The Best Places to Shop in Mexico City
International brands and big-box stores from the U.S. have popped up all over Mexico City, but local markets remain strong. Authentic Mexican arts, crafts, foodstuffs, clothing, and jewelry are still easy to find if you know where to look—and supporting these traditions helps ensure their survival.
Colima 180, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
There are some international brands available here, but clothing, shoes, and accessories imagined, designed, and made in Mexico are the main inventory in this Roma boutique, which also bills itself as a gallery and taller, or workshop. Casa Bosques, a magazine and bookstore, features some of its titles here, and you can buy artisanal chocolate bars as well.
Av Presidente Masaryk 360 Loc 21, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco, Polanco III Secc, 11510 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Children aren’t left out of the shopping fun in Mexico City, which has dozens of market stalls, shops, and boutiques dedicated to goods made just for them. One of the best is Arroz con Leche, whose clothing is inspired by but not confined to traditional Mexican textiles. Expect whimsical embroidered touches and colorful designs, which will make unique souvenirs for the little ones in your life.
25 Calle Córdoba
The atmosphere at this high-end bookstore in Colonia Roma brilliantly walks the line between book-as-information and book-as-object. The visual impact is absolute: Impeccable volumes are showcased on matching shelves that rise like cliff faces on either side of a long table that also supports eye-catching tomes. The inventory is focused on art, architecture, design, fashion, and photography, with forays into food and film. Titles clever as well as weighty spur readers to take on abstruse theory, or paradigm-shifting essays, made more amenable in physical books (remember those?) that are downright gorgeous. Every title on offer was gathered from the booksellers’ associations with indie presses or was collected as they made their way along the global art and design circuits.
Alejandro Dumas 81, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
El Péndulo elevates the café-bookstore concept exceptionally well, inviting you to linger for hours over coffee and pastries in its large, two-level cafe (there are even tables on the second floor’s balcony). Books in Spanish and English line sagging shelves and sit in precarious piles on the floor, and staff will happily help you search for music or a movie from their extensive inventory of CDs and DVDs. The store has a large selection of novelty gift items, too, including journals and pens so you can document your visit. Be sure to give a nudge to the pendulum for which the store is named on your way out; suspended from the ceiling, the sand-filled, cone-shaped pendulum swings back and forth, making patterns as customers give the pendulum a gentle push.
200 Avenida Álvaro Obregón
Now based at several branded boutiques (including outposts in Roma, downtown, and posh Lomas de Chapultepec), and with a growing presence in some of the city’s smartest specialty shops, Mexican designer Carla Fernández has come into her own as a fashion force whose geometric cuts and mastery of color lead to clothes for men and women that are as bold as anything on Manhattan and Tokyo runways—yet always come alive with irrepressible Latin verve. Often inspired by indigenous palettes and textiles, the overall feel is edgy and today; and while the fit can be loose, even enigmatic, there’s a sexy something going on that has nothing to do with exposure or flaunt.
Dr. Atl 62, Sta María la Ribera, 06400 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
True, it would be impossible to pack that incredible vanity in your luggage, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting Década if you love vintage furniture. After all, the staff can pack any object for shipping, and there are plenty of smaller items that will fit in your suitcase, no problem. This shop specializes in mid-century pieces. Plan ahead: it’s appointment-only.
Calle Isabel la Catolica 30, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
This shop, down a tiny sunny alley off a sidestreet in Colonia Roma (Córdoba 67 interior 7), is like many other Mexico City’s shops that support women’s crafts collective, but it’s slightly different in that it carefully curates its inventory—made using the local traditional crafts of weaving, embroidery, jewelry-making—choosing only those pieces that complement a more modern lifestyle. Yes, that’s a traditional huipil, or pullover tunic, from Guerrero, but while this simple embroidered piece would work for your abuela, it would also look cool at your graphic design gig in LA. The shop has outlets at Hotel Condesa DF and its products are carried by stores in Puebla and Tulum.
Paseo de la Reforma 116, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
If you’re concerned about the provenance of handcrafts and whether your purchase will genuinely benefit the craftsperson or artist who made it, then confine your shopping to FONART. This government-sponsored project ensures that all of its products were made by Mexican artists and that creators receive a fair rate for their work. Prices here are higher than you’ll find for similar goods sold in the city’s markets, but you can rest easy knowing that the hand-painted wooden chest, embroidered blouse, or black pottery from Oaxaca was made by a legitimate artisan who will receive payment for their craft.
Jalapa 129, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
A sense of nerdy fun suffuses the proceedings at La Increíble Librería, a bookstore whose proprietors have already combed through the standard shop’s offerings and whittled it down to a mix of vintage and new volumes, all noteworthy for their rarity, extraordinary design, or winning sense of nostalgia. Airy but eclectic, the boutique is designed to showcase 5,000 volumes only (practically nothing for a bookstore) and also sells ephemera as well as high-design stationery; an ambitious coffee-and-snack menu invites you to linger as well. Give yourself time to browse and you’re sure to happen on some title you never knew you couldn’t live without. Most days, the vibe is library-quiet, but don’t be afraid to consult the knowledgeable, friendly staff.
A sliver of a boutique, with several levels, and discreetly tucked into a quiet street in the Juarez neighborhood, Loose Blues artfully serves up a clever selection of accessories and apparel for its deliberately insouciant, hipster clientele. Its curatorial strategy starts with staples like vinyl LPs and midcentury barware, then drills down to men’s and women’s clothes and footwear that walks a line between Bettie Page, lumberjack, and future shock. Once you’ve loaded up on Hawaiian shirts and skinny-girl jumpsuits, as well as tattoo-inspired and other Mexi-kitsch artworks, retreat to the upstairs café and restaurant, whose airy industrial vibe complements a menu of delights like herbal teas, artisanal brews, and light Japanese fare.
Lope de Vega 330, Polanco, Polanco V Secc, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Consistent with the trend of sourcing made-in-Mexico products that depart from the Technicolor serapes of days of yore, Onora’s home goods are Mexican-made, but few have the vivid colors that many people have come to associate with Mexican design. Instead, black, white, beige, and gray comprise the palette here, with items on offer including dishes, candle holders, table runners, pillows, bed linens, and more.
Campos Elíseos 199 PH, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11570 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Don’t roll up to 199 Campos Eliseos expecting to pop in and shop; this is an appointment-only antiques fever dream, the baby of Rodrigo Rivero Lake, perhaps Mexico‘s most renowned (and obsessive) collector. Paintings, photos, books, and a seemingly endless gathering of objects from Mexico and around the world: Rivero Lake can likely tell you the provenance of all of it. If you’re an antiques enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to soak up his knowledge and passion for all things vintage.
Porfirian-era mansions are the setting for many hotspots in Mexico City, from restaurants and bars to design boutiques. Roma Quince falls into the latter category; this “concept store” has an abundance of home goods and clothing, all made in Mexico. There are enough items to decorate your entire home, though your suitcase might not be large enough to accommodate the spoils of such a shopping spree. If it all becomes a bit much, head to Carlota & Emilia, located in the same house, for brunch or a pick-me-up.
A, Río Amazonas 73, Col. Renacimiento, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Mexico has a long tradition of exceptional design, and that is just as true in the fashion sphere as it is in architecture and art. Taxonomía is a nod to this fact, with all of its clothing and accessories inspired by and designed in Mexico by local makers. Don’t expect the classic patterns, textiles, and themes, however; the references in these pieces are often more subtle. A charming exception and great souvenir? The Mexico-shaped necklace, available in gold or silver.
Calle Celaya 25, Hipódromo, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
English-speaking bibliophiles love Under the Volcano for its cozy, welcoming space, where shelves stretch from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, sagging under the weight of previously read and gently used books. Those that don’t fit on shelves sit in towering stacks on the floor. Don’t expect the kind of boring pulp that tends to get left behind at hostel book exchanges. These are quality reads, including some unexpected and even rare finds.
Av. Emilio Castelar 215, Polanco, Polanco III Secc, 11550 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Designer Francisco Cancino is, like many of his contemporaries, interested in ushering in the new era of modern Mexican fashion, and he’s acquired plenty of admirers in the process. Stop by his Polanco atelier for his women’s clothing: all sleek lines, ample room to move, and seasonless patterns, and made in Mexico.
S/N, Balderas, Colonia Centro, Centro, 06040 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Looking for traditional Mexican crafts and home wares, such as the beautifully colored, hand-painted bowls and plates you’ve eaten off of at so many restaurants? Head to La Ciudadela, an artists’ market that for more than a century has drawn craftspeople from all over Mexico to sell their goods. In addition to kitchenware (handmade, blown glass swizzle sticks are a must-buy!), there are clothes, toys, and even musical instruments available for purchase. The market is big but not overwhelming, and bargaining is acceptable.
Plaza San Jacinto 11, San Ángel TNT, San Ángel, Álvaro Obregón, 01000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Once a separate municipality, San Ángel—in the city’s south, nestled into its western foothills—is a leafy, genteel enclave whose relative isolation adds a soigné feel (for better or worse) you won’t find in neighboring Coyoacán. Ground zero for promenading is quaint Plaza San Jacinto, whose cute parish church (and beautiful cloister garden) is a sort of spiritual last stand amid the surrounding area’s high-toned consumerism. That said, the plaza’s true spirit comes alive Saturdays, at the so-called Bazar Sábado, an artisanal market that fills the area with stall after stall of handmade jewelry, textiles, crafts, and accessories, plus a great deal of art—some finer, some less so—in styles that go from hippie to haute. Strolling musicians and performers add to the carnival atmosphere.
Paseo de la Reforma
Mexico City’s fabulous Sundays-only flea market—in a down-at-the-heels neighborhood near the Centro Histórico that looks worse than it is—is a must-do for anyone who loves the nostalgic or the campy. No fewer than six block-long aisles host dozens of stalls featuring all manner of trash and treasure, including antique furniture and light fixtures; frilly housewares that get you back in touch with your inner grandmother; books and vinyl LPs (record players, too); artworks that might be worth a fortune; toys; dolls and action figures; and fantastic vintage beer and soft-drink trays that make great, practical CDMX souvenirs.
Gobernador Rafael Rebollar 94, San Miguel Chapultepec I Secc, 11850 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Three friends who found themselves thrown together in the New York of the 1990s—artist Gabriel Orozco, who has been featured at MoMA, the Pompidou Center, and the Tate Modern; Mónica Manzutto, who worked at the Marian Goodman Gallery; and José Kuri, who was completing an M.A. at Columbia—originally came up with the idea for what is now arguably Mexico’s most influential gallery. Kurimanzutto began with some ephemeral Colonia Roma events, often in nontraditional spaces. Today the gallery occupies a structure commissioned from renowned architect Alberto Kalach; its stable of artists includes Mexican creators of international stature like Dr. Lakra, Miguel Calderón, Carlos Amorales, and Damián Ortega, as well as global talents like Akram Zaatari, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Anri Sala, Danh Vo, Jimmie Durham, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Monika Sosnowska. Kurimanzutto’s shows—not to mention the openings—mark the pulse of the Mexico City arts scene.