The sprawling indoor and outdoor indigenous Oaxaca Mercados are a market lover’s dream. You will find everything you need from the best mezcal, chapulinas (fried crickets), local, in-season produce, meat counters, gourmet coffee, fabulous food, shoes, clothing, household items, or one-of-a-kind local arts and crafts. Plus, just about every town and village have their own weekly Tianguis (traditional open-air markets of the Zapotecs and Mixtecs that move around daily), selling fruits, vegetables, and household odds and ends. Check out some of the best markets in the region to begin your shopping market adventure.
Mercados in Oaxaca City
Mercado Benito Juarez
Just south of the Zocolo, Mercado Benito Juarez is one of the most popular indoor markets.
Teeming with mezcal, moles, beans, fresh produce, baskets, indigenous crafts, herbs, and the infamous chapulinas.
Mercado 20 de Noviembre
Next to Benito Juarez is Mercado 20 de Noviembre with some of the most economical and tasty eating in the city. Stop by one of the many food counters and enjoy a tlyuda or one of the many varieties of mole. The Calle de Carne is a not-to-be-missed area. Buy your meat from a butcher and they will grill it for you on a wood-fire along with onions and chilis. The Mercado also focuses more on local artisans, including colorfully embroidered blouses, table runners, shoes, and much more.
Mercado Central de Abastos
This incredibly vibrant market will take some wandering and orienting, as it is big.
Beware of petty theft and pick-pocketing and leave the bling at home.
You will be delighted with anything and everything local and Oaxacan.
The prices here are the best in the city.
Mercado Sanchez Pasquas
My favorite small, local market, Sanchez Pasquas, offers delicious produce, nuts, a great juice bar, and small food counters. Don’t miss the sumptuous tamales from the “tamale lady”.
Mercado de 5 Senores
Another local and more traditional market on the southeast side of Oaxaca offers shoes, clothes, and household items and verdulerías (vegetables), fruterías (fruits), carnicerías (beef/meats), and pollerías (chicken).
Mercado la Merced
You will find mouth-watering food—antojitos, chilaquiles, juevos, tasajo or chorizo, plus freshly squeezed juice at the local la Merced.
Mercado Orgánico El Pochote
Only open on Friday and Saturdays this small, specialty market delights in organic coffee, tasty pastries, and exotic juices.
Mercado de Artesanias
Authentic Oaxacan art from all sixteen of Oaxaca’s ethnic groups can be found here.
This is an excellent alternative if you don’t have time to visit all the pueblos (villages) where the artisans produce their goods.
Market days outside of Oaxaca City
Most pueblos and towns have a dedicated market day or Tianguis. These towns can be reached by bus, collectivo, taxi, or one of the many tour companies based in Oaxaca city.
Many of the pueblos and markets specialize in a particular art form, such as pottery, weaving, alebrijes, or textiles. The following are market days in the surrounding pueblos.
Mercado de Tlacolula:
This Sunday food and craft market is one of the largest in the state of Oaxaca. Located 45 minutes from Oaxaca city, you can access it easily by bus or collectivo from the stadium area. Don’t miss the barbacoa (barbecued meat)!
Ixtlan de Juarez and Miahuatlan
Santa Maria Atzompa, Reforma
Villa de Etla, Zimatlan de Alverez
Zaachila, Ejutla de Crespo
Ocotlan de Morelas, San Bartolo Coyotepec, Santo Tomas Jalieza, San Antonia Castillo Velasco
** Please note many of the pueblos are closed because of COVID-19.
Where to Purchase Grocery Items and Other Sundries
Besides the indigenous mercados, you can find basic grocery products and sundries at the following locations:
Pitico: General groceries with the same products, prices, and service at each Pitico store.
Chedraui: It’s all here… big-box food, alcohol, clothing items.
OXXO: Convenient store goods and services.
Tiendas de Abarrotes: Small grocery convenience stores. Not much produce.
Sam’s Club: You can get all the basics here for discounted prices.
Walmart de Mexico: Yes, there is a Walmart too!
Shopping at mercados in Oaxaca is a treat for those who appreciate Mexican and Central-American culture, food, and traditions. Have you visited markets unique to your host country? Share your experience with us!
by: Gwen Hyatt