Keep Holiday Spending Close to Home with these San Antonio Markets

click to enlarge Keep Holiday Spending Close to Home with Homegrown Markets
Courtesy of Esperanza Peace and Justice Center

We know there’s no easy way to completely divorce yourself from shopping online or even visiting a dreaded big-box store from time to time. But nothing feels quite as nice as keeping your holiday spending close to home — so we’re here to sing its praises. Thanks to a steady stream of weekly and monthly gatherings like Brick’s Sunday Market (noon-5pm Sundays), 5 Points Market (6-10pm second Fridays) and SoFlo Market (10am-4pm second Saturdays), not to mention the growing wealth of area farmers' markets, buying directly from San Antonio artists, artisans, makers, growers, crafters and collectors has never been simpler. From seasonal favorites like the Esperanza’s Peace Market and the Southwest School of Art’s Articopia to newcomers such as High Five Shop and Chica Verde, the markets and retailers highlighted in this feature represent some (not all) of our favorite ways to support the creative folks helping define and celebrate San Antonio’s truly original spirit.

Zonarte: El Mercado de Aztlan

Founded in 1977, the community-based organization Centro Cultural Aztlan is dedicated to preserving, developing and promoting Chicano/Latino art and culture. Known for sprawling celebrations of the Virgen de Guadalupe, Día de los Muertos and lowrider culture, the Deco District mainstay lights up the holiday season with Zonarte: El Mercado de Aztlan. Uniting more than 40 artists and artisans from across the state, the weekend gathering promises  handmade gifts, original prints, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, textiles and one-of-kind-treasures “for those family members and friends that are hard to shop for.”

Free, 6-9pm Fri, Nov. 18, 10am-6pm Sat, Nov. 19 & Sun, Nov. 20, Centro Cultural Aztlan, 1800 Fredericksburg Road, Suite 103, (210) 432-1896,

Mission Marquee Holiday Market

Hosted by the City of San Antonio World Heritage Office, Mission Marquee Plaza’s first-ever holiday market promises a full day of family-oriented fun that kicks off with yoga and zumba sessions (9am) and wraps with an outdoor double feature (6-9pm) pairing the 2013 animated feature Free Birds (following two time-traveling turkeys bent on preventing Thanksgiving from ever happening) and the 2003 Christmas comedy Elf (starring Will Ferrell as an orphan who’s raised as an elf on the North Pole). Besides browsing for original gifts from area vendors such as Gonzales Handmade, Smokin’ Beards and Poodle in Pink, attendees can learn the ins and outs of making tamales and wreaths, shop for local produce, take in a cooking demo led by Mercados de O’liva and enjoy live music by Armando Martinez.

Free, market 10am-2pm, films 6-9pm Sat, Nov. 19, Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave., (210) 207-8612,

Peace Market (Mercado de Paz)

The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is once again presenting the truly splendid Mercado de Paz, now in its 27th year. A local mainstay for fans of all manner of arts and crafts, the Mercado de Paz is a whole lot more than just a weekend pop-up arts fair. As stated on the nonprofit’s website, the Mercado de Paz combines the arts with considerations of “economic sustainability, international exchange and social consciousness.” What else would you expect from the consistently active team at Esperanza?

The indoor/outdoor event is family-friendly and, starting on Black Friday, provides a conscionable, community-centered alternative to the biggest corporate shopping days of the year. This year’s Mercado will feature more than 100 international and local artists/artisans, live music provided by local performers, and tons of food choices, including vegetarian and vegan options. In summary, the annual tradition is an ideal go-to, whether you’re looking to bolster your art collection, score some points for the proletariat in the grand battle against our capitalist overlords, snag some one-of-a-kind gifts, catch some live music, occupy the kiddos for the day, or simply hang out and avoid the rest of your family.

Free, 10am-6pm Fri, Nov. 25, 10am-6pm Sat, Nov. 26, noon-6pm Sun, Nov. 27, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, 922 San Pedro Ave., (210) 228-0201,

click to enlarge Keep Holiday Spending Close to Home with Homegrown Markets
Courtesy of Sweet Craft Jewelry


The Southwest School of Art’s Articopia holiday bazaar returns for another year, filling the campus’ Coates Chapel with unique and handmade objects ideal for all your gifting needs. Vendors run the gamut from letterpress prints to modern apparel and home decor. For the environmentally conscious, Casey Galloway’s Hand Eye Textiles take shape in scratch-made shawls that use fibers she colors using natural dyes then hand-weaves into finished garments— the holy grail for crunchy fashionistas. Boyd’s Farm’s bath and body products are organic, vegan, and scented with essential oils, providing a gentle clean without harsh chemicals. If you’re looking for gifts with a sense of humor, BarbacoApparel’s cheeky screen-printed tees will allow you to immortalize your bestie’s taco order so that you never forget it again, and Tattoo & Love Letters’ punny greeting cards will delight your goofy pen pal. The more re ned among us will enjoy Loyalty & Blood’s geometric jewelry designs and Guten Co.’s minimalist ceramics. This year also introduces the Feral Cat Collective, featuring items made by the school’s BFA students. Southwest School of Art Members will have access to an exclusive preview from 5-6pm on Friday for an hour of V.I.P. shopping, after which the rest of us can get our shop on.

Free, 6-9pm Fri, Dec. 2, 10am-5pm Sat,
Dec. 3, Southwest School of Art, Coates Chapel, 300 Augusta St., (210) 224-1848,

click to enlarge Keep Holiday Spending Close to Home with Homegrown Markets
Courtesy of Fresco Fabric

Holiday Fair

Sharing an exceptionally festive date with the yuletide favorite Tamales at Pearl and the Museum Reach River of Lights, the San Antonio Museum of Art’s one-day Holiday Fair combines creative shopping with kid-friendly art-making activities, music and food. After browsing for bags, pillows and textiles from Fresco Fabrics, puro San Anto T-shirts, prints and stickers from BarbacoAppparel, inedible yet delicious-looking gems from Sweet Craft Jewelry and Frida Kahlo-inspired headpieces from Las Ofrendas, guests can enjoy free admission to SAMA’s galleries and score a prime spot on the River Walk as the San Antonio River Authority flicks the holiday switch to the tune of live jazz drifting down the river.

Free, Holiday Fair 10:30am-5pm, free museum admission and River of Lights 4-9pm Sat, Dec. 3, San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones Ave., (210) 978-8100,

Hecho a Mano

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hecho a Mano market at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Held annually, the market features a wide array of local artists and craftspeople with goods ranging from traditional talavera pottery to delicate jewelry. Fans of craft fairs and eclectic goods will find much to love, particularly those looking for knickknacks with a colorful flair representative of San Antonio. Artisans are chosen by a panel of jurors each year, making the market a fresh experience for newcomers and veterans alike. On Saturday and Sunday, donations of canned goods will be accepted in lieu of the admission fee, benefitting the Inner City Development Food Bank – a fitting gesture to the spirit of the season.

$10, 6-9pm Fri, Dec. 2; $2 (free with donation of two canned goods), noon-6pm Sat, Dec. 3 & Sun, Dec. 4, Galería Guadalupe, 723 S. Brazos St., (210) 271-3151,

Queer the Cheer

Devised by local artist/educator/musician Ernesto Olivo and a handful of collaborators from varied backgrounds, the SA Queer Collective aims to “emphasize and promote” the diverse talents of the Alamo City’s LGBTQA community. A holiday highlight since its inception back in 2013, SAQC’s festive Queer the Cheer market and celebration carves out a “unique and safe space” for LGBT, queer and ally artists, crafters, makers, musicians and performers to gather, support one another and celebrate the season with tamales, beer and wine (offered by donation). Encouraging attendees to “buy local and buy handmade,” the organization’s fourth annual outing comes complete with a live soundtrack courtesy of the retro soul stylings of Alyson Alonzo and the dreamy emo goddess pop of Polly Anna.

Free, 6-11pm Sat, Dec. 3, Southwest Workers Union, 1416 E. Commerce St., (210) 299-2666,


Facilitating the seasonal needs of workaholics, procrastinators and others who put holiday gifting on the back burner, Brickmas brings together an assortment of local favorites for last-minute shopping in the Blue Star Arts Complex. Hailed as “the final market of the season,” the two-day event encourages guests to “shop local, support handmade, and get the best gifts San Antonio has to offer” by snapping up San Antonio-centric gems from BarbacoApparel, “chingona” offerings the “one-stop Chicana stop” VeryThat, all-natural, soy wax candles from Karma Candle Makers and food-inspired polymer clay ornaments and jewelry from Sweet Craft.

Free, 3-10pm Fri, Dec. 23, 9am-1pm Sat, Dec. 24, Brick, 108 Blue Star, (210) 262-8653,


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Kelly Nelson

Kelly Nelson is a digital content editor for the San Antonio Current.

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