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Artisan Markets, San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende's insider take:

You can shop till you drop and still want more in San Miguel. Right in town at the Plaza San Francisco, the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez is like a local's 7-11 with fresh-from-the-farm produce, eggs, and cheese, plus such necessities as tortilla presses, juicers, and plaid handbags of all sizes. Butchers across the street sell fresh and tasty pork carnitas. The market's open daily.

Walk down a few stairs at the back of the market to reach the Mercado de Artesanías, a collection of stands displaying tin mirrors, T-shirts, hand-woven shawls, embroidered linens, and the latest folk-art trends. The market continues outside to tiny shops showcasing their wares by the front door. Look for the shop with oilcloth bags—inside you'll find placemats, cosmetic cases, and other clever items made from colorful oilcloth.

For expat-free (almost) Mexican local flavor, check out the fresh fruits, veggies and chiles, and herbal potions for healing everything from troubled souls to infertility at the Mercado de San Juan de Dios on Calle San Rafael past the Iglesia de San Juan.—Maribeth Mellin

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