There are many things to do in Merida, from admiring the old colonial architecture and trying the delicious Yucatan cuisine and street food to enjoying the night music festivities. However, choosing the best places to visit in a short amount of time is not always easy.

Merida is also the perfect home base for day trips to the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza or Uxmal and the beautiful Celestun Biosfera. The prices for tours and trips, restaurants, and hotels are much lower than those on the Riviera Maya. And the people of Merida, most of whom are of Mayan descent, are friendly and welcoming.

Also, the cuisine has a distinctive flavor not found anywhere else in Yucatan. A visit to the colonial city should be on everyone’s list when traveling to Yucatan, so find out from this article the best 10 things to do in Merida!

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Begin the Day with a Free Walking Tour 

admiring one of the beautiful colonoial building in Merida

For a quick summary of what Merida has to offer, begin your day with a guided walking tour.

There is a free walking tour of Merida every morning at 9.30 am, starting from the Merida Tourism Office on the west side of Plaza Grande. You will learn more about Merida’s history, attractions, and other exciting facts only locals know. 

Does a bike ride through the most beautiful avenue in Mérida, its main square, and old streets while stopping at its most important buildings sound good?



Cool on a Bench at Plaza Grande

visiting the beautiful Merida Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Merida

Surrounded by the Government Palace and the Cathedral, Plaza Grande is the city’s heart and the perfect place for a midday break.

Enjoy an iced coffee and the complimentary free wifi the municipality offers on a shaded bench and watch the locals and the tourists. If it is getting too hot, visit one of the buildings lining the Plaza Grande, which are air-conditioned and free to enter.

While Merida has more plazas, Plaza Grande, located between Calle 60 & 62 and Calle 61 & 63, is the central spot and the place to be in Merida. On Sunday mornings, there is a lovely market with many handicrafts if you are looking for souvenirs.

Take the Double Decker Bus and Explore the City 

taking a ride with the Double Decker Bus in Merida

Take the double-decker bus and drive through the historic city for 1.5 hours. It will be a pleasant experience to tour around the town and see places you wouldn’t otherwise.

As we wanted a different perspective, we took the double-decker and explored the city. Although the tour was given only in Spanish and we didn’t understand much, that didn’t bother us too much.

Discover Mérida with a choice of 2 sightseeing tours by panoramic double-decker bus. BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

Take a Cooking Class for a Taste of Yucatan

Mayan ladies preparing dinner for the restaurant guests

One of the best things to do in Merida is try Yucatan Cuisine. The colonial city is home to the best cuisine in Yucatan; therefore, the food is so delicious but, in the meantime, different from anything I’ve tried on Riviera Maya.

Taste the unique Yucatan cuisine at the famous La Chaya Maya Restaurant. Make sure to get a reservation by calling or asking your accommodation to secure one for you. Try some Parrillada Yucateca, grilled Poc-Chuc & chicken fajitas served with beans and homemade tortillas in Yucatan style. Simply delicious!

Immerse yourself in the local culture and take a Yucatan cooking class! This tour will take you to the local market, where after buying all your supplies, you’ll take a bus ride to a local home, where your host will guide you step by step on how to cook a traditional menu. Sounds interesting? You can BOOK FOR YOUR TICKETS HERE.

Watch a Pok Ta Tok Game

Every Saturday night, at 8:30 pm, in Calle 60, you may watch the locals playing an old Maya ball game called Pok Ta Tok.

If you’ve visited one of the Mayan ruins sites, you already know the history: players used a small rubber ball to rebound through stone rings using only their hips, knees, and elbows. Come early to get a good spot and watch the game.

Taste some Street Food

food street stalls getting ready for the evening in Mexico

Merida is the right place to go if you want to try Yucatan authentic food. Enjoy listening to cumbia music while tasting local street food at Plaza Grande. Merida’s street food is different from the standard Mexican street food you’ve tried already in Quintana Roo. 

You can try Elotes (grilled corn on the cob served with mayonnaise and chili) or Marquesitas (a mix between a waffle and an ice cream cone filled with a topping of your choice).

Or maybe Cochinita Pibil (slow-roasted pork) or Poc Chuc (grilled pork) sounds better for your taste. 

Churrosfries, or Papadzules (rolled tacos filled with boiled and chopped eggs) are the ones you’ll bump into the most!

Enjoy the Night Music Festivities 

people dancing during a night event in Merida

man singing at a night time festivity in Merida

Among the things to do in Merida would be enjoying the night festivities. After dining, you’ll find that Merida’s nightlife is vibrant and entertaining. Especially on weekends when the main streets are closed to traffic, and everything comes alive.

There is always something going on every night. You have to know when and where. Most of the events are free, so check out what happens during your stay.


Explore the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza or Uxmal 

Merida is the ideal base for visiting the Mayan Temple of Chichen Itza or Uxmal.

Rent a car or use the public transport system and head to one of the famous Mayan Ruins. While Chichen Itza is the most famous one, the Uxmal archaeological site is an amazing place not to be missed. The perfect vacation should include a visit to both of them. Easy to do on your own, or choose a guided trip for a stress-free experience.

Find out how to do it independently: EXPLORING CHICHEN ITZA ON YOUR OWN!

For a more local experience, I recommend checking out these guided tours:


Also, check out these Uxmal tours from Merida!


Take a Trip to Celestun to See the Flamingos 

admiring the flamingo family in Celestun, self-guided day trip from Merida

Merida is the perfect home base for a day trip to Celestun. Rent a car, take an Ado bus or Colectivo, and go on a two-hour drive to see the flamingos and the mangroves.

Between November and March, you can see thousands of flamingos in Celestun. Take a boat ride, enjoy some free time at the beach, and taste some delicious fresh fish! Or some ice cream from the street vendor!


If renting a car or spending almost three hours on a bus is not an option, you might consider joining a tour. You will be picked up directly from your hotel in Merida, so you don’t have to stress about getting to Celestun. You’ll get to explore the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve, take a scenic boat ride through the mangroves, swim at the freshwater springs, and enjoy some free time at the beach. 



Cool Off in a Cenote 

relaxing at a cenote in Mexico

What better way to chill after a hot day exploring the Mayan ruins than swimming and cooling off in a cenote? And in Yucatan, there are plenty of them.

Cuzama Hacienda, a combination of three different cenotes, is a great day out.

Hacienda Mucuyche, a group of two cenotes connected by a human-made channel, makes another great day out. Find out what suits your itinerary and head over there.

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things to do in Merida


Planning a Trip to Mexico?

Get an eSIM before the trip

Because phones have become our most important devices, it’s necessary to have a data connection as soon as you step foot in a different country. Your home data plan might only work if you paid for a much more expensive package, finding wifi connections in airports or train stations might be tricky, and seeking a local store to buy a SIM card might be exhausting. Forget all of that!

You just purchase an e-SIM, install it on your phone, and activate the plan when you’re ready to use it. Getting out of the plane and instantly connecting to data was a game changer for me. I didn’t have to waste time standing in line to get a local SIM card or finding a wifi connection to book a taxi to reach my hotel.

If you ask me, getting an e-SIM is a quintessential part of traveling. There is no physical installation and no long-term commitments. And the best part is that you can always top up or purchase a new plan through the app. Pretty convenient, right? Find the best data plan for Mexico HERE.

Secure your travel insurance

We never leave home without travel insurance designed to cover our expenses if something goes wrong. If you’re still on the lookout for travel insurance for your trip to Mexico, I highly recommend HEYMONDO, a trusted insurance provider for leisure and business trips, backpackers, long-term travelers, and digital nomads. Their travel insurance protects against theft, flight delays, injury, illness, cancellations, and much more.

Mexico Related Posts

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, then you might want to take a look at my other travel guides about Mexico:





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