Centro Historico Shops
Isabel La Católica #30, Centro Histórico
If there's one designer who has managed to take traditional Mexican embroidery and textile techniques and make them contemporary and wearable—and not in a hippie-ish way—it's Carla Fernández. She's spent years traveling the country establishing partnerships with some of the best indigenous artisans to make her bold, geometric designs. The clothing rails at her shop at the Downtown Hotel were designed by Pedro Reyes, one of the most prominent conceptual artists in Mexico—a great match for Carla and her smart, sustainable clothing line.
Corner Rayón & Allende, Centro Histórico
On the same site since colonial times, the Lagunilla is one of the biggest covered markets in the city, selling food, furniture, and cheap clothing. On Sundays, though, things get a little more interesting when antique dealers and casual vendors set up on the streets surrounding the market. Though there's a lot of junk to sift through, and a good number of stalls selling pirated goods, there are some treasures to be found—costume jewelry, retro sunglasses, old-school 50's kitchen goods, and more. Plus, the torta and cold-pressed juice stand right inside one of the main entrances into the antiques area is awesome. You'll want to have your wits about you, though, as the market and its surrounds do harbour the occasional pick-pocket.
Av Francisco I. Madero 4, Centro Histórico
Sanborns is a kind of upscale generalist marketplace: You can get your prescription filled just as easily as you'll find toys, books, magazines, and a decent meal at the cafeteria. The chain—owned by billionaire Carlos Slim—is ubiquitous in the city, but its branch in the Centro Histórico is something special. Housed in the historic Casa de los Azulejos, an 18th-century palace covered in tiles, it's simply one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Meanwhile, inside the cafeteria, where the Mexican intelligentsia used to hang out in the 50's and 60s, milkshakes and club sandwiches are served up by women in kitschy, old school uniforms. And then there's the dining room, covered in old frescoes and historic photographs (it was once also the National Jockey Club).