Oaxaca City Markets
Saturdays seem like festival days in Oaxaca, because in the city center we can find indigenous women who appear in their long red huipiles on their way to the Benito Juárez Market, a labyrinth of more than 700 stalls near the Zócalo.
The visitor should not miss a pleasant and impelling ramble through this market, where the vendors sell exotic fruit, vegetables, pottery, cloths and a large variety of items. The eyes, nose and palate are invigorated by the profusion of merchandise.
There you can admire the typical green glazed ceramic from Atzompa, the black pottery from Coyotepec, the woolen rugs from Teotitlán, the cutlery with knives with their emboldening and humorous inscriptions, the specially tempered machetes, the clay dolls and toys; incense holders, huipiles and variously colored textiles, baskets, rings, lace, and an infinity of objects from the rich and varied Oaxacan artisan tradition.
Walking among the people, many women carry baskets of a very popular snack: chapulines (toasted grasshoppers).
The great variety of typical dishes that can be found in the market deserves a separate mention, these include an unending diversity of candies and sweets, the traditional beverages such as tejate (cacao, corn and rose water) or Casilda´s fruit drinks; or the infallible nieves (homemade ice creams) made with chicozapote, strawberries, leche quemada (burned milk), mamey, roses, peanut and others.
To the south of this market is another, the western corner of which is occupied by the San Juan de Dios temple.
The area which this market occupies was used during Colonial times as a Convent and also for a Hospital. Nowadays it is the prepared food market of the Oaxacan capital.
The whole area is a gigantic kitchen, where the states traditional viands are prepared, from the great variety of the exquisite Oaxacan moles to Oaxaqueñan tamales and enchiladas.
A little further south lies the Artisan Market on the corner of J. P. García and Zaragoza. Here we can find a wide range of typical Oaxacan textiles and weaving. From clothing to rugs, you are sure to find something to take home. It´s also the perfect place to look for a gift for family and friends.
While we are in the subject, and if you have time, why not visit the markets in the nearby villages. You could spend almost a week just visiting the various markets in the villages.
The most important ones are: on Wednesday, Etla 15 km. from the city and specializing in cheese; on Thursday, Zaachila only 18 km. known for its food and agriculture; on Friday, Ocotlán 30 km. and specializing in textiles and clay pottery; on Saturdays, the Abastos Market in the city, about1.5 km from the Zocalo and where you will find everything; in Tlacolula on Sundays where rugs and artisan goods can be bought.