The Best Places to Enjoy the Day of the Dead Celebrations in Mexico

Day Of The Dead, Oaxaca, Mexico
Day Of The Dead, Oaxaca, Mexico | Anna Bruce / © Culture Trip
Photo of Pablo Mares
14 June 2018

The Day of the Dead in Mexico is probably the most original and colorful of ancient celebrations, and one that you need to experience at least once in your lifetime. With flowers and food, the entire country gathers in the hope for peace and rest for the dead. Here are the best spots in Mexico to celebrate the day.

Island of Janitzio

In the lake of Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, this small island is the place where their approach to Day of the Dead festivities is in keeping with the original experience of the celebrations. Thousands of people, locals and foreigners alike, attend this annual meeting in the place where the idea that the spirit of the dead returns to the earth is believed to have originated.

Janitzio Island in the lake of Patzcuaro, Michoacán | © Jose de Jesus Churion Del/Shutterstock


The Historic Center of Oaxaca is considered Human World Heritage by UNESCO. This amazing place is home of one to the most rich and strong cultures in all Mexico, where the past of the native Mexicans is still present nowadays. Here the Day of the Dead is held with a special passion in the local cemeteries of more than 500 towns in the region.

Figure / David Dennis / Flickr

San Miguel de Allende

Considered one of the best places to visit in Mexico, every year this small town holds a four-day festival, known as “La Calaca,” as part of the ceremonies of Day of the Dead throughout the month of November. The festival works to promote and preserve the ancient traditions of the celebrations.

Window / Donna Cleveland / Flickr

Mexico City

You may find this celebration a little bit creepy, but the essence of the Day of the Dead is to remember the loved ones who are not living anymore, bringing them their favorite food, drinks, and music they loved. What better place than Mexico City, the capital and the center of the country, to appreciate the offerings of the millions of people everywhere. You will find many festivals and exhibitions in the public plazas and museums around the city.

Traditional Catrina make-up in the style of Frida Khalo | © Rulo Luna Ramos/Flickr


The tequila and the mariachi music don’t stop during the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico. Here the people used to visit the cemeteries to show some respect to their loved ones. The Catrinas, the representation of a lady dead, fled the city. A good place to know is the Panteón de Belén (Belén Cementery) where there are night tours and special plays during day.

Day of the Dead skeleton decorations in a street market on Morelos park, Guadalajara | © Carolina Arroyo/Shutterstock


With a huge indigenous presence, one of the biggest in Mexico, the communities in Chiapas celebrate the Day of the Dead with many activities in the cemeteries and the local churches. The town of San Juan Chamula, which is still ruled by a traditional Tzotzil indigenous government, celebrate with the K’Anima festival.

Cemetery in Chamula near San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas | © Lucy Brown - loca4motion/Shutterstock


Home of the ancient Maya civilization, the Yucatán Peninsula holds the Hanal Pixan, or “feast of the souls.” Everywhere you will find some figures and flowers in the Altares de Muertos, a common tradition of installing a table with a photograph of the person to whom the offerings are dedicated.

Traditional Day of the Dead altar | © sunsinger/Shutterstock

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