On the next block is the beautiful Church of the Third Order, with its incredible chandeliers and frescoes. If you are lucky enough to pass by when the doors are open, don’t pass up the chance to step inside and see one of the most beautiful church interiors in all of Mexico. The Motherhood Park (Parque de la Maternidad) is located next door, followed by the Teatro Peón Contreras. The park is home to a nightly contingent of street vendors, most of them selling handmade goods from Yucatán and the nearby state of Chiapas. Across the street is the main building of the University of Yucatán, which hosts student performances of folkloric ballet every Friday night for just a few pesos per person.
Next you will find the Casa del Balam hotel – stop inside for a look at its gardens and architecture. More shops follow, as well as a string of bars and nightclubs you may want to revisit after dusk. On the following block is Santa Lucía Park, where there is a free Yucatecan serenade every Thursday night at 9 p.m. Across the street is the small but charming Santa Lucía Church.
Turning right onto Calle 47, you will find Santa Ana Park, church, and market. There are several antique and art galleries and a silver shop surrounding the plaza, in addition to a string of handicraft shops. The market is open every morning with fresh fruits and vegetables for sale by local farmers, and features an all-day, outdoor food court that serves everything from tamales to hamburgers to Yucatecan cuisine.
Paseo de Montejo is often referred to as Mérida’s “Champs Elysees”, an elegant tree-lined boulevard. There are many magnificent buildings such as the Palacio Cantón, which houses the Anthropology & History Museum, las Casas Gemelas, and the Quinta Montes Molina. You could begin at the “Inicio” of the Paseo, at Calle 47, where you will see a statue of the two Montejos, and walk up to the Monumento a la Bandera on one side of the street, and walk back on the other.
You will feel as if you have stepped back in time as you ponder the stories behind the glorious mansions, some of which have been converted into banks and insurance offices, and some of which have been abandoned since the fall of the “green gold” (henequén) boom. Some places to visit along the way: hotel and gift shop Casa San Angel; Casa de las Artesanías, between Calle 41 and 43; Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel at the corner of Calle 41; and the trio of cafés/restaurants Slavia/Tobago/Cubaro, on the glorieta at the Monumento a la Bandera.
On Sundays don’t miss the Bici-Ruta, when the street is closed to vehicles and families enjoy a leisurely stroll or a bike ride (from 8 am to 12:30 pm). Also on Sundays, the Art Corridor, from 9 am to 2 pm, where more than 50 artists display and sell their art on the sidewalk between Av. Colón and Calle 37.
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