Things to do in Pachuca, Mexico. There’s more to see than you think, even a dragon-guarded castle! Also includes where to stay in Pachuca.
We had the pleasure of staying in Pachuca for a couple of weeks thanks to a house sit that we did there. Pachuca, also known as Pachuca de Soto, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Hidalgo. Pachuca was once a major mining hub, although that ended around the mid-20th century.
Today, Pachuca is a college town with multiple universities. It is considered the “Cradle of Mexican Soccer” and is also known for its “pastes” which were influenced by Cornish pasties. And, of course, we have to mention that Pachuca holds two Guinness World Records!
Mexico City To Pachuca
We traveled from Mexico City to Pachuca by bus. We used Autobuses ADO, a bus line that we’ve used before. The trip from Mexico City to Pachuca takes about two hours. Tickets cost between 85 and 120 MXN ($4.25 and $6), depending on the time of day you leave. The bus was clean, comfortable, and we felt safe the entire time.
Things To Do In Pachuca
We were wrong! It turns out there are a lot of things to do in Pachuca. Below is everything we got into during our visit…
Tranvía Turístico – Trolley Tour
One of the best ways to see Pachuca is to take a trolley tour with Tranvía Turístico. It’s also a good way to get the layout of the city, which is something we always try to do right away. We actually stumbled upon this trolley by accident; as we were walking around we were approached by a woman selling tickets. We thought their prices and routes were great, so we decided to get on the next tour.
Tranvía Turístico tours leave from the center of Pachuca, on the western side of Plaza de la Independencia. We paid with cash, but didn’t think to ask if they accept credit cards so that is something to keep in mind. We were happy to get seats in the front row of the roof. In a little over an hour, we saw most of the major sights in Pachuca, making mental notes of where we wanted to go back and spend more time. The woman giving the tour (in Spanish) was funny and engaging. We learned some interesting facts about Pachuca!
Two tour routes are offered by the company. We decided to go with Route Two because it made a stop at the Cristo Rey (Christ The King) statue just outside of town. That was something we were wanting to see but we weren’t sure how we were going to get there. This tour fixed that. At the statue we were given 15 minutes to walk around and take in the iconic statue of Christ and the surrounding views.
Reloj Monumental – Monumental Clock
One of the top things to do in Pachuca is to visit the city’s iconic clock. It is also located in Plaza de la Independencia, so you can easily visit before or after your trolley tour. It’s a stunning clock and was built in 1910 to commemorate the Centennial of Mexico’s Independence.
The clock is 40 meters tall and in the middle there are four sculpted faces of women done in Italian Carrara marble. They symbolize Reform, Liberty, Independence, and Constitution. Something we learned while on the trolley tour is that the inner clock workings were made by the same company that built Big Ben in London!
While you’re in the plaza, make sure to also pay a visit to the giant colorful letters that spell “PACHUCA” for a fun photo op.
Parroquia De La Asuncion De Maria – Parish Of The Assumption Of Mary
As the oldest church in Pachuca, the Parroquia de la Asuncion de Maria is a must-see. It was built in 1553, with many restorations done over the years. It’s not a very extravagant church, but it is still very pretty. It did take us a couple of tries to enter because it seemed like their opening hours were changing, but since we were walking around the area we popped by later in the day and it was open.
Archivo Histórico Y Museo De Minería – Historical Archive And Mining Museum
Pachuca’s history revolves around the mining industry. The best way to learn about that history is to visit the Archivo Histórico y Museo de Minería. This was a really fascinating museum with displays and artifacts that reflect the history of mining in Pachuca from 1556 to 1967.
Seeing some of the gear that miners used to use and photos of the conditions they worked in… wow. The museum is also in a beautiful building that was once owned by one of the big mining companies in the area. We left the museum truly appreciating just how important mining was in both Pachuca and Mexico.
Mercado De Barreteros – Barreteros Market
We always love visiting local markets. They are colorful, loud, and some of the best places to do as the locals do. El Mercado de Barreteros has been around since 1927. Visiting this market is one of the best things to so in Pachuca. Inside you’ll find all kinds of fruits and vegetables. You’ll also find vendors selling traditional food. It’s a great place to get lunch.
Plaza Juarez – Juarez Square
Another top place to visit in Pachuca’s historic center is Plaza Juarez. This large square is where many important events happen throughout the year. During the holidays, the city’s Christmas tree is placed in the square. It’s also where Pachuca broke the Guinness World Record for creating the largest Day of the Dead altar in 2019.
Plaza Juarez is also where you will find a monument to Benito Juarez and the Hidalgo Bartolomé de Medina Theater.
Basílica Menor De Santa María De Guadalupe (La Villita) – Minor Basilica Of Saint Mary Of Guadalupe
Another beautiful church to visit is the Basílica Menor de Santa María de Guadalupe. It was originally built in 1907 and then rebuilt in 1952. Inside are various sculptures and paintings of Catholica saints. There are also magnificent stained glass windows.
Parque David Ben Gurion – David Ben Gurion Park
Parque David Ben Gurion, which was inaugurated in 2005, pays tribute to one of the founders of the State of Israel, David Ben Gurion. The park is over 26 hectares large. It is home to the Ricardo Garibay State Central Library, the Tuzoforum Convention Center, the Fútbol Hall of Fame, the Mundo Fútbol Interactive Center, and the Gota de Plata Theater.
It is also where you can find the largest mosaic in Latin America! In fact, taking a picture of this mosaic is one of the top things to do in Pachuca. It’s called “Homage to the Woman of the World” and was created by Byron Gálvez Avilés between 2001 and 2005. Its dimensions are 80 meters wide by 400 meters long, with an area of 32,100 square meters. It is divided into 16 modules that contain 2,080 figures made with approximately 7 million mosaics of 12 different sizes and 45 different colors. It’s really quite impressive.
Museo De Fútbol (Salón De La Fama) Y Centro Interactivo Mundo Fútbol – Soccer Museum (Hall Of Fame) And World Soccer Interactive Center
Let me start this by saying you don’t have to be a soccer fan to enjoy this. It’s a fun place regardless and you can spend hours in their interactive exhibits. There are two buildings, and when you buy your ticket it includes both (you can pay extra for additional events going on). The first building is the interactive center. There are games, ways to test your physical abilities, movies, and more.
The second building is in the shape of a soccer ball. Inside is a circular ramp and as you walk upwards, there are exbibits telling the history of Mexican soccer. Some of the artifacts on display were incredible. Like I said earlier, even if you’re not a soccer fan, you can still appreciate the importance of it. When you reach the top, that is where you will find the Hall of Fame, with the history of its ceremonies and inductees.
Museo De Miniaturas Castillo De Dragones – Dragon Castle Miniatures Museum
This is probably one of the most unique things to do in Pachuca. When we saw on Google Maps that there was a museum of miniatures, we were intrigued. But then when we saw that it was in a dragon-guarded castle… sold! And we loved every minute of our time there.
They have the largest collection of miniature art in Mexico. There are three floors and they have all kinds of different themes. We saw classic miniature doll houses, but also scenes from movies like Star Wars. We especially loved the miniatures depicting traditional Mexican scenes.
Pro Tip: If you love miniatures as much as we do, visit the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City, Missouri.
Cristo Rey – Christ The King
As we mentioned before, we were able to see the Cristo Rey statue while on the trolley tour. There is a small parking lot so you can also drive there if you have a car. The statue is on the Santa Apolonia Mountain and at 33 meters high, is one of the largest in Mexico.
In 1940, a group of miners were trapped underground; a winch got stuck and they could couldn’t be lifted up. After many tense minutes, they prayed and promised that if Christ the King saved them, they would build a monument to him. Suddenly the winch broke free and they were able to escape. It took many decades to acquire enough money and land, but in 1996 the statue was finally completed.
El Mirador De Pachuca – Pachuca Observation Deck
If you want to get some really awesome views of Pachuca, head up to El Mirador De Pachuca (link to location on Google Maps). This observation deck is on the way to the Cristo Rey statue. You can see for miles and it shows you just how big Pachuca is.
Parque Ecológico Cubitos – Cubitos Ecological Park
If you want to get to know the local plants and vegetation of the area, we recommend a visit to Parque Ecológico Cubitos. The ecopark is just over 90 hectares and has bike paths, sculptures, a labyrinth, and various gardens. It does get hot and there isn’t much shade, so we suggest going in the morning when they open.
Estadio Hidalgo – Hidalgo Stadium
This soccer stadium is where the Pachuca Soccer Club plays. They are better known as the “Tuzos del Pachuca.” Even if you’re not able to catch a game, we still recommend visiting the stadium. In 2018, a mural was painted on the stairs of the stadium. It has five well-known Mexican soccer players. It’s fun to take photos of the stairs at different angles.
Macromural Palmitas – Palmitas Macromural
Pachuca holds another Guinness World Record: Most walls covered by a mural. Located in the Palmitas neighborhood is the Pachuca macromural. The total area painted is 40,000 m² and 109 different colors were used. From a distance, the colors look like waves of air. This was done on purpose since Pachuca’s nickname is “La Bella Airosa” or “The Airy Beauty.”
Because the area is so large, one of the best places to get a photo of it is from the parking lot of the nearby Sam’s Club. From there you can easily walk around through the neighborhood. Every turn is a new photo opportunity. There are a lot of steps though, so bring some water.
Day Trips From Pachuca
As you can see, there is a lot to do in town. If you’d like to explore the surrounding area, however, there are a couple of day trips from Pachuca that we recommend. One is to the nearby mining town of Mineral del Monte. Also called Real del Monte, there are some popular mining museums you can visit. There is also a cemetery with the graves of English miners.
Another popular day trip is to Grutas Tolantongo. These hot springs are about a two hour drive from Pachuca. It’s a large property with caves, waterfalls, and a river. There are also multiple restaurants so you can easily spend an entire day there.
Where To Stay – Best Western Pachuca
Although we were house sitting for most of the time we were in town, we did stay at the hotel Best Western Pachuca for a few days. The Best Western Pachuca was perfect for the extra days of exploring that we had planned. The hotel itself is beautiful and in a great location. Inside, the rooms are spacious with really comfortable beds and pillows. The rooms also have a mini fridge, TV, and free WiFi.
As for amenities, the Best Western Pachuca has a lot. They have a great bar and seating area with a really cool wall feature. There is also a heated pool and gym. And, if you get hungry, there is a restaurant on-site called Garden Café. The food was so good at the restaurant that we ate there twice. We highly recommend staying at the Best Western Pachuca; you can check rates here.
Final Thoughts On Pachuca
We always say that there are interesting things to see and do wherever you go – you just have to look. Pachuca proved that to be true. It might not be as popular as some other touristy cities in Mexico, but Pachuca still has a lot to offer.
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