Centro, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
For more than 450 years the Zócalo, or Plaza de la Independencia, has drawn Méridanos to this shady and spacious park, which is bordered by the city's most important civic and religious institutions. Sundays are an especially fine time to visit because the surrounding streets are closed to vehicles. Performing and visual artists and vendors of all sorts fill the park as do families strolling, lovers kissing, and students typing away at laptops using the free Wifi – look for Parqueenlinea. The Cathedral of San Ildefonso and the city's contemporary art museum dominate the east side of the Zócalo. The Casa de Montejo tells a story of conquest in its stone embellishments on the south side. To the west, City Hall is the location of frequent outdoor dance and music performances. The Palacio de Gobierno on the north side houses a tourism office and exquisite gallery of historic paintings.