SPEND A DAY IN THE PARK
- Bring the family to the second-largest urban green space in Mexico
- Rent bikes and pedal through 1,000-plus acres of parkland
- Set the kids loose at a fabulous, hands-on science museum
Parque Tangamanga, in downtown San Luis Potosí, is the second-largest urban park in the country, after Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park. Residents call it los pulmones (the lungs) of the city, and flock there on weekends to picnic and play. You can rent bikes at Las Bicicletas del Parque, a quarter-mile inside the park’s northern entrance, to properly explore the 1,000-plus green acres. Pedal along grand boulevards past playgrounds and small lakes, festive food stalls, and picnic-ready lawns dotted with mesquite and pepper trees. Families should also set aside a few hours for the Labyrinth of Science and Art, which abuts Tangamanga’s southeastern border. Designed by celebrated Mexican architects Ricardo and Víctor Legorreta and built in 2008, the museum is a modern take on a hacienda, fashioned from locally quarried stone; its striking façade speaks to the city’s growing reputation as a contemporary-design destination. Inside, galleries are dedicated to nature, space, the human body, and imagination, and hands-on displays make science engaging and interactive. You’ll also want to check out the cacti-lined mazes and the petting zoo.
The northern entrance to the park is just a five-minute drive from the Conrad, while the museum is 15 minutes away. At the museum’s ticket counter, inquire about an English-speaking guide who can accompany you and your family through the galleries.
DIVE DEEP INTO MESCAL
- Make a pilgrimage to a renowned 300-year-old mescal distillery
- Get an up-close look at how agave is grown, roasted, and fermented
- Buy souvenir bottles you can’t find anywhere else
Mescal has risen in popularity in the U.S. over the last decade, but it’s long been a spirit staple in Mexico. Some of the very best, Potosinos will tell you, comes from San Luis Potosí, thanks to the region’s slow-growing agaves, or magueys as they’re known in Mexico. A stark desert landscape dotted with cacti and brush trees unfolds outside the city limits on your way to Molienda Antigua Dorada, a 300-year-old mescal distillery located 45 minutes outside of the city. Time your visit to a production day, when agave piñas—the pineapple-like heart of the plant—are roasted, juiced, and fermented. Unlike newer mescal producers, which rely on stainless steel machinery throughout the distilling process, Antigua Dorada still uses centuries-old production methods: agaves are roasted in primitive ovens lined with oak, and plant fibers are juiced with a massive stone wheel, steps that distillers swear by to give the spirit its rich, smoky flavor. After a tour of the plant and a walk around the grounds, you’ll sample days-old mescals (unlike wine, mescals and tequilas aren’t meant to be aged); you can also buy bottles to take home. On your way back to town, request to have lunch at La Cabana, a modest roadside restaurant that attracts serious weekend crowds craving its handmade gorditas (corn tortilla pockets) filled with rice and mole or chicken and cheese and served with fresh salsa.
Molienda Antigua Dorada is located in Santa Teresa, in the Potosino Highlands, roughly a 45-minute drive from the Conrad. (The distillery has no phone or website.) The Conrad concierge can help you book your excursion and distillery.
STEP OUT IN POTOSINA STYLE
- Discover the birthplace of the famous rebozo scarf, beloved by Frida Kahlo
- Visit a legendary workshop to watch weavers ply their trade
- Choose one of the elegant designs to bring home
The town of Santa Maria del Rio, a 45-minute drive from the Conrad, is hailed as the birthplace of the iconic rebozo, the traditional Mexican shawl. Scarves from this particular town have maintained high-fashion status throughout the centuries; they’ve been worn by the likes of Frida Kahlo, Mexican actress María Félix, and Margarita Zavala, the wife of former Mexican president Felipe Calderón, who considered them a diplomatic essential anytime she traveled abroad. The highest-quality rebozos are made at Rebocerio Rodrigo, a modest-looking weaving center and school where travelers can get a full tutorial on how these works of art are designed, dyed, and woven (the process takes a full month on average). A small store adjoining the workshop sells the elegant pieces, and you can also have them shipped all over the world. While you’re in town, drop in to La Perla de Santa Maria del Rio, a 1935 bakery that’s known for delightfully flaky pastries called campechanas. Ask if you can step into the back kitchen to watch the bakers at work, their hands flying in a blur as they turn out about 4,000 of the sweets each day.
Santa Maria del Rio is 45 minutes south of Conrad San Luis Potosí. To arrange a tour of the weaving center with an English-speaking guide, book an excursion with our concierge.
FIND ADVENTURE IN A GHOST TOWN
- Explore abandoned mines by flashlight
- Dig deep into the region’s architectural and mining history
- Shop for handmade silver jewelry
With its 17th-century streets, houses, and stores largely uninhabited, one could easily mistake Cerro de San Pedro for a ghost town. But on weekends, this historic mining outpost (a 45-minute drive east of downtown San Luis) unexpectedly comes alive, as a handful of restaurants and shops open their doors to travelers, who come to see centuries of architectural history telescoped into a single town. This ranges from Mesa Verde–like dwellings carved out of rocky hillsides to impressive churches layered with baroque and neoclassical influences. Intriguingly, San Pedro also sits in the middle of a robust modern-day mining operation—so while you’re gazing upon antique digging tools in the town’s history museum, you’ll hear the distant roar of trucks and tractors dismantling nearby mountains in search of aluminum, copper, and iron. After exploring the steep stone streets of town, you can hike through two mines that were blasted open in the 1800s. (You’ll need a flashlight to guide you.) Or set off on trails flanked by cacti and mesquite trees and climb up to scenic lookouts. Back in San Pedro, browse handmade jewelry at the Silversmith’s Workshop, then join the lunch crowd at El Nopal Cósmico restaurant, which serves terrific thin-crust pizzas and cold beer on outdoor tables overlooking church steeples.
Cerro de San Pedro is 45 minutes by car from the Conrad. While its shops and restaurants don’t have formal addresses and often lack phone numbers, they’re all located within a few blocks of the town’s main entrance on Benito Juárez. You can easily visit and enjoy San Pedro on your own, but a guide can provide historical insights and take you to little-known mines. Ask the concierge to book your excursion with our partner tour company, Operatour Potosina (+52-444-151-2201; operatourpotosina.com.mx).