Curicó ’s Plaza de Armas and its surroundings are a zona típica national monument. After the city became a provincial capital in 1865, local authorities began to beautify what had been a parking lot for horses, planting Canary Island palms around the perimeter and placing a pool known as Las Tres Gracias (The Three Graces) at its center; on occasion, black-necked swans paddle around the fountain.
Several modern sculptures embellish the plaza, also shaded by araucarias, robles, boldos, and tilos, along with other native and exotic trees; one dead trunk has been carved into a representation of the Mapuche legend of Lautaro. The Quiosco Cívico (1905) is a forged-iron bandshell modeled after one a Curicó  mayor saw in Santiago.
On the west side of the plaza, restoration architect Jorge Squella managed to salvage some original walls of the earthquake-damaged Iglesia Matriz (Merced and Yungay). Six blocks east and one block south of the Plaza de Armas, opposite Plaza Luis Cruz, the soaring brick neo-Gothic Iglesia San Francisco is also a national monument.