Main Square (Plaza Grande)
Plaza Grande—sometimes known as Plaza Mayor or Plaza de la Independencia—dates from the mid-1500s and is as old as the city of Mérida itself. Once a major hub of commercial activity, this public square is now a city landmark and a popular gathering place. Most Mérida sightseeing tours—whether half-day or multi-destination excursions—include a visit to the Plaza Grande, although it’s also the perfect place for independent exploration. Be sure to people-watch in the plaza or visit some of the surrounding buildings, such as the San Ildefonso Cathedral and Olimpo Cultural Center.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Plaza Grande is a base for further exploration of the historic center.
- Most things of interest in the historic center are within walking distance of the Plaza Grande.
- There’s a daily flag raising and lowering ceremony, as well as nightly dance and music performances.
- Mérida’s Plaza Grande is fully wheelchair and stroller accessible, but the surrounding buildings might not be.
How to Get There
Plaza Grande is situated in the very heart of Mérida’s historic downtown and is easily accessible on foot for most visitors staying in the central neighborhoods. Many walking tours and city sightseeing excursions pass through Plaza Grande too. Nearby parking is limited.
When to Get There
Plaza Grande in Mérida is publicly accessible year-round and hosts a daily flag raising and lowering ceremony. Otherwise, visit in the evening when the plaza comes alive with activity and watch out for the near-nightly music and dance performances. There’s a weekly craft market held every Sunday at Plaza Grande too.
What to do Near Plaza Grande
Most visitors stop by Plaza Grande on their way to visit the many notable buildings which flank the square, including the cathedral, MACAY Museum, and more. However, it’s worth going a few blocks beyond the Main Square to see the historic Arco de Dragones and Arco del Puente, visit the Mérida City Museum, and marvel over the architecture at Palacio de la Música.