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Mérida’s Free Entertainment

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Of all the things Mérida has to offer — lovely plazas, great food, fascinating museums and friendly people — perhaps the best is its astounding cultural program. We’ve never lived in a city as dedicated to the arts, or as devoted to preserving its cultural heritage. Almost every night of the week, you can catch a free performance.

Free Concerts Merida

At the foot of Paseo Montejo, near the Plaza of Santa Ana, a stage is erected every Saturday night for the Noche Mexicana. You can sit here for hours tapping your feet along to the sounds, styles and dances of Mexico. There’s a constantly changing line-up, as singers and troupes from across the country are invited to participate.

On Thursday, head over to the Plaza de Santa Lucia for the weekly Serenata Yucateca. This is perhaps the best-known of Mérida’s free concerts, and has been inviting the peninsula’s most famous composers and musicians to the stage for the past forty years. The crowds arrive early, with the best spots being claimed an hour in advance.

On Monday evenings at 9pm, the Vaquería takes over the street in front of the Palacio Municipal. This colorful dance has its origins in the Yucatán’s colonial days. Once a year, villagers across the peninsula were permitted by the Spanish elite to celebrate a fiesta. The wives of the local cowboys (vaqueros) were in charge or organizing the festivities and would don their most elaborate dresses, before leading their husbands in the dance.

After watching all these concerts, you might feel like breaking out your own dancing shoes. In that case, head to the Plaza de Santiago on Tuesday night for the Remembranzas Musicales. Here, in one of Mérida’s most beautiful plazas, bands play the greatest hits of the Yucatán while hundreds of locals clasp hands and dance the night away.

These are just the main offerings on a city-sponsored cultural program so jam-packed that it almost beggars belief. It’s a good idea to head over to one of the city’s tourism offices to ask about the upcoming events (we prefer the office in the Palacio del Gobierno). Unless you’re a stick-in-the-mud, you’ll almost certainly find a show that interests you.

Property Management Merida

Free Concerts Merida
Free Concerts Merida
Free Concerts Merida
Free Concerts Merida
Free Concerts Merida
Free Concerts Merida
Free Concerts Merida
Free Concerts Merida
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February 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm Comments (0)

The Plazas of Mérida

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Though they’re beginning to blend together, Mérida is still largely defined by its neighborhoods, each with its own personality and history. Neighborhood life is almost always centered around a central plaza, where friends and family gather to meet, eat, chat, and just hang out. Here are five of our favorites.

Plaza de Santa Lucia

Just a couple blocks north of the Plaza Grande, Santa Lucia is the cultural heart of the city. Every Thursday night, you can grab a seat for a free traditional trova concert, but all throughout the week you’ll see people dancing, singing, playing guitar or doing Zumba on the stage which sits in the corner of the plaza, ringed by busts of famous Yucatecan artists. A couple of excellent restaurants fill out the plaza with tables in the courtyard. Apoala is one of our favorites, serving excellent modern Mexican cuisine. There’s no better way to spend a humid evening in Mérida, than sitting down for a margarita and watching whatever happens to be going on in the plaza. And there’s always something going on. [Location]

Plaza de San Cristóbal

Cristóbal was our “home” plaza, so although it hardly ranks as Mérida’s finest, it’s our favorite. Because it’s ours. That’s our laundromat, right between our office supply store and our habitual cheap-lunch station. Our laundry girl knows us collectively as “Miguel”. I am Miguel, Jürgen is Miguel, and together we are The Miguel. Over the course of 91 days, she’s become intimately familiar with every piece of clothing we own, and could easily pick our underwear out of a lineup. Oh that? That’s our church, not that we’ve ever attended a service. Whoa, who’s sitting on our bench? That’s alright, go ahead and enjoy yourself, we weren’t using it anyway. Ahh… we’re going to miss you, San Cristóbal (but you’ll always be ours!) [Location]

Plaza de San Juan

The Plaza de San Juan, found a few blocks southeast of the Plaza Grande, is perhaps best known for the ancient arch which once formed part of the barrier separating the city proper from the colonias of indigenous people. But in the early nineteenth century, under the direction of its liberal priest, the church of San Juan was the meeting spot for an enlightened group known as los Sanjuanistas, who fought against the Spanish Crown on behalf of the belabored Maya and creole populations. Continually persecuted by the landed elite and the clergy, los Sanjuanistas were prohibited from meeting and often tossed into jail. But in the end, they and their allies managed to achieve a brief period of Yucatecan independence. [Location]

Plaza de Santiago

The Plaza de Santiago is just as gorgeous and refined as the neighborhood surrounding it, which is perhaps Mérida’s most desirable. The plaza boasts a grand old church built in 1637, but it’s the modern life which most commands attention: the kids on the playground, the old men sitting around the fountain, and especially the bustling market with its range of excellent and super-affordable loncherías. This is Mérida at its most colonial and, unsurprisingly, the area most attractive to expats. [Location]

Plaza de Santa Ana

Although Santa Ana is found at the foot of the Paseo Montejo, it shares none of that boulevard’s ritzy atmosphere. This is a simple plaza and park with a beautiful little church, a popular market and a few places to grab some cheap eats. In the center of the plaza is a statue of Andrés Quintana Roo, one of the heroes of Mexican independence. And this was the scene of an important moment in Mexican history. In 1867, supporters of the ruling, royalist regime clashed with Mexican republicans loyal to Benito Juarez. The republicans earned a decisive victory, which helped bring the Napoleon-backed Mexican Empire to its eventual end. [Location]

Great Hotels In Mérida

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February 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm Comment (1)
Mrida's Free Entertainment Of all the things Mérida has to offer -- lovely plazas, great food, fascinating museums and friendly people -- perhaps the best is its astounding cultural program. We've never lived in a city as dedicated to the arts, or as devoted to preserving its cultural heritage. Almost every night of the week, you can catch a free performance.
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