7 Awesome Cities to Visit in Mexico
Mexico is a culturally vibrant and diverse country. Even cities in the same region can be extremely unique with completely different histories and traditions. No two cities in Mexico are ever the same!
In this guide, we’ll outline our 7 favorite cities to visit in Mexico and what to see and do when you get there.
Mexico’s capital is the largest city by population in North America with 21 million residents calling the metropolis home. Mexico City is filled to the brim with cultural experiences for any type of traveler.
It’s also safer than you might expect, with the crime rate about that of Washington DC.
The city is actually made up of 60 different municipalities, each with their own unique experience. The entire historical center of the city is a UNESCO world heritage site due to the city’s history as both a historical capital and center for multiple cultures.
The Aztecs placed their capital on the land that is today Mexico City in 1325 and named it Tenochtitlan. The Spanish then colonized on the ruins of the Aztec capital, naming it Mexico, and eventually Mexico City.
Mexico City is also known for its deep cultural and artistic scene. Among the cultural reasons to visit Mexico City include:
- The Food Scene: Mexico City is widely considered one of the best culinary cities in the world
- An Artistic Experience: Check out the Museo Frida Kahlo for a unique experience in folk art and pre-hispanic artifacts
- Historic Experiences: The aforementioned UNESCO historic center and Museo Nacional de Antropología will give you a sense of the city’s, and country’s, historic roots.
Mexico City is truly a must-see for any global traveler!
San Miguel de Allende
Another UNESCO world heritage site and an early example of urban development in the Americas, San Miguel de Allende is known for its cobblestone streets that take you back in time. Lined with authentic art galleries and quaint local shops, this historic city gives you the feel of a small town with the accessibility of a larger city.
Set in central Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains, San Miguel de Allende is a great place to visit to take in a 500 year old baroque mountain town. The city is known just as much for its distinct music, food, and arts as it is for its historical chapels and and ruins (though both of those are must-sees as well).
The region is even known as a premiere Mexican wine region, with wine produced in the area since the 16th century!
The capital of the state bearing the same name, Oaxaca is known for its colonial architecture made from volcanic stone. Lined with shade trees and vibrant, bustling markets, Oaxaca has a rich history dating back to the Zapotecs. Despite the fact that it’s a state capital, Oaxaca still retains a down-to-earth vibe that makes you feel right at home.
Recently, the city has been globally recognized as a “foodie” capital of Mexico, and a number of delicious and trendy restaurants have popped up because of it. Notably, Oaxacan cuisine is known for:
- Mole sauces
- The use of chocolate
- Chapulines, or grasshoppers
- Tlayudas, or Mexican pizza like street foods
The city is also known for being one of the best areas for the production of Mezcal, a liquor made from agave plants.
While the city is known for its food, make sure to still see some of the sites, including the Ethnobotanical Gardens and archaeological sites such as Mitla and Monte Alban.
Also located in the state of Oaxaca, Huatulco is more resort than “city,” but still possesses a unique charm that brings more to the table than your average resort.
A former fishing village, the city was developed sparingly, with 12 miles of untouched beach left alone and buildings over 6 stories high not allowed. This leaves a safe, relaxing, and bordering on untouched area left in its place.
There are a number of nice resorts and hotels in the area, with activities to choose from including:
- Scuba diving
- Hiking to waterfalls
- Coffee farm tours
If you are looking for a relaxing time on the beach on your trip to Mexico, Huatulco is the spot for you.
The birthplace of mariachi and tequila, Guadalajara is one of the best places in the country for a good time. The city boasts a bustling dining scene to go along with a buzzing nightlife.
A cultural epicenter of Mexico, Guadalajara is known for its emerging cultural and art scene and a place where European and Latin art collide. This is part due to galleries such as Travesía Cuatro, which helped usher in the movement in the city.
The city is also known for its merging of modern design and historic architecture, creating a unique aesthetic that is uniquely Guadalajara. This merging of old and new is prevalent within the cities limits in other ways too, as modern style and fashion meet old Mexican style.
If you want a true Mexico experience off the beaten path while still getting a taste of a truly Mexican experience, don’t skip Guadalajara.
Built on the remnants of the ancient Mayan city of Thó, the Yucatán capital of Mérida is the place to go for a truly breathtaking historical experience. Located three hours from Cancun, this historically rich city of narrow cobblestone streets and relaxing plazas is a dream. Mérida even still has exquisitely-preserved, brightly colored buildings to take in, as well as century old mansions.
The city has a number of must see historical sites, including
- The Museo Regional Antropologia
- Museo de la Canción Yucateca
- El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya
- Palacio de Gobierno
Don’t forget to try some distinct Yucatán cuisine while visiting the city, such as:
- Cochinita pibil, slow pit-roasted pork in citrus juice
- Papadzules, which are similar to enchiladas but filled with hard-boiled eggs and topped with tomato-pepper sauce
- Panuchos, thick tortillas fried and stuffed with beans and topped with cabbage and meat
Taxco is a must see when visiting Mexico. The city, known for its silver trade, is filled with buildings and municipal monuments built from the wealth the precious metal brought to the city.
The city, the capital of the state of Guerrero, has a number of must-see traditional markets to take in when visiting, all filled with silver merchants and delicious food such as jumiles, or stink bugs, a local delicacy.
Plaza Borda, the city’s main square, also houses merchants selling everything from jewelry to leather bags. You can even take a seat and take in the surrounding beautiful architecture!
While visiting, there are a number of must-see sites, including:
- Templo de Santa Prisca: An 18th century church and one of the few examples of baroque architecture in the state
- Casa Borda: Initially a home for José de la Borda, a silver mine owner in the region, the site today is today a cultural center featuring art from those from Guerrero
- Museo Guillermo Spratling: A museum honoring William Spratlin, who is credited for bringing mainstream jewelry making to Taxco. The museum holds some of his work, along with jewelry from the five regions of Mesoamerica.
A world class city, Taxco is a must-see for anyone who wants to experience the real Mexico.
Own a piece of Taxco for yourself
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