20 Things To Do In Zacatecas, Mexico

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The state of Zacatecas in central Mexico is known for its rich history, stunning architecture and vibrant culture. Situated in the heart of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, the state’s capital city goes by the same name, Zacatecas, and is nestled among hills at a whopping altitude of over 8,000 feet (2438 m). It has a moderate climate throughout the year, with long, warm summers and short, mild winters. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from November to May.

This state is most famous for its silver mining heritage, which dates back to the colonial era when Zacatecas was one of the world’s most important sources of silver. The wealth generated by all the mining here helped build many of the stunning buildings and churches that can be seen in the state’s cities and towns today.

Its traditional cuisine includes dishes such as ‘asado de boda’, the regional ‘mole’ and its ‘birria de chivo’ or goat stew! (Yum!). Here are the best things to do in Zacatecas, Mexico. To make your holiday planning a breeze, we’ve ordered this list from nearest to furthest from the state capital of Zacatecas, where we’re assuming that many will commence their exploration of this rich region!

Zacatecas, Mexico

20 Things To Do In Zacatecas

1- Visit The Most Iconic Symbol of Zacatecas City

zacatecas cathedral angle from the ground
The intricate cathedral in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The Cathedral of Zacatecas is a true masterpiece of Mexican churrigueresque architecture.

Built in the 18th century by some seriously-skilled miners, this cathedral is hands down the most iconic religious building in Zacatecas.

The cathedral was built using the local pink quarry and masterfully blends indigenous and European elements.

The incredible 24-carat gold leaf altarpiece is truly a sight to behold.

Unsurprisingly, this cathedral is often featured on lists of Mexico’s most beautiful churches and cathedrals, so don’t miss this one.

2- Visit The World’s Largest Mask Collection At Rafael Coronel Museum

The Rafael Coronel Museum is in what used to be the Convent of San Francisco which was the first of its kind in the state back in 1593.

The building itself is stunning, with high stone walls and elegantly decorated courtyards to relax in.

Today’s museum houses an incredible collection of Mexican folk art – collected by the amazing Zacatecan artist Rafael Coronel.

It’s an astounding collection of over 16,000 pieces, including drawings, pots, puppets, musical instruments, colonial furniture and (*drumroll*) more than 10,000 Mexican masks.

Masks have been used in many traditions and rites throughout Mexico, and this collection, known as “The Face of Mexico,” is the largest of such collections in the world.

Naturally, it’s the main draw for visitors to this museum.

You’ll also find works by the legendary Diego Rivera and an exhibit of 19th and 20th-century puppets.

The Rafael Coronel Museum is at Ex Convento de San Francisco s/n, Zacatecas Centro, 98000 Zacatecas.

3- Sing And Dance At A Callejoneada

Attending a Callejoneada while in Zacatecas is a must-do cultural experience.

A callejoneada is about walking the streets with friends while following the ‘tamborazo’ (drumbeats) sounds, dancing to live music and following a donkey carrying a barrel of Mezcal.

The tour will take you through the city’s historic centre, where the cobblestone streets are a joy to walk, especially in the evenings, when people party on the 500-year-old streets and alleys under the moonlight.

Don’t miss this cultural opportunity; it’s an experience you will remember forever.

Callejoneada tours start from the Alameda parked at Torreon, Zacatecas Centro, 98000 Zacatecas.

4- Admire Art At The Francisco Goitia Museum

For a dose of culture and art in Zacatecas, stop at the Francisco Goitia Museum.

Since its transformation into a museum in 1978, it has showcased some of the most famous artists from Zacatecas, including Rafael Coronel, Manuel Felguerez, Julio Ruelas and, without saying, Francisco Goitia himself.

There are over 170 works on display here and a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums to inspire you.

The fact that this museum is located in a historic building that once served as the Official Residence of the Governors only adds to the charm and character of the experience.

Visitors can complement their visit by relaxing in the stunning surrounding gardens of this museum to make for a lovely afternoon.

The Francisco Goitia is at Enrique Estrada 102, Sierra de Alica, 98050 Zacatecas.

5- Be Chilled To The Bone At The House of Inquisitor Museum

This entry on our list is not for the faint of heart.

The House of the Inquisitor Museum is a haunting reminder of when people were cruelly imprisoned and burned alive by the Holy Office for their alleged heresies.

Brace yourself for a journey through one of the darkest moments of Mexico’s history as you face to face with original and replica devices and tools used to inflict unimaginable pain on prisoners during the Inquisition trials.

Guides will recount the horrifying details of this grim period in vivid detail.

A visit to the House of The Inquisitor Museum is an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Museu la Casa del Inquisador is at Av. Hidalgo 510, Zacatecas Centro, Zacatecas.

6- Learn About The Rich History Of The Region At Museo Zacatecano

If you’re interested in learning about the rich history of Zacatecas, then the Museo Zacatecano is a must-visit destination.

Housed in the Casa de la Moneda, this museum offers a fascinating journey through the state’s past, from its pre-Hispanic era to its mining and metallurgy industry.

One of the museum’s highlights is its collection of Huichol art, which is both colourful and intricate.

This will give you a glimpse into the traditional culture of the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

You’ll also find an impressive display of famous religious paintings from the 19th century and dedicated rooms showcasing the works of local artists Manuel Carrasco and Antonio Pintor.

Museo Zacatecano is at Dr. Ignacio Hierro 307, Zacatecas Centro, 98000 Zacatecas City.

7- Go Deep Underground And Learn About Zacateca’s Mining Past 

Just a quick 10-minute ride from Zacatecas City’s centre is one of the most important sites of the town’s colonial history, El Eden Mine.

To explore the mine, you’ll hop onto a train on a ride through the mine’s tunnels and galleries to see where the gold and silver ore was extracted and learn about the conditions the workers endured during the long time that this mine was in operation: from the late 16th century until 1960.

There’s an on-site museum, too, with an impressive array of minerals on display.

Kids, in particular, will enjoy the thrill of the subterranean train ride.

El Eden Mine is at Mina del Eden, Antonio Dovali Jaime S/N, Zacatecas Centro, 98000 Zacatecas.

8- Party Underground At La Mina Underground Club

If you’re seeking an unforgettable nightlife experience, get ready to party at La Mina Underground Club like never before.

Tucked deep within the El Eden Mine (the previous entry on our list), this unique and exhilarating nightclub is truly unique.

Located 180 feet (55 meters) below ground, La Mina Club is only accessible by an underground train to add excitement to your journey.

Once inside, you’ll be transported to another world, with pulsing music, flashing lights and mesmerizing wall videos to keep you enthralled all night long.

Whether a seasoned party-goer or just looking for a new and exciting experience, La Mina Underground Club is unique and worth checking out!

La Mina Underground Club is located at: Mina del Eden, Antonio Dovali Jaime S/N, Zacatecas Centro, 98000 Zacatecas.

9- Zipline Over Zacatecas City

aerial view of Zacatecas city
The city of Zacatecas, Mexico.

Tirolesa 840 Zacatecas is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise offering one of the most thrilling activities you’ll find anywhere in Zacatecas City.

Strap on your gear and soar through the air on not one but two incredible zip lines, each one an astounding 2,700 feet (840 m) in length and rising 262 feet (80 m) above the city below.

The adrenaline rush as you glide through the sky is an experience you’ll never forget.

To get to the start of the zip lines, you can take a cab up the hill or hike up the mountain and enjoy the breathtaking natural views.

Tirolesa 840 is at Calle Cerro de la Bufa, Cerro de la Bufa, 98000, Zacatecas.

10- Attend The Grand Feria Nacional Zacatecas

Each September, the Feria Nacional de Zacatecas (National Fair of Zacatecas) is a grand celebration of culture, entertainment and gastronomy.

The fair runs for two weeks and is held in honour of the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Zacatecas.

During the Feria Nacional de Zacatecas, visitors can enjoy various events, such as concerts, theatrical performances, traditional dances, bullfights and horse races.

Visitors will also be able to explore art exhibits, craft markets and culinary showcases featuring traditional Zacatecan cuisine and beverages.

One of the most popular events during the Feria Nacional de Zacatecas is the parade, which includes colourful floats, music and traditional costumes.

In the evenings, a beautiful fireworks show illuminates the night sky in a stunning display of light and colour.

11- Discover The Magic Of Guadalupe

Step into the enchanting town of Guadalupe, where tradition and artistry come together to create a truly magical experience.

This charming town was crowned a “Magic Town” in 2018 for a good reason; it’s bursting with rich cultural heritage and stunning attractions that will take your breath away.

Among its awe-inspiring sights lies the Guadalupe Museum.

This true gem is housed in the historic Convent of Our Lady of Guadalupe with its majestic 18th-century organ.

It boasts an impressive collection of over 800 viceregal art pieces, including masterful paintings, intricate sculptures and exquisite works crafted from feathers.

The cultural treasures of Guadalupe don’t end here. In the former mining hacienda of Bernardez, you’ll find the ‘Centro Platero y Artesanal de Zacatecas’ hub, where beautiful silver jewellery is created.

This might be the place to find that perfect souvenir to take home!

For a taste of local life, head to Juarez Garden.

Iconic landmarks surround this buzzing hub of activity, which is the perfect place to soak up the town’s vibrant atmosphere.

Guadalupe town is located about 10 km away from Zacatecas City.

12- Sip Wine At Campo Real Vineyards

zacatecas mexico three glasses of wine
Tasting local wine is one of the things to do in Zacatecas, Mexico.

For a fun and educational day, head to Campo Real Vineyards.

This fantastic vineyard is home to some of the best quality grapes used to create award-winning wines in the area.

At Campo Real Vineyards, you can indulge in a five-star wine experience, complete with an immersive tour of the wine-making process.

You can explore the dramatic landscape surrounding the vineyard by bike, train or on foot, and even take in a wine tasting to savour the exquisite flavours of their wines.

Campo Real Vineyards makes for a fun day trip and is conveniently located just 27 km south of Zacatecas, at Ojocaliente-Trancoso S/N, 98647 San Jose del Carmen, Zacatecas.

13- Visit The Musically Famed Town Of Jerez de Garcia Salinas

The vibrant and magical musical town of Jerez Zacatecas is most known for its traditional Zacatecan tamborazo music, a legacy from the 19th century.

On November 22nd, visitors come to this town each year to attend the Festival de la Tambora.

Jerez Zacatecas also boasts a rich architectural heritage, with standout landmarks including the Municipal Palace, the 18th-century baroque building that dominates the town’s main square and the Sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de la Soledad.

The Handicrafts Market is a great place to pick up some beautiful gold and silver filigree work and articles of leather and natural fibres.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Centro Ecoturistico El Manantial offers hiking, biking, horseback riding trails, hanging bridges and cosy cabins.

Jerez de Garcia Salinas is 54 km southwest of Zacatecas City.

Top tours in Jerez:

14- Discover The Beginnings Of Mexico At La Quemada Archaeological Site

zacatecas mexico hall of columns
The Hall of Columns in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The La Quemada Archaeological Site is cool to visit if you love history and adventure.

According to legend, La Quemada is linked to the beginnings of the Mexica and other ancient civilizations from Mexico and Central America.

Explore impressive structures like the Votive Pyramid, a huge building with a sloping ramp that leads to a temple at the top and the Hall of Columns, which has 11 giant columns that used to hold up a roof for special ceremonies, possibly even ones that involved human sacrifices! (Eeek!)

La Quemada is in Villanueva, about 56 km south of Zacatecas City.

15- Visit The Silver Capital Of The World, the city of Fresnillo

Fresnillo is a vibrant city that also goes by the names of “El Mineral” and “Silver Capital of the World”.

Not only does this town offer beautiful scenery and a quiet escape, but it’s also home to two incredible attractions.

The Proano Tourist Mine is one of the largest and most lucrative silver mines in the world, where visitors can explore 2,296 feet (700m) underground to learn about the mine’s history and see open cuts, suspension bridges and veins.

There is also a scenic viewpoint, a small zoo and a museum within the mine.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Fresnillo’s Los Jales Ecological Park is another must-see with various activities, including hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing.

Visitors can also take a thrilling ride on a zip line and explore the lake in a kayak or pedal boat.

The park even has a small island with a 33-foot-tall climbing wall and a picnic area.

The town of Fresnillo is located 60 km away from Zacatecas City.

16- Go On A Pilgrimage To Plateros

Plateros is on the Mexico-Ciudad Juarez Highway, just a few miles/kilometres from Fresnillo (our previous entry).

Fresnillo is one of the most famous pilgrimage centres in Mexico.

Here lies the sanctuary of the Santo Nino de Atocha, the protector of miners and it is a powerful symbol of Zacatecas that inspires deep devotion among the faithful.

During the Santo Nino de Atocha feast on Christmas Day, tens of thousands of people come to the sanctuary to ask for blessings or to give thanks. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to see such a large crowd united in their faith.

The sanctuary itself is a magnificent example of late baroque architecture, featuring neoclassical altarpieces and other valuable works of art.

Located on the historic Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, this World Heritage Site is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Mexican history and culture.

Plateros is 63 km away from Zacatecas City.

17- Embark On Adventures At Sierra de Valparaiso

Sierra de Valparaiso is a forest area nestled in the municipality of the same name.

If you’re a fan of hunting and fishing, Sierra de Valparaiso park offers expeditions for turkey, deer and wild boar.

It’s the perfect spot for adventure sports like hiking and mountain biking, and to experience it all, it’s worth spending a few days taking the area in.

This is possible as many cabins or camping areas are available at this site.

Sierra de Valparaiso is 155 km from Zacatecas City.

18- Visit The Town Of Sombrereta

The ‘magical town’ of Sombrereta has something for everyone.

This mining town is known for its impressive architecture and the stunning beauty of the Sierra de Organos National Park with its towering rock formations that resemble organ pipes (hence the name!).

It has been the backdrop for over 65 national and international films, such as John Wayne western movies, The Guns of Navarone and Caveman, among others.

Sombrerete also offers a gastronomic delight called “brujitas.” These are fried corn tortilla tacos stuffed with minced meat, potatoes and beans. They are a tasty snack to munch on while you wander the town.

Sombrerete is located 170 km north of the capital of Zacatecas taking federal highway number 45 towards Durango.

19- Visit Colourful Juchipila

Nestled in the breathtaking Juchipila Canyon, between the majestic Morones and Nochistlan mountain ranges, lies the charming town and municipality of Juchipila.

Its name in Nahua means “place of beautiful flowers” and the town’s vibrant colours and picturesque streets certainly live up to it.

The town’s crown jewels are the magnificent 18th-century parish church and the birthplace of a local hero, Antonio Rosales Flores.

Juchipila is also home to an incredible archaeological site known as Cerro de las Ventanas (Hill of the Windows).

This site features caverns with observatories that look like giant windows, including a structure known as Casa del Acantilado (House of the Cliff), believed to have been a lookout point.

The ruins also include an 18-foot (5.6m) high pyramid and a ball game court platform.

At Juchipila be transported to a world of colour and wonder that’s impossible to forget.

The town of Juchipila is located 190 km away from Zacatecas City.

20- Be Enchanted By Magical Teul de Gonzalez

Teul de Gonzalez Ortega is another proud holder of the coveted title, “Magical Town” and it earned this distinction through its impressive architectural and archaeological treasures.

One of the most iconic landmarks in Teul is the stunning church of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, a true masterpiece of Mexican religious architecture dating back to 1535.

Another must-see is the Cerro de Teul archaeological site which has an imposing pyramid atop its summit.

And for a taste of something truly special, be sure to visit the Don Aurelio Lamas Mezcal Factory, a nearly century-old institution that offers guided tours of its facilities.

Teul de Gonzalez Ortega is a treasure trove of history and culture. Be sure to include it in your itinerary!

Teul de Gonzalez Ortega is 212 km from Zacatecas City.

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Jane Williams is a writer living in Mexico. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, she has visited over 30 countries and lived in Japan for two years. Passionate about culture and history, her fascination for ancient civilisations has led to her to explore the world's iconic sites, such as Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat. Even though she loves uncovering the secrets of the past, she feels equally at home exploring contemporary culture. A mother of two with a degree in anthropology, she enjoys sharing her travel adventures with others.