A Massive List of Free Things to do in Mérida

Free Things to do in Mérida

Mérida, there is no other city like it in the world. When you say Mérida, people’s faces light up like it’s Christmas. Enchanting, magical, beautiful, and full of free things to do in Mérida. Now, you’re coming here and wondering what in the world you are going to do. Well, wonder no more! Just keep this list handy.

A Massive List of Free Things to do in Mérida

Want to know how to enjoy all the free things to do in Mérida?

Check out all the items listed by category.

  • History buff? ✔
  • Appreciate churches? ✔
  • Love to be outside? ✔
  • Enjoy Yucatecan music? ✔
  • Want to have an authentic experience among locals? ✔

This article was updated in August of 2023.

Believe me, you are going to love it here, just like I do! You’ll find categories for parks, churches, markets, museums, outdoor activities, and nighttime events.

With the exception of the “off the beaten path” recommendations, you’ll also find all of these within the Periferico (loop that encompasses the main part of the city) of Mérida. Perhaps you think you might run out of free things to do in Mérida.? Not a chance if you read this massive list of free things to do in Mérida that will make you excited.

**For the hours posted, this is the best information we could find through multiple sources. But be warned, hours sometimes change without being publicly updated!**

Beautiful and historic buildings with unique architecture

Some churches were built with stones from Maya temples.

The reason for this?

Mayan temples were destroyed and replaced with churches in an effort to convert Mayans to Christianity. As a constant reminder of this, stones from the demolished temples could be seen as a warning.

Iglesia de Jesus

Location: Hidalgo Park Calle 60 x 59
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Built from stones of a destroyed Maya temple that occupied the site, you can also see two stones still bearing Maya carvings on the west wall facing the park.

Iglesia Ermita de Santa Isabel

Location: Ermita Park Calle 66 x 77
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Known as the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Good Journey, travelers stopped here on their way out of the city to ask the Virgin to provide them with a successful journey on their long travels.

La Ermita Church in Mérida

Santa Lucia Church

Location: Calle 60 x 55
Hours: Daily 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
Built in 1575 by D. Pedro Garcia, the temple was originally intended to house African slaves in Spanish service while the adjacent land was for the Spanish cemetery.

Santiago Church

Location: Calle 59 x 72
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
With one of the most representative religious structures of Mérida due to its belfry with six spans of trefoil arch, its construction in the 17th century spurred the urbanization of a former Mayan village.

Mérida Cathedral – Catedral de San Ildefonso

Location: Plaza Grande Calle 60 x 61
Hours: Daily 6:00 am to noon, 4:30 pm to -8:00 pm
The cathedral built on the site of Mayan ruins was the first cathedral to be finished on the mainland of the Americas.

Santa Ana Church

Location: Santa Ana Park Calle 60 x 47
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Along with the neighborhood, the Santa Ana Church has a Latin cross pattern on an atrium, built apparently where the former Maya religious structure stood.

Temple of La Candelaria

Location: Calle 67 x 64
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
A beautiful golden baroque altarpiece forms three bodies with Solomonic columns and a series of niches of religious sculptures, richly ornamented with plant motifs.

Iglesia de San Juan Bautista

Location: Calle 69 x 62
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
The Church has a corridor with Muslim influence and on the south side of the temple stood a bullring, demolished in 1910.

San Juan Church on the Massive List of Free Things to do in Mérida

Route of the Convents offers ruins and religion off the beaten path

Explore these sites called Route of the Convents in a full day trip:

  • Acanceh
  • Tecoch
  • Telchaquillo
  • Mayapan
  • Tekit
  • Mama
  • Chumayel
  • Teabo
  • Maní

In essence, at the recommendation of the Spanish Empire, these religious sites were built for the purpose of converting the indigenous population to Christianity.

Visit centuries-old Mayan villages and archaeological sites, colonial churches, cathedrals and convents, courtyards, and cenotes.

Note:  most of the buildings are open in the morning but don’t keep regular hours. The churches can be viewed from the outside and it is definitely worth the trip.

Directions: Start on the Periférico and go to Route 18. (Signs will say Kanasín, not Route 18.) Follow the signs to Acanceh and on from there. The best way to do this route is by car with a full tank of gas. Be on the road by 8:00 am.

Connecting with family and friends in community parks are part of Mexican culture

One this is for certain –

No matter where you are in Mérida, you will see friends, family, lovers, and even strangers chatting with each other. There is nothing like the friendly culture of Mexico that will help you feel included.

Plaza Grande

Location: Calle 60 x 61
The city’s main square surrounded by the Zocalo with some of the most historically significant and aesthetically pleasing buildings in Mérida.

Las Americas Park

Location: Av. Colón y 18 x 20 in García Ginerés
A wonderful four-block large park features columns throughout the park, dedicated to all the nations of the Americas and some Chac Mool sculptures carved in stone with Maya figures.

Parque Hidalgo

Location: Calle 59 x 60
One block from the Zocalo, in front of the Company of Jesus Church, and a few steps from the Peon Contreras Theater, you’ll also find this quaint park with one of the first hotels in the city distinguished by its wholly French-style facade.

Parque Hidalgo on the Massive List of Free Things to do in Mérida

Santa Lucia

Location: Calle 60 x 55
Regarded as the third oldest plaza in Mérida, Santa Lucia Park is the location of the only obelisk found in the city. Since 1965, the square hosts the traditional nights of Yucatecan Serenades (see Evening Events).

Santa Ana

Location: Calle 60 x 45
Famous for the orange trees that grew in the square, Santa Ana Park was the site of the fierce battle between republicans and imperialists. Santa Ana still has its preserved and restored its beautiful market (see Markets).

San Juan

Location: Calle 67 x 64
The elegant fountain in the middle of the park brought from Paris is the focal point of this small park always bustling with tourists and locals. You’ll also find a plethora of food vendors and trinkets from the many carts around the square.


Location: Calle 59 x 70
When they first entered T’ho, conquerors found an indigenous village which they named Santiago after the Patron of Spain. Moreover, this park is a favorite of visitors and locals alike who visit the market (see Markets) and dance under the stars (see Evening Events).

La Mejorada

Location: Calle 50 x 57
Called Parque de Los Niños Héroes, you’ll find a monument for the Hero Children who died in the North American invasion in 1847. This neighborhood was also the location for the main refineries, workshops, and support equipment for the henequen haciendas.

A constant tropical breeze is perfect for Daytime Activities

You’ll find an almost constant breeze in Mérida which keeps outdoor activities cooler for most of the year.

But a word of warning –

You will still need protection from the sun. Carry a hat, umbrella, fan, mosquito repellent, and sunscreen with you at all times to be prepared for the weather of daytime activities.

History of Mérida City Tour

Location: Mérida Tourism Office – Calle 56A #242 X 56B y 60
Hours: Daily 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Tours:  Weekdays 9:30 am
Given in English and Spanish, tours start at 9:30 am every weekday and lasts about 1.5 hours. Remember to tip your tour guide for this valuable service of free things to do in Mérida and their expertise.

Bici-Ruta Family Biking

Location: Paseo de Montejo
Hours: Every Sunday 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
This wide avenue, modeled after Paris’ Champs Elysees and lined with the mansions of Mérida’s old aristocracy is closed off every Sunday allowing cyclists to enjoy a morning of bicycling in family-oriented ambiance and safety. Bike rentals are available.

Mérida on Sunday (Merida en Domingo)

Location: Calle 60 from Plaza Grande to Santa Lucia Park
Hours: Every Sunday 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
An outdoor hand-craft market and food festival features live music, food, and product vendors and great people watching.

Monumento a la Patria

Location: Paseo Montejo x Calle 27A
The work of sculptor Romulo Rozo exhibits part of the history of Mexico from the founding of Tenochtitlán until the middle of the 20th century.

Cemetario Panteón Florido

Location: Calle 66 Diagonal at Calle 95
Hours: Daily 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
A small, charming cemetery featuring colorful, unique, and architecturally diverse tombs and mausoleums.

Evening activities feature music, history, food, and artisanal handcrafts

Serenata at Santa Lucia Park

Location: Calle 60 y 55
Hours:  Every Thursday 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Since 1965, Santa Lucia Park has hosted this outdoor show features musicians, singers, and dancing mestizos in colorful costumes. Seating is also provided however arrive early.

Noche Mexicana

Location: Calle 56ᴬ # 485 y Paseo de Montejo
Hours: Every Saturday 9:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Different states and regions of Mexico are represented through dance, music, and other artistic art forms. Food and handcraft vendors set up for delicious treats and local trinkets during this unique and special event.

Musical Remembrances – Big Band Under the Stars

Location: Santiago Park Calle 70 x 59
Hours:  Every Tuesday 8:30 pm
Remember the melodies of the old days with rhythms of danzón, mamba, and cha cha cha with locals and tourists from around the world.

Musical Remembrances in Santiago Park on A Massive List of Free Things to do in Mérida

Fiesta Saturdays 

Location: Hidalgo Park Calle 59 x 60
Hours: Every Saturday 7:30 pm (approx)
Many vendors and artisans selling handmade crafts including hammocks, jewelry, clothing, shoes, and more.

Cemetario General

Location:  Calle 81A x 90
Hours: Daily 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Tour: Every Wednesday 8:00 pm
For a fascinating glimpse into Mérida’s cultural heritage and wealth, visit the largest cemetery in Mérida. Take the evening tour to see multiple architectural styles, including neo-gothic, Greek, neo-Maya, and art deco.



From well-known to hidden gems, super cool stuff in the heart of Centro 

After living in Merida for a few months, I happened upon some really neat stuff (actually, some of it I would have even known about).

Wanna know the secret?

  • Walking around Centro during all hours.
  • Chatting with locals.
  • Speaking to waiters.
  • Asking many, many questions.

Many days, I didn’t have an agenda other than going the direction that felt best and where my feet wanted to go. When you want to chat, join me here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifeinmerida/

Stop by Mérida English Library

Location: Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Monday 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Wednesday 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Enjoy reading a book or magazine in the relaxing and recently remodeled backyard patio and deck. Moreover, ask about current tours and seasonal events to enjoy the free things to do in Mérida.

View the dome inside the Peón Contreras Theater

Location: Calle 60 x 59 y 57
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 9:00 pm (approx)
The magnificent dome painted by Nicolás Allegretti is adorned with delicate paintings of Greek muses, inspired by the French neoclassical style. Moreover, inquire at the box office or in the adjacent restaurant for permission to go inside.

Artistic Elegance at Nahualli Casa de Los Artistas

Location: Calle 60#405 x 43 y 45
Hours:  Monday – Friday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Contemporary visual art and an extensive collection of beautiful and masterfully done paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints in this elegant art gallery.

View Video Mapping at Plaza Grande

Every Wednesday 8:30 pm – Casa de Montejo
Meeting with Francisco de Montejo:  Dialogues of the Conqueror (Encuentro con Francisco de Montejo:  Diálogos del Conquistador)

Every Friday 8:30 pm – San Idelfonso Cathedral – Sacred Stones (Piedras Sagradas)
These highly artistic light and sound shows depict the regions’ history and culture through vivid projections that wrap around two of Mérida’s most treasured facades.

Cemetary General on A Massive List of Free Things to do in Mérida

Beat the heat anytime inside Mérida’s many museums

By now you’ll have realized –

It gets super hot in Mérida, especially in the summer where the locals say it’s mucho calor. Stepping inside one of the many museums will give you a chance to cool off and learn more about the history and culture of Mérida.

Museo de Arte Popular

Location: Calle 50A # 507 y 50x 52
Hours:  Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Filled with many types of folk art indigenous to the region including pottery, textiles, embroidery, paintings, sculpture, and mythological creatures of the area.

Museo de Peón Contreras

Location: Calle 60 x 59 y 57 inside the Peón Contreras Theater
Hours:  Daily 9:00 am to 9:00 pm (approx)
Continually changing art exhibitions from around Mexico feature a variety of mediums including painting, pottery, fabric, sculpture, and more.

Palacio Municipal

Location: Calle 62 x 61, Plaza Grande Zocalo
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 9:00 pm (approx)
This impressive building features huge murals by Mérida’s local artist, Fernando Castro Pacheco displaying the history of Yucatán.

Mérida City Museum

Location: Calle 56 #529A x 65 y 65A
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
A large amount of archeological pieces, from pre-Hispanic to modern include information about the city of T’ho. Find maps and pictures of early Mérida inside this amazing museum.

Museo Casa Montejo

Location: Calle 63 x Calle 60 y 62
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Built in the 16th century by Don Francisco de Montejo, conqueror of the Yucatan Peninsula, the home exhibits intricate artistry in the Spanish Plateresque style with opulent furnishings of the 19th and 20th centuries in Mexico.

Local Markets offer an authentic experience you can’t miss

Note:  Exploring these many local markets are some of the free things to do in Mérida.

However, once inside be warned – 

It will be hard to resist the delicious smells of freshly made food.

The good news?

You can also sample a variety of magnificent dishes for a small amount of money.

Santiago Market (Mercado Municipal No 2 Santos Degollado)

Location: Calle 59 x 70
Hours:  Daily 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (approx)
Known for its cocina economicas (small, tasty food kitchen-style restaurants) as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs, you’ll find beautiful flowers and freshly prepared juices. Try the ceviche at Tetiz or the famous tacos from Taqueria La Lupita.

Lucas de Galvez Market

Location: Calle 56A x 67 y 69
Hours:  Daily 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (approx)
In the maze of stalls, you’ll find just about anything and everything you need as well as things you didn’t even know existed. Try the mega empanada at Lonchería Cancún.

Garcia Rejon Market

Location: Calle 60 x 65
Hours: Daily 9:30 am to 3:00 pm (approx)
Discover all kinds of typical Yucatecan food & products at this cozy market. Try the Relleno negro at Punto y Coma.

Slow Food Market

Location: Avenida Colon at Avenida Reforma (Calle 72) – Col. Garcia Gineres (97070)
Hours: Every Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
This weekly market also offers organic products such as produce, eggs, coffee, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, homemade sauces, dips, honey, and more.

San Benito Market

Location: Calle 54 x 67 y 69
Hours: Monday – Saturday 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, Sunday 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Feel ambiance, music, and wonderful smells in this charming market. Try the tamal colado at El Quimbombito y la Turquita.

Alemán Market (Mercado Miguel Alemán)

Location: Calle 24 x 31a y 31 – Col. Miguel Alemán (97148)
Hours:  Daily 6:00 am to 4:00 pm
The German influence is prevalent in this neighborhood and market offering a huge variety of breakfast food Mexican style. Try the kibi from one of the many cocina economicas in this tourist favorite market.

Santa Ana Market

Location: Calle 47 x 58 y 60
Hours:  Daily 7:00 am to 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm to Midnight
Arrive early because this is one of the busiest markets in Mérida with vendors offering a variety of products in front of the Mercado. Try lechón or queso Relleno at Cocina Mary or cochito horneado at La Socorrito.

Miguel Hidalgo Market (Mercado de Chuburná)

Location: Calle 20A x 19 y 21A – Col. Chuburná de Hidalgo (97205)
Hours:  Daily 6:00 am to 1:00 pm, 7:00 pm to Midnight
Recently remodeled, the flavor of the Yucatan is everywhere. Go on a Sunday to get honest to goodness local feeling. Try the polcanes, panuchos, salbutes, and tortas from Taquería Coralito.

Final thoughts on free things to do in Mérida

WHEW! Remember when you were wondering what to do while in Mérida? Are you excited NOW?

How can you resist visiting one of the historically significant churches?

What could be better than eating Yucatecan food at one of the markets?

So take the next step inside one of the many museums. Now it’s your turn to dance under the stars. Go ahead and people watch to your heart’s content in one of the parks and enjoy the many free things to do in Mérida.

What’s stopping you from experiencing all that Merida has to offer?

By now you’ll also have realized you may not be able to do everything on this massive list of free things to do in Mérida in one trip. But don’t worry, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

See also, Retirement in Mérida Mexico – demystified!

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