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Sunday Flea Market in San Telmo

Dispatch from Buenos Aires | Published : 06/Dec/2004 23:00

San Telmo Calle Bolivar
The Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Telmo is known for many things - for example, it enjoys the reputation of the world center of tango music. A somewhat lesser feather in its cap, perhaps, is San Telmo’s title as the home of the Sunday flea market.

It took me a while, but yesterday I finally overcame my dislike of flea markets and people in general and took a stroll south in search of some good shots and possibly a deal or two. None of that materialized, of course, but the atmosphere I found was reasonably festive.

San Telmo Market

San Telmo: Plaza Dorengo
Because of the regularity of the flea market, most of Calle Defensa is closed to motor vehicles on Sundays. The best way to explore the neighborhood is by walking from the Plaza de Mayo (Microcentro) down that very street.

The flea market itself normally happens in the stretch of Defensa between Ave Independecia and Ave San Juan with the highest concentration of vendors, buyers and onlookers around Plaza Dorrego (Defensa/Humberto).

Naturally, you don’t have to buy anything. The flea market attracts a typical Sunday crowd interested in strolling, lunching and listening to street bands perform. Well over a quarter of the Sunday mob seemed to be tourists enjoying the atmosphere of one of Buenos Aires’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

San Telmo Market Defensa

P.S. A note of caution (as of 2004): be alert for pickpockets and try to stay within the market’s boundaries. The blocks between Calle Bolívar and Ave de 9 Julio south of Ave Independecia may be a little sketchy.