When most Americans ponder a visit south of the border, their typical choices for exploration are Mexico's larger and more tourist-friendly destinations like Cancun, Acapulco and Mexico City. Travelers who like to go off the beaten path but still enjoy the functionality of a major city might want to book a flight to the central Mexican city of Santiago de Querétaro.
Just a two-hour drive north of Mexico City, Santiago de Querétaro is a classic colonial city dating back to 1531. Despite its classic pedigree, the city boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the country and remains one of the largest cities in the region.
Most tourists will want to explore the city's centro historico, an UNESCO World Heritage Site that captures its role in Mexico's national heritage. Travelers can see glorious churches like La Iglesia de Santa Clara, government buildings like el Palacio Municipal or even cultural centers like la Plaza de la Corregidora.
One of the key sites in the center is the Theater of the Republic, an aged and well-preserved theater that served as the center for famed litigations and trials, was the venue for the first performance of the country's national anthem and the location in which the Mexican Constitution was written in 1917.