The Mercado Portales is not just a market. It’s the center of a neighborhood, San Simón, which has long been known for the heavy trade in just about everything. Remember, “portales” are the covered, arch-lined walkways that you’ll see all over the Spanish-speaking world. They’re often associated with sidewalk and outdoor vendors. In this case, the name originally came from the Hacienda de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de los Portales. The hacienda at the center of an old land-estate, it was later subdivided to make the neighborhood.
But today, the neighborhood and the market are especially famous for the sale of used furniture and antiques. Some you’ll find inside the market. Wandering around the surrounding streets, you’ll likely spot a dozen or more similar vendors. Like the Crea Market, which deals almost exclusively in new and hand-made furniture, this one is a treat for anyone into antiques, home decorating, or just for exploring a crazy and unusual neighborhood. There’s a lot to see and do.
At the center of it all, of course, is a great traditional market. Here you’ll find all of the things you like to eat and experience. For out-of-towners, the chance to eat actually lovingly-prepared food is often to good to pass up.
Come for the crazy neighborhood. It starts in the west at Parque de los Venados. All the way eastward to Metro Portales, there’s a ton of people selling everything from housewares and tools and appliances, to fascinating antiques and furniture. There’s a lot to look at and there’s never a dull moment. But stay for lunch and you’ll be glad you did.