The Best Things to See and Do in Pachuca, Mexico

The flag of Mexico
The flag of Mexico | Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplas

Pachuca, Hidalgo, called the Windy Beauty for its famous blustery days, is an under-appreciated Mexican capital, but one that packs a punch in terms of culture, food, and entertainment. Any of the reasons on this list would be enough to convince you, but now that you know all there is to offer, you have no excuses.

Go museum-hopping

Taking in a few museums is always a good idea, and fortunately Pachuca has some great ones. First try out the Cuartel de Arte housed inside of the former Convento de San Francisco. This cultural complex houses three museums, an art gallery, a theater, a library, and some stunning architecture. Be sure to also stop at the city’s Mining Museum for a look into its past, and at the Football Hall of Fame Museum for a look at one of its greatest passions.

Take in a game

The Cornish miners of Pachuca are credited with bringing soccer to the Americas when they formed the original Pachuca league. These days, the town’s soccer team is one of the best in Mexico, and it would be a shame for any fan to pass up seeing them live. The Liga MX has a two-tournament season, one of which starts at the beginning of summer and one at the beginning of winter, meaning that any time you head to Pachuca, you are most likely going to be able to see a game.

Admire local architecture

The town of Pachuca has som truly beautiful architecture that deserves at least an afternoon of wandering through the city’s streets. By sure to see El Reloj, the town’s clocktower which was built by the same engineers as London’s Big Ben in 1910 in traditional neoclassical style. Other buildings to take note of are the The House of Culture (the Efren Rebolledo Cultural Forum), the Colorado House, the Cajas Reales, the Rule House, the Bancomer building, the Barreteros Market, the University, the Historical Archives, the Art School, the San Francisco Church, and the Methodist Temple.

Learn about ancient civilizations

When you think about visiting a major city, ancient ruins don’t generally come to mind, but there are several sites close enough to Pachuca that you can see them in a day. Xihuingo, one of the oldest ruins in the area and home to the mysterious Teotihuacans, is less than an hour’s drive from the city. Huapalcalco, the supposed one time home of the mortal man who would become the god Quetzalcoatl, is only an hour. And most importantly, The Tula site, ancient capital of the Toltec empire, is just under 2 hours driving.

Get out in nature

Pachuca happens to have a privileged position surrounded by breathtaking mountains and lots of natural beauty. There are dozens of great parks throughout the state of Hidalgo, but you don’t have to venture far from Pachuca to enjoy a little communing with birds and bees. The stunning El Cedral Dam, located inside the National Park, El Chico, is a great place for sport fishing, camping, and hiking. Llano Grande and Valle de los Enamorados are two small valleys on the edge of El Chico park, with Llano Grande slightly larger in size. They offer hiking, boating (Llano Grande), and other outdoor activities, as well as cabin rental and camping zones.

Enjoy public art

Recently finished, the Macromural de Palmitas is a massive mural painted by a group of young graffiti artists on the sides of houses in a working-class neighborhood in Pachuca called Palmitas. Its rainbow of colors stands out amongst the gray of the cityscape, and it’s an absolute must-see in the city. Also stop by the Parque David Ben Gurion, to see the multicolored mosaic plaza designed by Byron Gálvez Avilés and dedicated to the “women of the world.”

Macromural

Catch a show

As a main business and cultural center in Hidalgo, there are lots of concerts and shows that take place throughout the year in Pachuca. While you’re there, you might want to take in a symphony or see a show at one of Pachuca’s most famous (and architecturally stunning) theaters: the Teatro Hidalgo or the Teatro San Francisco Pachuca – considered to be one of the best theaters in all of Latin America.

Learn how to make pulque

Hidalgo’s pulque-making tradition has a long-honored history in the region, and now the state is finally capitalizing on it to show this unique ancient beverage to visitors. There are a series of ex-haciendas that still make pulque and offer guided tours, museums, pulque-making demonstrations and gorgeous natural landscapes to enjoy as you follow the Ruta de Pulque. For instructions on how to get there, prices, and hours, its best to call ahead to the indidvidual haciendas and sometimes to make an advance reservation.

Sample local cuisine

Silver mining, once Pachuca’s most powerful industry, brought not only the Spanish to this region, but the English as well. You can see their influence on various levels, but one of those is local cuisine. The English brought the concept of pasties, which are similar to empanadas, but with a flakier crust and with either savory or sweet fillings. They are a must-try for any visitor before they leave the city limits. Pachuca’s hometown company, Santa Clara Dairy (now owned by Coca-Cola) has provided the city with a long-time obsession with ice cream that you will find everywhere; don’t you dare skip Hidalgo-style barbacoa (slow-roasted lamb), famous throughout Mexico.

Say a little prayer

In the 1940s, 15 miners working in the El Paricutín mine for the Compañía Real del Monte mining company were being raised up out of the mine after a long day’s work on a type of wooden platform that functioned like an elevator. In the midst of their ride up, the machine suddenly stopped and they dangled 30 meters above the mine floor praying they wouldn’t slam back into the ground at full speed. They prayed to Christ, promising to build him a monument if he saved them. Suddenly, the elevator began to move again, and that is the legend behind how the Cristo Rey, one of Pachuca’s favorite and most famous attractions came to be. The statue and the overlook constructed around it offer great views of the city below.

Cristo Rey, Antigua carretera a Mineral del Monte, Estado de Hidalgo, Mexico

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