Often overlooked by its glitzy neighbors in The Mayan Riveria (Tulum, Cancun, Playa del Carmen), Mérida is charming its way into the spotlight. Queer travelers are flocking to the Yucatan’s most cosmopolitan city where a special blend of rich cultural heritage, vibrant street life, and friendly locals welcomes them with open arms.
Despite its nickname, the “White City,” Mérida’s city center is filled with colorful Colonial buildings and charming plazas with a vibrant cafe culture that spills onto the cobblestone streets. It’s also a foodie haven where lush courtyard restaurants join traditional Mexican and Mayan cuisines in perfect harmony. As the Yucatan’s most queer-friendly city, Mérida is an ideal destination for travelers looking to experience the best of Mexico’s history, cuisine, and LGBTQ+ community.
Many shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels in Mérida’s city center warmly welcome queer travelers by providing a safe and inclusive atmosphere. Here are a some of our favorite establishments…
Shopping in Mérida
Stroll down Paseo de Motejo to soak up the quant artisanal shops and local luxury boutiques in colorful repurposed historic Colonial buildings.
Step inside this architectural dream to browse eleven stores showcasing high-end Mexican designers and local artists. After shopping at Casa T´HŌ Concept House, brunch amongst a jazz quartet in its charmingly lush courtyard.
Tropical-inspired garments are showcased in this hip unisex boutique. Choose from a wide variety of lightweight print shirts, unique footwear, and gender-neutral clothing at Folks.
Fine dining and good eats
In Mexico, it’s hard to find a bad meal, but what makes Mérida unique is its creative fusion restaurants, quality coffee roasters using Mexican beans, brunch restaurants full of ambiance, and the regional Yucatan Mexican cuisine which often combines Mayan delicacies and traditional Mexican staples.
This reimagined oat mill includes a rustic Lebanese/Yucatán fusion restaurant featuring a Mexican wine bar, an indie art movie theatre, and a modern art gallery. Salon Gallos has left many of the industrial charms from this former factory to create an edgy and original vibe. Make sure to check out its social media as the space often hosts live music, DJs, and special events.
Relax in this elevated contemporary breakfast and lunch cafe which has a sophisticated lush courtyard garden and a gentle pastel color motif. Expect fresh salads, vegan/vegetarian options, and re-imagined Mexican favorites at Te extraño, extraño.
Homey seafood bistro focuses on fresh regional delicacies such as grilled octopus, raw oysters, ceviche, and other Yucatán favorites. If you’re visiting around Dia de Los Muertos, make sure to attend Micaela Mar & Leña’s special dinner experience.
Located on the rooftop of a building overlooking the Central Plaza of Mérida, this restaurant offers incredible sunsets in a relaxed atmosphere. Restaurante Picheta offers modern takes on classic Yucatán dishes, an expansive Mezcal menu, and locally sourced ingredients.
This Italian-inspired coffee roaster and cafe brews up local Mexican beans through a variety of extraction methods to ensure quality and taste. Try one of its tempting breakfast crepes, open-face sandwiches, or pastries. Manifesto also has ample inside and shaded courtyard seating perfect for a breakfast with friends.
Gay Mérida Nightlife
After dark explore the city’s vibrant gay cantina and drag culture or dance into the night at one of Mérida’s many clubs.
Papis is where Mérida’s gays go to see steamy strippers, nightly drag king/queen shows, and dance the night away. Pro-tip, if a dancer asks for you to buy them a drink it will be at the “entertainer’s price” which may be more expensive as this is a ticket for you to spend more time with them.
Within an old-world Mérida mansion, you’ll find a queer-friendly restaurant and cantina bar. Casa Chica serves fresh tropical breakfast by day and signature cocktails, live music, and underground electronic music by night.
This queer-friendly underground dance club hosts international techno, house, and global music DJs. Sip cocktails under light art installations or dance amongst captivating visuals until dawn at Casa Pompidou.
Rowdy dance and drag club where you’ll find sinister drag queens and scorching hot dance parties. This place gets pretty steamy, no wonder the neon entrance sign at DIX bar reads “Welcome to Hell”!
This stylish queer-owned bar and restaurant is known for its women and feminist-led events including queer karaoke, alternative drag shows, and dance parties. Stop by during the day to brunch with friends before you mingle at Mérida’s queer nightlife hub Cadadía Bar.
This fruity drag cabaret is located just south of Mérida’s el Centro (downtown) neighborhood. Most come to Banana’s Club to see the queens perform, but in between performances, you can dance to DJs and be entertained by male strippers.
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