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Case Studies 

Feria de San Telmo

Buenos Aires


Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
February 20, 2015
December 14, 2017

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

A visit to La Feria de San Telmo means taking your place among up to 20,000 others, as tourists come from around the world to enjoy both the scenery and the exciting ritual activities of the market. Some savvy patrons might head directly to familiar vendors and stalls, but many others prefer to wander leisurely between the official market and the countless “unofficial” stands that invariably populate neighboring areas. The market’s collection of antiques is a main attraction, but visitors also come to be entertained by the Tango dancers and mini-orchestras that crowd the streets. Plaza Dorrego is surrounded by numerous cafes, bars, and eateries, that provide a welcome respite for weary (or hungry) shoppers. To further this cultural and culinary experience, intrepid visitors might take a stroll down the famous Calle Defensa, which boasts an exceptional variety of Argentinean street food, both traditional and new.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

In 1970 architect José María Peña created a small, 30 stall antique market, set in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. This once humble market now hosts one of the most popular events in the city—a spectacular 270-vendor Sunday market that houses antique vendors, artisans, and throngs of shoppers each week. Today, competition for these 270 stalls is fierce, and every three months a lottery is held to decide which vendors will have place in the market. Because of this turnaround, repeat visitors will find consistent variety in the products and crafts that are available at La Feria.

La Feria de San Telmo is located in Plaza Dorrego, the main public square, but the excitement and activity of the market often spills into adjacent streets and surrounding neighborhoods. Much of the beautiful 19th century architecture of the area was restored in the 1980s in order to celebrate and preserve the historical sites around the Plaza, and this provides a pleasant backdrop to the chaotic bustle of the Sunday market.

Related Links & Sources

Image credits, from top left: Thiago Pedrosa via Flickr, Alxqueiroz via Wikimedia Commons,  Rogério Tomaz Jr. via Flickr,  Marianocecowski via Wikimedia Commons, Jorge Láscar via Flickr,  Rafael Alvez via Flickr

Website: http://www.feriadesantelmo.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/feriadesanpedrotelmo

Feria de San Telmo
Feria de San Telmo
Feria de San Telmo
Feria de San Telmo
Feria de San Telmo
Feria de San Telmo
Feria de San Telmo
Feria de San Telmo

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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