The capital and the largest city in the Yucatan state in Mexico, Merida, Mexico has always been famous for being the cultural hotspot of the Yucatan Peninsula. If Mexico is beyond beaches for you, Merida must be on your bucket list. The city is centrally located within the peninsula near the Gulf of Mexico and its convenient location makes it an ideal base to explore the region’s wildlife, archaeological sites, and the rich Pueblos Magicos. It has a beautiful nickname too and that is the Ciudad Blanca (white city). The white colonial buildings might be the reason behind that.
But the main draw of this city is its unique culture that is a perfect fusion between the traditions coming from the ancient Mayan civilization and the Spanish influences. A city that has twice been selected as the American Capital of Culture, Merida, Mexico is a must-visit for every travel enthusiast. From discovering Mayan culture and history to exploring its bustling market, below are some of the best things to do in Merida that will let you know more about the city’s traditions and beauty.
Top-rated And Best Things To Do In Merida, Mexico:
Visit San Ildefonso Cathedral:
Locating in the main zócalo which is a very spacious square in Merida, San Ildefonso Cathedral is a must-visit cathedral in the city that sits atop a Mayan ruin. Built in the 16th century, San Ildefonso Cathedral or Merida Cathedral is the second-oldest cathedral in the Americas and is considered to be a very unique monument with clear antecedents in Andalucia. The cathedral showcases a distinctive Moorish interior and houses many important religious artifacts that are significant to the city’s culture and traditions. The beautiful facade of the church has the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul that are worth admiring too.
Explore The Lucas De Galvez Market, Merida, Mexico:
This is the most famous market in Merida that dates back to the late 1800s and is a must-visit during anyone’s visit to Merida. Overing an area of 156,000 square feet, this market has over 2000 sellers that sell everything from fresh fruits to vegetables to meat, fish to homemade crafts, and local clothing items. The colorful stalls are always bustling with life and you will have a great time exploring the food halls and knowing about locals foods and tasting them. A very good place to taste the Yucatan cuisine and learn a lot about local culture, and food – exploring the Lucas De Galvez Market is one of the best things to do in Merida, Mexico.
Get To The Ruins Of Chacchoben:
A very famous Mayan ruin that is mostly unexcavated, the ruins of Chacchoben are the largest and one of the most-visited archeological sites in Costa Maya. It locates about 177 kilometers south of Tulum and from Merida, it takes about 4 and a half hours to reach Chacchoben. The ruin site has two main large temple pyramids and those two are believed to date from 200 BC to AD 700. After the Mayan civilization was ruined, it still was in use as a religious and ceremonial site. Today you can see the three main excavated temple ruins and the land with many walls and staircases. At the base of the largest pyramid, there is a stone slab called a stela which has a Mayan hieroglyphic inscription too. Visiting this magnificent site is one of the best things to do near Merida, Mexico.
Visit The World-Class Museum, Gran Museo de Mundo Maya Merida:
If knowing about Mayan culture, people, and traditions is on your radar, the Mayan World Museum is a must-visit for you. With over 1,100 pieces of well-preserved artifacts under the same roof, the museum is super rich and is a simply fascinating place to be at. The museum was inaugurated in 2012 and it is designed in the form of a ceiba tree which according to the Mayans is believed to act as a connection between the underworld, living beings, and the heavens. It is recommended that you visit and take a tour of this museum first for a better understanding of all the ruins of Mayan civilizations before you visit those ruins. Visiting this museum and having a deep insight into the Mayan culture and history is surely one of the best things to do in Merida, Mexico.
Get To The Teatro Jose Peon Contreras:
An enormous and elegant theatre that was built between 1900 and 1908, Teatro Jose Peon Contreras is a must-visit attraction in Merida. Its main staircase which is made up of Carrara marble is worth admiring and the theatre also has a dome that has faded frescoes done by many Italian artists. Catching a live show at this theatre will be a great thing to spend the evening in Merida. There is also an air-conditioned museum on-site which visitors also find interesting to visit along with the theatre.
Walk Along The Paseo de Montejo:
No one can leave Merida, Mexico without setting a visit to the notable Paseo de Montejo. Have a walk along this famed avenue and along your way spot some of the most iconic buildings and monuments of the city. Rimmed by trees and home to many 19th-century mansions that were built by many wealthy Yucatecans, this avenue is no less beautiful than a classic French avenue. Along the way, there are also many local cafes that so beautifully blend with the surrounding cityscape. There are also two notable museums on the west side of the Paseo which are worth visiting too on a guided tour. Other notable monuments and landmarks are the Montejo Monument and the Monumento a la Patria.