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Attractions in Mendoza, Argentina: What to do and where to go
Many amazing sites and activities can be enjoyed within the city as well as in the surrounding areas. Downtown Mendoza overflows with charming parks and plazas where visitors can experience cultural events, concerts and festivals throughout the year. The surrounding mountains and valleys are ideal for adventure sports, including paragliding, skydiving, rappelling, mountain biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, zip lines and skiing in the winter. Day trips to the surrounding wine country allow visitors to learn about wine production and sample regional favorites.
In Mendoza there is something for every traveler, from adventurous backpacking to high end wine tasting. The only thing missing is enough time to enjoy it all.
Plaza Independencia and Peatonal Sarmiento
Plaza Independencia is the heart of the city of Mendoza. Located in the center of downtown, this park is a garden oasis surrounded by theaters, municipal buildings, promenades and smaller plazas at each corner. During the day, the plaza fills up with people relaxing on their lunch breaks, children playing on the playground, and artisans selling a variety of arts and crafts. Within the plaza, there is a picturesque fountain with a frieze depicting Argentina's liberation from Spain. Underneath this fountain is an underground modern art museum. The center of the city's social life, Plaza Independencia is known for its art exhibitions and shows.
Peatonal Sarmiento ("Sarmiento Walking Street") begins at Plaza Independencia and extends three blocks to nearby Avenida San Martin. This tree-lined promenade is filled with churches, shops, boutiques, outdoor cafes, restaurants, ice cream shops, pubs, gardens and fountains, perfect for enjoying a coffee at a sidewalk cafe while watching the people go by.
Parque San Martín y el Cerro de la Gloria
This park, situated on the western edge of downtown Mendoza, covers about 850 acres. Mostly used by locals on weekends and holidays, it features a lake, jogging trails, restaurants, a zoo with over 750 species, an outdoor gym, a Greek style theater, a hedge maze and a natural science museum. Its beautiful gardens have over 50,000 trees imported from all over the world along with sculptures, fountains and a rose garden.
The park's main feature is Cerro de la Gloria ("Hill of Glory"), where you can hike to the top to enjoy amazing views of the city along with a stunning statue representing the men who gained independence from Spain for Argentina, Peru and Chile.
Vendimia Wine Festival
Argentina's wine harvest festival, the Vendimia, is held each year in Mendoza. It begins with the Benediction of the Fruit Ceremony on the last Sunday in February and continues with parties, parades and cultural events throughout the week. The culmination of this festival takes place on the following Saturday in Frank Romero Day Greek Theater, set within Parque San Martin. In this show, hundreds of performers dance to traditional regional music, and the Queen of Vendimia is crowned. A massive fireworks display brings the festival to a close. The festival brings in up to 200,000 local and international spectators each year.
Skiing and Snowboarding
For those who wish to escape the heat up north, the ski and snowboard season in Mendoza begins in mid-June and can continue up until early October, with a peak season in July. The nearby Andes offer a variety of ski lodges and resorts, which have trails that are ideal for beginners as well as for experts. Many prefer this destination for the excellent off-piste skiing available at many of the lodges, along with the beautiful powder snow.
Day trips from the city of Mendoza are also available, many offering equipment, private transportation, instructors and lunches. Visitors can enjoy the culture and beauty of the city while also experiencing the adventurous slopes of the Andean Cordillera Mountains.
Ancient canals built by the Incas brought glacial waters from the peaks of the Andes down into Mendoza's arid valleys, allowing for an amazing wine industry. Private vineyard tours are a must for visitors to this amazing region. Most tours last a half or an entire day, exploring the fields and bodegas of two or more vineyards in groups of ten people or less.
The most popular nearby wine regions for touring are Lujan de Cuyo, half an hour from the city, and Uco Valley, an hour from the city. These tours are often combined with horseback riding, bike riding, whitewater rafting, cooking classes and wine tastings.
The Great Outdoors
Mendoza's excellent location in the foothills of the Andes Mountains offers amazing opportunities for outdoor sightseeing and adventure. Popular activities include whitewater rafting on the Mendoza River, hiking trips to the tallest peak in America at Cerro Aconcagua, skiing at Penitentes in the winter, and day trips to the natural bridge and hot springs at Puente del Inca. Adventurous visitors can also try rappelling, skydiving and paragliding while surrounded by the beautiful, rugged landscape of Mendoza.
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