You might be in Zaragoza on a package tour to visit the Virgin of the Pillar and some R&R, but that doesn't mean that you have to suffer following your tour guide all day, right?
- Eat. Buffet restaurants are hard to find in Spain, which is why I was so happy to find out that there is one in Zaragoza and it's near the Basilica del Pillar. Called the Restaurante Las Palomas, it boasts of a delectable array of veggies, meats, seafood, fish rice, pasta and desserts. It was priced at 12 euros some two years ago, so I'm guessing that they've raised their prices a bit. Budget tip: buy your drinks elsewhere and bring 'em to the restaurant.
- Shop. Most souvenir shops in Zaragoza are near the Church and the majority of what they sell are religious items, although the staples of Spanish tourism like the mantón, fans, castanets, etc., are also sold here but can be very expensive. A very cheap and emblematic alternaive that could be bought in bulk and easily transported back home is a ribbon the size of the actual image of the Virgin of the Pillar. It's obtained in the sacristy of the Church (at the right-hand side if you're facing the image of the Pillar) and you get it with a one-euro donation per ribbon.
- See. Don't enter all the Roman archaeological sites in Zaragoza (you could see some even without entering... the Roman Theatre, for example). Just go to the one right at the Plaza del Pilar (entrance near the Seo) since it's the most developed and equipped for tourists, plus you save precious time. And oh, do see the World War II bomb meant to destroy the Basilica of the Virgin but didn't inside her Basilica.