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Querétaro is a modern city of about 1.2 million inhabitants, but its historical center holds its own against the region's other colonial cities, with wide, tree-lined boulevards and wonderfully manicured parks adorned with fountains and statues of its heroes. Even the large factories rising around the perimeter manage to look nice.
The city draws more international executives than international
tourists, but it is sophisticated, with many restaurants, nightclubs, and theaters. Historically, Querétaro is notable as the former residence of Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez, popularly known as La Corregidora, who warned the conspirators gathered in San Miguel and its environs that their independence plot had been discovered. It is here that the ill-fated Emperor Maximilian made his last stand and was executed by firing squad on the Cerro de Las Campanas (Hill of Bells), and where eventually the Mexican Constitution was signed in 1917.
The city's relatively small historic center is easily viewed by walking along its streets and andadores (pedestrian walkways). When you want to venture farther afield, your best bet is the tranvías turísticos operated by the Tourism Department located at Pasteur 4 Norte in the historic center. There are two routes: Maximilian's Empire tours the city with a stop at the Cerro de Las Campanas, where Emperor Maximilian was shot, and Foundation of the City, which passes historic 18th-century buildings of the city center. The trolleys run daily, departing roughly every hour from 11 am to 5 pm from Plaza Corregidora at Avenida 16 de Septiembre. The cost for either is MX$80 per person. Museums close on Monday.
In addition to the tourist info provided below, there is also a tourist information kiosk in the Plaza de la Constitución.
Querétaro State is renowned for its opals, which come in red, green, honey, and fire varieties. Because some street vendors sell opals so full of water that they crumble shortly after purchase, you should make purchases only from reputable dealers.
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