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16 Best Things to do in Merida

by Sid Narula
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Best Things to Do in Merida

Do you have travel plans to Mexico’s Merida? You’re in for a treat, then! Merida is a thriving, culturally diverse city that provides visitors with a variety of things to do and see. I will walk you through the top things to do in Merida in our complete guide to make sure you have a great trip. Merida has it everything, from visiting ancient sights to enjoying delectable food. So let’s dive in and find out what this lovely Mexican city has to offer.

1. Cathedral de Merida

Cathedral de Merida

Cathedral de Merida is one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas. The Church is famous for its architectural and historical style. It is built in a beautiful way and has moorish towers and interiors and the façade is of renaissance style. It also has Baroque style altarpieces in some of its walls. In addition to being a home for prayers it is also a place to watch the beautiful interiors. The main door of the Cathedral holds an inscription that says “The Door of Forgiveness” and on the outside has scriptures of St. Peter and St. Paul. The church was built 19 years after the city of Merida was discovered. It took about 37 to complete the construction of the Cathedral. It is a must visit place for you whenever you are in Merida.

Address: C. 58, Centro, 97000 Merida, Yuc., México

Timings: 8 AM to 7 PM

2. Visit Cenote X Batun

Cenote at Merida
“Cenote X’batun, Yucatán” by JnM_RTWCC BY-SA 2.0

Mexico is famous all across the world for the huge number of beautiful Cenotes that it has. Cenotes are an inseparable part of Mexico and enjoying your time swimming in one of these is a must when you are in the country. These sinkholes on the ground level act as a major attraction for all the tourists and travelers. In addition to being a fun place for you to enjoy your day, they are also beautiful to watch.

Cenote X Batun is one of the best cenotes in the city of Merida. You will have a wonderful time being there. Enjoy a light swim in the beautiful waters or go for a snorkeling tour! It’s totally going to be worth it! It is one of the best tourist attractions in Merida. The Cenote is not very deep and is surrounded by rocks and some greenery. There are also restaurants around the facility so you can enjoy a good meal when there too.

Address: Carr. Cenotes, Merida, Yuc., México

Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM

3. Museo Casa Montejo

Museo Casa Montejo at Merida
“Museo Casa Montejo” by Gildardo SánchezCC BY 2.0

The city of Merida is full of amazing museums that will blow your mind away. Museo Casa Montejo is one of those amazing museums that you should definitely visit. It was previously home to the Montejo family before it was converted into a museum. It has 4 permanent exhibition rooms where the lifestyle of wealthy families of Yucatan is displayed. This is going to be an amazing experience for you as you will get to explore the wealthy lifestyle that the people of Yucatan used to have. Do visit this museum as it is going to be a wonderful experience for you!

Address: C. 63 506, Centro, 97000 Merida, Yuc., México

Timings: 10 Am to 7 PM (Tuesday to Saturday)

10 AM to 2 PM (Sundays)

4. Anthropology and History Museum

“Palacio Cantón” by Gildardo SánchezCC BY 2.0

Museums are an integral part of Mexican culture and the museum of Anthropology and History is at the top of it all. This museum is built in the Renaissance style and the interiors are amazingly beautiful. The collection of the exhibition rooms includes Maya statues, prominent artworks from all over the country and many other art pieces. It also has different paintings and sculptures that belong to the ancient times and has a lot of significance in cultural terms. Visit this place if you want to get a sight into the history and culture of the Country. The museum is open everyday except for Mondays and offers free entry on Sundays. 

Address: C. 43 481, Zona Paseo Montejo, Centro, 97000 Merida, Yuc., México

5. Take a free Walking tour of the city

Experience the best of the city by taking a free tour. There are plenty of local shops that provide you with the facility to hire a guided tour of the beautiful city. You can either take a free tour of the city and wander through the magical streets or can hire a guide who will help you through the tour by making you understand all the history and significance of the places. They will let you know about all the important places that you should check out. If you have had enough of visiting museums and cenotes then you should take a break and walk through the city. I am sure it is going to be a wonderful experience for you! Make sure you interact with locals and make a few travel companies.

6. Visit the Chichen Itza

El Castillo at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the greatest centres and a complex of the Ancient Mayan ruins. If you are into ancient and archaeological stuff then this place is a must go for you. Even if not then also this place can prove to be one of your best visits near Merida . This site is mostly known for the massive step pyramid known as El Castillo. Apart from that this place also has stone cravings, a temple of warriors and many more things for you to explore.

Timings: 8 A.M to 4:30 P.M

Tickets Price: Tickets price vary around $53-$55

7. Lucas Galvez Market in Merida

“Mercado Municipal Lucas de Gálvez – Mérida, Yucatán.” by Bex WaltonCC BY 2.0

Lucas Galvez market in Merida is one of the best local places for you to explore. This is a street market where you can get pretty much everything ranging from fresh vegetables to handicraft stuff. There are a lot of street shops from where you can buy things. There are more than 1500 vendors that sell a variety of things. It is a huge market and you can purchase clothes, flowers, vegetables and different souvenirs. If you are planning to stay on your own when in the city, this place is the best for you to shop your grocery items.

Address: Calle 54 521 h, Centro, 97000 Merida, Yuc., México

8. Plaza Grande

“Plaza Grande” by UvieinCC BY-SA 4.0

The Plaza Grande Merida is an amazing place for you to have a fun and relaxing time. If you want to see Merida at its most own self then this is the place that you should visit. Plaza Grande is kind of an avenue where there are parks, restaurants, community halls and local shops too. You can take a walk around the wide sidewalks or just sit around at the benches and have a relaxing time. Everyday a ceremony is held during which the Mexican flag is hoisted and lowered. Live music is played every night in this area and it is a very good environment for you to be. Sundays are special because different craft markets are set up for locals and foreigners to shop from. Visiting Plaza Grande is one of the best things to do in Merida.

Address: C. 60 s/n, Centro, 97000 Merida, Yuc., México

9. Visit the MACAY Museum of Modern Art

MACAY Museum

MACAY museum of Modern art is the most famous museum in Merida, Yucatan. The paintings in the museum are exquisite and the sculptures are worth the watch. The beautiful museum has 15 exhibition rooms for temporary collection and 4 rooms for the permanent collection. It has prominent art collections by some of the best Mexican artists such as Fernando Castro Pacheco, Fernando García Ponce and Gabriel Ramírez Aznar. If you love modern art then this museum is going to prove to be a heaven. 

Address: C., 60 502 B-altos, Centro, 97000, Merida, Yuc., México

Timings: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM, Wednesday and Sunday closed.

10. Indulge in Merida’s Mouthwatering Cuisine

Merida's Mouthwatering Cuisine
“Yucatan food at La Chaya Maya in Mérida” by brookpetersonCC BY-ND 2.0

10.1. Savor Yucatecan Delicacies

No visit to Merida is complete without savoring the delectable Yucatecan cuisine. Try traditional dishes like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork), papadzules (tortillas filled with egg and topped with pumpkin seed sauce), poc chuk (thin sliced pork merinated in orange juice and cooked over grill), and panuchos (tortillas stuffed with refried beans and topped with various toppings).

10.2. Try Street Food Delights

Merida’s streets come alive in the evenings with street food vendors offering an array of delicious treats. Try salbutes (fried tortillas topped with shredded turkey), marquesitas (sweet rolled crepes), and esquites (corn snacks) from local street stalls.

10.3. Best Restaurants in Merida

  • La Chaya Maya: This restaurant offers traditional Yucatecan cuisine in a beautiful setting. It is located in the Parque Santa Lucia, which is a great place to people-watch and enjoy the atmosphere of Merida.
  • El Apapacho: This artsy restaurant serves homestyle Mexican cooking in a cozy atmosphere. It also has a feminist bookstore and art exhibits.
  • Micaela Mar & Leña: This lively restaurant serves elevated local fare such as seafood and meat plates, plus cocktails and mezcal.
  • Rosa Sur 32°: This restaurant offers a unique fusion of Yucatecan and Oaxacan cuisine. It is located in a beautiful colonial building with a terrace overlooking the city.
  • Apoala: This restaurant serves Oaxacan and Yucatecan cuisine in a colorful and festive setting. It is a great place to try some of the best food from both regions.
  • Catrin is a traditional Mexican restaurant located in the heart of Merida’s Centro Historico. The restaurant is named after a famous Mexican dandy of the early 20th century, and the interior is decorated in a traditional Mexican style.
  • Dal Baffo Ristorante Bar Italiano is an Italian restaurant located in the trendy Colonia Polanco neighborhood of Merida. The restaurant is known for its wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta, and Italian desserts.
  • Amore e Gusto is a fine-dining Italian restaurant located in the Centro Historico of Merida. The restaurant is known for its creative Italian dishes, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

A brief comparison of these Restaurants

La Chaya MayaTraditional YucatecanBeautiful setting with outdoor terraceModerate
El ApapachoHomestyle MexicanArtsy and cozyModerate
Micaela Mar & LeñaElevated YucatecanLivelyModerate
Rosa Sur 32°Fusion of Yucatecan and OaxacanBeautiful colonial building with terrace overlooking the cityModerate
ApoalaOaxacan and YucatecanColorful and festiveModerate
El CatrinTraditional MexicanTraditionalModerate
Dal Baffo Ristorante Bar ItalianoItalianCasualModerate
Amore e GustoFine dining ItalianRomanticExpensive

11. Stroll through the Paseo de Montejo

Monumento a la Patria, Merida
Monumento a la Patria

When you have had your time exploring different artifacts, museums, cenotes and buildings in Merida it’s time for you to take some time off and have a energising walk around the beautiful Paseo de Montejo. It is mandatory for you to take a walk around the Paseo de Montejo whenever you are in Merida. You will start your journey by seeing the amazing Monumento a la Patria, which is an iconic symbol of the city. You will get to witness some of the most beautiful mansions around the place that used to belong to the high class people of the town. There are also some jewellery shops and shops for local products from where you can purchase goods at fair prices. Some of the best cafes and restaurants are also available on site so don’t forget to check them out!

Address: P. De Montejo, Merida, Yuc., México

12. Visit the Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya

 Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya, Merida
Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya

As I said earlier, museums are an inseparable part of Mexican culture. Merida also has a number of amazing museums that are just the spot for you to explore. Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya is one of the most famous museums in Merida. It is a world class museum which celebrates the Mayan culture. It has various exhibition halls that are home to more than 1100 well preserved artifacts. If you are planning to visit the Mayan Ruins then you should definitely visit this place first. It will give you a humble insight into the history of the different ruins. You will be able to understand the history of the place better after visiting this museum. Do visit this museum if you are into historical stuff! I am sure you will enjoy your time there.

Address: C. 60 299 E, Unidad Revolución, 97110 Merida, Yuc., México

Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM

Entrance Fees: $8 (about 150 pesos)

13. The Governor’s Palace

“Palacio del Gobernador” by A SCC BY 2.0

The Governor’s Palace in Merida is a green building which is one of the main tourist attractions in Merida. The building is easily accessible. The entry inside the Palace is absolutely free so you can have a fun time free of cost! It has two floors with a courtyard, corridors and exhibition hall. The inside courtyard is beautiful to walk around and there are incredible murals that depict the history of the Mayan people in Yucatan. On the second floor of the Palace there is also a colonial gallery where you can check out the collection. The most anticipated thing to do in the Government Palace is exploring the exquisite exhibition hall. It is full of beautiful works of art that explain the history of Yucatan and has large paintings by the artist Fernando Castro Pacheco. It is a must visit place if you are ever in Merida.

Address: Calle 60 s/n X calle 61 y 59, Centro, 97000 Merida, Yuc., México

Timings: 8 AM to 10 PM

14. Experience Local Festivals and Events

“Danza Jarana, Plaza Santa Lucía, Mérida” by Eduardo Ruiz MondragónCC BY-SA 4.0

14.1. Dia de los Muertos (Festival)

If you visit Merida in late October to early November, you’ll be in for a treat. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations are colorful and vibrant, with elaborate altars, parades, and festivities honoring departed loved ones. Locally known as Hanal Pixan. It’s a heartfelt cultural experience.

14.2. Biciruta (Weekly Event)

The Biciruta on Paseo de Montejo in Mérida, Mexico, is a weekly cycling event held on Sundays. It transforms the historic boulevard into a car-free zone, allowing visitors to explore its grandeur and cultural landmarks on bicycles. You can rent bicycles to enjoy a leisurely ride past iconic sites like Palacio Cantón, Monumento a la Patria, historic mansions, and Casa Museo Montes Molina.

Biciruta is a great way to see the city and get some exercise. The ride is about 10 kilometers long, and it takes about an hour to complete. The ride is a popular activity for locals and tourists alike, and it is a great way to meet new people and learn about the city.

14.3. Serenata Yucateca (Weekly Concert/Event)

The Serenata Yucateca is a weekly concert of traditional Yucatecan music and dance that takes place in Parque Santa Lucía in Merida, Mexico. This concert is held every Thursday evening, and it is free and open to the public. The concert features a variety of traditional Yucatecan music, including boleros, jaranas, and trova. The concert also features traditional Yucatecan dance, such as the jarabe tapatío and the danza de los venados.

The Serenata Yucateca is a great way to experience the culture of Merida. The concert is a fun and lively event, and it is a great way to learn about the traditional music and dance of Yucatan.

Here are some tips for attending the Serenata Yucateca:

  • Arrive early to get a good seat. The concert starts at 8:00 PM, but people start to arrive as early as 6:00 PM to get a good spot.
  • Bring a blanket or chair to sit on. The concert is held in a park, so there is no seating provided.
  • Bring a drink and some snacks. There are vendors selling food and drinks at the concert, but it is also a good idea to bring your own.
  • Be prepared to dance! The concert is very lively, and many people get up to dance.

15. A journey to the Flamingos: Celestun

“Mexico – Yucatan – Celestun – flamingos” by Harshil ShahCC BY-ND 2.0

Celestun is a small town on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, known for its beautiful biosphere reserve and its large population of flamingos. The Celestun Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to over 200 species of birds, including the American flamingo, the roseate spoonbill, and the brown pelican.

To get to Celestún from Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, it takes about an hour and a half by car. Once you arrive in Celestun, you can rent a boat from one of the many tour operators in town and take a boat tour of the biosphere reserve.

Boat tours typically last about two hours and take you through the mangroves and lagoons of the reserve. You will have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including flamingos, crocodiles, turtles, and monkeys.

The best time to see flamingos in Celestun is from November to April, when they migrate to the area to breed. During this time, you can see thousands of flamingos congregating in the lagoons.

In addition to seeing flamingos, you can also enjoy a variety of other activities in Celestun, such as swimming, fishing, and kayaking. You can also visit the Mayan ruins of Xcambó, which are located just outside of town.

16. Relaxation and Rejuvenation at the Beaches: Progreso

“Port Progreso de Castro beaches, state of Yucatan.” by J. MagnoCC BY-SA 2.0

Finally, wrap up your Merida adventure with a visit to Progreso Beach. It is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Merida. Progreso Beach is known for its white sand beach, clear water, and gentle waves. Take a refreshing swim in the Gulf of Mexico’s welcoming waves, relax in the sun’s warm embrace, or dig your toes into the soft sand beaches.

At Progreso Beach, you may engage in a variety of other activities besides swimming and tanning. You may ride a jet ski, go boating, or go fishing. You can also visit the Progreso Pier, which is one of the longest piers in the world.

Progreso is a refuge for beach lovers as well as a seafood lover’s delight. A beautiful selection of beachside eateries offering the day’s freshest catches may be found as you meander along the shore. Enjoy the flavours of the sea while taking in stunning ocean vistas, making your trip to Progreso the ideal way to top off your discovery of things to do in Merida.


When is the best time to visit Merida?

The best time to visit Merida is during the cooler months, from November to February.

What should I try from Yucatecan cuisine?

Don’t miss trying cochinita pibil, panuchos, and papadzules. These are some of the delicious specialties of the region.

Can I explore Merida on foot or do I need a car?

Merida’s historic center is easily explored on foot. However, if you plan to visit more distant attractions, renting a car is recommended.

What is the currency used in Merida, Mexico?

The currency used in Merida is the Mexican Peso (MXN).

Are English speakers widely available in Merida?

While Spanish is the primary language, you can find English speakers in tourist areas and establishments.

Can I try authentic Yucatecan cuisine if I have dietary restrictions?

Yes, many restaurants in Merida offer vegetarian and gluten-free options, so you can still savor the local flavors.

Planning a trip to Huatulco!? Check out our post on Best Things to do in Huatulco.

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