Mexico has no shortage of vacation destinations, and this diverse country offers something for every type of visitor. Travelers looking for white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters can opt for coastal destinations like Cancun and Tulum, while those looking for more history and culture can visit spots like Mexico City and Morelia. I recently had the chance to visit Morelia, a beautiful, historic city that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and I can easily say it is now one of my favorite cities in Mexico. The rich history, architectural beauty and vibrant culture of Morelia are consuming, and my only regret is that I wish I had more time in this elegant, beautiful city.
My opportunity to visit Morelia came out of the blue – my friend informed me that he was traveling to Morelia, Mexico in a couple of days, but the person he was originally supposed to travel with backed out. Since I was drawn to the idea of visiting one of Mexico’s most historic cities, I made a spontaneous decision to travel to Morelia with my friend. I quickly went online to book a flight, and then I used HotelTonight to book my last-minute hotel in Morelia. In just a few minutes, I had my travel plans set and a great hotel waiting for me in the heart of this Mexican town, and I was ready to start exploring this historic city.
I was glad that I booked a hotel in downtown Morelia, as this is the true heart and center of the city. As the capital city of the state of Michoacan, Morelia is home to beautiful government buildings, as well as a university and countless historic buildings, almost all of which can be found downtown. As my friend and I wandered downtown Morelia, we came across plenty of great restaurants, shops, museums and squares. The most recognizable attraction in Morelia is the Cathedral, a grand, opulent cathedral located downtown. This stunning cathedral is breathtaking from all angles – both inside and outside – so it’s definitely worth a visit.
After a few locals told us that we had to visit the market while we were in town, we walked over to the Mercado de Dulces Y Artesanias Morelia. This market is housed in a beautiful pink-stone building that almost looks like a church, but on the inside you won’t find any pews or pulpits. Instead, you’ll find a colorful, vibrant bazaar filled with yummy sweets and handcrafted artisanal goods. Whether you’re looking for great souvenirs or for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, you’ll definitely find something in this Mercado.
This historic garden is located in the center of Morelia, and it’s a popular place for students to study and for locals to socialize and grab a bite to eat and something cold to drink. While most people refer to this popular square as the “las rosas” garden, its official name is the Luis Gonzalez Gutierrez Garden. We sat on the patio of a charming restaurant and watched the locals wander through the garden, and it was here we really started to get a good sense of Morelia’s unique vibe.
One of the city’s most important historical sights is the aqueduct (or El Acueducto), which has been carefully preserved throughout the centuries. The aqueduct dates back to the 18th century, and it stretches for 1,600 meters. At night, the aqueduct is particularly jaw dropping, as the city lights up its 253 pink-stone arches when the sun goes down. We enjoyed a long, peaceful stroll along this historic aqueduct that night, and we found that many locals enjoy nighttime walks along the aqueduct trail as well.
Considered the city’s historic heart, Plaza de Armas is almost impossible to miss during a trip to Morelia. After all, it’s where many of the city’s most historic and most important buildings are located, including the Town Hall. While it’s known for its historic significance, Plaza de Armas is also just a beautiful place to sit back, relax, and absorb the vibrant culture and energy around you. This plaza is the perfect spot for a picnic, to sit and read a book or simply to people watch and learn morn about Morelia’s culture.
Sometimes, the best things in life come without a warning, which is just how this impromptu trip came about. Even though I had no time to plan a travel itinerary, I was able to book a great last-minute hotel in Morelia through HotelTonight, so I spent the rest of the trip going with the flow and discovering the Morelia that locals love. Morelia quickly became one of my very favorite cities in Mexico, as I couldn’t resist its history, beauty and infectious energy. Next time I have a craving for some delicious Mexican cuisine and beautiful, historic buildings, I’ll definitely check out HotelTonight to book my Morelia accommodations.