The Mercado de la Cruz consists of a few warehouse-like indoor plazas ringed by makeshift stands, and on Sundays, the whole parking lot is also taken over by a flea market. You can get amazingly fresh produce here at guilt-inducingly low prices. There's a huge variety of stuff available--cheeses, meats, breads, household items--but really, the produce is so amazing. The market winds down before 5 p.m., so go early. Go at lunchtime, and eat at one of the little stalls inside...or get some delicious street food. My favorites: elotes (roasted ears of corn...usually with chile) or fruit cups (usually with chile and lime). Coconut is especially good, and so is watermelon, and so is pineapple.
What to buy: Shop for avocados (aguacates) and mangos. There are a few different kinds of avocados, and lots of types of mangoes. Some of the avocados can even be eaten with the skin on, which makes an amazingly decadent snack. That is, if you are still hungry after you say yes for the 50th time to "¿Quieres probarlo?" Yes, I'd like to try it! Thank you! You can pay between 12 and 20 pesos per kilo (2.2 pounds) of avocados. Here is the important thing to remember. You have purchased your tomatoes (jitomates) and your tomatillos (tomates) and your avocados, onions (cebollas), garlic (ajo), chiles, limes (limones or limas), prickly pear fruits (tunas), and NOT your nopalitos. You have purchased either regular yellow corn tortillas, or if you find the lady in traditional dress who sits by the candy guy, you have purchased blue corn tortillas, which mold within three days, so you must eat them fast. Also you have some salsa. NOW: Get home and leave everything in the bags it came in. Set aside the garlic and tortillas and salsa, so you don't get way too enthusiastic. Did you remember to get cheese? Oaxaca? Panela? Ranchero? They're all good. Now, pull out favored ingredient number one: vegetable wash! Squirt some in each bag (do these one or two bags at a time). Fill the bag with water. Hold bag closed. Agitate well. Leave water in bag for a few minutes. Rinse veggies and use. In the case of tunas, peel them--dig your finger in until you get to bright, deep fuchsia pulp and the skin will peel right off. These are cactus fruits, and if you try to make agua fresca with them, they WILL make a disgustingly viscous drink. If you eat them on their own, though, they taste like a cross between a kiwi and a watermelon (sandia), and they stain your fingers with a beautiful bright pink. Yum!
What to pay: Take a handful of change. You aren't going to pay too much per kilo of veggies...but be realistic. Are you going to use 2.2 pounds of limes? Uh, no. (I made a valiant effort, though!) The deal is, you are supposed to bargain. I am still in the nouveau-American phase, though, where it feels cheap and dirty to try to bargain down from $1.20 to $.70 for a couple pounds of avocados, especially when we pay like $4.50 for a 12 oz. tub of guacamole back home. So you can do this pretty cheaply, but if you are bargaining fiercely with the blue tortilla woman--whose tortillas each bear a ring of thumbprints from where she made them that morning--then shame on you.
Cinemark is a nice theater. Good screens, good seats, good speakers. Not amazing, but certainly on par with what you might be used to. Also, 25 pesos before 6...40 pesos after...22 pesos on Weds. nights. I missed Secret Window in the States and caught it here. Which means, maybe someday Garden State will come along!
Enormous artisans shop, with an extensive range of crafts including glassware, paintings, pottery, you name it, from all over the country. Hundereds of artisans represented in one shop. No name or sign on door. When closed you wouldn't even know it was there. It is No. 19 Andodore 16 September. Worth taking a look. Reasonable prices considering location.
What to buy: Mexican crafts from all over the country.
Widest selection of talavera pottery in Queretaro, recommended by many locals. Beautiful sinks, dishes, tiles, soap dishes. Very reasonable prices! Closes for lunch and siesta.
You could take a taxi, but it's an easy 15 - 20 min walk through decent areas from the center. From Plaza Zenea walk 1 block south on Cooegidora to the cross street Pino Suarez (Temple San Francisco will be on your left). You'll take a right on Pino Suarez. Walk straight down about 11 blocks. After you cross over Tecnologico it will be 1 more block on left. There is another smaller talvera shop on Tecnilogico at Pino Suarez. You can stop there to compare, but Vegar has a better selection.
What to pay: Large bathroom sinks - 270 Pesos, smaller items, 10 Pesos and up.
Sorry - I will find the name somewhere and add it!
Our wheel broke on our suitcase and we had to buy a new one. First I tried Sears in the center - of course the cheapest would've cost me $169 US. I searched store to store, then finally wandered in the huge department store on Corregidora between the Andodores 16 September and 5 de Mayo. It has 3 floors and has absolutely anything you could want, clothes, appliances, housewares for super low prices. I actually wanted to fill a suitcase of stuff I needed at home. Better than Walmart! So I got a really great new suitcase for $20.
this shop is very trendy and chic, they have a lot of new and autentic designs in gold and they have the unique opalo mexican in diferent variety and sizes... this shop is very special.
What to buy: opalos and mexican designs in jewelry like the tradicional guadalupe´s pendant
What to pay: you can find pieces from 50 usd to 2,500 usd
Liverpool - Luxury department store located at the Galerias Queretaro Plaza
Sears - the same you know, in Downtown and in Galerias Queretaro Plaza
Sanborns - Small but nice department store, in Plaza del Parque, Constituyentes enfrente de Plaza de las Americas and Galerias Queretaro Plaza
Suburbia - Clothes and perfums good price at Plaza del Parque
The (best) shopping centers are:
Downtown, from Av. Corregidora to Guerrero street.
Plaza del Parque in Blvd. Bernardo Quintana
Plaza Boulevares in Blvd. Bernardo Quintana
Plaza de las Americas in Constituyentes
Queretaro Galerias Plaza in Av. 5 de Febrero
Comercial Mexicana in Plaza de Parque, Plaza Zaragoza, Plaza del Sol and MegaComercial
Gigante in Plaza de las Americas and Gigante Prol. Zaragoza
Walmart in Blvd. Bernardo Quintana
Aurrera in Plaza Galerias Constituyentes, Pie de la Cuesta and Satelite
Carrefour in Centro Sur and Blvd. Bernanrdo Quintana
What to buy: Pottery, silver, clothes, jewels and of course a shirt that says Queretaro
What to pay: Always carry pesos, it's hard to be accepted usd, and if they accept them is because they are getting them at a lower price.