The state of Zacatecas is a rugged, semi-desert, cactus-strewn area in central Mexico. The state is best known for the affluent silver city and capital of the same name. The importance of mining to the state goes back a long way. On September 8, 1546, with the discovery of its mines, the present city of Zacatecas was founded. Alvarado, one of Zacatecas most productive silver mines, has records showing almost $800,000,000 in silver production from 1548-1867.

Visitors to Zacatecas can enjoy the region’s historical and natural monuments, ancient ruins, amazing museums, and spectacular outdoor activities. It’s a state with much history and “magic” to offer its visitors.

Some of the state’s major tourist centers are Zacatecas, Sombrerete, Jerez, Fresnillo, and La Quemada.

Zacatecas, the capital city, offers its visitors an experience rich in culture and history. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, which means that the city has retained its historic colonial culture. It also means that any new structures to the city must also reflect that era. Here visitors can view baroque-style colonial buildings and cobblestone streets, as well as a magnificent cathedral and cultural museums. The city Zacatecas is the state Zacatecas’ most beautiful city.

Don’t miss the famous Rafael Coronel Museum in the city of Zacatecas. The museum has on exhibit a collection of over 5,000 masks. One of the largest mask collections in Mexico, it displays masks gathered from throughout the country. The museum’s building is also of interest, having been built in 1567 and previously used as a San Francisco Convent.

The colonial city of Sombrerete, founded in 1555, is a runner up to the state’s most beautiful city of Zacatecas, with its beautiful churches and other ancient ornate buildings.

Another city that has much to offer its visitors is Jerez de Garcia Salinas. Over two decades ago, in 1988, Jerez de Garcia Salinas was designated as a National Monument. During 2007, due to the city’s preserved traditions and culture, it was designated a "Pueblo Mágico". And the city was made internationally famous by local writer, Lopez Velarde. That’s a lot for one city!

Popular attractions in Jerez are the Sanctuary of Soledad, the ornate Church of the Immaculate Conception, and the De La Torre Building.

The city of Fresnillo is also a favorite tourist destination in Zacatecas. Here you’ll want to check out the famous Sanctuary of Plateros, which is one of the most important religious sanctuaries of the country and is where the Santo Niño de Atocha is acclaimed. Other hotspots are the Municipal Palace and the Mining Museum.

Visiting a Hacienda is a great way to experience history. The Camino Real Hacienda sits at the junction between Jerez and Fresnillo and is well worth a trip.

La Quemada is one of the northern region’s most important archaeological zones. Here you can visit ruins from the city’s village with its estimated 3,000 inhabitants of 300-1200 AD. Also on site is a modern museum with interesting archaeology exhibits. It’s worth your while to visit the museum first to get the background and history of the buildings and conceptualize the ruins with the museum’s miniature model of the site.

If you are looking for some spectacular outdoor activities, Zacatecas has a variety of natural attractions found at Parque Nacional Sierra de Órganos, the Sierra de Organos and the Sierra de los Cardos mountain ranges. All have impressive cliffs and rock formations, ideal for rappelling and rock climbing. The areas are also great for camping, hiking, and mountain biking.

For more extreme sport activity, fly across a former open-pit mine on a zip-line at Cerro de la Bufa.

Zacatecas has many exciting festivals and if you are visiting there during one, you are definitely invited to attend! Held in late August, a popular and interesting festival is the La Morisma. Over 2,000 participants come to re-enact the battle between the Christians and the Moors of old Spain. The faux soldiers battle on the streets as musicians accompany their efforts. It’s a tradition dating back hundreds of years.

The Cultural Festival of Zacatecas, held each year during the Holy Week in the capital city, is a much talked about event with many national and local artistic displays; as is the Festival of the Spring, celebrated with bullfights, a running of the bulls, dances, and an agricultural exhibition.

There are many tour bus excursions leaving from the capital city of Zacatecas to other cities and attractions, allowing you to take the most advantage of your trip to this area.

Spanish version of this page: Zacatecas