Chihuahua City

Located in northwestern Mexico in the state of Chihuahua, the capital city of Chihuahua is the nation’s twelfth largest city with a population of 841,490 people.  The city has an exceptionally high literacy rate—one of the highest in Mexico.  Many visitors find Chihuahua an exciting place to visit due to its culture, climate, and many extraordinary landmarks.

Chihuahua City Map

Geography and Landscape of Chihuahua City

The city of Chihuahua has an L shape to it. It is in a mountain valley.  Small mountains run through the city from north to south. There are mountains surrounding the capital and outside its perimeter is rough and hilly.  While mountain streams enter the city, the two major rivers that run through it are the Rio Chuviscar and The Sacramento River.  While essentially a semi-arid locale, Chihuahua City enjoys a varied climate; temperatures can range significantly due to its position between the Mexican Plateau and the desert.

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The Plaza de Armas in Chihuahua City
The Plaza de Armas in Chihuahua City

Historical Highlights

The city was founded in 1709.  Like many regions of the north, the state was slow to accept Spanish subjugation and its indigenous peoples fought assimilation for centuries.  Chihuahua City has a position on two rivers and its proximity to important mines and mine routes.  The Spanish missionaries were very influential in settling the mountainous and remote regions of New Spain. 

Chihuahua City is where Miguel Hidalgo met execution by the Spanish during the Mexican War of Independence. In the nineteenth century, the city and state were taken over by the United States during the Mexican-American War.  In the 1860s when Benito Juarez made Chihuahua the capital of his exiled government, it began to experience an increase in both population and wealth.  Chihuahua City was also an operations base for Revolutionary General Pancho Villa. This city was more extensively part in the Mexican Revolution.

In more recent history, Chihuahua benefitted from its position relatively near the U.S. border.  It has grown tremendously prosperous due to its industrial economy based on many sites of foreign manufacturing plants.  Agriculture and ranching are still important to the city and state, but its industrial profile has led to its dramatic increase in wealth and a higher standard of wages and living than most other large Mexican cities.

Plaza de Armas-Deza y Ulloa
Plaza de Armas-Deza y Ulloa

Tourism in Chihuahua

The city experiences considerable tourism.  Many visitors come for both business and vacations.  While many colonial structures were demolished in the course of the city’s expansion, there are still exceptionally noteworthy colonial buildings to see.  The city’s food is traditional Mexican cowboy favorites. It represents foods from other cultures and nations.  With its vibrant nightlife and cultural scene, the capital is one of the north’s most attractive tourist hubs.

Legislative Tower Chihuahua
Legislative Tower Chihuahua

Things to See and Do in Chihuahua

The Government Palace: This is one of Mexico’s most important landmarks.  It contains the shrine to Miguel Hidalgo and the famous murals depicting the hero’s execution painted by Diego Rivera.

The Metropolitan Cathedral: This stunning Baroque church is an important site on any tour of the city.  It dates to 1725 and is the seat of the state’s Archdiocese.

Plaza Mayor: This famed square is a popular destination for residents and tourists alike.  It contains the Angel de el Libertad statue that commemorates freedom for all Mexicans.


The Federal Palace

The Federal Palace is especially famous for its Dancing Fountains. The light and water show that is popular with visitors.

Dancing Fountains in Chihuahua
Dancing Fountains in Chihuahua

Grutas de Nombre de Dios

With its stalactites and stalagmites, this massive cave system is one of the city’s most popular eco-destinations.  Many adventures visit Chihuahua to explore these astounding caves.

Mansion Quinta Gameros

This Art Nouveau mansion is home to the capital’s decorative arts museum.

El Palomar Central Park:

Once one of the capital’s most run-down and crime-ridden area, this city niche has been transformed into a beautiful park where concerts and art exhibits are regularly featured.

The Church of Santa Rita

As Saint Rita of Cascia is the city’s patron saint, the church is a popular attraction.

Museum of the Revolution

With its prominent role in the Mexican Revolution, the city has a large part of the historical story to tell.  It showcases its history in the one-time home of Pancho Villa.

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