The large paved Parque Vidal is named for the revolutionary hero Leoncio Vidal, who—according to a monument—was killed at this exact spot. A curiosity of the square is its double-wide sidewalk.
In colonial days, this was divided by an iron fence: whites perambulated on the inner half while blacks kept to the outside. The bandstand at its center hosts concerts on weekends.
Keeping her eye on things is a bronze Monumento Marta Abreu de Estévez. Abreu (1845–1904) was a local heroine and philanthropist who funded construction of the Teatro la Caridad (Marta Abreu, e/ Máximo Gómez y Lorda, tel. 042/20-5548, daily 9 a.m.– 5 p.m., CUC1), built in 1885 on the north side of the square. Albeit tragically deteriorated due to water damage, the four-story, horseshoe-shaped theater boasts its original cast-iron seats plus stunning murals representing the works of Shakespeare and Spanish writers.
Fifty meters east of the theater is the Museo de Artes Decorativos (e/ Luis Estévez y Lorda, tel. 042/20-5368, Mon., Wed., and Thurs. 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 1–10 p.m., Sun. 6–10 p.m., CUC2 entrance, CUC1 guide, CUC5 camera), featuring an eclectic array of stunning colonial antiques and furniture.
On the square’s east side, the old Palacio Provincial houses the city library; it’s imposing neoclassical frontage is supported by Ionic columns.
The Galería de Arte (Máximo Gómez #3, tel. 042/20-7715, Tues.–Sun. 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m.), immediately northwest of the square, has revolving art exhibitions. Step one block west to shop at the Mercado Artesanal (Abreu, esq. Villanueva).