Photo essay: The Sunday Antiques Market in San Telmo, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

The Sunday market in Buenos Aires’ San Telmo neighborhood is one of the city’s busiest events. Every Sunday, hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists head to La Defensa avenue, where nearly 300 market stalls stretch over several blocks in the neighborhood.
san telmo antiques marketsan telmo market crowds on defensaFounded in 1971, it was originally known as the San Telmo Antiques Fair. There are still pockets of fascinating antiques to be seen, but the market has since developed into much more than that, with stalls that offer tourist trinkets, jewelry, wool scarves from Patagonia, handmade dolls, street musicians and performers, food and tango.
san telmo market antiquesThe oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires, San Telmo still has cobble-stone streets and beautiful colonial buildings. Some buildings are well-preserved, while others are crumbling, but they all add to the character of this part of Buenos Aires. Even if you don’t visit the neighborhood when the market is up and running, San Telmo is a great area to visit. You can pop into the many antique shops or have coffee in one of the bars and cafes that transport you back to the turn of the 20th century.
san telmo restaurantPlaza Dorrego is a little square where tango shows are performed on market days. When there is no market, it is easier to sit and enjoy a cafe con leche and watch the world go by.
medialunas buenos airesOn Sundays, the neighborhood is packed from morning to late afternoon, when the market vendors begin the daily toil of carefully packing their treasures back up in newspapers and boxes. There certainly are treasures to be found here! Have a look at all the fun stuff we saw at the San Telmo Sunday Market:
san telmo antiques market telephonesOf course there is a lot related to tango…

san telmo market tango couples

san telmo market tango statuesAnd mate in many forms and colors…

san telmo market mates
san telmo market mate stallColorful old-fashioned soda bottles…

san telmo market soda bottlesChess games that let you reenact the fight of the Incans vs. the Spaniards…

san telmo market incas vs spaniardsI am pretty sure that selling these in a market in Germany would be unconstitutional…

san telmo market fuehrer symbolsTwo of Argentina’s most beloved exports: Dulce de leche and Che Guevara

Dulce De Leche & CheLots of street musicians and performers entertain the crowds…

san telmo market drummers
san telmo market street musicians
street performers san telmoIncluding these lovers who need money…

los enamorados san telmoAnd of course there is food! You can get anything from empanadas to vegan hamburgers…

vegan hamburgersPopcorn with strawberries and honey
san telmo sunday market popcorn…and lots of other quirky things…
san telmo market gnomes
san telmo market accordeon
san telmo market handmade dolls
san telmo sunday market flat bottles
san telmo market defensa
san telmo market garbage bin

The San Telmo Sunday Market: Practical Information

The San Telmo Sunday Market is held every Sunday on La Defensa, starting at the Plaza De Mayo and ending at the Plaza Dorrego. It starts around 10am and wraps up around 5pm.

Take any bus or Subte (subway) to the Plaza de Mayo, where La Defensa begins.

Cash is king at the San Telmo antiques market!

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Tags : buenos aires


  1. I’m in love with all the colours here! And also possibly the male half of the lovers in the photo. Actually, scratch the “possibly.”

    From what I’ve seen of Buenos Aires in photos, the city looks like it’s choc full of vibrancy everywhere you look. Beam me to Argentina!

    1. Thanks, Andi! We have been spending more time in San Telmo recently and we love it more and more each time we go. We’re actually heading there tonight again to try a cute little restaurant 🙂

  2. Wow, these pictures look more like shots from a vibrant street festival than a market! Love the colours and the creativity and all the little details! And you’re right about it not being legal to sell nazi ‘souvenirs’ in Germany – in other countries you often see that stuff, though… Anyway, great post:)!!

    1. Vera – it actually felt more like a street festival with all the performers and musicians and Brazilian dancers 🙂 I was a little bit shocked to see so many things from the Third Empire around the market though, to be honest – seems to be popular here!

  3. So much stuff I’ve seen about Argentina lately makes me realize it’s much more dynamic than I’d imagined. I love markets like this which can be kind of kitschy and play to travelers ideas about a place, but at the same time give you an accurate glimpse into what makes the place unique.

    1. Ekua – Argentina is definitely dynamic – such a vibrant place! I think you’d love it here; Argentina is just such a diverse country with so much to see 🙂

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