Home Yucatan How to Guide: Merida is a cultural and recreational capital

How to Guide: Merida is a cultural and recreational capital

by Brent May


We’re often asked about the cultural scene in Merida by potential investors or people who are thinking about buying a home in the Yucatan. Many people tell us about how they visited Merida and the area 20 years ago and remember loving it. They’re curious about how the area has changed. Merida is a cultural and recreational capital. In this article, we’ll share the 8 best things to do in the vibrant cultural scene in Merida.

In the heart of Yucatan state, the lovely city of Merida offers a unique blend of culture, history, and recreation. With its rich Mayan heritage, colonial architecture, and a thriving arts scene, Merida has so much going on for both residents and visitors. From attending an opera at the stunning Teatro Peon Contreras to catching a baseball game at the local stadium, exploring golf courses, and enjoying horse jumping exhibitions, Merida has a wide range of activities year round.


Teatro Peon Contreras – An Ode to Performing Arts

As Merida is a cultural and recreational capital, the city is home to the Teatro Peon Contreras, one of Mexico’s most important theatres. This architectural masterpiece is a testament to the city’s love for the arts. Established in 1908, this theater has been hosting national and international operas, ballets, concerts, and plays for over a century. The ornate decor and exquisite acoustics make it a splendid venue for experiencing live performances. It has been designated as a historical and artistic National monument and is home to the Yucatan Symphonic Orchestra.

The theatre suffered a fire in November of 2022. Two of its art galleries have been open since spring of 2023 and the full theatre should reopen its doors in 2024.

Whether you’re a seasoned opera aficionado or a newcomer to the world of classical music, a visit to Teatro Peon Contreras is always a memorable experience. Be sure to check the schedule for upcoming events and plan to attend a show that resonates with you.


Palacio de la Música

The Palacio de la Música opened in 2018. It houses the Centro Nacional de la Música Mexicana, a concert hall and interactive museum. It was created with the objective of valuing, preserving, studying and diffusing  traditional and popular Mexican music. It is located in the Historic Center. The schedule of events can be found on the website: https://palaciodelamusica.yucatan.gob.mx/


A Theatrical City

While Teatro Peon Contreras takes the lead in showcasing classical performances, Merida’s theater scene is vibrant, diverse, and dedicated to the preservation of its cultural heritage. You can explore contemporary plays, traditional Mayan productions, and more in various theaters and cultural centers throughout the city.

A notable venue is the Teatro Armando Manzanero, a charming and intimate theater named after the legendary Yucatec composer. Its present configuration is art deco style from the 1950s. In the historic downtown, it often features plays, concerts, ballets and other cultural events. Check out their schedule for an opportunity to enjoy an evening out.


A Love for Baseball at Estadio Kukulcán

For sports enthusiasts, Estadio Kukulcán is a must-visit destination in Merida. This baseball stadium is the home of the Leones de Yucatan, a professional baseball team that competes in the Mexican Baseball League. The stadium’s vibrant atmosphere, enthusiastic fans, and the excitement of a live baseball game are an experience you won’t want to miss.

Baseball has a special place in Mexican culture and attending a game at Estadio Kukulcán is a great way to immerse yourself in the local sports scene. The stadium was opened in 1982, seats over 14,000 fans. Kukulcán? The Mayan feathered serpent god.


Passionate Soccer at Estadio Carlos Iturralde

If soccer is more to your liking, Merida’s Estadio Carlos Iturralde is where the action happens. It is home to Venados FC, a soccer team that competes in the Ascenso MX league. The stadium can hold 15,000 fans and the ambiance during the games is palpable. Attending a soccer match here is an excellent opportunity to experience the passion and energy that Mexicans have for the game. Make sure to wear team colors to support the local team!


Tee Off in Paradise – Yucatan’s Golf Courses

Merida offers golf enthusiasts a range of beautiful courses to choose from, each set in the stunning Yucatan landscape. The Yucatan Country Club and the La Ceiba Golf Club are two top-notch options where you can enjoy a round of golf in a serene and picturesque environment.

The Yucatan Country Club is home to the Jaguar Course designed by Jack Nicklaus. IT’s reputed as being the best golf course in Mexico and Latin America. With lush fairways, challenging water hazards, and a backdrop of tropical flora, it’s a golfer’s paradise. The Jaguar Course has 18 holes, par 72 with a playing distance of 7,295 meters. The Mayan heritage played a great role in its design since archeological ruins are scattered throughout the area. It is a unique opportunity to combine great golf and culture with this open-air museum.

La Ceiba Golf Club, on the other hand, boasts a course designed by golf legend Greg Norman and offers a challenging and beautiful playing experience.

These golf courses provide an opportunity to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the Yucatan while perfecting your swing. The golf course is composed of 18 holes, par 72. 

Read our article, Golf Around Merida, Yucatan


Equestrian Elegance – Horse Jumping Exhibitions

The Yucatan region has a rich equestrian tradition, and horse jumping exhibitions are a popular and elegant sport here. You can witness the grace and skill of both horse and rider at events held throughout the year.

One of the most famous equestrian centers in the area is the Yucatan Polo and Equestrian Club (IG: @yucatanpoloclub). They host various equestrian events, including show jumping and dressage. The club’s lush grounds and top-notch facilities provide a perfect setting to witness the beauty and finesse of these magnificent horses. The Club Hípico del Sureste (IG: @hipicodelsureste) is also an active equestrian club training for events around the country.

Whether you’re an equestrian enthusiast or simply appreciate the art of horsemanship, attending a horse jumping exhibition or polo game is a unique experience that allows you to appreciate the deep-rooted equestrian culture of the region.


Attend a Concert – Discover a New Kind of Music

Merida’s cultural offerings include several concert halls where you can enjoy a wide range of musical genres, from classical to contemporary.

The Palacio de la Musica is a beautiful venue that regularly hosts classical concerts and recitals, offering an intimate setting to experience the beauty of classical music. For a more modern touch, check out concerts at venues like the Centro Cultural Olimpo, which often features live bands and artists performing a variety of genres.

You’ll have plenty to do immersing yourself in the local music scene!


A World of Experiences Awaits in Yucatan State

Merida is a city that offers an incredible range of cultural and recreational activities. Merida invites you to come out and discover what’s happening in its lively cultural scene. There are so many more activities and events than those mentioned at these venues. You can find a full list of events on the Visit Merida site: https://visitmerida.mx/eventos

When you decide to live in the Yucatan, you;ll spend time in Merida, the cultural and recreational capital and you’ll discover many other hidden gems not only in Merida but in Progreso and in the small towns in between. Besides beaches, cenotes, haciendas and Mayan archaeological sites, the cultural and recreational offering of the area is awe-inspiring. This is why we love this place so much.



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