La Ciudadela Artisan Market (Mercado de Artesanías de La Ciudadela) is one of the great treats of any visit to Mexico City. You may wish you had a whole extra suitcase.
La Ciudadela originally opened during the 1968 Olympics to showcase arts and crafts items from all over the country. There are still very few regions and specialties not represented among its crowded, crammed, and colorful aisles. Just to name a few:
Textiles: for folks facing long plane rides home, the embroidery here is a godsend. But there are also blankets, table-cloths and all kinds of apparel, hammocks, knit and crocheted crafts.
Scultpure: from the craft workshops of Guerrero and Oaxaca, you get religious votives, bizarre colonial-looking masks, and all kinds of smaller table-top and paper-maché keepsakes. Wood, ceramic, stone and other materials are all on sale.
Dish and glassware: Of course they’ll wrap it in newspaper for you, but you can buy complete service for 12 – or just a couple pretty objects to dazzle the eye.
Mirrors and Tinware: Mirrors framed in punched tin make excellent keepsakes, and the same craftsman are busy making similar boxes, chests, and furniture.
Lacquerware: There’s a stunning array of Oaxacan trays, chests and wooden sculpture, colorful and intricately designed – and largely unbreakable.
Everything else. Obviously, this list is hardly exhaustive
For simple curiosities, there are few other places where one can easily spend an entire afternoon, and possibly an entire day. Lots of international visitors will go back twice if the opportunity presents itself.
La Ciudadela Artisan Market is open every day until about 6 pm. With 350 vendors inside, it’s nearly always thriving too.