I love markets. Food markets, craft markets, art markets; you name it and I'm there, so I'm a kid in a candy store in Mexico City where you can't walk more than a few blocks without finding yourself in the middle of colorful stalls selling everything from cell phone cases to delicious street food. When our lease signing and moving plans fell through this past Saturday (don't worry, we are signing later this week), we decided to turn lemons into lemonade and spend the day in the San Ángel neighborhood exploring their well-known Bazaar Sábado, with a brief stop at the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo.
Our trip started with a 45-50 minute ride on the Metrobús Linea 1, which runs up and down Avenida Insurgentes, and drops off only a few blocks from the market action at the La Bombilla stop. San Ángel is indeed well within Mexico City limits, which may be a small indication of how large this city is, but certainly feels worlds away from the city center. This particular neighborhood still maintains its cobblestoned streets, and large colonial homes with beautiful wood and iron doors. An additional 30 minutes of winding in and out of the residential streets is well worth your time.
We arrived around 10:45 and first headed to the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, which is about a 15-20 minute walk from the bus station. Many Frida Kahlo fans most associate her with a visit to Casa Azul, something we will certainly get to soon, but the Casa Estudio provides a look into her living relationship with Diego Rivera (they had two different houses connected by a rooftop walkway), and the very modern architecture for the time. Today, most of the rooms are filled with exhibits featuring other prominent Mexican artists, and will only take you about 30 minutes to wonder through. One thing to know is advance is that the museum charges a little extra if you want to take pictures inside.
After the museum we took another beautiful stroll back toward the bazaar and started our "window" shopping. Bazaar Sábado showcases a wide range of crafts, artwork, and of course food. You can find everything here from low cost, colorful jewelry and traditional huipil (I bought one!), to high-end paintings and sculptures. The stalls line the sidewalks in and around Plaza San Jacinto, and even extend inside over two floors of the building across the street, where you can also grab a bite to eat at the courtyard cafe. While you are perusing your purchasing options, don't forget to peek inside the actual stores lining the plaza for even more color, and clothing. This bazaar is a must-do activity for anyone who loves a good market, like me, or is just looking to see a different side of the city. Make sure to come with plenty of cash if you think you will want to buy something. While the higher end boutiques inside accept credit cards, many of the other stalls do not.
If you still have energy after shopping, head back toward the La Bombilla bus station where you will find the Jardín de la Bombilla across the street, which is a small, but beautiful place to relax. If you are like me, and can't last all afternoon without a bathroom break, step inside Mercado del Carmen on your way. This upscale mercado houses a few clothing stores, a gluten free panadaria, food stalls, and most importantly FREE RESTROOMS.
In total, we spent about 4 hours exploring San Ángel, and will certainly go back. After so much walking we were of course pretty hungry. Although there are plenty of cafes and restaurants around, we much prefer a stop for classic street food (which also happens to be much better for our budget). This time, we gave tacos de canasta (basket tacos) a try, before taking the bus back home.
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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