Attractions in Zacatecas, Mexico: What to do and where to go
The attractions of Zacatecas are as varied as the different facets of tremendous beauty of the city. Spreading across the majestic slopes of El Grillo and La Bufa Mountains, this city offers attractions that can satisfy even the most difficult to impress. Due to its extensive cultural background, Zacatecas is the home to many museums with incredible historic value. Its natural environment is ideal for people who love to take scenic strolls, allowing for the chance to explore the natural beauty of the area. Archeological sites and science-related themes can never be left out of any traveler's itinerary, nor from the "to do" list of fortunate visitors to this destination.
El Cubo Aqueduct
Construction, of this impressive aqueduct, began in the final years of the colonial era and was eventually finished just after the end of the Mexican War of Independence. It was originally used as the city's source of fresh water, channeling it from El Cubo mine to the Plazuela Virreinal, known these days as "Jardin Independencia" (Independence Garden). It is considered as one of the most iconic symbols of Zacatecas.
This impressive and beautiful building is, without a doubt, the masterpiece of an exuberant baroque style, built in the first half of the 18th century. Upon looking at this majestic Cathedral, it is impossible not to be attracted by its exquisite architectonic details, as well as its facade, made in pink quarry stone representing a huge stone altarpiece that shows the history of Christianity. The temple also features two spindly towers that exhibit the same decor.
"Zig Zag" Science Interactive Center
Open since 2005, this place has turned into one of the most visited attractions in town for children, young people, as well as for the not so young. Distributed within its 4750 square yards, this interactive center of science features more than 60 exhibitions displaying natural and scientific themes, such as energy, matter, movement, waves, fluid, electricity, magnetism, electronics and mathematics, all in individual rooms.
Cerro de La Bufa (La Bufa Hill)
Cerro de La Bufa, meaning ''pig's bladder'', is a hill with an altitude of 2657 meters and was the site where Don Miguel Hidalgo fought in the Mexican War of Independence. It features an area called "Plaza de la Revolucion Mexicana" where statues of important generals and officers, who participated in the Mexican Revolution, are located. The hill also has a chapel (Capilla del Patrocinio) where the Virgin Mary is worshipped, and a museum called Toma de Zacatecas, where pieces of artillery, photographs and documents of the Revolution can be seen. Here you'll also find a Meteorological Observatory and the "Mausoleo de los Hombres Ilustres", dedicated to famous people from Zacatecas.
Land of horsemanship and folklore, this picturesque town is located just 34 miles away from the city of Zacatecas. You can spend a whole day here walking through the streets of Jerez, taking pictures of the charming churches, portals and buildings that make up this quaint city. Attractions such as the Inmaculada Concepcion Church, La Torre building and the Sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de la Soledad are worth a visit for those who love both the colonial architecture and the deep rooted traditions of this fascinating area.
When in Jerez, you might want to take a look inside some of the many shops located in downtown. Among a wide assortment of merchandise you can find the typical "piteado" belts for men, made out of strong leather and adorned with embroidered motifs. Saddles, many other accessories for cowboys and handmade goods are also available in those stores. For ladies, there are beautiful pieces of silver and gold jewelry sold at very good prices. To really get a good feel of the traditional town of Jerez it's highly recommendable to mingle with the locals at Plaza de Armas, known by many as the most colorful town square in the state of Zacatecas. While strolling around the square, makes sure you stop by one of the many "neverias" that sell a very traditional drink called "raspanieve", which basically consists of a refreshing cup of flavored shaved ice topped with natural fruit.
El Eden Mine
This place is an excellent way to discover the interiors of a mine. It was opened to visitors in 1975, after a thorough and intense adaptation, and became one of the main attractions in beautiful Zacatecas. Get drawn into this interesting trip on a small train, along with 1140 yards of hanging bridges, tunnels and old legends. If that wasn't enough, for a truly unique experience you can also enjoy an evening in the nightclub that's located actually inside the mine!
Francisco Goitia Museum
The first ever museum in Zacatecas, Francisco Goitia Museum is located in a stunningly beautiful building and surrounded by extensive, colorful gardens. It was built by the Spanish architect Maximo de la Pedraja, at the request of Leobardo Reynoso, governor of Zacatecas at that time, in order to have an official governor's residence. Nowadays, the museum exhibits a great collection ofcontemporary art work created by the likes of Julio Ruelas, Manuel Felguerez, Francisco Goitia, Pedro Coronel, Jos??Â© Kuri and Rafael Coronel.
Manuel Felguerez Museum
In the 19th Century, this building that now houses the Manuel Felguerez Museum, used to be the home of the Seminary of La Purisima de Zacatecas. In 1997 the building was remodeled by Manuel Felguerez, an artist born in Zacatecas, combining the original architecture with modern elements to create an extraordinarily unique museum. There is a fantastic collection of his abstract art on display, as well as sculptures and paintings, from the last 50 years, by more than 120 Mexican artists.
Pedro Coronel Museum
This building was originally home to a 17th century college of a Jesuit religious order and has now been restored to its original splendor. Nowadays, the museum is the home to an extensive collection of objects, donated by the Zacatecan artist Pedro Coronel. On the ground floor, there is a library with more than twenty thousand books, some editions dating back to the 16th century. On the top level, admire the objects amassed by the artist during several of his trips.
Rafael Coronel Museum
Located where there was once a Franciscan monastery, discover this magnificent museum, which is something like a time capsule of art. Rafael Coronel donated more than five thousand masks to the collection, among other objects that proudly represent popular Mexican art. Some of the masks were made in the 18th and 19th centuries and are displayed within the museum according to their expression and original use.
Toma de Zacatecas Museum
Located on Cerro de La Bufa (La Bufa Hill), this interesting museum houses lots of artifacts used during the Mexican Revolution. The museum was originally opened to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Zacatecas and features exhibits of newspapers, photographs, shotguns and canons from that period.
Viceregal Museum of Guadalupe
A magnificent collection of exceptional art can be appreciated in this beautiful baroque building. There are also fantastic exhibits of antique vehicles and a comprehensive history about the development of transport in Mexico. Nowadays, the Zacatecas historic archives are kept in this museum, along with works of art by renowned painters from the viceroyalty period, Christs made of cane, and art made of feathers.
This small, quaint museum is home to a very interesting exhibition of Huichol art. It features an extraordinary 80 sq. ft. mural made up of more than two million small, colored beads. There are more than 150 embroidered pieces on display, as well as a beautiful collection of altarpieces from different religious centers and eras. The museum also has an exhibition of Mexican wrought iron from the 15th and 17th century, and a photographic collection by the artist Juan Victor Arauz.
La Encantada Park
With a large lake in the middle, this beautiful park is a great place to spend time with your family, go for a run or just relax and enjoy the view. It has playgrounds, a library, an aviary and an open-air theater where shows are frequently performed. La Encantada is a fun place for children of all ages, especially when they take a ride on the train that goes around the park.
Santo Domingo and San Agustin
Both temples, along with the beautiful Cathedral, make a majestic triangle of architectural treasures, all constructed with the local quarry stone. Pink quarry stone and silver were the valuable minerals that brought a lot of prosperity to the city of Zacatecas between the 17th and 19th century. Inside the Church of Santo Domingo you can see beautiful baroque altarpieces and impressive paintings from the 18th century depicting the different stages of the trial and crucifixion of Christ.
The old San Agustin Temple was left in a state of disrepair during the 19th and 20th centuries, but fortunately the structure survived. In recent years the archways and facade of this extraordinary building were meticulously restored. The temple was transformed into an important venue for public meetings and cultural events, leaving its original religious purposes behind.
This beautiful theater of performing arts was actually built and reconstructed during the 19th century. In 1834, 55 years after it originally opened, a big fire completely destroyed it and the whole building had to be rebuilt. Today, this theater continues to be one of the most important exhibition sites in Zacatecas. The Calderon Theater, the baroque Cathedral and the Gonzalez Ortega Market make the main street, Av. Higalgo, and the historic center of Zacatecas two areas that you'll definitely want to visit.
The Aerial Cable Car
If you are looking for adventure in the heights, admire a spectacular view from 278 feet above the city in the "Teleferico" (gondola). This is an aerial cable ride located steps from El Eden Mine in El Grillo Mountain, offering a fabulous fly of approximate 7 minutes, over 1235 yards to La Bufa Mountain. During the ride you can see the magnificent colonial facades, streets and alleyways far below that all contributed to this city being on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Zip Line at Cerro de La Bufa
Zipping over the stunning landscape of Zacatecas is sure to be an exhilarating experience for any thrill seeker. The exciting ride starts right at the top of Cerro de La Bufa (La Bufa Hill). You'll only need a short briefing, the right equipment, enough courage and a craving for fun. Fly through the air, and feel the extraordinary rush of adrenaline that is sure to make this experience unforgettable. You'll find yourself crossing, in few seconds, a distance that would normally take several minutes to walk. It might be frightening at the beginning, but once you try it you'll wish the ride would never end.
Tourist Trolley Bus
This is an excellent way to see a large portion of Zacatecas in a relatively short time. Ride on this trolley bus that goes around the main streets of this beautiful colonial city. During the journey you'll get to see the city's most significant museums, churches and monuments, and also learn all about the fascinating history behind every building included on this interesting tour. While on this dynamic sightseeing experience you'll get to see a lot of places that you might want to visit at a later date and explore in more depth.
La Quemada Archeological Site
To understand more about the culture of Zacatecas and explore the beautiful landscape, it's worth spending at least half a day visiting La Quemada archeological site, located just over 30 miles from the city. It features several constructions made of stone slab and mud, which were built on artificial terraces at the base of a mountain and supposedly date back to 800 A.D. There is an additional museum within the area, giving more detailed information about the site.
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