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What to do in Querétaro: a tour of this beautiful Mexican city

A tour of the city of Querétaro, in which we show you all the things that can be done, eaten and visited.

A city with an indescribable charm. I don’t know if it will be due to its colonial buildings, its churches or its colorful houses. Perhaps it is because of that historic center, that park where you can see people enjoying themselves in the afternoons, talking, eating ice cream. For sure I cannot explain it but the charm is such that this is my second favorite city in Mexico (after Guanajuato). Here we will tell you what can be done in Querétaro and why we like this city so much.

Arriving in Querétaro

Caminando por las calles de Queretaro
Walking through the streets of Querétaro

We arrived by bus, straight to the bus station. Keep in mind that the station is somewhat far from the historic center, but there are urban buses that go there for a modest amount.

Upon arrival, we started looking for a place to sleep and after looking for a while we found a place that was very cheap (although later we learned that cheap is expensive). We put our bags down and went exploring.

What to do in Querétaro?

We will make a brief summary of what we did in Santiago de Querétaro (the official name of the city).

Todo el centro histórico de la ciudad es patrimonio UNESCO
The entire historic center of the city is UNESCO heritage

Visit the Cerro de las Campanas (Bells Hill)

This was the first thing we did as soon as we started exploring the city, it was still daylight so we wanted to take advantage of it. To get to Cerro de las Campanas you have to take a city bus, as we did not know which one to take, we went to an area where almost every bus stopped and we were asking one by one which passed through this place.

The hill is of great importance in the history of the city and the country. This was where Maximilian of Habsburg who had been made emperor by the conservative political branch, was captured and shot. There was a conflict between the two sides (on the one hand the monarchists or conservatives and on the other the liberals or republicans) and in the end the liberals, of which Benito Juarez was in charge, took the victory and with it brought the verdict for Maximilian and those who supported him.

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In the exact place where the shooting was carried out now stands a chapel, its interior is quite simple, what stands out from the place are three mounds that show the exact place where the three people were shot.

Having said all this, it is not by chance to find a gigantic statue of Benito Juarez in the same place (well, not exactly in the same place but it is part of the complex).

Curious fact: while we were visiting the place, a history teacher arrived selling little books where were explained the incidents that happened to Maximilian’s corpse in order to return to his native Austria. Morbid curiosity pushed us to buy it, in addition to the teacher being extremely friendly and the little book being cheap, in which it explains things such as: that Maximiliano was very tall and that the coffins of the time were made with people of smaller stature in mind, so he didn’t fit in his own coffin. That and many other stories tell why it took him so long to return to his country after being shot.

Apart from being a place steeped in history, the Cerro de las Campanas is a place of recreation: it has large green areas and I could see more than one exercising in the place.

If you are staying a bit more in the city, don’t miss these activities:

Stroll through the historic center and delight in its old churches

There are quite a lot of churches and temples in the Center of Querétaro, one of the things that you should not stop doing is to observe the facades in detail, they are all different. In many of them you can see that baroque art that I like so much 😀

One of the statues that cannot go unnoticed is the one of Doña Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, she was one of the key figures at the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence and was the wife of the corregidor of Querétaro. (Corregidor was a position that was held in the times of the viceroyalty, corresponding to a mayor nowadays).

La corregidora
The corregidora

And of course we could not forget our characteristic photo of the manhole cover 🙂

Manhole cover of Queretaro
Manhole cover of Queretaro

Have some good tamales or a torta ahogada

After walking for a long time it was time for dinner, we went to a restaurant that had a very colorful decoration and an appropriate menu. Among colors and colors we chose our dinner: a torta ahogada (drowned cake) and a long quesadilla (I can’t remember the official name 🙁 ).

But surely you wonder why drowned cake? Well I’ll tell you: it turns out that the torta is literally bathed in a rich sauce, so much so that it “swims” in the sauce and that’s why it is said that it is drowned. Of course, you do not have to be very afraid with getting your hands dirty at mealtime, because a torta is eaten with your hands no matter what 😀

And of course we must not forget the sweets:

Hay bastante variedad
There is quite a variety

Enjoy the celebrations and the atmosphere of the center at night

The last time we went to the city, we were lucky that it was December 12 (day of the Virgin of Guadalupe) so at night there were celebrations, dances and fireworks. We got to see native dances with quite contagious rhythms, a pity that I did not know the steps but even without knowing them it makes you want to move your feet.

Even if there is no specific celebration that day, anyway you should not miss walking through the historic center once night falls. In the parks, people go for a walk, eat ice cream, talk, it feels quite a jovial atmosphere.

And our hotel?

To finish telling the story of the unfortunate hotel: it was very cheap and in the daytime it looked normal, simple, but normal, the problem is that at night the cockroaches began to emerge from I don’t know where. It was horrible! It was too late to go out to look for another place (although I really wanted) and we had a really bad night, I jumped out of bed every so often because obviously I couldn’t sleep. The experience was so horrendous, that as soon as we opened our eyes we got dressed (without bathing because we no longer wanted to know more about that place) and we left without looking back. I owe them the name of the place because it was so horrible that I erased it from my memory.

The windows of Querétaro

One of the things that you should not miss in this city is: walk through the streets, where the houses are, and observe the flowers, those windows, those doors.

And to say goodbye to this beautiful city, a postcard:

See you soon Queretaro
See you soon Querétaro

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.