
Finding antiques and handmade crafts in Plaza Dorrego.

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One popular tourist shopping attraction in Buenos Aires is the Antique Market at Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo every Sunday from 10am to 6pm.  Although I think it is similar to the other markets around Buenos Aires, if you are a nik-knack lover, antique collector or just want to see all the Buenos Aires highlights then this is a stop you shouldn’t miss.  Everything can be found in this two block, open-air flea market; leather goods, colorful glass, handmade crafts and the popular mate gourds.


Puppet Show Street Performer

The unique aspect of the San Telmo Antiques Fair is the variety of street performers and tango dancers.  To enjoy the local artist and musicians just step away from the crowded Plaza Dorrego and wonder down any of the surrounding streets.  You can find everything from human statues to men on stilts. Tip the local artist and the performer will give you a little show or a perfect pose for a picture.  If you are looking for the tango dancers, don’t shy away from the people passing out flyers on the street corners.  Many cafés and restaurants have live tango performances for free, but they do expect you to enjoy a café and pastry.  If the fair seems too crowded to catch a tango show in the streets, stick around until the vendors pack up their belongings and the dancers take over the space.

Looking for art?  Although there are a few art displays scattered around San Telmo, the street with the highest concentration of art is Humberto.  Just below Plaza Dorrego and to the east you can find a street that only contains the work of local artists.  Most of the art is of Tango Dancers, of course, but you can also find some abstract and landscape paintings mixed in with the bunch.  Buying art on the streets of Buenos Aires is quiet a bargain compared to the United States.  You can purchase a piece about 15 inches by 13 inches for around $50 pesos.

Although most of the Antique Fair is concentrated in Plaza Dorrego, many people have set up less elaborate displays on Defensa, the street that runs parallel to Av. 9 de Julio.  Along Defensa people lay down blankets to spread out their merchandise, the items on this road include sandals, jewelry, mate gourds and other various souvenirs. The people on these roads appear to be poorer than the merchants in the Antique Fair in Plaza Dorrego, and their items sell for less.  There was an enormous selection of mates and the vender announced that you could have any one you liked for only 10 pesos, and he would give you the bombilla (straw) for free.  I paid 25 pesos for a similar mate in the market near the Recoleta Cemetery.

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