La Merced can easily feel intimidating even for seasoned travelers and, in my case, culinary professionals too — I’m a food guide in NYC. My guide Mario was explaining everything we were munching on, giving the cultural background of the food, the traditions and the secrets of the market.
Journey Through La Merced
Small Group Size
Good For Seasoned Travelers
Likely to Sell Out
The colorful, chaotic Merced Market serves thousands of shoppers daily. On this tour, you’ll visit our favorite food stalls, meet some talented market vendors, and learn the market’s history. You’ll finish knowing why La Merced is unlike anywhere else in Mexico.
Explore the chaotic market and nearby historic neighborhood with a seasoned guide
Taste our curated list of the best market snacks (as much as you can eat)
Eat and learn in a very small setting—this tour maxes out at 4 people
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Children (8-13): $39
Young children (0-7) & babies in carriers: free
Looking to go private? Private tour option $40 per adult
Availability & departure time
Monday through Friday: 10AM and 10:30AM
Saturday, Sunday: 9AM and 9:30AM
In front of El Depósito World Beer Store, on Isabel la Católica 96, Centro Histórico, at the corner of San Jerónimo. The bar is located under a large white, salmon, and turquoise Art Deco building, around the corner from the Isabel la Católica metro station.
Minimum 2 people, maximum 4 people
Traveling with a group larger than 4? We can accommodate you with multiple guides. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- As much food as you can eat (enough for a large breakfast and lunch combined)
- One agua fresca
- One coffee, beer or another non-alcoholic beverage
- Filtered water throughout the tour
- Traditional Mexican candy
- Mexican ice cream
- Generous tips for all market vendors
- Transport to/from the meeting and end points of the tour
- Tip for your guide
- Additional personal beverages, outside what’s included on the tour itinerary
What to bring
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Zippered purse or tote (if needed)
- An appetite
- Water to stay hydrated
- Tip for your guide if desired (we also offer the option of pre-paying the tip at checkout)
- An umbrella during the rainy season months (June through October)
Strollers cannot be used on this tour, due to narrow market aisles and bustling passageways. Babies in carriers are fine. Guests should be able to walk for 3.5 to 4 hours, with some stops to rest. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
Staff on tour
You’ll be accompanied by one of our local, bilingual culinary guides. Each has a degree in gastronomy and/or has worked in local kitchens. They’ll enrich your experience by sharing their knowledge of Mexico City’s food scene, their own personal traditions, and the vendors’ stories. Read more about our guides here.
We’ll start this tour in the Downtown Historic Center, before jumping on the subway one stop to the market. There, we’ll wind through the market’s lively banquetón, or prepared food area, tasting tacos, aguas frescas and tamales. After that, we’ll stroll through the gigantic fruits and vegetables building, and learn about—and taste!—prehispanic ingredients, such as grasshoppers and chicatana ants. After a quick stop to rest, we’ll leave the market and stroll through the Merced neighborhood, which many say is the oldest part of the Centro Histórico. We’ll finish at a beautiful restaurant in a restored mansion, where you’ll relax with a cold drink and a snack with your guide.
- The tour is conducted rain or shine.
- The tour takes place in a red light district that’s known for petty theft. Be careful with your cell phone, if you feel you have to bring it—pick-pocketing is common. Do not carry your phone out in the open for long periods of time.
- Please dress like the locals as much as possible, to avoid unwanted attention. Pants and short-sleeved shirts are acceptable. Women should not wear very short shorts or skirts. Leave any flashy or expensive jewelry at home.
- You’ll be eating a lot of food. We recommend arriving hungry, and not eating breakfast beforehand.
- Vegetarians can be accommodated on this tour, but meat and vegetables will be cooked on the same surface.
- Feel free to bring your own water bottle. We’ll stop to refill it with purified water.
- Mexico City sits at nearly 7,300 feet high. This means you’ll feel more tired than normal if you’re not used to the altitude. Don’t do this tour if you haven’t gotten any sleep the night before, or if you’re arriving to the airport on the same morning.
- If you’d like to make any purchases (see our FAQ on souvenirs), bring cash and a small tote bag. Credit cards are not accepted here.
- Some aisles of the market might be quite narrow and packed, so this tour is not recommended for people that might feel anxious under these types of circumstances.
- This tour includes a subway ride with your guide.
How long is the tour?
Does the tour end where it starts?
No. Tours will start in front of El Depósito World Beer Store, on Isabel la Católica 96, Centro Histórico and end at Calle Roldán 37, Centro Histórico. If you need help getting back to your hotel at the end of the tour, your guide will help you find the nearest subway station or an Uber.
Is La Merced Market a farmer’s market?
No. It’s a wholesale market, selling anything from kitchenware, to fruits and veggies to packaging supplies. The vast majority of the produce comes from industrial farms in Mexico.
Will I eat a lot of food?
Yes! You can eat as much as you want in each of the stops. Our guide will let you know how many stops remain so you can pace yourself. No one knows your appetite better than you!
Do I need to take cash with me?
If you plan to tip your guide, you should bring enough cash to cover that—about 10 to 15 percent is standard. (We also offer the option of paying your guide’s tip ahead of time at checkout.) You may also choose to bring a bit extra for any market goods. All the food you can eat, plus at least two drinks and purified water, are covered by us. On this tour, we recommend traveling as light as possible.
Is there an ATM on the route?
No. Please bring cash if you plan on buying things.
Will my guide speak English?
Of course! Our guides are culinary experts and speak perfect English.
Why do you recommend not wearing sandals?
The market serves thousands of people a day and is quite dirty. To avoid having your toes nipped by vendors’ giant dollys, which are constantly moving through the aisles, and to avoid puddles of dirty water on the floors, we recommend that you wear closed-toe shoes.
Is it safe to walk in this neighborhood at night?
We have offered this tour since 2015 and never had an issue with violence. Petty theft is common in the neighborhood, however. A very small number of our clients have had their cell phones pickpocketed on the subway or on the tour. Please remember to wear modest, plain clothing, and leave all jewelry, credit cards and your passport at home. Keep your wallet and cellphone tucked away in a zippered bag or purse.
Is this a good tour for souvenir shopping?
Not really. The Merced Market is a good place to buy food, cooking utensils, or kitchen supplies in bulk. The market does not carry items such as colorful ceramics, Mexican textiles or folk art.
Can I do the tour if I am traveling alone?
We usually require a two-person minimum on our tours. If you’re a solo traveler, you’re welcome to book the date of your choosing—if it has other guests, you’re good to go. If three days prior to the tour date, the tour does not have any other guests, we will reach out to you about choosing a different date or refund your ticket.
Have more questions? Check out our FAQ page!
See what previous guests have to say
We loved touring La Merced Market with Fernando. He was super knowledgable and explained the cultural contexts of the market and the food we tried. We went to many excellent stalls, and tried a variety of foods, including tacos, deep-fried tamales, mole, quesadillas, etc. I would especially recommend the Merced tour because the market is HUGE and without some expertise, it would be hard to know which stalls to stop at our how to navigate. We will definitely utilize Eat Mexico next time we are in town.