Travelling and shopping is a perfect combination. It is even more perfect if you mix it with exploring different cultures. If you are into these things then the Historic Market Square is the perfect place for you. It is a three-block outdoor plaza located in downtown San Antonio, Texas. The Historic Market Square in San Antonio is considered the largest Mexican Market in the United States, and it is lined with restaurants and shops which feature diverse cultures. The square is divided into two sections: the El Mercado, which has over 32 specialty shops, and the Farmer’s Market Plaza, which has over 80 shops. Snacks and other specialty foods are available at different shops. The most popular eateries here are the Mi Tierra Café Y Panaderia and La Margarita Mexican Restaurant and Oyster Bar. In this article, we are going to know more about the Historic Market Square in San Antonio.
The area where the Historic Market Square thrives today was given by the King of Spain in 1730 to the original settlers for them to use. Back then, the plazas of San Antonio were marketplace where vendors sold beef, fresh produce, pecans, wild turkeys, and honey. During the night, the “Chili Queens” takes over the market and sell steaming bowlfuls of spicy beef stew that was cooked at home and brought into the market in large earthenware ollas.
During the 1890s, San Antonio was the largest city and fastest-growing city in Texas. Immigrants from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia started to arrive. All of them had their fair share of contribution to the Mexican character of the market by establishing restaurants, grocery stores, social clubs, and pharmacies.
San Antonio continued to grow during the 1900s, and the produce wholesalers started to outgrew their surroundings during World War II. That is why they have to establish the Terminal Market, which is located at a railroad spur on Zarzamora Street. However, after that happened, the foot traffic around Market Square slowly stopped, and the active street life eventually died out. But some merchants stayed because they were determined not to give up on where their ancestors started out. That is why in the 1960s, these vendors decided to persuade the Chamber of Commerce as well as the City Council to create the first market committee.
The first market committee was headed by a nationally recognized architect named Boone Powell. The committee helped spurred the revitalization of the whole market area. Their main goal was to emphasize retaining the character of a working market and make it a place for both tourists and residents to shop.
In 1976, the Historic Market Square regained its color, vibrancy, and economy. The three city blocks bounded by Santa Rosa, West Commerce, and Dolorosa Streets were made into pedestrian malls with ornamental streetlights, trees, stone fountains, and benches.
Today, the market place bustles with activities such as celebrating Día de Los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo, among other festivities. Aside from that, artists showcase their handiworks from carts and stalls, and other local retailers sell quality clothing, art, and Mexican artifacts. The culture that the Historic Market place offers is so diverse that it makes the locals and tourists say visiting it is like having a few hours.