Better known as Plaza Grande, Plaza Principal, or just “the main square” by English speakers, this has been the center of Merida since the cathedral was finished in the late 1500s. It’s a pleasant place to sit and watch the locals and visitors in action, with families enjoying a bag of popcorn or popsicles from the excellent paleta shop on one side. There are cafes on the edge in the shade for a leisurely drink or bite to eat and several main shopping and dining streets branch off from here.
On one corner you can hire a carriage driver to give you a tour up to Paseo de Montejo and back, but do it at night when there’s less traffic. Explanations will all be in Spanish, but it’s a picturesque trip through the historic district even if you don’t understand a word.
Using the Zocalo as your base, you can walk or take a quick taxi ride to almost anywhere of interest to visitors in the center of Merida.