For those who have ever strolled along the bustling Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Antigua's Parque Central might provoke a strong sensation of déjà vu. Flanked by long colonial archways, nearby bars/restaurants and the towering San Jose Cathedral, this plaza is the both the central meeting point for many of Antigua's residents and the literal center of the city, from which all avenues and streets get their bearings. It's also an incredible spot to get a feel for the pulse of the former Guatemalan capital.
Take a seat on any of the tree-shaded benches surrounding the central fountain and watch daily life unfold around you. A small fee of around $1 USD will gain you entry into the beautiful cathedral on the eastern border of the park, while sporadically throughout the week a fresh fruit/vegetable market shuts the southern street down to all but pedestrians. The banks here provide the safest and most reasonably rated ATMs, and neighboring establishments like Mono Loco and The Bagel Barn, while not necessarily being the most "authentic" spots in town, nevertheless provide all the food and entertainment you might be looking for. All in all, for an easy, cool experience in Antigua, this is a plaza not to be missed.