Like many cities throughout central Mexico, San Luis Potosí is anchored by a historic center with Catholic and colonial roots. Narrow streets open up to sophisticated plazas framed by stately buildings and grand churches that were built during the city’s heyday as a mining capital. Begin your walk in the Plaza de la Fundadores, the urban center’s oldest square, now dedicated to city events ranging from concerts to flea markets. On the plaza’s eastern border you’ll find a statue of Louis IX of France, the city’s namesake and its patron saint, hoisted on a pedestal stamped with bars of gold and silver. (Potosí was added to the capital’s name in honor of Potosí, Bolivia, once home to bountiful mines.) Walk two blocks east to the Plaza de Armas, the city’s largest—and most photogenic—square, designed with pedestrian paths, neatly trimmed magnolia trees, and ornate 19th-century benches. Here, you can peek into the Catedral Metropolitana de San Luis Potosí, the capital’s largest and most important church, built in the 1700s. Marble statues imported from Europe and an interior dripping in gold leaf speak to San Luis’s wealthiest decades. Stroll east along Manuel José Mathón, where street-food and jewelry vendors regularly set up shop, to get to Plaza de Carmen, home to the 19th-century Teatro de la Paz and the Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, an architectural gem with an intricately carved baroque façade. Here, Semana Santa processions (the world’s second-largest after those in Seville, Spain) take place every spring. If you have a stomach for street food, keep an eye out for some of the historic district’s regular vendors. Men push modest tin carts with fresh lemon or guava sorbets; other stands have familiar sweets like gummies and candied apples, alongside balls of tamarind paste rolled in sugar. The most popular snack among Potosinos is elote, or grilled corn on the cob. Eat it fresh from the flames or rolled in cream, cotija cheese, and dried chili.
San Luis Potosí’s historic district is 15 minutes by car from the Conrad. While you can certainly explore all the above on a self-guided tour, you might consider hiring a private guide for a more in-depth look. Ask the Conrad concierge to arrange.
Plaza de la Fundadores
Plaza de Armas
Catedral Metropolitana de San Luis Potosí
Manuel José Mathón (street)
Plaza de Carmen