What to do in Mérida

Activities, attractions and tours
Montejo House featuring a garden

Mérida Attractions

Both the capital and the largest city of the province of Yucatán, Merida is a cultural and governmental hub in the Yucatán Peninsula. Constructed by the Spanish during the 16th century on the site of the ancient Mayan center of T'hó, the city represents one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the Americas, and reflects a mix of Maya, Mexican, and European influences. Colonial architecture, picturesque squares, vibrant markets, and access to some of the province's most incredible Maya ruins make Merida a destination with ample things to see and do.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Mérida

Merida's streets are arranged on a grid system, making it an easy city to navigate and explore. Right at the center, the peaceful Plaza Grande reflects both the city's rich history and relaxed atmosphere. To the north, the market district and the Paseo de Montejo beckon with a wealth of opportunities for shopping and dining.

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What to do in Mérida

Free Things to Do in Mérida

Escaping to Mérida on a budget? The following can be experienced for nada.

Macay Museum - Young or old, this gallery will spark your imagination and grab your attention.

Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán - Architecture buffs will enjoy marveling at the modern design of this local landmark.

Montejo House - Roam around this historic attraction and learn a few secrets from the past.

Plaza Grande - Discover why locals and travelers alike enjoy the vibe of this place.

Mercado Municipal Lucas de Gálvez - Stop here and learn about the importance of this place to the locals.

Mérida Cathedral - Toss a bit of spirituality into your getaway by visiting this sacred site.

Hidalgo Park - Grab your rug, pack some snacks and find a cozy area to be at one with nature.

Plaza Grande

Lined with shady trees, benches, and Spanish colonial buildings, Plaza Grande is the place to begin exploring Merida. Alongside architectural treasures like the 16th-century Merida Cathedral-the oldest of its kind on the continent-and the plateresque-style Casa Montejo, sidewalk cafes and ice cream shops make this square a delightful place to spend an afternoon.

Paseo de Montejo

Modeled after the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the wide boulevard of Paseo de Montejo was constructed in the 19th century and lined with grand mansions for the city's elites. Some of them survive today, and the area is also home to posh hotels, restaurants, and trendy clubs.

Market District

The lively market district is where locals and tourists like come to shop in Merida. The largest market in the area, Lucas de Galzez, offers a feast for the senses, brimming with fresh produce, meat, flowers, spices, and locally made clothing and crafts.

Things to See in Merida

From stunning architecture to fascinating museums, Merida contains an enchanting mix of historic and contemporary sights. In addition to its colonial-era cathedral and the Casa Montejo, the Plaza Grande features 19th-century government landmarks including the Governor's Palace and the Palacio Municipal. Next door to the Merida Cathedral is the Museo MACAY, an art museum featuring the works of contemporary Mexican artists. The contemporary Gran Museo del Mundo Maya pays tribute to the Yucatán's Mayan heritage. After browsing an impressive collection of ancient relics, as well as sections devoted to modern-day Maya culture, head north to the Dzibilchaltún to explore the Mayan ruins just outside the city. At the Museo MACAY, art enthusiasts can marvel at the works of Gabriel Ramirez Aznar, Fernando Castro Pacheco, and Fernando García Ponce.

Sightseeing in Mérida

Merida serves as a convenient starting point for day trips to the region's ancient Maya archaeological sites. Join a group tour of the UNESCO-listed ruins of Chichén Itzá, or let a private guide introduce you to the incredible ruins of Uxmal. In the modern-day cities of Izamal and Valladolid, remnants of the Maya civilization coexist with Spanish architecture, bearing witness to the area's pre-colonial and colonial history. If you're eager to immerse yourself in the natural splendor of the Yucatán, embark on a snorkeling tour that plunges you into mysterious underground cenotes, or visit the vibrant Caribbean flamingos at the ecological reserve in Celestun. Merida also offers opportunities to take a bite of its delicious culinary heritage-take a lesson in preparing classic Yucatán dishes with a local, or taste your way through the city's best street food.

Things to Do in Mérida with Kids

Mérida is an excellent place for a family getaway. Bring the kids along and enjoy these popular family friendly experiences together:


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Frequently asked questions

What to do in Mérida on a sunny day?
Are there cheap things to do in Mérida?
What can you do in Mérida for free?
Your escape to Mérida won’t cost an arm and a leg with free attractions like these on offer:

  • Plaza Altabrisa
  • Mérida Cathedral
  • Plaza Grande
  • Progreso Pier

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