Something about the city's architecture encourages the acquisition of old-time handicrafts made from time-honored materials like terra cotta, stone, copper, wrought iron, and leather. The Plaza de la Catedral and the streets that radiate from it are particularly rich in battered, overcrowded kiosks with this type of artifact, and part of the fun of a trip within the city's historic core involves acquiring several pieces. For a more up-to-date roster of shopping options, consider a quick march through the vast stacks within León's biggest department store, El Corte Inglés, Fray Luis de León 21 (tel. 98-726-31-00; Inside, look for men's and women's clothing, books, gift items, and hints of the high-fashion priorities of cities as far away as Barcelona and Madrid.

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