12 Best Cities in Mexico to Visit

Mexico is a land full of adventure, culture, and history. The country is rich in diversity, with something to offer for everyone. From the bustling city life of Mexico City to the beautiful beaches of Cancun, there is no shortage of places to visit in Mexico. But there can be quite a bit of variation in the quality of tourism infrastructure from city to city. So if you’re looking for some advice on which city to go to, I’ve got you covered. Here are the 12 Best Cities to Visit in Mexico based on popularity and my own experience.

Best Cities in Mexico to Visit

1. Mexico City

Mexico City was the first stop on my Mexico trip, and I have to say, I was very impressed. Mexico City is a huge metropolis with a lot to offer tourists. There are world-class museums, beautiful parks, lively nightlife scenes, and much more.

One of the best things about Mexico City is that it is very walkable. I spent days exploring the city on foot and never got tired. I started my days by visiting some of the city’s many museums, such as the Museo Nacional de Antropologia and the Museo Frida Kahlo.

Afterward, I walked around the city’s many parks, such as the massive Chapultepec Park. This park is over 1,600 acres and has something for everyone, from hiking trails to a zoo to an art museum. I also spent an afternoon walking around the historic center of the city, which is home to many important landmarks, such as the Zocalo (Main Square) and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Also, don’t forget to check out the city’s food scene. I ate my way through the city, sampling everything from street food to fine dining. I even took a taco tour where I tried some of the best tacos. Overall, I had an amazing time in Mexico City. This is a huge, vibrant city with a lot to offer tourists. 

2. Oaxaca

At first glance, Oaxaca may not seem like much. But this city, located in southwestern Mexico, is actually a hidden gem, with a lot to offer tourists.

Oaxaca is best known for its food. The city is home to some of the best restaurants in Mexico, serving up traditional Oaxacan dishes such as Mole Negro and tamales. If you’re a foodie, Oaxaca should definitely be on your list of the best cities in Mexico to visit.

But Oaxaca is not all about food. The city is also home to a number of interesting museums, such as the Museo de Los Pintores Oaxaquenos, which showcases the work of local artists. And if you’re looking for some culture, be sure to check out the Guelaguetza Festival, a yearly event that celebrates the indigenous culture of Oaxaca.

Be sure to walk through the city’s Zocalo, the main square, which is surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings. It’s here that you’ll get a real sense of the city’s history and culture.

3. Guadalajara

Guadalajara is the capital of Mexico’s Jalisco state and is one of the country’s largest cities. It is also one of the best places to visit in Mexico, as it is a beautiful and vibrant city with a lot to offer tourists.

The city is best known for its well-preserved architecture, which includes a number of beautiful colonial-style buildings. The Cathedral of Guadalajara is one of the city’s most impressive landmarks and is definitely worth a visit.

Guadalajara is also known for its vibrant culture, which is on display in the city’s many museums and art galleries. I particularly enjoyed visiting the Instituto Cultural Cabanas, which is housed in a former hospital that has been turned into an art museum.

If you’re looking for nightlife, Guadalajara is the place to be. The city has a lively music scene and is home to a number of popular nightclubs.

Overall, I was very impressed with Guadalajara. It is a beautiful city with a lot to offer tourists. If you are planning a trip to visit Mexico cities, I highly recommend adding Guadalajara to your itinerary.

4. Playa del Carmen

If you’re looking for a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, then Playa del Carmen is the place for you. This beach town is located about an hour south of Cancun and is a popular spot for travelers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Playa del Carmen is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are plenty to choose from. My favorite was Playa Mamitas, which features a lovely stretch of sand and clear blue waters.

In addition to its beaches, Playa del Carmen is also home to a number of interesting attractions. I recommend visiting the Mayan Ruins of Tulum, an ancient city that sits atop a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. And be sure to check out the Xcaret Ecological Park, where you can swim in underground rivers and explore caves.

Playa del Carmen is definitely one of the best cities in Mexico to visit if you’re looking for a relaxed and enjoyable vacation. I recommend spending at least three days here for a well-rounded experience.

5. Cancun

Cancun is a world-famous beach destination in Mexico, and I have to say, it lives up to the hype. This is a place where you can find something to do 24/7, whether you want to party all night or just relax on the beach all day. I spent a week here and was never bored for a minute.

The beaches in Cancun are simply stunning, with their white sand and turquoise waters. I spent most of my time on the beaches of Playa del Carmen, which is about an hour south of Cancun. But no matter where you go in Cancun, you are sure to find a beautiful stretch of sand to call your own.

If you’re looking for nightlife, Cancun has plenty to offer. The Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) is where you’ll find most of the city’s nightclubs and bars, as well as its many hotels and resorts. This is also where you’ll find the famous Coco Bongo nightclub, which is a must-visit if you’re looking for a wild night out.

But Cancun is not all about partying. There are also plenty of cultural attractions to check out, such as the Mayan Museum, which houses a large collection of artifacts from the Maya civilization. And no trip to Cancun would be complete without a visit to the El Rey Ruins, a site of an ancient Maya city.

With a lot of things to see and do, it’s no wonder that Cancun is one of the best places to visit in Mexico. I suggest planning a trip of at least a week so that you can experience all that this city has to offer.

6. Puerto Vallarta

My trip to Mexico would not have been complete without a visit to Puerto Vallarta, one of the country’s most popular beach destinations. Located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful resort city with plenty of sunshine, sandy beaches, and clear blue waters.

The city’s old town, El Centro, is a great place to start exploring. Here you’ll find a pedestrian-only zone with cobblestone streets, colonial-style buildings, and plazas lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. El Centro is also home to Puerto Vallarta’s iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a beautiful 20th-century cathedral with colorful murals.

Puerto Vallarta’s beaches are some of the best in Mexico. I spent a day lounging on Los Muertos Beach, which is located in the city’s old town and is popular with both locals and tourists. The beach has plenty of palm trees for shade, as well as a boardwalk where you can find restaurants, bars, and shops.

I also took a day trip to Marietas Islands National Park, an ecological reserve located just offshore from Puerto Vallarta. The islands are home to a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, turtles, and birds. Visitors can also swim in the crystal clear waters or explore one of the many caves and tunnels on the islands.

7. Guanajuato

Guanajuato was not in my original plans when I was researching places to visit in Mexico. However, I met some travelers who had just come from there, and they were raving about how beautiful and unique the city is. So I decided to give it a try.

Located in the mountains of central Mexico, Guanajuato is best known for its museums, which showcase the city’s long and storied past. The Museo de las Momias (Museum of the Mummies) is a particular highlight. It houses a collection of naturally mummified corpses of locals who died in the mid-19 century from a cholera outbreak. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other museums to choose from, such as the Museum of Quixote and the Museo Casa Diego Rivera.

In addition to its museums, Guanajuato is also known for its vibrant street life and many plazas. The Jardin de la Union is the city’s main square and a great place to sit and have a cup of coffee while you take in the sights and sounds of Guanajuato.

Other notable attractions include the Templo de San Cayetano, a beautiful church with an elaborately decorated interior. If you have time, watch a show at Juarez Theater, one of the most luxurious theaters in Mexico.

Take your time exploring Guanajuato, and you’re sure to fall in love with this city, as I did. This is a place that has something for everyone, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best cities to visit in Mexico.

8. Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a beautiful resort town located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. This is a place that is well-known for its stunning beaches, luxury resorts, and vibrant nightlife.

My trip here started with a visit to Lovers Beach. This is a secluded beach that can only be reached by boat, and it is definitely worth the effort to get there. The water is crystal clear, and the beach is simply gorgeous.

I also took a glass bottom boat tour to see the amazing underwater life around Cabo San Lucas. This is a must-do activity if you are interested in snorkeling or scuba diving, as there are some great spots for both activities nearby.

Of course, no trip to Cabo San Lucas would be complete without a visit to The Arch, a natural rock formation that has become an icon of the city. This is a popular spot for both tourists and locals, and the views are simply breathtaking.

9. Puebla

Puebla is a colonial-era city located in central Mexico, about two hours southeast of Mexico City. The city was founded in 1531 and quickly became one of the most important cities in the country. The city’s golden era came during the 17th century when it was known as the “City of Angels” for its many beautiful churches and monasteries.

Today, Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Some of the highlights of the city include the Palacio de Gobierno, a beautiful government palace with a stunning interior; the Zocalo, the city’s main square; and the Catedral de Puebla, a massive Baroque cathedral that is one of the largest in Latin America.

Puebla is also famous for its ceramic tiles, called Talavera. These colorful tiles can be found all over the city, adorning the walls of buildings, homes, and even churches.

There are plenty of things to see and do in Puebla, making it one of the best cities in Mexico to visit. Plan to spend at least two or three days exploring the main sights of the city. And be sure to try some of the city’s famous mole poblano, a delicious sauce made with a variety of different spices.

10. San Miguel de Allende

I had always heard good things about San Miguel de Allende, a small city located in central Mexico with colonial-era architecture. But I was not prepared for just how beautiful and charming this city would be.

As soon as I arrived in the city, I could see why it is such a popular tourist destination. The city is filled with beautiful Spanish Colonial buildings, many of which have been preserved and are now used as hotels, restaurants, and shops. The streets are narrow and winding, and the flowers and greenery everywhere make the city feel alive.

There is plenty to see and do in San Miguel de Allende, but one of the best things to do is simply wander around and take in the sights. I also recommend taking a tour of the city’s many churches, such as the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Mexico.

If you’re looking for a more active activity, there are plenty of options as well. I went on a hike to El Mirador, a lookout point where you can get a great view of the city. And if you’re up for it, you can also take a hot air balloon ride over the city for an even better view.

There is no doubt in my mind that San Miguel de Allende is one of the best places to visit in Mexico. This is a city that has it all: stunning architecture, plenty of things to do, and a great location in central Mexico.

11. Merida

Merida is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan and is one of the best places to visit in Mexico if you’re interested in learning about the Maya civilization. The city is home to a large number of Maya ruins, as well as a number of museums and other cultural attractions.

I started my exploration of Merida at the Maya Museum, which is housed in a beautiful colonial-style building. The museum has a large collection of Maya artifacts, as well as a lot of information about the Maya civilization.

From there, I headed to the Dzibilchaltun Ruins, an ancient Maya city that is just a short drive from Merida. The ruins are spread over a large area, and there is a lot to see, including an impressive pyramid. After exploring the ruins, I took a dip in one of the natural sinkholes (cenotes) that are found in the area. These sinkholes are popular swimming spots for locals and tourists alike.

Other notable attractions in Merida include the Paseo de Montejo, a grand boulevard lined with colonial-style mansions, and the Cathedral of San Ildefonso, a beautiful cathedral located in the city’s main square.

There is plenty to see and do in Merida, and I only scratched the surface during my time there.

12. Acapulco

Last on this list is Acapulco, one of the best cities in Mexico, loved by beach-goers and party-goers alike. This city is located on Mexico’s Pacific coast and is known for its lush vegetation, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife.

The beaches in Acapulco are some of the best in Mexico, and I was particularly impressed with La Quebrada beach, which is famous for its cliff diving. I also enjoyed lounging on the beach at Caleta, which is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and people-watching.

While the beaches are definitely the highlight of Acapulco, there are also plenty of other things to do in this city. I suggest taking a walk through the Old Acapulco district, where you’ll find a number of well-preserved colonial-era buildings. You can also visit the Fort of San Diego, which was built in the 17th century to protect Acapulco from pirates.

And of course, my trip to Acapulco would not be complete without enjoying the city’s famous nightlife. I spent my second night partying at Baby’O Acapulco, and I can say with certainty that Acapulco knows how to party.

All in all, Acapulco is a great city to visit if you’re looking for a beach vacation with a bit of excitement.

In summary

Which of these Mexican cities is right for you? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, Cancun is the place for you. Guanajuato and Oaxaca are both great options if you’re interested in culture and history. And if you’re looking for a party city, you can’t go wrong with Acapulco. Whatever your interests, you’re sure to find a city in Mexico that’s perfect for you.