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Querétaro Things to Do - Header

Querétaro Activities

Cerca de Todos

"Near everyone." And it is! History, art, architecture, cuisine, and more are at your door.

Things to Do in Queretaro, Mexico

Central Time

Not that there aren’t other things to see and do in other parts of the city, but the center of Queretaro’s history and cultural activities happens also to be geographically in the centro.

The Famous Arches (Not the yellow ones!)
The Famous Arcos of Querétaro

If you had only 15 minutes to pass through Queretaro, you’d have to see the symbol of this Bajío beauty: the aqueduct. Built in the early 1700s by a marquis to show his love for a nun (and for his beloved city, of course), 74 huge stone arches carried water – the life-blood of this semi-desert location – over 4200 feet (1.28km) into the Convento de la Cruz.

The best place to see the arcos is from the mirador (lookout) up the hill towards the convent. Just across the street, visit the mausoleum where Doña Josefa Ortiz and her husband rest, and other “illustrious” Queretanos from the past gaze over their dear city.

Church and State
Santa Rosa de Viterbo

Perched on top of Sangremal hill overlooking the rest of the centro histórico, the temple and convent of la Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) not only welcome the aqueduct’s water to the city, but per legend, are also the believed site of the miraculous apparition of St. James (Santiago), converting the indigenous Otomí immediately to Catholicism and founding the city (thus the official name, “Santiago de Queretaro”). Take a tour of the convent to see the unique cross-shaped thorns of another miracle, as well as the room where Emperor Maximilian was held as he awaited his death, which took place at the Cerro de las Campanas (Hill of the Bells) not too far away.

Witness first-hand the fascinating blend of pre-Hispanic rituals and Spanish Conquest that is Mexican Catholicism in any of the other numerous churches downtown too, including the Templo de Santa Clara (behind the also-famous Neptune fountain), the stunningly baroque Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo, and the Templo de San Francisco that towers over the main Jardín Zenea.

Teatro de la República

A block away in the Teatro de la Republica, Maximilian’s fate was decided in 1867, but most Mexicans know this stately theater to be the location of the signing of Mexico’s constitution in 1917. (See the display upstairs.) The Orquesta Filarmónica del Estado de Querétaro and other artists still regularly perform here.

Park It

The pedestrian-street arteries of Queretaro’s centro connect multiple tree-lined plazas, allowing for pleasant strolling between Jardín Zenea, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Constitucion, Jardín Guerrero, and several smaller plazitas such as Plaza de la Corregidora. Even if one of the many regular concerts, dance or official cultural presentations (all free!) is not occurring right at the moment you’re there, you’ll still be plenty entertained by the “unofficial” culture of clowns, dance-breakers, drummers, or other street performers – and certainly just by the pure people-watching!

To Market, To Market
Frutería in Mercado de la Cruz

You’ll see that fat pig hanging along the butcher’s aisle in the largest downtown market, Mercado de la Cruz. A veritable feast for all senses, the colors, shapes, sounds, and smells of the mercado also reveal a cultural microcosm: indigenous women hawking nopales (cactus), huitlacoche (corn fungus), and squash blossoms; apron-clad men calling, “Choose! Choose!” from behind their perfect pyramids of mangoes; and somewhere under a piñata-starred ceiling, a señora will recommend these herbs for attracting your love, that special soap to make the love last, and a candle in a glass bearing a saint’s image and a prayer on the back, which you must repeat ten times a day to keep the, well, fire burning.

Convent-ional Museums

Quite a few of Queretaro’s museums are actually stunning architectural examples from their original days as convents. The two not to be missed are the Museo Regional, which served as the convent of the Templo de San Francisco, and the Museo de Arte de Queretaro, whose lovely baroque patio brings more recognition than the museum’s collection. The former focuses primarily on local history, while Mexican and European paintings from the last four centuries adorn the latter’s walls.

Inside yet another former convent (and prison!), the Museo de la Ciudad rotates modern exhibits, while next door the Museo de la Restauracion returns to Mexican history with Queretaro as a protagonist.

Housed in a more traditional Queretana casona, the relatively new Museo Nacional de las Artes Graficas boasts more than 18,000 testimonials to the art of graphics and printing in Mexico, from pre-Hispanic “stamps” to modern printing presses.


Take It to the Limit

You don’t have to go very far outside city limits to experience the richness of Queretaro state. Ask your Spanish language school to help you arrange one or more of these trips:

  • El Cerrito – Take your camera to Queretaro’s own pyramid and pre-Hispanic ruins.
  • Freixenet and La Redonda – Tour the vineyards’ cavas. Sip some famous bubbly.
  • Tequisquipan and San Miguel de Allende – Wander through postcard-picture crafts markets and boutiques. Stop for coffee or ice cream.
  • Botanical Garden in Cadereyta, Querétaro
  • Peña de Bernal – Hike up most of the world’s third-largest monolith. Hire a guide to rock-climb to the top if you’re so inclined. Eat a traditional hot corn gordita back in town.
  • Quinta Schmoll and Jardín Botánico Regional – Spend an afternoon in nearby Cadereyta among cacti and other native plants at these well-maintained botanical gardens.
  • Sierra Gorda – Descend a zip-wire, ride an ATV, or go fishing at one of the many eco-tourist camps in this incredibly bio-diverse reserve. Check out a former Franciscan mission, like Jalpan. Hike or take a burro up to the Sótano del Barro to see (and hear!) the green cloud of wild macaws.

Other Activities in Querétaro

Your school in Queretaro also offers additional fun ways to practice your newly learned Spanish, such as salsa dancing, jewelry making and more. You can also sign up for cooking classes within walking distance of the school with Laura's Cocina. Querétaro is a medium size city full of culture so no matter what your interests are - other than the beach - you can find it hear.

Sound like you? Sign up today to study Spanish in Queretaro!