Mendoza’s streets are shaded from the summer sun by a canopy of poplars, elms, and sycamores. Water runs along its sidewalks in acéquias, disappears at intersections, then bursts from fountains in the city's 74 parks and squares. Many acéquias were built by the Huarpe Indians and improved upon by the Incas long before the city was founded in 1561 by Pedro del Castillo.
Thanks to the booming wine and tourism industries, Mendoza bustles with innovative restaurants and lodgings that range from slick high-rises with conference rooms for serious wine tasting to low-key inns and B&Bs for serious relaxing. Low-rise colonial buildings with their lofty ceilings, narrow doorways, and tile floors house restaurants and shops. In the afternoon shops close, streets empty, and siesta-time rules—until around 5, when the city comes back to life and goes back to work.