50 Best Things to Do in Merida Mexico in 2022 [w/ Map]


Looking for the top Merida Mexico things to do?

Known as the Cultural Capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, and one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Merida, Mexico — the capital of Yucatan state, and the largest city in it.

From grand monuments and historic buildings, to colorful streets and charming cafes, you’ll never run out of things to see in Merida!

If by chance you do, head to 25 Best Merida Day Trips, for more beautiful Yucatan things to do within 1-3 hours of the city.

How do I know all this? I live in Merida Mexico! That’s right, you have the most coveted of travel advice right at your fingertips — Tips from a local!

Besides the things to do around Merida listed here, check out my articles on Merida Airbnb/VRBO rentals, boutique hotels, and the best hotels in Merida, when determining where to stay.

If you’re ready, let’s dive in and explore the 50 best things to do in Merida, Mexico, that you won’t want to miss! As one of the most beautiful cities in the Mexico Yucatan Peninsula, I hope this article helps you find all of my city’s beauty.

BONUS: All Merida things to do have been pinned to the Merida map below, for your convenience.

Table of Contents show

Best Things to Do in Merida Map

For your convenience, the 50 best things to do in Merida Yucatan mentioned in this blog have been pinned to the map above. It is the perfect way to plan your Merida sightseeing adventure in Mexico.

You might notice on this map of Merida that many things are quite close to one another — and you’d be right!

Merida is not a very big city, and in fact, it makes for the perfect Mexico weekend getaway because you could leisurely explore Merida in 2-3 days.

If you have more time, take one of these Merida tours, or hop in your rental car and head to one of the nearby towns like Tulum, Valladolid and Campeche.

Best things to do in Merida Mexico

1. Stay in a Renovated Merida Hacienda

Photo: CasaBlanca, Courtesy of VRBO

Before we get to all the amazing things to do in Merida, I wouldn’t be a good city guide unless I helped you with picking the best accommodations in Merida!

There are many gorgeous Merida VRBO and Airbnbs you can rent to really soak in those laid back Yucatan, Mexico vibes.

For a list of the best Merida rentals, like CasaBlanca seen below, check out my, 12 Stunning Airbnbs in Merida Mexico [Picked by a Local] article.

Things to Do in Merida: Paseo Montejo

2. Stroll Paseo de Montejo

The tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly Paseo Montejo in Merida.

There’s no shortage of pretty things to see in Merida! Some of the best parts of the city are located along and around the Paseo de Montejo — AKA the most prime real estate in Merida, Mexico!

This walkable, tree-lined street is full of history and some of the most beautiful buildings in Merida.

Paseo Montejo is about 13 city blocks long (2 miles, or 3.2km), with numerous beautiful buildings, cute cafes and chic shops along the way, so go ahead and walk the whole street — though you’ll find some of the highlights listed below.

The Paseo runs north-to-south, and you can start at either side and walk to the other.

It goes from a small park called El Remate on the south side, and ends two-miles north at the Monumento a la Patria. This iconic structure is the most photographed Paseo Montejo monument.

Merida Travel Tip: North of this monument, the street name changes to Prolongacion Paseo de Montejo, and there’s not much to see or do — so you can stop at the monument.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

3. Photograph the Monumento a la Patria

One of the essential things to do Merida Mexico visitors must see, is the beautiful Monumento a la Patria.

The Monumento a la Patria (Monument to the Fatherland) is beautiful both during the day and at night, when lit up with different colored lights.

Unlike many monuments, you can go right up to this one to check out the details.

Made by Colombian sculptor, Romulo Rozo, it features more than 300 hand-carved figures, chronicling about 700 years of Mexican history.

On it, you’ll see artistic representations of the establishment of Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City), the Mayan rain god, Chaac, and more.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

4. Eat Brunch at Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel

Not only is Rosas & Xocolate one of the best boutique hotels in Merida, but they’re also one of the best Merida brunch spots.

Head there for the Sunday Jazz Brunch to enjoy the live musicians on the outdoor patio; though, the brunch is great any day of the week.

This pretty pink boutique Merida hotel is located right on Paseo Montejo.

From the second you walk in, you’re transported to a bohemian jungle meets modern clean lines, complete with resort hotel, luxury spa, outdoor cafe, indoor restaurant/bar and boutique artisan shop.

🏩 Stay at Rosas & Xocolate Merida Hotel

Rosas & Xocolate is one of the best hotels in Merida.

It has an on-site spa, restaurant, boutique shop, and a prized location on Paseo Montejo. There are only a few rooms in Rosas & Xocolate Merida, so don’t hesitate on reserving this gorgeous boutique hotel in Merida.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

5. Check out Merida’s Restaurant Row

The El Catrin Merida restaurant has a lively atmosphere, and great food. (Photo: Catrin via Tripadvisor)

Head to the southern end of Paseo Montejo to Calle 47 (47th Street), which is sometimes referred to as Restaurant Row.

Here — you guessed it — you’ll find some of the best restaurants in Merida, and the trendiest cafes. Check out these favorites:

🍷🍽 Best merida restaurants on Calle 47

  • Micaela Mar y Leña: Mexican/Yucatecan fusion, with a seafood focus. (Note: This is my personal favorite Merida restaurant!)
  • Catrin: Hip Yucatecan gastropub with funky artwork.
  • Oliva Enoteca: Upscale Italian food, with a great wine list.
  • Amado by The Beer Box: Beautiful indoor/outdoor restaurant with live jazz several nights per week.

☕️ Best merida cafes ON CALLE 47

  • Cafe Latte Quattro Sette: One of the prettiest Merida coffee shops, with decadent pastries.
  • Te Extraño, Extraño: Beautiful indoor/outdoor breakfast and lunch cafe; located just around the corner from Calle 47, in the Lagala Building.
  • Baretto Espresso Bar: European-style cafe, perfect for a quick coffee and pastries.
  • Centro Cultural Punto MID: Part book store, part cute cafe with cool art on the walls.
  • Menta y Rosa: Adorable pink and mint green-colored cafe; located just around the corner from Calle 47.
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

6. Have Lunch at Manjar Blanco (As Seen on Netflix)

cochinita pibil tacos at Manjar Blanco Merida
The cochinita pibil tacos at Manjar Blanco Merida are among the best in the entire city.

While it’s not the only Merida Netflix restaurant on the list, Manjar Blanco is the first one! As seen on Netflix’s Taco Chronicles, Season 2, Episode 2 called “Cochinita Pibil,” you’ll meet Señora Miriam Peraza, the restaurant’s owner.

She, along with a team of fellow abuelas (grandmas) cook up traditional Yucatan food by hand — the traditional way.

Aiming to preserve this region’s unique culinary traditions and regional flavors, they are doing something right to have caught the eye of this popular Netflix show. 💁‍♀️ Pro Tip: Try their famous queso relleno nengro, the house speciality.

  • Manjar Blanco Address: Calle 47 #496, Colonia Centro, Merida, 97000
  • Manjar Blanco Hours: Open daily, 8am-6pm
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

7. Enjoy a late night meal at Cafe Impala

Cafe Impala Merida is one of the city’s most beloved restaurants. (Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin via Flickr)

Cafeteria Impala, a favorite among locals that’s located at the intersection of Calle 47 and Paseo Montejo.

This indoor/outdoor old school diner is both instagrammable and has stood the test of time, serving delicious food at one of the best restaurants in Merida since 1958.

This Merida institution is popular day and night, but many love to head there after Sunday morning Merida bike ride along the Paseo Montejo, called the BiciRuta 🚴‍♀️

  • Cafe Impala Address: Calle 56A #500, between Calles 47 and 45, Merida, 97000
  • Cafe Impala Hours: Open daily, 8am-1am
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

8. FREE BiciRuta Merida Bike Ride

things to do in merida mexico | biciruta bike ride
Looking for free things to do in Merida on weekends? Look no further than the BiciRuta.

🚲 What is the Merida BICIRUTA?

The BiciRuta, which means “bike route,” is a city-wide bike ride in Merida that takes place Sunday morning along Paseo Montejo, from about 8am-12pm.

This is one of the most popular things to do in Merida, both for visitors and those living in Merida.

There are both FREE bike rentals (if you get there early enough) and paid bike rentals available for Merida visitors; some renters require a passport, and some only need an ID/driver’s license.

On weekends, this is one of the top Merida attractions, great for fitness and people-watching.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

9. Shop the Boutiques at Casa Tho

Merida is known as La Ciudad Blanca, The White City, and Casa Tho Merida captures that perfectly.

Casa Tho Concept House bears the Mayan name for the city of Merida — T’hō. It’s the perfect place to stroll, shop in Merida and have a snack when you’re looking for what to do in Merida Yucatan on a lazy afternoon.

It is a renovated mansion surrounding a pretty courtyard that has about 10 individual boutique shops with clothing, jewelry, perfume, bath products and more.

If you’re hungry or thirsty after shopping, grab a bite to eat and a cocktail of coffee at T’hō Apertivo, the Casa Tho cafe.

📍 Casa Tho Address: Paseo de Montejo #498, Merida, 97000 

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

10. Photograph the Hotel Casa Azul

The Hotel Casa Azul (Blue House Hotel) is super pretty and has actually been declared a national historic monument. It is also one of the best hotels in Merida Mexico, with near-perfect reviews.

Its light blue exterior makes for a beautiful photo, but so does the interior courtyard — just ask nicely and the front desk staff will let you snap some quick photos.

  • Hotel Casa Azul Address: Calle 60 #343, Colonia Centro, Merida, 97000
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

11. Admire the El Pinar House

El Pinar (The Pine Grove) is one of the most Instagram worthy Merida homes. When you see it, you’ll know why!

This French-style mansion is actually privately owned, so you can’t go in; however, you can snap some photos through the gate, like I did in the photo above.

📍 El Pinar Merida Address: Calle 60, between Avenida Colon and Calle 35, Merida, 97000

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

12. Go Organic at the Saturday Slow Food Market

farmers market in merida

A short walk from El Pinar, head to the best Merida farmer’s market — the Slow Food Market — held Saturdays from 9am-1pm.

If you want to cook while staying in Merida, you can pick up all your organic meats, produce, fresh-baked bread, olive oils, artisan products, and more.

📍 Slow Food Market Merida Address: Calle 33ᴰ #498, Reparto Dolores Patrón, Merida, 97070 

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

13. Visit Parroquia Santa Ana Church

Built in 1733, the Parroquia Santa Ana (Parrish/Church of Saint Ana) is one of several photogenic spots in the hip Santa Ana neighborhood.

In the adjoining Santa Ana Park, you’ll find some of Merida’s famous Tu y Yo (You and I) white chairs, and the open-air Mercado Santa Ana (market).

At the mercado, be sure to try some traditional Yucatan food, like cochinita pibil (pulled pork) and sopa de lima (lime soup with chicken).

💋 History of the Yucatan Kissing Chairs

The Tu y Yo Chairs (Kissing Chairs) in Santa Ana Park in Merida.

These white chairs go by several names: Tu y Yo Chairs (You and I), Sillas Confidantes (Confidant Chairs), and Kissing Chairs.

You’ll find them throughout Downtown Merida and Yucatan state, but their true origins remain unknown.

One widely-accepted theory is that hundreds of years ago, an overprotective father created the chairs so his daughter and the young man courting her could sit together.

With the unique design of the Sillas Tu y Yo Chairs, they could talk without touching one another — getting to know each other in the most modest way possible.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

Top Things to Do in Merida: Centro Historico

Centro de Merida (Downtown City Center, or Historic Center) never gets old!

There are just many colorful homes, vintage cantinas, beautiful colonial architecture, bougainvillea bushes, street food stalls, pretty parks, and so many more things to see, do and photograph.

Many cultural events and Instagram worthy Merida places are in Plaza Grande — and all pinned on the FREE Merida Map at the top of this article.

These including the Merida Cathedral and the big, colorful letters spelling out MERIDA (#16 on this list). You’ll find letters just like these in popular cities throughout Mexico, and they make for one of the most quintessential Merida photos.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

14. Take the Merida FREE Walking Tour

The Palacio Municipal (Municipal Palace) is one of the best colonial buildings in Merida’s Central Plaza.

Looking for free things to do in Merida?

You’re in luck because the Free Walking Tour of Merida is a great way to get to know this historic, colonial city. They are led by your own personal, local guide to Merida!

Merida Travel Tip: It is customary to tip as payment for these types of city walking tours. Please consider tipping your guide at least $100-200 pesos ($5-10 USD) per person, though more is welcome.

The Merida Tourism Office offers free, one-hour, walking tours from Monday to Saturday. Guides are bi- or multi-lingual, and speak English.

Tours start at 9:30am, but try to show up by 9:15am. Meet your guide on the first floor of Palacio Municipal, the pink building in Plaza Grande.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

15. Visit Plaza Grande

Located in Downtown Merida, Plaza Grande is the Main Plaza or Main Square. It is also known as the Zocalo, and as old as the city itself.

Enjoy some quiet time people-watching in the park, then see all the sites around the park, including the Merida Cathedral and Casa de Montejo Museum — one of the best museums in Merida Mexico.

16. Take a Photo of the Merida Sign

Downtown Merida is full of great parks and public spaces, but none better than Plaza Grande.

Throughout major cities and Mexico tourism destinations, you’ll find signs with colorful letters spelling out the town’s name.

In Merida, the sign is located in Plaza Grande. It makes for one of the most popular Merida photo spots, especially with the Merida Cathedral in the background.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

17. Marvel at the Merida Cathedral

Spend some extra time exploring Plaza Grande by night, to see the Catedral de San Ildefonso and video mapping show.

The San Ildefonso Cathedral was built throughout the 16th Century, from 1561-1598. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in the entire Americas Continent, and the biggest church in Merida.

The outside and inside are both very beautiful — just remember to be quiet and respectful if you take photos inside the church. 📸 Head here for 6 Solo Travel Photography Tips + 5 FREE Presets for Photo Editing!

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

18. Have a Rooftop Dinner at Picheta

best rooftop bar in merida at picheta in centro historico (downtown)

For the best views of the cathedral, enjoy dinner on the outdoor patio at Picheta. If you don’t want a full meal, opt for tapas, desserts and drinks at what’s undoubtedly the best rooftop bar in Merida.

The menu features traditional Yucatecan cuisine, prepared with a contemporary twist, and fine dining presentation. As one of the best Merida restaurants, you’ll want to make a reservation for both indoor and outdoor dining at this popular spot.  

  • Picheta Address: Calle 61 #501, Merida, 97000
  • Picheta Hours: Monday-Thursday, 5pm-10pm; Friday-Sunday, 2pm-10pm  
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

19. Catch a Pok Ta Pok Mayan Ball Game

Pok Ta Pok ball court at Uxmal Mayan Ruins near Merida Mexico
The Pok Ta Pok ball court at Uxmal, one of the best Mayan ruins in Yucatan Mexico, located about 1.5 hours from Merida.

Pok Ta Pok is an ancient Mayan game that’s been played for centuries.

In fact, if you’re visiting Chichen Itza, you’ll see the world’s large Pok Ta Pok ball court at this sacred site. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and a great place to experience real Mayan culture.

It was said that members of the losing team would be sacrificed to the gods in centuries past, as this was a serious game.

Nowadays, you can watch a (peaceful) reenactment of this ballgame on Wednesday nights, from about 8pm-9pm, in front of the cathedral. 

20. See the Merida Cathedral Video Mapping Show

On Friday nights at 8pm, there’s an impressive video mapping display on the side of the Merida Cathedral.

Piedras Sagradas (Sacred Stones) tells the history of Yucatan and Merida local culture in a 20-minute audio/video show. The show is in Spanish, but even if you don’t understand it, you’ll be able to follow along with the pretty images. 

There is limited seating, and if you want a seat, you’ll want to arrive by 7:30pm.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

21. Shop the Merida en Domingo Sunday Market

The Vaquería dancers in Plaza Grande.

During the day on Sundays, the streets shut down to cars for a while, and Plaza Grande transforms into a street market and fair.

If you’re looking to pick up some Merida souvenirs and traditional Mayan handicrafts, Merida en Domingo (Merida Sunday Market) is the perfect palace.

If you pass by at the right time, you’ll catch the Vaquería folkloric dance show, and the beautiful Boda Mestiza, a recreation of a traditional wedding ceremony.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

22. Tour the Palacio de Gobierno

Get a closer look at the Merida Government Palace by checking out the murals painted by Fernando Castro Pacheco.

Built in 1892, the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) houses Yucatan state’s executive government offices. This pretty green building is lovely from the outside, but do head inside if it’s open.

Check out both floors for some pretty Merida photos and to see the beautiful art. Hanging on the walls, there are murals and oil paintings by local artist Fernando Castro Pacheco, depicting the Yucatan Peninsula’s history.

  • Palacio de Gobierno Address: Calle 60, between Calles 61 and 59, Merida, 97000
  • Palacio de Gobierno Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm
  • Palacio de Gobierno Admission Cost: FREE
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

23. Take a Photo on the Big Chairs in Parque Santa Lucia

The quintessential Yucatan Merida Mexico photo on the giant chairs — which are only found in this part of Mexico.

In Parque Santa Lucia (Saint Lucia’s Park), you’ll find the famous and Instagrammable Merida giant white chairs. Though they don’t always look like it in photos, these huge chairs stand at almost 8-feet-tall (2.5m).

📸 Ready to level up your solo travel photos? Head to this article, How to Get Awesome Solo Travel Photos, and get 5 photo tips and 5 FREE editing presets.

These chairs, located all over Merida and the Yucatan, go by a lot of names: Sillas Tú y Yo (You and I Chairs), Sillas Confidentes (Confidants’ Chairs), and Kissing Chairs.

Regardless of the name you call them, you’ll want your photo sitting on these giant white chairs in Merida.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

23. Enjoy Dinner & Dancing in Santa Lucia Park at Night

Parque Santa Lucia is pretty during the day, but it comes alive after the sun goes down. At night.

☕️ 🥐 Related Article: Eating Alone While Traveling: How to Overcome Solo Dining Fear

There’s often live music and dancing, and all the restaurants open — transforming this unassuming park into the perfect place to enjoy dinner al fresco, listen to music and people-watch.

24. Learn About Yucatecan Cuisine at Merida Gastronomy Museum

Making fresh tortillas by hand at MUGY, one oof the best Merida restaurants for Yucatan food.

The Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca, or MUGY, is part restaurant, part museum

Head there to sample all the best Yucatan foods, like cochinita pibil (suckling pig), sopa de lima (lime soup) and poc chuc (grilled pork), and while you’re waiting on your food take the short museum tour. 

Located just outside of the restaurant, there’s a recreation of a traditional Mayan village with traditional kitchens.

In each kitchen, you’ll learn about the three recados (spices mixed into a paste) used throughout traditional Yucatan cuisine to give it a unique taste.

  • Merida Gastronomy Museum Address: Calle 62 #466, Merida, 97000
  • Merida Gastronomy Museum Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-10:30pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-10:30pm  
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

25. Catch the Symphony at Teatro Peon Contreras

yellow Peon Contreras Theater in Merida Mexico

Teatro Jose Peon Contreras is the oldest and most beautiful theater in Merida. It was designed by Italian architects to look similar to a grand European theater from the 19th Century.

Want to see a live performance in this historic theater?

When in season, the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra performs here Friday nights at 9pm, and again on Sundays at noon. Tickets vary, but run about $200 MXN pesos ($10 USD) for general performances.

📍 Contreras Theater Address: Calle 60 #490, Merida, 97000

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

26. Create your own Perfume at Coqui Coqui Merida

Located in a converted colonial home, the Coqui Coqui store wears many hats — Perfumeria (perfume store), spa and one-room hotel in Merida.

In fact, it is one of the best spas in Merida, and also one of the best boutique hotels in Merida, Mexico. Head there for some beautiful photos and to create your own custom perfume scent.

  • Merida Travel Tip: You must make a reservation to visit Coqui Coqui
  • Coqui Coqui Merida Address: Calle 55 516, Merida, 97000
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

27. Visit the Historic UADY Campus

The Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan (Autonomous University of the Yucatan), or UADY for short, is a college campus. That being the case, you can’t just roam it freely.

However, the Moroccan-inspired courtyard right at the entrance is the most beautiful part of UADY, along with its grand entrance door.

📍 UADY Address: Calle 60 491A, Merida, 97000

28. Shop for Authentic Merida Souvenirs

There are numerous authentic Yucatan souvenirs you can buy in Merida! For a complete guide to Merida souvenirs from Mexico, head to What to Buy in Merida: 15 Best Mexico Souvenirs in Merida.

From hand-made hammocks and Mayan huipil-style garments, to local Mayan honey, habanero salsa and chocolate, you’re sure to leave Merida with plenty of amazing keepsakes to remember your trip.

🛍 Looking to do a lot of shopping in Merida? You’ll find a list of the best malls in Merida in the linked article.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

29. Relax at Parque Hidalgo

parque hidalgo (hidalgo park) in downtown merida mexico

Of all Downtown Merida parks, Parque Hidalgo (Hidalgo’s Park) tends to be the most relaxing.

Looking for things to do in Merida at night? On most nights, there’s a great night market in Parque Hidalgo where you can buy hand-made jewelry, hammocks, clothing, purses and artisan craft souvenirs.

Get an ice cream at the Santa Clara, or a coffee at Starbucks, then sit on the white Kissing Chairs and people-watch. 📡 Bonus: There’s free WiFi in Parque Hidalgo.

Before leaving Parque Hidalgo, head inside El Gran Hotel and Hotel Caribe Merida, to see their beautiful, historic lobbies.

Located right across the street, Parque de la Madre (Mother’s Park), Iglesia de Jesus (Jesus’ Church), and the La Bella Epoca building are all quite photo-worthy.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

30. Visit Merida Arches: Arco de Dragones, Arco del Puente & Arco de San Juan

Merida Arco de San Juan, located on a side of town where you’ll get a glimpse at true local life, away from tourists.

The Merida Arco de Dragones (Dragon’s Arch) and Arco del Puente (Bridge Arch) are two of Merida’s three remaining arches that still stand today. There were originally eight, but the others have fallen over the years.

These two of the three are located on both ends of Calle 50 (50th Street), so when you’re standing at one, you can see the other. For photos, the Arco de Dragones is on the less crowded side of the street.

Located on the outermost edge of downtown, the Arco de San Juan (Saint John’s Arch) is the prettiest of the three arches.

🚶‍♀️Merida Travel Tip: Walk under the Arco de San Juan, heading southwest on Calle 64 (64th Street) to see a whole street full of cute, colorful buildings.

If you go see it, don’t miss the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista (Church of Saint John the Baptist) and Parque de San Juan (Saint John’s Park) right next to the arch.

  • Arco de Dragones: Calle 50 and Calle 61
  • Arco del Puente: Calle 50 and Calle 63
  • Arco de San Juan: Calle 64 and Calle 69A
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

31. Eat at Taqueria La Lupita (As Seen on Netflix)

As Seen on Netflix, Taqueria la Lupita Merida has some of the best food in Merida.
As Seen on Netflix, Taqueria la Lupita Merida has some of the best food in Merida.

Located at Parque Santiago, inside the Mercado de Santiago (Santiago Market), you’ll find La Lupita Taquería.

This no-frills Mexico taco shop was featured on Netflix’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, in Episode 3 called “Acid,” hosted by James Beard Award-winning Chef Samin Nosrat.

While there, sample some traditional panuchos and salbutes, and wash it all down with a piña con chaya drink. This is a great place for cheap eats in Merida, as you can have three tacos and a drink for about $7 USD.

📍 Mercado de Santiago Address: On Calle 57, Between Calles 50 and 52, Merida, 97000

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

32. Check out Lucas de Galvez Market

If you want to see a traditional Mexican market, head to Mercado Lucas de Galves. This is the largest market in Merida, where you can shop for fresh fruits, spices, flowers and souvenirs.

Note: It’s great for photos, shopping and cheap eats, but it can be a bit hectic. You’ll want to pay extra attention to your belongings here.

📍 Lucas de Galvez Address: Calle 56 and Calle 65A, Merida, 97000

33. Enjoy Dinner & Live Music at Mercado 60

mercado 60 food hall | things to do in merida mexico
The hip Mercado 60 Merida food hall. (Photo: derek.kolb via Flickr)

Mercado 60 is a trendy food hall, with several vendors selling everything from tacos to pizza.

There’s live music on weekends, but it’s just a fun, outdoor spot any day of the week with a lot of food options to satisfy everyone in your group.

📍 Mercado 60 Address: Calle 60 #461, Merida, 97000

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

34. Have Botanas & Drinks at the Merida Cantinas

La Negrita Merida cantina
La Negrita Merida cantina, located in downtown. (Photo: Travel4Brews via Flickr)

In Merida, traditional cantinas are a big part of the culture — and among the most unique things to do in Merida.

There are ones that cater more towards visitors, like Dzalbay Cantina and La Negrita Cantina (which many call the best cantina in Merida), and others frequented more by locals. 

🍻 Among the favorite things for visitors who want to imbibe, don’t miss this Merida Cantina Crawl tour!

Some of the more locals’ spots include El Cardenal and Lucero de Alba. At the latter, enjoy some day drinking and botanas, which are basically Yucatan tapas.

Similar to tapas in Spain, when drinking in a traditional Merida cantina, you’ll be offered free botanas, or small plates.

35. Go Bar Hopping at Merida Bars

Looking for things to do in Merida at night? While many cantinas close by 8pm, some stay open later — like Dzalbay and La Negrita.

To check out some of the other best bars in Merida, head to Casa Chica on Paseo Montejo, Malahat, La Fundación Mezcaleria, Pipiripau and Mayan Pub.

Visit the Best Merida Museums

36. Mayan World Museum of Merida

mayan artifact inside the Merida Mayan Museum in Mexico
An exhibit in the Merida Mayan Museum, the largest museum in Merida.

The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (Mayan World Museum) houses the largest collection of Mayan art and artifacts in Merida.

For those visitors who won’t make it out to see the Mayan Ruins near Merida, this is the next best option.

Located about 20 minutes by taxi or Uber outside of downtown, this is known as the best museum in Merida, so it’s worth a trip for art and history lovers.

Make sure you’re taking an Uber or taxi, as public transportation isn’t great in Merida.

  • Merida Travel Tips: Mayan World Museum is closed Tuesdays, as are most Merida museums.
  • Mayan World Museum Merida Address: Calle 60 Norte #299, Merida, 97110
  • Mayan World Museum Hours: Open Wednesday-Monday, 9am-5pm
  • Mayan World Museum Admission Cost: $150 pesos ($8 USD)
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

37. Casa Montejo 495 (Casas Gemelas)

The twin houses aren’t identical twins, but they do look very similar.

Casa 495, one of the two Casas Gemelas (Twin Houses), is like stepping back in time. The other house is privately owned, but Casa 495, a European Renaissance-style mansion, opened its doors to the public in early-2021.

The inside of the home has been well preserved, and reflects the esthetic style popular in Merida during the early-1900s, when Casa 495 was built.

Within this picturesque mansion, you’ll see tapestries from all over the world, sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows and more.

  • Merida Travel Tips: Casa 495 Museum is closed Tuesdays, as are most Merida museums.
  • Casa 495 Address: Paseo de Montejo #495, Mérida Mx, 97000
  • Casa 495 Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
  • Casa 495 Admission Cost: $250 pesos ($13 USD)
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

38. Museo Palacio Canton

Palacio Canton Museum is one of the most recognizable buildings in Merida, Mexico.

Museo Palacio Canton (Canton Palace Museum) is undeniably the most photographed building in Merida.

This museum is also the biggest and most iconic of Paseo de Montejo’s grand European-style buildings, with its stunning Old World design, both inside and out.

Recently, the museum’s name changed to Museo Regional de Antropología de Yucatán (Regional Museum of Anthropology of Yucatán), as it now houses a small collection of Mayan artifacts.

Locally, however, everyone still knows it as Palacio Canton or Palacio Canton Museum.

  • Palacio Canton Address: Paseo de Montejo #485, Merida, 97000
  • Palacio Canton Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-5pm
  • Palacio Canton Admission Cost: $65 pesos ($3 USD)
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

39. Museo Casa Montejo

The outside of the Museo Casa Montejo (Montejo House Museum) is itself a work of art.

It is one of only a few examples seen in Mexico of the architecture style called plateresque, found mostly in Europe, and brought to Merida in the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

🎨 Prefer contemporary art? Head to the nearby Museo de la Ciudad de Mérida, formerly known as Museo Fernando García Ponce.

As the name implies, the Casa Montejo Museum is also a house, and even housed Merida’s elite Montejo family until the late 1800s.

Well preserved, the inside is like going back in time. Head there to see what’s on display in the gallery, as there’s rotating exhibits all year.

  • Museo Casa Montejo Address: Calle 63 #506, Merida, 97000
  • Museo Casa Montejo Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-7pm
  • Museo Casa Montejo Admission Cost: FREE
best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

40. Pasaje a la Revolucion

The Pasaje a la Revolución (Revolution Passageway) isn’t a museum per se, but it often has a FREE public art display.

Located between the Merida Cathedral and Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay Museum, you’ll find a rotating lineup of art installations from both Mexican and international artists.

Want to see more museums in Merida?

Don’t miss the Quinta Montes Molina (AKA Casa Museo Montes Molina), with tours by reservation only. This is the home Francisco de Montejo and “the Montejos” lived in — the founders of Merida, Mexico.

41. Fundacion de Artistas

The cafe at Merida Artist’s Foundation, located next to Coqui Coqui Merida. (Photo: CH via Flickr)

You won’t see this place on any other Merida travel lists, because the Fundación de Artistas (Artist Foundation in Merida) is one of the true Merida hidden gems.

This unique space is an art gallery with a boutique store and café outside in a beautiful courtyard.

📍 Fundacion de Artistas Merida Address: Calle 55 #520, Mérida Yucatán, 97000

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

Best Merida Day Trips: Beaches, Ruins, Cenotes

BOOK NOW: Chichen Itza, the Pink lagoon and Pink flamingos — and visit the Mexico pink lakes of Las Coloradas and Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins on a Merida tour.

All of the places listed above are located within Merida city limits, but if you want to venture outside of the city, there’s also a ton of options.

Given its central location in the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida is the ideal home base for exploring Yucatan — including the haciendas, beaches, Yucatan pueblos magicos (magic towns), cenotes, and Misnébalam, a ghost town in Mexico!

There are nine great day trips from Merida featured below, but for even more options check out these articles:

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

42. Progreso Beach

The Progreso Malecon, a pedestrian walkway along Progreso Beach, Yucatan — one of the best beaches near Merida Mexico. (Note: There are no beaches in Merida Mexico.)

Puerto Progreso is the closest beach to Merida, and considered one of the best Gulf of Mexico beach towns.

Located about 45 minutes away, the easiest way to get from Merida to Progreso is on the AutoProgreso bus, which costs just $21 pesos ($1 USD) each way.

🏝 Related Article: 15 Best Merida Beaches in the Yucatan Peninsula

Once you get to Progreso, stroll down the oceanfront Malecon (Walkway) for a bite to eat and souvenir shopping.

Pick a spot to rent a beach chair, or head to one of the best Progreso beach clubs, Silcer Beach Club and El HaGuay, which is just next to the Progreso letters sign.

For a sunset dinner before returning to Merida, head to the western end of the beach to eat at one of the best restaurants in Progreso — Eladio’s Bar, a locals’ favorite.

For a more upscale dining atmosphere, check out either Almadia or Crabster, both located on the Progreso Malecon.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

43. Chichen Itza Ruins & Cenote Ik Kil

A top thing to do in Yucatan, and one the Seven Wonders of the World, the ancient city of Chichén Itzá needs no introduction!

It is one of the best Mayan Ruins in Mexico, located about two hours from Merida by rental car, bus, or on a Chichen Itza tour, like these 10 Best Merida to Chichen Itza Tours for a Unique Experience.

If you aren’t renting a car in Merida, consider one of the Merida to Chichen Itza tours listed above.

For those who will have their own car, combine your Chichen Itza visit with a swim in Cenote Ik-Kil, located less than 15 minutes away. This is one of the most beautiful and best cenotes in Yucatan Mexico!

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

44. Celestun to See the Flamingos

Located in the small fishing village of Celestun, about 2.5 hours from Merida, you’ll find the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve.

There are some nice Celestun beaches, but the main reason to visit is because Celestun is the best place to see flamingos near Merida.

To see Celestun flamingos, do a boat ride in the mangroves tour, where as many as 35,000 flamingos live during their November to February mating season.

Besides the flamingos, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is one of the best places for bird watching in Yucatan. 

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

45. Uxmal Mayan Ruins & the Ruta Puuc

Besides Uxmal Ruins, don’t miss these 15 Amazing Mayan Ruins Near Merida Mexico.

Looking for crazy things to do in Merida?! How about climbing some Mayan ruins at one of the best archeological sites in Mexico!

Beside Chichen Itza, another important ancient Mayan city in Mexico is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Uxmal (pronounced yoush-mall).

While Chichen Itza is the more famous of the two, many prefer Uxmal as it’s less crowded, less touristy, and you can climb the Uxmal pyramids.

If you’re driving your Merida rental car to Uxmal, located 1.5 hours from Merida, consider doing the entire Ruta Puuc (Puuc Route).

Along this 36-mile-long (58 km) drive, there’s also the Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna, some of the best off the beaten path Mexico ruins.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

46. Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins & Cenote Xlacah

The Dzibilchaltún Archaeological Site has some one of the best Mayan Ruins in Yucatan, Mexico.

The closest ruins to Merida in Mexico, at only about 45 minutes away, are the Dzibilchaltun Ruins (pronounced zee-bee-shall-tune).

This is a small site compared to Chichen Itza and Uxmal, but you can climb many of the structures and there’s a nice museum on-site.

💧 Cenote Xlacah Merida

There are so many great things to do at Dzibilchaltun — You can see and climb the ruins, swim in the cenote and visit the museum, all in one day.

After visiting the ruins, you can go for a swim in Xlacah Cenote, the closest cenote to Merida which is located right at the Dzibilchaltun site.

This is a fully-open swimming pool style cenote in Merida which you will love jumping in after a long day of climbing pyramids! 

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

47. Izamal “The Yellow City”

Izamal pueblo magico (magic town) is only about 1.5 hours from Merida by rental car or bus.

The entire downtown is painted yellow, and it’s one of just a handful of monochromatic cities on Earth. No one knows for sure why it’s yellow, but some say it’s an homage to the Mayan Sun God, Kinich Kakmo.

When visiting Izamal, make sure to check out the Piramide Kinich Kakmo (AKA Izamal Ruins), a smaller Mayan ruins site named in honor of the Mayan Sun God.

Izamal is the perfect Merida day trip because it’s quite small. You can walk all of downtown in two hours, or take a caleza (horse-drawn carriage) tour if it’s too hot.

When you’re hungry, head to the Mercado Municipal De Izamal (local market) to try authentic Yucatan food for cheap.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

48. Cenotes Hacienda Muchucye

Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyche has some of the best ceotes inn Mexico — but you can only visit with a tour.

The grounds of this traditional 18th Century hacienda have been left in semi-ruin, but that’s all part of the esthetic effect.

Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyche is a popular Merida day trip, so you must book a tour in advance to visit. They are only offered Monday-Sunday, 9am-3pm.

WORTH IT! This place has the most beautiful cenotes! People in Yucatán and everyone I know that has come to this hacienda says they’re the prettiest ones they’ve seen…

—Nicole (Read more reviews)



In addition to the picturesque Merida hacienda itself, there are two cenotes onsite — Cenote Carlota and Cenote Azul Maya — which look like a mix of the Garden of Eden and the Blue Lagoon.

These cenotes are super refreshing to swim in after your guided tour of the grounds.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

49. Valladolid & Cenote Zaci 

Valladolid is one of the best pueblos magicos in Yucatan, Mexico.

One of the best pueblos magicos near Merida is Valladolid, located about 2.5 hours away.

To truly appreciate this colorful colonial city, book a Valladolid hotel for an overnight or weekend trip, but if you don’t have time, you’ll enjoy these best things to do in Valladolid on a day trip.

Head there early for the Casa de los Venados folk art gallery tour at 10am. Next, visit to Kuxtal Galería de Arte Popular Mexicano & Café to buy some Mexican folk art and have a coffee.

This fun boutique shop is located on Calzada de los Frailes, the most beautiful street in Valladolid.

💧 Cenote Zaci Valladolid

There’s so many things to see in Valladolid, one of the best small towns in Yucatan.

Walk to the end of the street to see the San Bernardino Convent and Valladolid letters sign. Next, head to Parque Principal (Main Park), where you’ll find the iconic Iglesia de San Servacio Valladolid church.

End your day with a swim in Cenote Zaci, just five minutes from downtown.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

50. Cenotes Santa Barbara

Cenote Xoch, one of the best cenotes near Merida.

The three Santa Barbara cenotes are in the pueblo (small town) of Homun, where you’ll find many of the best cenotes near Merida.

Located about 1.5 hours from Merida, you’ll be able to enjoy three cenotes at Santa Barbara — Cenote Chaksikin, Cenote Cascabel and Cenote Xoch

When you enter, you can take a rental bike (included in the cost), or a horse-drawn cart to the first cenote, Cenote Chaksikin.

After that, you’ll walk to Cenote Cascabel and Cenote Xoch, the most beautiful of the three, and then ride your bike or take the horse cart back.

Merida Travel FAQ

Is Merida Mexico Safe?

Short answer: Yes, for most travelers, Merida is safe.

Longer answer: This question is tricky, as no place is 100% safe. I do my best to address the Mexico safety question in this article, Is Merida Mexico Safe for Travelers? Safety Tips from a Longtime Resident.

But, in short, the answer to Is Merida safe? — is Yes!

Merida has been ranked as not only the safest city in Mexico, but one of the safest on the entire Americas Continent by CEOWorld Magazine. In 2021, Conde Nast Traveler magazine named it the #6 Best City in the World.

Though Merida is considered safe, you’ll still want to follow the 10 General Travel Safety Tips below to err on the side of caution.

These safety measures — like taking Uber home at night — are the same ones you’d follow when traveling anywhere, and they should suffice in Mérida.

🚨 Mexico Travel Insurance

Want an added level of security and peace of mind during these strange travel times? Smart choice!

Just as you insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling.

⭐️ World Nomads Insurance

If Mexico and Merida travel safety are on your mind, World Nomads is a great option for more adventurous travelers. Their policies start at about $7 USD per day, and you can get a FREE quote to see how much yours will cost.

⭐️ Safety Wing Insurance

SafetyWing provides affordable, basic Mexico travel insurance policies perfect for digital nomads and long-term travelers. Their plans start at just $42 USD per month, and you can get a FREE quote here.

10 General travel safety tips
  1. Don’t drink the water in Merida, as the tap water in Merida Mexico isn’t safe for human consumption. Head here for a deep dive on this topic, Can you drink the water in Merida?
  2. Get Travel Insurance for Mexico!
  3. If you get a sketchy or uneasy feeling about a person or place, listen to your intuition and get away from that person or place asap. Don’t worry about making a kind, nice or politically correct exit from a creepy person or bad situation — Just get away fast.
  4. Don’t walk home alone at night; take an Uber.
  5. Don’t keep your phone, keys, wallet, passport, or anything valuable in your back pocket.
  6. Learn some basic Spanish. If you can’t learn it, save this infographic as an image on your phone so you have something to use even if you’re off-WiFi.
  7. Take all of your belongings into the bathroom with you, rather than asking a cafe or bar neighbor to watch your things. This is annoying, for sure, but it works to not get your stuff stolen.
  8. Speaking of bar neighbors; don’t take drinks from strangers and never leave your drink unattended with one.
  9. Don’t wear flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, designer sunglasses, etc.
  10. Keep some cash in your pocket so you don’t have to pull your whole wallet out every time you need to pay.
Register for the STEP Program

Make sure you enroll in the FREE STEP Program before your trip. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, allows U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico to document your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

After you’ve registered, the U.S. Consulate in Merida can contact you in the event of an emergency, including natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. STEP can also put you in touch with your family and friends back home in the event of an emergency while abroad.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

Where is Merida Mexico?

Merida is the capital of Yucatan state, one of three states that make up the Yucatán Peninsula — along with Quintana Roo and Campeche states.

🗺 Map of Merida Yucatan Mexico

📍 Best Places Near Merida

Merida is located in southeastern Mexico, about 160 miles west of Tulum, 190 miles west of Cancun, and 180 miles west of Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.

It is also not far from other top Yucatan Peninsula destinations, including Bacalar Lagoon, AKA “Maldives of Mexico,” and the pueblo magicos (magic towns) of Valladolid, and the “Yellow City” of Izamal.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

Flights to Merida, Mexico

Wondering what’s the best way to get to Merida?

There’s actually an airport about 20 minutes from downtown — Merida International Airport (code: MID).

There are direct flights to Merida from only a few United States cities, like Miami, Houston and sometimes Oakland.

If you can’t get a direct flight from the U.S., you can fly into Mexico City or Guadalajara International Airport. From those, you can take a short, connecting flight into MID.

From the airport, you can take a rental car, Uber, taxi, or private transport service (see below ⤵) to your accommodation.

Depending on where you’re staying, the drive is usually no more than 30 minutes, though it can be a little bit longer during rush hours.

🚌💨 Best Merida Airport transfers

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

Merida Mexico Car Rentals

woman in convertible rental car in merida mexico

If you are looking to rent a car in Merida, the airport is the best place to do so. As Merida isn’t a big city, car rental options can be limited — so do book in advance.

▶︎ Book here with Discover Cars, a reputable company for a rental car in Merida, and the company I personally use.

For travelers mostly staying in the city limits, you might want to skip a rental car, but if you’re planning to take a few of the 25 Best Merida Day Trips, you’ll want a car.

best THINGS TO DO IN MERIDA MEXICO

Is Merida worth visiting?

As someone who lives in Merida, of course I think Merida is worth visiting 💁‍♀️ I have been to half the states in Mexico now, and a good amount of the cities and top travel destinations, and there really is something special about Merida, Mexico.

🤔 Best Time to Visit Merida Mexico

Wondering, What’s the best time to travel to Merida?

The months of May to October are hot and humid, to the point that it turns many off.

If you hate tropical weather, plan your Merida trip for November to April. This is the high season, but the weather’s cool and the humidity’s at bay.

Final Thoughts: Best Things to Do in Merida Mexico

Merida’s central location — in the near-dead center of the Yucatan Peninsula — makes it a great place to use as a home base to explore the region. As a place that’s not at the top of everyone’s bucket list (yet) Merida is still affordable.

Besides the city itself, which is a cultural hub with beautiful places and yummy food, there’s also great Merida beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, Mayan ruins, Merida cenotes, historic haciendas, and more.

Give yourself plenty of time here, as there’s something for everyone in Merida!

Merida Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from World Nomads, the biggest name in travel insurance. (Read more)

💧Can you drink the water in Merida?

No — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. (Read more)

🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Merida?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

📲 Will my phone work in Merida?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

🏩 What’s the best way to book my Merida accommodation?

For Mexico hotels and hostels, Booking is the best site. If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb! (Read more)

✈️ What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights? For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

🎫 Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do need a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa upon arrival.

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