Queretaro, Mexico is a city that begs to be walked. Colonial houses and storefronts splashed in vibrant colors line broad boulevards that intersect with twisting narrow alleyways built upon ancient Otomi Indian trails. The fun is in wandering; one can hardly walk two blocks without running into one of the city’s stone paved plazas or lush, fountain-filled gardens. Though dozens of these public spaces are found around the historic center of Queretaro, the following five are especially beautiful, popular gathering places.
Plaza de la Coregidora
Lovely Plaza de la Coregidora honors Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, the wife of the corregidor (magistrate) of Queretaro, who was an important figure in Mexico’s struggle for Independence. When she learned that ruling Spaniards had learned about the plans for insurrection, she sent riders to San Miguel de Allende on the night of September 15, 1810 to warn Ignacio Allende and Padre Hidalgo. Today a statue of Josepha dominates the plaza, which is planted in gorgeous purple blooming trees and surrounded by outdoor cafes.
Plaza de la Constitucion
The centerpiece of Plaza de la Constitucion is a giant water fountain that dances in a choreographed display to piped-in music. Surrounded by blooming flowers and benches set into brick planters, this plaza features a column for every State in the country, upon which are inscribed the names of the signers of Mexico’s 1917 Constitution.
Located aside the ancient Municipal Palace, this garden originally formed part of the Convent of Santa Clara. Original plans called for a new cathedral to be constructed on the parcel, but the project never came to fruition and the space was ultimately turned into a lushly planted square with burbling fountains and statues that honor fallen revolutionaries.
Perhaps the garden that best represents the city, Jardin Zenea carries the surname of Queretaro’s 1870 governor, Benito Santos Zenea. It is dominated by a beautiful iron fountain dedicated to the Greek god Hebes and a lovely central kiosk, both constructed in the 19th century.
Plaza de las Armas
Plaza de las Armas (also called Plaza de la Independencia) is the principal plaza of Queretaro. The State Government Palace anchors its north side, while various restaurants and 18th century houses surround it on the remaining three sides. At its center stands the Marques fountain, honoring the city’s founder.
These five squares are just a sampling; literally dozens more lie scattered around the city, just waiting to be discovered.