Tonalá is another "town of artists" and is famous for its magnificent silver and gold crafts, hand painted pottery, paper mache, clay figurines and sculptures, metal handicrafts and so much more. You'll probably see lots of sun symbols, but guess why? The sun is the traditional symbol of Tonalá.
Here is a well known secret that many people who visit don't know. A lot of the crafts sold in Tlaquepaque(another shopping town) are actually made in Tonalá. You'll see the artists themselves working away, painting, chiseling, molding or baking their handiwork. Once you visit, you'll agree that somebody is always making something.
Many professional buyers from all over the country visit this wonderful artsy town to purchase products all year round. So if you want some great deals this is the place to be, so be prepared to shop till you drop.
Key Things To Do & When
There is an absolutely gigantic open air market (tianguis) on Thursdays and on Sundays from 8am to around 3 or 4pm located on Av. Tonaltecas and past the main plaza of Tonalá.
But beware if you hate large crowds.. because it can get very crowded! It wasn't really a problem for me, I really enjoyed it and brought home lots of goodies.
Even if you can't make it those days, any other day of the week you will find loads of fine Mexican arts and crafts in the regular shops in the central plaza located on Av. Hidalgo Madero and Av. Juarez. A few stores in particular that you should definitely visit are Casa de los Artesanos on Av. Tonaltecas 140.
This shop displays the handiwork of over 50 families.
You'll find things such as glass, ceramics, figurines, metal art and more. Everything is for sale, so don't miss it. It is opened Mon-Sat. from around 9am to 7pm.
If you drift towards the back you can even catch the artists themselves painting beautiful designs and "bringing life" to the pieces. Their hours are Mon-Fri. 9am to 6 pm, Sat. 9am-2pm.
Regional Tonallán Museum (Museo Regional Tonallán) You'll find this museum at Ramon Corona 170; it's about 2 blocks north of the Santiago church. It's actually inside an old adobe building that has recently been remodeled.
Here you'll be able to explore the history and practice of crafts in Tonalá and even some popular techniques used. You'll also spot many finished pieces on display as well as scenes of historical events to the area. The museum is opened Mon-Fri from 10 am to 5pm.
If you like Tonalá you might also want to visit Tlaquepaque for another fun shopping excursion. Enjoy!
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