Explore Historic Market Square in San Antonio

Historic Market Square is an outdoor plaza that spans 3 city blocks in downtown San Antonio. Browse south-of-the-border shops, eat authentic Tex Mex cuisine, and enjoy live music and entertainment year-round! Here’s what you should know about historic market square in San Antonio. 

Market Square

What is Historic Market Square?

Market Square is the largest Mexican market in Texas. It’s a very unique destination in San Antonio for both locals and tourists! 

The 3-block plaza was actually a gift from the King of Spain to the original settlers in the 1700s. Market squares were pretty common back then as a way to sell meat, spices, and merchandise.

Historic Market Square San Antonio

Throughout history, the traffic at Market Square fluctuated. 1941 was a significant year because that’s when Pete Cortez purchased Mi Tierra, a 3-table cafe. (It has now grown into a 500-table restaurant!) 

Market Square San Antonio

But the 1970s is when Market Square really grew in popularity among the tourist crowd. The pedestrian malls were built, and fountains and benches and lights were added. 

Today, Historic Market Square in San Antonio is a must-visit destination in San Antonio. It’s a culturally-rich outdoor market near the river walk and it’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike. 

Historic Market Square San Antonio

Can you walk to Market Square from the Riverwalk?

Yes, you can easily walk from the riverwalk to Historic Market Square. It’s about a ten minute walk from the western edge of the riverwalk to Market Square.

Historic Market Square San Antonio

Market Square is comprised of six sections:

1. El Mercado Shops

El Mercado at Market Square

El Mercado, located at Market Square, is a tightly packed indoor market full of local vendors selling multi-cultural merchandise. 

Historic Market Square

The first thing you’ll probably notice when you walk in is the smell of leather…it’s featured in lots of the booths! There’s also apparel, kitchen-ware, jewelry, hats, toys, snacks, games, gifts…pretty much everything. 

2. Farmers Market Shops & Cafes

Market Square food court

This is a separate building from the El Mercado Shops. You’ll have to walk outdoors to go from one building to the next. The Farmers Market is similar to El Mercado in that it features local vendors selling nearly EVERYTHING you can imagine! 

Historic Market Square

The biggest difference between El Mercado and the Farmers Market is that the farmers market building is much larger and the walkways are more spacious. If you’re visiting with your family and you’re pushing a large stroller, the Farmers Market Shops is going to be much easier to navigate. 

Historic Market Square

Also, per the name, the Farmers Market Shops & Cafes features a few food booths (think: mall/food court style.) You can quickly grab some Tex Mex, pizza, ice cream, and more, and enjoy it at the nearby tables. 

Market Square food court

3. Outdoor Plaza

Market Square in San Antonio

Cameras ready for the outdoor plaza! This is the most picturesque area at Market Square. You’ll recognize those colorful Mexican Fiesta flags strung over the walkways. Grab a michelada from one of the outdoor booths and enjoy more shopping opportunities out here in the plaza. 

La Margarita at Market Square

4. Mi Tierra Restaurant

Mi Tierra Restaurant at Market Square

Mi Tierra basically takes up about one full city block at Market Square. Yep…one third of the entire market is dedicated to this massive Tex Mex restaurant! 

Dining at Mi Tierra is a whole experience. Read all about it here! 

Mi Tierra Restaurant at Market Square

If you don’t have time for a full meal at Mi Tierra, be sure to at least walk into the lobby, honor the deceased loved ones at the altar, and grab a few beautiful Mexican pastries from the panadería. 

5. Centro De Artes

Centro de Artes at Market Square San Antonio

This bright pink building at the entrance to Market Square is a vibrant art center. Centro de Artes is a two-story exhibit space that tells the story of the Latino experience in the United States. It’s ALWAYS free to visit! Exhibits rotate, so it might occasionally be closed as they’re setting up the next exhibit.

6. La Margarita Mexican Restaurant & Oyster Bar

La Margarita Restaurant

Sister restaurant to Mi Tierra, La Margarita is also a family-owned Tex Mex restaurant. The difference between La Margarita and Mi Tierra is that La Margarita is a  two-story New Orleans-style building and this restaurant also serves seafood. 

La Margarita Market Square

Now, it’s definitely more “coastal” style seafood, so expect lots of fried fish, fried shrimp, and gulf oysters. 

Mi Tierra is the more popular restaurant of the two. But if the wait is long (Mi Tierra doesn’t accept reservations), La Margarita is an excellent option for dining at Market Square.  

Market Square San Antonio

When you’re looking for the best things to do in San Antonio, definitely add a visit to Market Square to your list! Note that you’ll most likely have to pay for parking (there are a few lots nearby that accept both cash and card) and you’ll most likely want to stay for about 1-3 hours. 

Market Square San Antonio

WEBSITE | 514 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78207

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