Chihuahua Attractions | Things to do in Chihuahua
Chihuahua is a city with a rich history, as demonstrated by its many buildings and monuments. This city is home to artwork that ranges from the colonial period to neoclassical and art nouveau.
Several mansions still exist to this day and are a legacy of the city’s period of great wealth that resulted from the local mining industry and the rise of the haciendas. Some of these mansions have now been converted into museums that house objects and furniture from times gone by, the most famous being Quinta Gameros.
The city of Chihuahua offers a fascinating history combined with art and plenty of culture. Walk through the streets, enjoy an excursion or take a tour in Chihuahua and immerse yourself in the history of Mexico.
The Chihuahua Cathedral
The Chihuahua Cathedral is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in northern Mexico. This grand building was built with pink stone and has two identical 130 foot towers that rest on three naves, creating a structure that is strikingly similar to that of the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The cathedral took 100 years to complete due to the ongoing battles with the Apaches and Comanches, as all available funds were being spent on the war.
The cathedral has impressive stone and Carrara marble altars along with Venetian crystal chandeliers and a large German organ that is one of the best of its kind. The chapel has a niche with an image of the Black Christ of Mapimi, which was formerly housed in the original temple that was located on the same spot.
The Quinta Gameros
This spectacular mansion was designed by the engineer Manual Gameros, a wealthy miner from Chihuahua who constructed the building for his family. Unfortunately, they were unable to enjoy it as they had to flee to El Paso, Texas during the Revolution. The mansion was then used as the headquarters for the revolutionary forces. In 1958, the Quinta Gameros became the property of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, and it now houses the Regional State Museum.
Inside this two-story structure you’ll find a magnificent example of art nouveau. On the upper floor you can admire works by major artists from Chihuahua as well as pieces from the Paquime culture that werefound in the Casas Grandes area.
Palacio de Gobierno (City Hall)
This stunning neoclassical structure was built with carved stone and has a central courtyard where you can see the mural created by Aaron Pina Mora, which displays the history of the state of Chihuahua from the Conquest through to the Reformation. On one side of the staircase, where Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was shot, you’ll find the "Altar a la Patria" (Altar to the Motherland), which is represented by an eternal flame.
Museum of the Revolution
Also called La Quinta Luz or La Casa de Villa, this mansion is where the wife of General Francisco Villa lived until her death. The property was later donated and transformed into a museum dedicated to the Mexican Revolution. This old house has two floors, a basement, a central courtyard and a rear patio, where Villa located his barracks. The museum houses documents, weapons, photographs, furniture and other objects from that era, giving visitors a glimpse into the life of Francisco Villa and the events of the revolutionary period.
The Dungeon of Don Miguel Hidalgo
Located within the Casa Chihuahua museum, this is where Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was imprisoned for three months and where he spent his last days. Some of Father Hidalgo’s possessions have been preserved and you can even see verses dedicated to some of the jailers that he wrote to show his gratitude.
La Lealtad Republicana Museum
Also known as Casa de Juarez, this was the official residence of President Benito Juarez for two years and was used as the seat of his government when he moved to Chihuahua to organize the fight against the French invaders. The museum contains a large number of manuscripts, photographs and other valuable belongings, including family letters and correspondence with his generals and other countries that supported their cause. You’ll also see period furnishings that recreate the era in which the president lived.
This neoclassical building is one of the oldest temples in the city of Chihuahua and was originally the chapel for an indigenous neighborhood. Due to their devotion to their patron saint, in the late eighteenth century they decided to expand the structure and make it more beautiful. Within the building you’ll find antiques that were once in the Jesuit church of Loreto.
Museum of Sacred Art
The museum has two rooms displaying beautiful samples of religious Mexican art from the eighteenth century. One of the rooms is dedicated to angels and the other has culturally significant paintings from the period, such as the “Immaculate Conception” by Miguel Cabrera, “San Francisco de Kotska” by Francisco Martinez, “The Prison of Jesus”, “Jesus before Caiaphas”, “The Flagellation” and “The Crucifixion” by Jose de Alcibar. The collection also includes 18 works on the Passion of Jesus, an ivory crucifix and a polychrome wooden sculpture of the Christ of Mapimi.
Chihuahua Cultural Center
This neoclassical building was constructed in the late nineteenth century and its beautiful architecture reflects the great wealth of Chihuahua’s landowners. The patio area has a magnificent glass dome and the structure also features wrought iron gates brought in from New Orleans. The center features intricate tile floors and a room that displays artistic works from the Paquime culture.
This bus has been decorated in the style of a train car from the early twentieth century. It travels to the main monuments and buildings in Chihuahua and you can climb on board where it departs from City Hall or at several other points throughout the city.
The Chihuahua Gate is an impressive metal monument that features a combination of red geometric forms. It was created by the famous sculptor Enrique Carbajal, also known as Sebastian. This sculpture is one of the tallest in the world and is located at the southern entrance to the city on the road to the town of Delicias. The Chihuahua Gate is one of the most prominent symbols of Chihuahua and should not be missed when visiting the city.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Also called Museo Casa Redonda, this building has large rooms that house various collections of contemporary Mexican artwork. It also hosts temporary exhibitions by renowned artists. This nineteenth century building was once a workshop for trains, which lends a historical atmosphere to the structure. During your explorations, you’ll see pictures and models that demonstrate the history and beginnings of the railroad in the state of Chihuahua.
Located just a few blocks from Plaza de Armas, this children’s museum showcases astronomy, physics, medicine and biology. Visitors can enjoy games, entertainment and interactive displays. The museum also has two permanent exhibition halls, a cafeteria and computer rooms.
This fascinating museum covers the natural history of the state of Chihuahua from the age of reptiles to present day. It houses a mammoth skeleton as well as fossils and extinct species of flora and fauna from the region.
Nombre de Dios Caves
The "Nombre de Dios" (Name of God) caves were formed by salts and minerals over millions of years. The stalactite and stalagmite formations contained within the caves have interesting, often whimsical, shapes that are sure to impress as you travel more than 5,000 feet below ground. The site is well illuminated and handrails are provided, giving visitors a safe experience while they explore the wonders of nature.
This small town is approximately 20 miles away from Chihuahua and was named after Juan Aldama, a political leader who was shot alongside the priest Miguel Hidalgo during the War of Independence. This charming village has many recreational areas and historic buildings, including churches that were constructed in the eighteenth century. This is the ideal place to enjoy a quiet picnic with your family thanks to the large number of springs and beautiful native trees that provide shelter for a variety of birds.
Cuauhtemoc City and the Mennonites
Cuauhtemoc City is 65 miles west of Chihuahua and is known for its buildings, cathedral and temples. It is also famous for being a location where three cultures co-exist, as the Mestizos, Tarahumara and Mennonites all make their home here. The northern part of the city is where you can find the highest concentration of Mennonite colonies, which are dedicated to agriculture and livestock.
You should also visit the Mennonite Museum and Cultural Center, where you’ll see a re-creation of a traditional home as well as the tools and utensils used in daily life. You’ll also have the chance to shop for food products and Mennonite crafts. There is even a room where you can watch a film telling the story of their history and arrival in Mexico.
Between the cities of Chihuahua and Cuauhtemoc you can find several interesting towns, including San Francisco de Borja, the location of the Namurachi Canyon. This beautiful gorge has an altar and is shaped in a way that creates a natural amphitheater. In the twentieth century, the site was used for the celebration of the Eucharist during times of religious persecution.
Located 12 miles southeast of the city, this old mining town gave birth to Chihuahua. Officially it is called Aquiles Serdan and it was the silver extracted from these mines that financed the construction of the cathedral and other important eighteenth century buildings. In addition to having a fascinating history, this town is also home to an incredible church and the Mining Museum.
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