Things to do in Chihuahua

Chepe has recently launched a brand new train called Chepe Express! As a result, schedules for the old train, now called Chepe Regional, have changed. This page has been updated to reflect the recent changes.

INTRODUCTION

If you’re planning to journey through the Copper Canyon you’ll very likely find yourself looking for things to do in Chihuahua, the starting point and largest city along the Chepe route.

The city sits at an altitude of 1,500 m (4,900 ft) and has a semiarid climate. Basically a desert, the weather can vary greatly from day to night.

  • December-February: daytime temperatures average 17°C (63°F) while nights drop to an average of 2°C (36°F), but can go as low as -10°C (14°F) with very little rainfall.
  • March-May and October-November: daytime temperatures generally hover around 23°C (73°F) and drop to around 8°C (46°F) at night. March and April are quite dry while there’s slightly more rainfall in October and November.
  • June-September: the hottest months with temperatures up to or greater than 32°C (90°F) during the day and 19°C (66°F) overnight. This is also the rainy season with short but heavy daily showers.

The best time to visit is September to October but as the weather doesn’t get too severe you can enjoy a visit to Chihuahua any time of year.

Chihuahua’s history as a city dates back to 1709 when it was established by the Spanish as a trading centre for nearby mining towns. The region, however, contains archaeological sites that date as far back as 500 AD. Although these sites are some distance from the city, downtown museums do provide some insight to these cultures.

The city of Chihuahua played a small role during the Mexican War of Independence, as it was here that Miguel Hidalgo was imprisoned and executed in 1811. Nearly a century later the city played a much larger role as the base for General Pancho Villa’s army in the Mexican Revolution between 1910 and 1917.

The city has since prospered and developed a strong economy based primarily in the manufacturing industry. Although tourism is not a principal focus of Chihuahua, if you’re looking for things to do you’ll find a wonderful mix of history and nature in and around the city. From archaeological sites to caves to historical museums you’re sure to be kept busy and entertained while you visit.

Table of Contents

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Where is Chihuahua?

The city of Chihuahua is the capital of the state of Chihuahua. It’s located in the centre of the state, approximately 370 km (270 mi) south of the U.S. border.

If you’re travelling through the Copper Canyon via El Chepe you’ll likely start or finish your route in Chihuahua.

The map shows the major transportation hubs (mentioned below), as well as the major sites mentioned in the section Things to do in Chihuahua.

How to get to Chihuahua

You can arrive or depart Chihuahua by plane, train or bus.

By Plane

Chihuahua is the most accessible city along the Chepe route. That said, flying into or out of Chihuahua internationally can be expensive. Check prices and availability with Skyscanner.

To save money check flights to nearby cities such as Guadalajara, Mexico City or Monterrey, then check the Mexican low-cost airlines for flights to Chihuahua (CUU). Interjet, Volaris and VivaAerobus usually have cheap flights frequently. Interjet and Volaris also fly to some international destinations.

Flying into or out of El Paso, Texas in the U.S. is also an option if you’re up for a long bus ride to Chihuahua. More details below.

By Train

El Chepe is the main reason for tourists to visit Chihuahua as this is where they either start or end their train ride through Copper Canyon.  The train doesn’t depart every day so careful planning is a must.

The Chepe Regional departs Chihuahua on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6:00 am. It returns to Chihuahua on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays around 9:30 pm.


For more information about Chepe schedules and prices check out the article 

How to Visit Copper Canyon by Train


By Bus

Transportation by bus can be booked to or from just about anywhere in the country but as the low-cost airlines will be faster and likely similar in price you’re better off flying in most cases.

To get to El Paso, Texas, you can book online with Limousines de Mexico. The bus ride is about 7 hours and the station is marked on the map above. A ticket is $575 MXP and departure times are 12:00 am, 1:00 am, 8:00 am, 9:00 am and 10:00 am.

If you’re looking to get to or from Creel by bus you can do so with either Rápidos Cuauhtémoc or Autotransportes Turísticos del NoroesteRápidos Cuauhtémoc costs $288 MXP and leaves from the Central Bus Terminal while Noroeste costs $260 MXP and has its own station. Both stations are marked on the map above.

For other destinations visit the Estrella Blanca website.

Things to do in Chihuahua

Chihuahua is a decent size city with an interesting history but you can see most of the tourist attractions in just one day, two at most. The majority of the sites are concentrated in downtown Chihuahua but there are a few attractions on the outskirts of the city should you feel like venturing further.

Below the sites and attractions are organized by area. You can find all of them marked on the map above.

  • Downtown Chihuahua

    The downtown is easily accessed by taxi or Uber or even by walking if your hotel is close enough. Once there it should be fairly easy to visit most of these sites on foot or with just a short Uber ride. There are, however, trolley tours, which leave every few hours and stop at a few of the destinations below. Their location is marked on the map above but note that their tours are only done in Spanish unless booked in advance.

    • In the very heart of downtown is the Plaza de Armas. A central square surrounded by shops, cafes, restaurants and street stalls. It’s an excellent area to wander around, shop for souvenirs, eat and people watch.
    • Situated in the centre of the Plaza de Armas is the 18th century Cathedral of Chihuahua. In the catacombs of the cathedral you can visit the Museum of Sacred Art, which houses religious artworks from the colonial era.
    • The Museum of the Revolution, sometimes referred to as Francisco ‘Pancho’ Villa’s House or Quinta Luz, is probably one of the most interesting museums in Chihuahua and even houses the car in which Pancho Villa was killed. It’s located 1.6 km (1 mi) south of Plaza de Armas. They don’t provide English tours but most of the written information throughout the museum is in English and Spanish.
    • Halfway between Plaza de Armas and the Museum of the Revolution is Quinta Gameros, a mansion built in the early 1900s and now used as a cultural centre. On the main floor you can see and read about the Art Nouveau decor while upstairs houses different art exhibits.
    • Casa Chihuahua, just a few minutes walk from Plaza de Armas, provides an excellent overview of the history of Chihuahua and its many diverse cultures. Although the current structure was built in the early 1900s, it does maintain one tower from the original structure built centuries earlier. The tower is were Miguel Hidalgo, often considered the Father of Mexico, was imprisoned in 1810 before he was executed at the Government Palace next door. Displays throughout Casa Chihuahua are in both English and Spanish but guided tours in English are not provided.
    • The interior courtyard of the Government Palace, just around the corner from Casa Chihuahua, is adorned with colourful murals depicting the execution of Miguel Hidalgo. There is also an alter located in the very spot where he died.
    • The Mammoth Museum attempts to cover the natural history of Chihuahua. It’s old, dusty and out-dated but does house an almost complete mammoth skeleton and a grey whale skeleton among many other unrelated items. It’s only 1 km (0.6 mi) from Plaza de Armas.
    • About 2.5 km (1.5 mi) north of the Plaza de Armas is the Roundhouse Museum, an old railway roundhouse converted into a museum. It houses a few relics from its original use but is primarily an art museum containing works from famous Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, among others.
    • The Museum of Republican Loyalty, also known as Casa de Juarez Museum, is a house museum restored to look as it did when President Benito Juarez lived in it from 1864-1866. It’s just a few minutes walk from Plaza de Armas.
    • If you’re travelling with kids check out the Semilla Museum of Science and Technology, an interactive learning centre geared towards children. It’s located 1 km (0.6 mi) west of Plaza de Armas.

    Hours of Operation and Prices

    AttractionSpanish NameHoursPrice (MXP)
    Museum of Sacred ArtMuseo de Arte SacroTue-Sun: 11 am – 4 pm10
    Museum of the RevolutionMuseo Historico de la Revolucion
    Casa del General Francisco Villa
    Quinta Luz
    Tue-Sat: 9 am – 7 pm
    Sun & Holidays: 10 am – 4 pm
    10
    Quinta GamerosCentro Cultural Universitario
    Quita Gameros
    Tue-Sun: 9 am – 2 pm29
    Casa ChihuahuaMuseo Casa ChihuahuaWed-Mon: 10 am – 6 pm40
    Government PalacePalacio de GobiernoEveryday: 9 am – 6 pmfree
    Mammoth MuseumMuseo del MamutTue-Sun: 9 am – 4:30 pm20
    Roundhouse MuseumMuseo Casa RedondaTue-Sun: 10 am – 7 pm20
    Museum of Republican LoyaltyMuseo de Lealtad Republicana
    Casa de Juárez
    Tue-Sun: 9 am – 6 pm10
    Semilla MuseumMuseo SemillaTue-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm
    Weekends: 12 pm – 7 pm
    40

*scroll left or right to view entire table*

  • Things to do Around Chihuahua

    There are a few notable attractions that aren’t quite within walking distance of the downtown core. The easiest way to reach these places is to take an Uber or taxi, though cheap, organized tours are available in the case of Nombre de Dios caves.

    • The Chihuahua Gate is a 46 m (151 ft) tall structure designed by Mexico’s well-known sculptor, Sebastian. His sculptures can be found scattered throughout the country and in a few other places around the world but he’s originally from the state of Chihuahua. The gate is located about 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of downtown.
    • Nombre de Dios caves are located only 12 km (7.5 mi) from downtown Chihuahua. Here you’ll walk about 1.6 km (1 mi) through the caves, taking approximately an hour, as you go through multiple chambers and take in the impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The trolley tour company located downtown Chihuahua organizes daily tours to the cave, although only offered in Spanish the sights are interesting nonetheless.

     Hours of Operation and Prices

    AttractionSpanish NameHoursPrice (MXP)
    Chihuahua GatePuerta de Chihuahuaanytimefree
    Nombre de Dios CavesGrutas Nombre de DiosTue-Fri: 9 am – 3 pm
    Weekends: 10 am – 4 pm
    50

  • Cuauhtémoc

    The city of Cuauhtémoc lays roughly 100 km (62 mi) to the west of the city of Chihuahua and is actually one of the stops along El Chepe. However, if you’re not planning to spend the night here then it’s much more practical to go by bus from Chihuahua.

    The city is known for its Mennonite inhabitants who arrived in the 1920s and now comprise about one third of the city’s population. The Mennonites are well known for their cheese and this is the main attraction for tourists. You can see cheese being made at La Quesería América.

    To know a bit more about the Mennonite culture visit the Museo Menonita just north of the Quesería América.

    Cuauhtémoc is also well known for its apple orchards, which have contributed greatly to the city’s economic growth. If you’re into apples you may want to pick up a few apple snacks for the ride back to Chihuahua.

    How to get to Cuauhtémoc

    El Chepe: The train leaves Chihuahua from the Chepe Station (marked on the map above) at 6:00 am and arrives in Cuauhtémoc at 8:25 am. If you’re coming from Creel you’ll arrive at 7:00 pm or a bit later. To travel onward by train you’ll have to stay for a night. For more details about booking train tickets see How to Visit Copper Canyon by Train.

    Bus: You can reach Cuauhtémoc by bus in the same way you’d reach Creel, with either Rápidos Cuauhtémoc or Autotransportes Turísticos del Noroeste.

    Rápidos Cuauhtémoc has over 15 departure times throughout the day between 4:30 am and 8:30 pm. Buses leave the Central Bus Terminal (marked on the map above) and a ticket costs $141 MXP.

    Noroeste buses depart every hour between 5:45 am and 5:45 pm. They have their own station (marked on the map above) and tickets cost $115 MXP.

  • Casas Grandes

    Located almost 300 km (186 mi) north of the city of Chihuahua, Casas Grandes is a town bearing the “Pueblo Magico” status and is home to the archaeological site of Paquimé, now recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Next to the archaeological site is the Museum of the Northern Cultures featuring artefacts of the pre-hispanic inhabitants of the area.

    About 30 km (18.6 mi) south of Casas Grandes is the small town of Mata Ortiz, the home to world famous potter, Juan Quezada. Maestro Quezada, attempting to replicate pottery relics from Paquimé culture, wound up developing his own modernized style. When interest in his pieces sparked in the U.S. he taught friends and family his technique and the Mata Ortiz art movement was born. Today many of the villagers produce Mata Ortiz pottery for international exhibits and sale. You can view and purchase these unique pieces of pottery at the Quezada Gallery in Mata Ortiz.

    How to get to Casas Grandes

    The best way to get to Casas Grandes and Mata Ortiz is to rent your own vehicle for a day or two. However, if driving yourself is not an option you can take a Chihuahuenses (Estrella Blanca) bus to Nuevo Casas Grandes. From there you can either take a taxi or a bus another 16 km (10 mi) to Casas Grandes.

    Omnibuses to Casas Grandes leave every hour between 8:30 am and 7:30 pm (4:30 pm on Sundays). The location is marked on the map above.

    If you want to see the town of Mata Ortiz you’ll need to take a taxi another 30 km (18.6 mi) south.

Hotels in Chihuahua

Hotels in Chihuahua are generally geared towards business travellers so most are located in the industrial or financial areas but they’re comfortable and range in price to fit any budget. Ubers are cheap so it’s very easy to get around the city no matter where your hotel is located.

Below are a few recommendations for different budgets:

Low Budget

La Decima

This guesthouse is located in downtown Chihuahua so you’ll be within walking distance of all the downtown attractions. A cozy place to stay and excellent value for the price.

Click here to check prices and availability

Mid Budget

Cumbres Inn Juventud
Best Western

Located about 5 km from downtown it’s a very comfortable hotel with spacious rooms and an airport shuttle should you need it. Your stay also includes breakfast.

Click here to check prices and availability

High Budget

Staybridge Suites Chihuahua

About 5 km from downtown this ultra comfortable hotel includes breakfast, free laundry facilities, billiards, mini golf and more. Great for families or longer stays.

Click here to check prices and availability

This site contains affiliate links. Making a booking or purchase through one of these links does not affect prices but I’ll make a small commission. Income from these links helps me continue to grow the site and keep it up to date. If you find the site helpful, consider booking your hotels using the links on the site. It’s much appreciated!

Visiting Chihuahua – Additional Information

Below are some general tips from personal experience. If you have travelled in Mexico, Chihuahua or Copper Canyon and have any other tips please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page!

  • Money

    There are plenty of banks scattered throughout the city of Chihuahua including Scotiabank and HSBC.

    If you’re traveling through Copper Canyon it’s advisable to take all the cash you’ll need with you as functioning ATMs can be very difficult to come by once you leave Chihuahua. That said, take the usual precautions when carrying large sums of cash and don’t visit an ATM after dark.

    ATMs dispense primarily in 500-peso denominations and more often than not retailers don’t have change for these large bills. Hold on to as many small bills (20s, 50s, 100s, 200s) as you can, ideally getting change before you leave the city.

    Don’t accept change in the form of ripped or torn bills as the next retailer won’t accept them from you. If you do find one in your wallet you can exchange it at a bank.

  • Cellular Service

    Service in Chihuahua is strong but if you’re heading into the Copper Canyon it gets pretty weak if non-existent for many providers. Most hotels offer free wifi but if you’d like to have cell phone service I’d recommend picking up a telcel SIM card while you’re in Chihuahua. Your phone will need to be unlocked in order to use it but the SIM includes plenty of data and unlimited calls to Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and should only cost $200-250 MXP.

Things to do in Chihuahua – Itineraries

How long should you stay in Chihuahua? Most people who end up here are either just starting or just finishing a trip through Copper Canyon. In this case you’ll usually need to stay at least one night but if you’re interested in seeing more of the city consider staying two nights. If you plan to visit Casas Grandes be sure to leave yourself an extra night or two.

Below are some potential itineraries for those wishing to stay in Chihuahua 1 night or 2 nights. Of course you can change these up and mix up the sites depending on your interests and available time. The sites listed below are my personal favourites. Note that the itineraries assume the traveller is embarking on a Copper Canyon journey and departing via El Chepe.

Staying 1 Night

Day 1: Arrive in Chihuahua

  • Check-in at hotel
  • Take an Uber to the Museum of the Revolution
  • Walk to the Plaza de Armas
  • Visit Casa Chihuahua
  • Walk through the Government Palace
  • Dinner and evening downtown
  • Stock up on snacks for the morning (you may not have time for breakfast)

Day 2: Depart Chihuahua ~ 6:00 am

  • Breakfast if you have time
  • Check-out at hotel
  • Be at the train station by 5:30 am, earlier if traveling Económica

Staying 2 Nights

Day 1: Arrive in Chihuahua

  • Check-in at hotel
  • Uber to Nombre de Dios caves
  • Uber to the Chihuahua Gate for sunset
  • Uber downtown for dinner and evening

Day 2: Full day in Chihuahua

  • Breakfast
  • Take an Uber to the Museum of the Revolution
  • Walk to the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral
  • Lunch downtown
  • Visit Casa Chihuahua
  • Walk through the Government Palace
  • Stroll over to the Roundhouse Museum
  • Dinner and evening downtown
  • Stock up on snacks for the morning (you may not have time for breakfast)

Day 3: Depart Chihuahua ~ 6:00 am

  • Breakfast if you have time
  • Check-out at hotel
  • Be at the train station by 5:30 am, earlier if traveling Económica

2018-05-17T18:18:47+00:00

2 Comments

  1. risa November 24, 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    your website is extremely helpful and informative. thank you for taking the time to do this.

    • Kayla November 24, 2018 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Risa. I’m happy to have been helpful.

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