Visiting Querétaro Historic Center, Mexico: Is it Worth the Visit?

Santiago de Querétaro, located in central Mexico, is a city known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage site sits elegantly, boasting baroque churches, cobblestone streets, and charming plazas. Querétaro’s historic center draws a lot of tourists from all over the world.

Well, honestly, before my friends moved to Mexico City, a dream place to visit, I never even heard about Querétaro, and I’d spent four or five months traveling around Mexico.

Mexico is an enormous country that has historical landmarks, snorkeling spots, and top-rated restaurants, and here you can do a bunch of family-friendly things.

Interestingly enough, Querétaro is one of the most historic areas of Mexico overall because that is where they got their independence from.

In this travel guide, I’ll talk about the Querétaro Historic Center in Mexico, whether or not you should visit this particular place, the average travel cost in Queretaro, and why it is worth the trip.

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What Makes Querétaro Stand Out

When you arrive at Querétaro Center, you are very proud of all of its history, and what makes this historic city even more interesting is its beautiful plazas, cultural events, museums, city’s colonial architecture, vibrant atmosphere, and parks and historic buildings and the liveliness of the place.

This place is bustling with outdoor cafés, bars, restaurants, hotels, music, and tons of beautiful people everywhere. It feels like a very hip, modern city, even though it is overflowing with history. It’s just this really interesting place.

queretaro view from air
Queretaro is a beautiful destination to visit, but its Historic Center stands out a lot due to its incredible architecture.

The Beauty of Querétaro Historic Center

So the historical center is right in the center of Querétaro city. You could easily reach Queretaro by rental car or public transportation, and frankly, it wouldn’t cost you more than 30 bucks to get there.

Once you’re in the historic center, you can walk pretty much everywhere. It’s big and super clean, but it’s not that big. You could find your way around the sunsets.

Here you can find street vendors selling traditional Mexican snacks, people enjoying outdoor cafes, and street performers entertaining the crowds.

It’s a great spot to people-watch and soak up the lively atmosphere of Querétaro. They are amazing, and I recommend going out and enjoying lunch, dinner, and breakfast in one of their numerous outdoor cafés.

Plaza De Armas Santiago de Querétaro 

One of the highlights of this area is the Plaza de Armas Santiago, a charming square surrounded by picturesque buildings that represent various architectural styles such as baroque, neoclassical, and Gothic.

Jardín Zenea

Another great highlight that I like in Querétaro Historical Center is Jardín Zenea, a picturesque square surrounded by trees and gardens.

It’s a perfect spot to relax, people-watch, and soak in the local atmosphere. The square often hosts cultural events and live performances, adding to its vibrancy.

Iconic Landmarks

Your visit wouldn’t be complete without exploring some of the iconic landmarks in the area.

The Templo de San Francisco, Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo, and Templo de Santa Clara are not only places of worship but also architectural marvels that provide insights into the city’s past.

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Visiting Querétaro Historic Center
Queretaro Historic Center is a wonderful place to explore, walk around, and feel like a charming European town, but with all the Mexican highlands that make it stand out.

Exploring Querétaro’s Culture and History

Querétaro’s UNESCO-listed historic neighborhood has kept its original municipal layout from Spanish colonial periods, and its streets are lined with Baroque buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Museum of Art of Querétaro, the Museum of Regional History, and the Firefighters Museum are just a few of the many museums in the city that highlight its history and art.

The Aqueduct of Queretaro, a colonial engineering marvel dating back more than 400 years, is another must-see attraction.

Visit one of Querétaro’s many annual festivals to get a greater understanding of Mexican traditions. Festivals are the heart and soul of the city, therefore, I urge you to check out at least one of them.

  • La Fiesta de Los Locos
  • Festival Internacional Cervantino
  • La Procesión del Silencio
  • Festival of Santiago de Querétaro
  • Patron Saint Religious Festivals
main street with some cars in queretaro mexico
The Aqueduct of Queretaro dates back years and is still standing giving the city an even more deep colonial feeling to it.

Outdoor Adventures in Querétaro

For outdoor enthusiasts, Querétaro offers a variety of activities such as nature & wildlife, hiking & camping, adrenaline & extreme tours, and canyoning & rappelling.

La Peña de Bernal is a popular spot for rock climbers, offering stunning views from its 1,420-foot summit. You can also take a hot air balloon ride over the city and surrounding landscapes for a unique perspective.

Nature lovers will enjoy exploring Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, home to stunning waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and beautiful hiking trails.

And for those looking for some relaxation time after all the adventure, head to one of the natural hot springs in La Trinidad or El Carrizal and Santa Rosa de Viterbo’s beautiful temples in Queretaro.

couple sitting in a cafe at peña de bernal town
Peña de Bernal and the magic town that’s close to Queretaro is a nice addition to any trip and can be done in a single day!

Culinary Delights in Querétaro

No trip to Querétaro would be complete without indulging in its delicious cuisine.

The city is known for its traditional dishes such as enchiladas queretanas, gorditas de queso, and chicharrón prensado. Be sure to also try some locally-made mezcal or pulque, a fermented drink made from the agave plant.

For a unique dining experience, visit Mercado la Cruz, where you can find a variety of food stalls offering everything from tacos to tamales.

If you want to take home some edible souvenirs, stop by the Mercado de la Cruz Verde for a variety of local ingredients and spices.

How much Time to Spend in Queretaro?

If you’re going to be staying in Querétaro itself, there are areas all around that you could visit, but the historic center is really where you get the most amount of what Querétaro is all about.

So if you’re going to be taking the time to Querétaro, you probably spend two days, for us, it was more than enough, maybe three days at the most. 

Queretaro Bus Tour

What we did was we took one of those buses. It was a two-hour ride all around Querétaro center because there are so many plazas and statues and cathedrals, and it’s just baked in history, and this way you get to learn what is going on because it was the place where the Mexicans got their independence during the revolution.

Queretaro Travel Cost

Typically the travel cost for accommodation in Queretaro can range from budget-friendly hotels to more luxury hotels.

The cost for one one-night stay in an average hostel can range from $15-25 per night, while the mid-range hotels charge you $50-100 per night.

Lastly, for luxurious accommodations, you can expect to pay around $100-300 per night.

Foodie prices in Queretaro are pretty reasonable, you can enjoy a hot Mexican breakfast for around $3-5, while a basic lunch or dinner at a local restaurant can cost around $5-$10.

If you’re looking for more swanky dining feels, you have to pay around $20-$50 per meal.

Is Queretaro Safe? – My Honest Answer

Queretaro is safe for travelers, we didn’t have any issues while walking around the history center and visiting other areas of the city, it also feels safe.

There were moments when I said that if I closed my eyes and was put in the center of Querétaro Center and told to open my eyes without knowing where I was, I would think that I was in some lively, fantastic city in Europe.

We were walking around at all hours of the day, and we arrived at one in the morning. There were people all around the streets, but it didn’t feel dangerous, like they were young people hanging out, just coming home from restaurants and bars.

I was even allowing my kids, my twelve-year-old and my 18-year-old, to walk around together without me there with their buddies, and that takes a lot for me because I don’t feel super safe wherever we go.

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Last Updated on December 12, 2023

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