If you're looking to buy some interesting wearable or decorative craft items while in Argentina, then luckily there are many places in Buenos Aires to do so, such as at Plaza Francia on the weekends. However, the most unique place to buy Argentine crafts and souvenirs is at the Feria de Mataderos ("Slaughterhouse Fair").
This Sunday fair takes its name from the surrounding neighborhood that housed a number of slaughterhouses, and it's fittingly dedicated to Argentina’s cowboy (gaucho) and rural culture.
Admittedly, it’s a little rough around the edges, but that's also part of its charm. (If you seek upscale shopping, head to Buenos Aires Design or Patio Bullrich instead.)
Live entertainment at the Mataderos Fair — Photo courtesy of Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
At the Feria de Mataderos, you can find traditional mate gourds; musical instruments; warm knit sweaters and hats; gaucho costumes for children and adults; shoes; jewelry; leather bags; decorative metal and wooden objects; artisanal foods like cheeses and honey; preserved fruits; and many other items for sale.
Most are quite reasonably priced, compared to the wares at Buenos Aires’ more central fairs. If you're lucky, you may also see a few llamas, horses and men dressed as gauchos mixed in amongst the stalls.
When you get hungry, you're in for a treat. Aside from Argentine staples like empanadas, the Feria de Mataderos offers foods for sale that you will not often find in the capital, like bread from northern Argentina.
Aside from the shopping, the fair features live entertainment. Bands and musicians play, and locals of all ages often join in on the folkloric dances for a song or two. It's good family fun and a cultural experience rolled into one.
If you're staying in central Buenos Aires, then the Feria de Mataderos is a bit of a trek, but the experience is worth it. You can take the bus there or drive.
If you drive, however, you will inevitably run into the trapitos that are found in many areas of Buenos Aires. They will try to direct you to park in one of “their” spaces, and if you do so, they will expect a small sum in exchange for “protecting” your car. (Read: Them not keying your car.)
To get around that, park a little farther out from the fair. Or if you speak Spanish, agree to pay them, but insist that you will do so upon your return. They most likely won't be there anymore.