Trip Ideas

Top 5 Places to Visit in Mexico

Top 5 Places to Visit in Mexico

If you think that the only worthwhile places to visit in Mexico are cities like Tijuana and Cancun, then you're sorely missing out. While those towns cater to college kids on Spring Break, they don't represent some of the real fun and beauty that Mexico has to offer. Here are 5 places that a real trip to Mexico should include.

1. Guadalajara

As the capital of the western state of Jalisco, the city of Guadalajara is the second most metropolitan area in the country and the tenth largest city in all of Latin America. Like most major cities in Mexico, Guadalajara is a lovely blend of classic architecture and modern buildings, offering a rich historical legacy to interested tourists without turning away its growing class of young, fashion-conscious professionals. One key landmark to visit here is the Guadalajara Cathedral, which serves as the focal point for the historic downtown region. You can often enjoy free concerts in the Plaza de la Liberacion, watch Las Chivas play soccer at Estadio Omnilife, or lose yourself in shopping at the massive multistory mall known as Plaza del Sol or the arts and crafts district known as Tlaquepaque. You can find reasonably-priced accommodations and restaurants close to the city center.

2. Morelia

Like Guadalajara, the city of Morelia is also known for its historical landmarks and its classic beauty. The center of this town in the state of Michoacán is the Plaza de Armas, from where you can find the very impressive cathedral, the exterior of which is lit up during major festivals like the Day of the Dead. While the whole town is impressive, it's in the center that you'll find the most to enjoy, like festivals and great restaurants. For a nice outdoor concert, you can usually find the Morelia Boys Choir singing at the Conservatory of the Roses. And you won't want to miss Morelia's forests during the great butterfly migration, as they arrive in November and leave around March.

3. Guanajuato

This city in central Mexico is home to some of the historic wealth in the Guanajuato region, owing to its impressive silver mines. The wealth across time is evident in the colors and detail of each colonial-style building and home, like the San Cayetano Church and the Teatro Juarez, a large and beautiful theater. Just being able to walk through this city is a delight. You can find good restaurants and shops around the Jardin de la Union. Other impressive landmarks include the Alley of the Kiss next to Plaza de Los Angeles and Casa Diego Rivera, the birth home and museum of the famous muralist. And if you're feeling particularly brave, on the edge of the city are the Mummies of Guanajuato--59 mummified bodies from the 1800s on display in a museum.

4. Puerto Vallarta

If you want an ideal place to visit for great beaches and a tropical atmosphere, look no further than Puerto Vallarta on the western coast. This resort has been experiencing a boom in tourism since the 1970s. It's also noteworthy for being the most LGBT-friendly city in Mexico, drawing numerous gay and lesbian tourists to the beaches and nightclubs in a welcoming environment. Of all the beaches in Puerto Vallarta, the most extensive one to visit is Banderas Bay, which offers immense vegetation and some decent waves for surfing. For high-class food and accommodations, try Chez Elena at Los Cuatro Vientos Hotel. The excellent seafood is half the reason for coming to Vallarta.

5. San Miguel de Allende

Although it's close to the city of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende was in danger of being overshadowed until it became a haven for artists and tourists in the 1940s. To this day, there is still a sizable community of Americans and Canadians living in the historic town. As a major art center in Mexico, the town features several excellent museums like the Casa de Allende and the Angela Peralta Theatre. If you're looking to buy some artwork, try the Mercado de Artesanias near the city's main fruit and vegetable market. And if you're more inclined to explore the beautiful outdoors, then just outside of town is El Charco del Ingenio, a stunningly beautiful ecological reserve and botanical garden that offers chances for hiking, biking, rock climbing, camping, and horseback riding.

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