Welcome to this comprehensive Querétaro travel guide! This colonial city in central Mexico is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking history, culture, and natural beauty. With its well-preserved architecture, delicious local cuisine, and numerous attractions, Querétaro has something for everyone. In this Querétaro travel guide, I’ll take you through the top things to do in Querétaro, including exploring the historic center, visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites, and indulging in evening storytelling tours. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan a memorable trip to Querétaro.
Located in central Mexico, Querétaro is a city steeped in history and cultural significance. Founded in the 16th century, it played an important role in the Mexican War of Independence and was the site where the country’s constitution was signed. The city is home to well-preserved colonial architecture, ancient churches and monasteries, and several UNESCO World Heritage sites, making it a popular destination for visitors seeking a glimpse into Mexico’s rich past.
What can I see and do in Querétaro?
Querétaro Travel Guide: Activities to do in Querétaro
Go shopping in the markets
There are some fantastic shops and markets in Querétaro. There are markets lining the two cross streets where the “Escultura del Flautista” sits- Calle Vergara Sur and Libertad. You can also find a number of great shops along peatonal streets Calle 16 de Septiembre and Francisco Madero. Just keep in mind that Querétaro has some of the highest prices of souvenirs and market items I’ve seen anywhere in Mexico. If you plan on visiting other cities, don’t do your shopping here. I found Guadalajara and Mexico City to have the most reasonable prices. What is a Querétaro travel guide, really, without adding in some shopping.
Take a tramvia tour
Take a driving Querétaro travel guided tour on the tranvía around the city. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to Querétaro and learn about certain areas and buildings before venturing out on your own. The cost is 200 pesos, and it lasts about 75-90 minutes. You can sign up at the tourist kiosks around town.
Listen to legends and myths of Querétaro
This was one of the best things I did in Querétaro, and if there is one takeaway from this Querétaro travel guide, it’s- do this tour (if you speak Spanish)! The tour lasts about 90 minutes and takes you around the center of Querétaro telling story and legends of the city. But it’s not just storytelling. There is action, and drama, music, and sound effects. You can really learn a lot from the tour in a really fun way. There are 2 tours per day (7 pm, 9 pm) on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The cost is 200 pesos ($11 USD). You can sign up for the tour by calling 442-212-4565, or sign up on the street. Look for people in costume during the day near the Plaza de Armas.
Take a Tour of the Wine & Cheese Region
The state of Querétaro is known in Mexico for its wine. Any Querétaro travel guide you find will suggest this in some form or another. In Santiago de Querétaro, as well as the several Pueblo Mágicos in the region, you can do a half day wine & cheese tour. You’ll be able to do tastings and samplings from the region. The tour costs 750 pesos, and you can sign up with any of the tourism kiosks in the city, or contact Gloria Martinez for reservations:
firstname.lastname@example.org, +52 42 11 03 65 70
Querétaro Travel Guide: Statues of Querétaro
El Danzante Conchero Chichimeca
This is an interesting statue built just next to a colorful red church, San Francisco, right in the zona centro. This statue and fountain was supposedly constructed based on the myth of how the city of Querètaro was founded. The local tribe, Chichimeca, was in a battle with the Spaniards. Just when they were about to win, there was a Solar eclipse which frightened the local tribe. Another reason for the statue is to honor the Chichimeca dancers. Try to come in the evening to see it with the night lights if the city.
Monument of the Corregidora
This monument was built in honor of Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, a national heroine who played a key role in the Mexican War of Independence. The monument features a statue of Doña Josefa and is a popular spot for visitors. It’s right next to the shopping/restaurant/cafe street of 16 de septiembre, so you could even get a drink and admire it a while.
Escultura “La Flautista”
“La Flautista” is a bronze sculpture created by Mexican artist Jorge Marín. It depicts a woman playing a flute while perched on a large rock. The sculpture is known for its intricate details, particularly in the woman’s dress and the delicate curves of the flute. You can find this statue right at two cross streets of the city market.
The Neptune Fountain is a famous landmark featuring a statue of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. The fountain is a popular attraction due to its intricate design and beautiful craftsmanship. It is often featured in photos and postcards, and is considered a symbol of beauty and elegance. You can find it easily along the foot-traffic street of Francisco Madero. It’s right on the corner.
Fuente de “Los Perros”
Fuente de “Los Perros” is a bronze fountain located in the center of the Plaza de Armas. It was built during the Porfiriato, a period of Mexican history from 1876 to 1911, and features several sculpted dogs standing on their hind legs. The fountain is an iconic symbol of the city and a popular spot to take photos and have a rest.
Querétaro Travel Guide: Plazas and Parks of Querétaro
Zenea Garden is a public park located right in the center of the city. The park features gardens, fountains, and walkways for visitors to enjoy. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists to relax, people-watch, and attend concerts and events held throughout the year. During the day there are often people selling craft items, and children playing and riding bikes in the center. In the evenings it comes alive. There are occasionally dance events (like pictured below) or concerts. On holidays, market stalls are set up in the garden.
Plaza de Armas Querétaro
Plaza de Armas is the main square of Querétaro, and is surrounded by historic buildings and landmarks. It is a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists, with numerous benches and shady trees to relax under. At the center of the square stands a kiosk, where live music and cultural events are often held. All around the edges are (more expensive) restaurants, cafes, and shops.
Jardín Guerrero is a concrete park. There are benches to relax, and trees lining the edges. There is also a basketball court. The space is often used for events so you might find tents set up. The park is named after Vicente Guerrero, a national hero who played a key role in Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain. The park dates back to the 16th century. A convent was meant to be built there but then the idea was scrapped. You can find the Templo de la Congregación, a historic church located adjacent to the park.
Alameda Hidalgo is a public park located just south of the city center. It has beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains, and statues, making it a great place to walk, read, relax, or have a picnic. The park also hosts various cultural events and activities throughout the year. They close the gates on some holidays.
Plaza de los Fundadores
Plaza de los Fundadores is a historic square just next to the Ex-Convento de Santa Cruz (the big yellow church). It was built in the 16th century and served as the main hub of commerce and politics in the region. The plaza features a beautiful fountain, a bronze sculpture of the founders, and is surrounded by several historic buildings, including the Casa de la Corregidora. You can also find the Museum of Contemporary Art of Querétaro (MACQ) there. There are often different fairs and market stands set up here.
Mirador de los Arcos
From this lookout point, you can get a nice view of the city below, and the long aqueduct. Unfortunately the aqueduct is a bit far away so it’s actually a bit hard to see in the photos. But it’s a nice place to spend a half hour. There are raspado sellers, and markets in the plaza just next to the lookout. While you’re here, take 3 minutes to walk down the hill and see the aqueduct up close.
Acueducto de Querétaro
The Aqueduct of Querétaro is a remarkable feat of colonial engineering that spans over 1,200 meters in length. The aqueduct was constructed in the 18th century to bring water from nearby springs to the city. Its towering arches, built without the use of mortar, are an impressive sight and have made it one of the most iconic landmarks in Querétaro. If you do the Leyendas y Mitos Tour, you’ll learn about the nun who made this possible.
Querétaro Travel Guide: Museums in Querétaro
Museo Regional de Querétaro
The actual building that this museum is in, is an old convent several hundred years old. The architecture and the inner courtyard with a fountain are stunning and the best part of the visit. You can capture beautiful photos here.
The information in the museum is ALL in Spanish, and very information heavy. If you speak Spanish, and enjoy large blocks of text, then this could be an enjoyable experience for you. It would take several hours to go through the entire museum and read everything. If you are fine with just walking around and perusing the old artifacts, clothing, and paintings, it could also be somewhat interesting.
I felt the museum had a lot of potential and a lot of interesting info that i would have liked to learn, but the large quantities of text in Spanish made it feel overwhelming and dissatisfying.
Museo de los Conspiradores
It’s free to enter, so you can just enter and do a quick stroll around. The man at the entrance will ask for your name and country. The museum consists of mainly one floor with 3-4 small rooms. The walls have large murals and descriptions of several different conspirators within the Americas at the time of independence. There is a lot of information to read. All the information is in Spanish, written in calligraphy by hand.
Museo Casa de la Zacatecana
I really enjoyed this museum. It’s very well organized and laid out. There is just the right amount of information, to not feel overwhelmed. Information in English is available.
I came here the day after I did the Leyendas y Mitos tour because they had told the mysterious legend about the husband and wife who once lived here. The wife had the husband murdered, and was later murdered herself under mysterious circumstances. The museum has a good balance of telling this Leyenda and providing information about the culture and style of life back in those times.
You will start the tour with a video (available in English), and then go thru the first 4 rooms downstairs. Then you will go upstairs and watch another video, and visit the remaining rooms. There is also a lookout point in the covered roof tower. The people who work here are helpful and friendly.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Querétaro
There was just one hallway open when I went, with about 6 different rooms open. There are alternating exhibits upstairs, so you will be lucky if you can catch the museum when the new sections are open. It’s free and it doesn’t take too much time, so it’s worth it to pop in. You’ll need to check your bag and water bottles at the front entrance.
Pantheon of Illustrious Querétanos
This is a small building, and inside there are a few paintings and old portraits of men who did stuff in Querétaro, although there is not much explanation. The outside gardens are really nice. The building from the outside is quite cute and there are several statues. It will only take a couple minutes to visit, so you might as well stop by. It’s just next to the mirador de Los Arcos.
Querétaro Travel Guide: Eat & Drink in Querétaro
This bar is very cozy. There is a stylish bar in the front with several bottles of alcohols. In the back there is a dark lounge room. They play good music and the vibes are good. They have many types of drinks and cocktails, as well as beer and clamatos. They make a lot of things homemade in house: bitters, syrups, juices, etc. So everything is very fresh. A plate of potato chips and ranch is 75 pesos. Beers and michelatas are between 45-65. Cocktails are between 140-200.
This is a very small and unassuming spot, with fantastic beer. The people working there were very kind and helpful when deciding which beer to get. Some small food items are available as well. This is right in the center, and very worth it for a stop in one evening.
Cervecería Hércules is a craft brewery known for its unique beer flavors and creative branding. The brewery offers a variety of beers, including stouts, IPAs, and lagers. You can enjoy a tasting flight in a relaxed, industrial-chic setting with an outdoor patio. Cervecería Hércules is a popular spot for beer enthusiasts and a must-visit destination for those looking to experience the thriving craft beer scene in Querétaro. However, it is not right in the center of town. You’ll need to take a taxi about 10 minutes from the centro.
This a cute brunch spot in the center of town, with a French influence. If you go on a Sunday, expect a wait.
There is a small room downstairs and an upstairs terrace. If you can, try to avoid getting a table downstairs along the wall when you first walk in. The tables are strangely short compared to the booth and you’ll be hunching over trying to eat. It’s very awkward. The prices are of course higher than you would find at a traditional Mexican restaurant.
Hot drinks are between 45-65 pesos, iced drinks go up to 70 pesos. The brunch options range from 160-300. For food, they have several options both Mexican, American, and European.
Querétaro Travel Guide: Religious Sites in Querétaro
Templo y Ex-convento de la Santa Cruz
The Templo y Ex-convento de la Santa Cruz is a historic religious complex in Mexico. It was built in the 16th century by the Augustinian order and served as a religious center for several centuries. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction due to its beautiful architecture and rich history. Its bright yellow façade makes it stand out and makes for great photos. It’s at the head of the Plaza de los Fundadores. You can go in and have a look around if you want.
Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo
The Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo is a stunning baroque church located several blocks to the west of the city center. Built in the 18th century, it is considered one of the most impressive examples of baroque architecture in the country. The church was originally part of a convent and is named after Saint Rose of Viterbo, a 13th-century Italian saint known for her piety and miracles. This is where you can find the letters for the Querétaro city sign, which makes for an iconic photo for your stay in the city. It is about a 15 minute walk from the main center of the city, but very worth it.
Where to stay in Querétaro
El Mexa Hostel
El Mexa Hostel is right in the center of the city, and close to everything. Clean. Upstairs roof area. There are cooking facilities onsite that you can use. Downstairs can get a bit noisy, so if you want more privacy, get a double room upstairs.
Casa Santiago Hotel Boutique
Casa Santiago Hotel Boutique is very centrally located, clean, and modern. Breakfast is available for an additional charge. The hotel has a bar and a terrace, and of course free wifi, and private bathrooms in each room. There is also a small workout room. Prices range from $80-$165/night.
Markee Hotel Boutique
Markee Hotel Boutique is centrally located near the Zenea Garden. American style breakfast is included. Clean, modern design, inner courtyard. Several rooms have outside balconies. Free wifi, toiletries. This hotel is high quality with fair prices. Price ranges from $57-$90/night.
How do you pronounce Querétaro?
The city of Querétaro has 4 syllables: Keh – reh – ta – ro. Remember to add stress to any syllable that has an accent in Spanish. In this case, you would want to stress the “reh” (second syllable) sound: keh REH ta ro.
Where is Querétaro?
Querétaro is in central Mexico, about 2.5 hours north of Mexico City. The capital city of the state of Querétaro is officially Santiago de Querétaro, though most people just called it Querétaro. Querétaro is about 8.5 hours (672km’s) from Puerto Vallarta on the west coast, and 5.5 hours (472 km’s) from the east coast.
How far is Querétaro from the beach?
Querétaro is right in the center of Mexico, so it is definitely not known as a beach destination. Puerto Vallarta is the closest, most well-known beach on Mexico’s west coast, and it’s about a 8-9 hour drive. I don’t recommend Querétaro if you’re looking for a beach vacation.
What is Querétaro known for?
Querétaro is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and as a major industrial and economic hub in Mexico. It’s also famous for its delicious local cuisine and wine production. There are several wine & cheese tours in the region. Querétaro is also known for its important role in Mexican history, including being the site where the country’s constitution was signed in 1917.
How many days do you need in Querétaro?
This really depends on how much time you have and how much you want to see. If you have a lot of energy, you could probably see the majority of the main tourist attractions in the centro in one day. Give yourself two days if you also want to visit museums. If you would like to see the city in a more relaxed manner, give yourself 4-5 days.
How do I get to Querétaro from other cities in Mexico?
The main bus station in Querétaro lies about 15 minutes to the south of the city center, near the Estadio Correguidora. Buses leave from terminal B to other destinations within the state of Querétaro. Long distance buses come and go from terminal A and C. A more affordable and convenient option is to download the BlaBlaCar app and use ride shares.
Is Querétaro safe?
Like any big city, there is a possibility of theft or danger. However, I never felt unsafe walking around Querétaro, both by day and night. The streets are usually quite busy and full, so you’re never alone.
QUERÉTARO FINAL THOUGHTS
Querétaro is a charming city that offers a fascinating glimpse into Mexico’s rich history and culture. From exploring its well-preserved colonial architecture and UNESCO World Heritage sites to indulging in local cuisine and drinks, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this enchanting destination. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a nature lover, Querétaro has something to offer. I hope this Querétaro travel guide has inspired you to plan a visit to this beautiful city and experience all it has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Querétaro to explore this hidden gem in the heart of Mexico! Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends and family to inspire them to visit Querétaro too.
INSURANCE: Make sure you cover yourself with travel medical insurance by SafetyWing.
FLIGHTS: Get the best flight deals with Skyscanner and set flight alerts with Hopper (use code nicholep4jh to get $20 in hotel vouchers).
TRAVEL: Get cash back on flights, hotels, and more with WayAway Plus.
STAYS: Check out hotels and apartments with Booking.com and Vrbo.
RENTAL CARS: Get the best deal on rental cars with Discover Cars.
GOING HIKING? Get a 30% discount off your yearly AllTrails+ Account.
eSIM: Get an international eSim with Airalo or eSimple.
CITY GUIDES: Save time and purchase pre-made city guides with Thatch.
CITY TOURS: Book your tour with GetYourGuide and Viator
LUGGAGE: Get the best carry-on suitcase here.
CREDIT CARD: Start earning travel points with the best travel credit card.
BUENOS AIRES GUIDE: Purchase my Buenos Aires travel companion here.
CONSULTATION: Book a 1:1 travel consultation with Nicki here.