This market is the heart and soul of Tijuana, sharing traditional recipes and ingredients that stretch back through family generations.
Plunge into the bright colors and sweet smells of Hidalgo Market, a vast stretch of shops and stalls evoking the charms of Mexican traditions. The lively bazaar incorporates about 80 stalls selling fresh local produce, with some U.S. imports. Three generations of families have worked at these stalls since the market’s early days in the 1950s.
The community takes its traditions seriously, so no family can sell its stall without permission from the rest of the residents. Meet the faces of the market and learn about each of their customs and ambitions. Many of the vendors speak English and consider the market a second home.
Browse the stalls for exotic foods, such as sugary potatoes, cactus parts and different types of chili. Here you’ll find countless herbs and spices for cooking. Pick up typical Mexican ingredients, such as beans and corn.
Aside from the food, look for handicrafts, souvenirs and piñatas, which are traditional hanging toys with hidden candy inside. Colorful ceramic works of art make great gifts for friends back home.
Visit the market’s chapel, which honors the Virgin of Guadalupe. Attend the annual festivities in December, when a market girl is chosen to represent the Virgin. The market has such strong roots in Tijuana’s society that it has its own political system. Caskets of deceased vendors are brought here for a final farewell before burial.
Much of the market’s produce comes from the Mexican states of Chiapas, Jalisco and Michoacán. You will often see Americans of Mexican heritage taking advantage of the market’s proximity to California and Arizona to stock up on traditional favorites. The site is named after Miguel Hidalgo, a leader in Mexico’s struggle for independence.
It opens daily from morning till evening, with an earlier closing time on Sundays. Certain products, such as mango, cannot be taken across the border to the U.S.
Hidalgo Market is in the Zona Río region of Tijuana. Take a taxi or shuttle bus from Tijuana International Airport, 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) northeast of the market. The Tijuana River, Centro Cultural Tijuana and L.A. Cetto Wine Cellar are nearby attractions.