Shopping in Mexico City
Mexico City has everything from upmarket department stores and trendy boutiques to malls, markets and street hawkers. Fixed prices prevail in the upmarket shops and department stores, but it is commonplace to haggle in the markets.
Favourite Mexico City shopping areas include the Centro Histórico, La Zona Rosa and in recent years Polanco.
There are a number of markets selling Mexican artesanías (handicrafts) in Mexico City. The Bazar Sábado (Saturday Bazaar), Plaza San Jacinto 11, in San Angel, is a showcase for some of Mexico's finest handicrafts, although prices are high. The National Fund for the Development of Arts and Crafts (Fonart), with outlets at Avenida Patriotismo 691, Avenida Paseo de la Reforma 116 and Avenida Juarez 89, is a government initiative to preserve folk art traditions among indigenous peoples. All of the work, from colourful hand-painted crockery to innovative blown glass, is made by regional artisans in poor communities.
Artisans display their crafts every Saturday 1000-1900. Mercado de Curiosidades Mexicanos San Juan (San Juan Market of Mexican Curiosities), at Ayuntamiento and Dolores in the Centro Histórico, is a handicraft venue open Monday to Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 0900-1600. Nearby, the Mercado la Ciudadela, on the corner of Balderas and Dondé, is a covered market with a wide variety of artesanía from all over Mexico. Prices are fair but expect to bargain; open daily 1030-1830.
The largest department stores in Mexico City are Sanborns, Liverpool and Palacio de Hierro. The original stores are in the Centro Histórico but all have branches in suburban shopping malls. Particularly interesting is the Casa de Azulejos (House of Tiles), between Avenida Cinco de Mayo and Avenida Madero, a beautiful building, dating from 1596 and covered in handmade blue and white tiles. On the inside, it sports a mural by Orozco and a Sanborns department store and restaurant.
Centro Santa Fe, Vasco de Quiroga 3800, in the western part of the city, is the largest shopping centre in Latin America and boasts nearly 300 shops, with department stores, boutiques, restaurants, play areas for children and 10 cinemas, although there is no metro nearby. On the southern edge of the city, the upscale Perisur shopping mall on Periférico Sur boasts lots of family attractions and is famous for its elaborate Christmas displays of life-sized polar bears, nativity scenes and light shows.
Shop opening hours are generally 0900/1000-2000/2100. The larger department stores remain open late into the evening. Smaller stores often close between 1400 and 1600, then reopen until 2000.
Mexico City adds VAT (Value Added Tax) at 15%, which cannot be claimed back by visitors.