One of my favorite pasttimes is exploring the artisanal markets of Mexico. When it came time to outfit our apartment in Guadalajara we knew we wanted to find the best markets in our vicinity. As we solicited our friends and natives of the area, we received overwhelming feedback to check out the town of Tonalá. We were told we wouldn’t be disappointed.
Tonalá is actually apart of the greater Guadalajara Metropolitan area and is just a quick 30 minutes from downtown GDL. Tonalá is a town where the history of artistry, handicrafts, ceramics, textiles (and more) run deep. Artistry overflows from the workshop benches into the streets. It’s an artistic enclave that supplies a lot of artisan creations that you’ll find in Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, and throughout various regions of Mexico.
Tonalá’s Famous Market
Tonalá is also well known for it’s biweekly Tianguis Artesanal or Artisanal Market. This Mexican market has existed since pre-Hispanic times and continues to thrive today. This traditional market hosts 3,500-4,000 vendors over a 3km area right in the heart of Tonalá! We’ve been four times now and still have not walked it all. It’s a beautiful maze of handicrafts and food that’s hard to exhaust. Whatever you’re looking for you’ll be able to find it here.
The Tianguis Artesanal de Tonalá operates every Thursday and Sunday between Juárez, Madero, Cruz Blanca, Santos Degollado, Tonaltecas and Tonala Avenues. The tianguis opens at 8am and lasts until 3pm, so head there early to beat the heat and the pedestrian traffic.
Outside of the Tianguis, Tonalá is still very much worth the visit. We strolled in and out of local shops for hours. We even passed a few workshops where we were able to catch artists in action as they molded, formed, and painted creations that their hands have made hundreds of times over. Honestly, don’t be afraid to lose yourself in the side streets of this cozy, little town. You never know what you might find.
- Most market vendors only accept cash (pesos) – keep some on hand.
- Bring insect repellent! Our legs were attacked by several resident, low flying mosquitoes in some of the shops.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate, it’s a part of the culture!
- If you have the time, scout out Tonalá on a non-market day first, see what they have, then plan another trip back to scoop up everything on your list.
If you enjoy the visuals, check out our excursion and haul below: