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Discover one of Mexico’s finest secrets on your visit to a city filled with history and iconic beauty. From Aztec monuments to Baroque arches and colorful Jacaranda trees, the streets of Santiago de Queretaro hold a wealth of grand scenery, great food, and vivid stories. You can explore the nation’s struggle for independence, try some fine wines in the lush Central Mexican countryside, or relax in quiet elegance as you try out the variety of things to do in Queretaro and get to know the city for yourself.
Queretaro’s position at the junction of federal highways 45 and 57 puts it at a literal crossroads in the heart of Mexico. The historic center was the first district built by Spanish colonists, where gardens and 17th-century mansions show off how the “Baroque City” earned that name. The neighborhoods to the east follow the lines laid out by the Otomi people who kept their own community around the hill of Sangremal. Gated communities and new developments dot the city’s suburban fringe, reaching into the heights and offering a scenic perspective on the cityscape.
If you want to get a feel for the city’s colonial vibe, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Plaza Miguel Hidalgo, a relaxed open space lined with greenery and surrounded by colorful Neoclassical arches. Check out the gigantic 18th-century aqueduct that runs through the center of town, visit the Emperor Maximilian Memorial Chapel on the hilltop where Mexico’s last emperor was executed, and enjoy the peaceful gardens in Cerro de las Campanas National Park.
An easy way to get to know the historic city center is with a sightseeing ride on one of Queretaro’s classic trolley cars. A walking tour gives you a closer look at the squares and landmarks, or you can join a guide to learn about the city’s historic sites from the Mexican War of Independence. While you’re out of the city, you can explore the small towns and vineyards of the region’s wine country, head into the mountains of the Sierra Gorda, or visit nearby San Miguel de Allende for an introduction to fine Mexican cuisine.