Is Morelia the best city in Mexico?

cathedral in Morélia, Mexico

To celebrate Mexican Independence Day we treated ourselves to four days in Morelia, the capital city of Michoacán (where we went to see the Monarch butterfly reserve last spring). It’s a beautiful, vibrant city with colonial architecture right out of 17th-century Spain. When you mention the city to Mexican people, they ooh and aah. The city centre is a UNESCO world-heritage site, and when Mark and I have conversations about a future base in Mexico, Morelia always makes our short list.

Cathedral, Morélia, Michoacán, Mexico

Morelia, Mexico, Michocan

As you know, when we travel we are almost always accommodation-challenged because of a certain terrier. But this time we lucked out and found an affordable, dog-friendly, gorgeous B&B smack in center of town. This was a big treat for us, because finding pet-friendly accommodation in Mexico is a pain.

Less fantastic were the twin hurricanes that battered both Mexican coasts and drenched Morelia in rain during most of our visit. To make matters worse, all three caught horrible colds as soon as we hit town.

Mexican Independence Day in Morelia, Mexico

Here are some random facts and observations about Morelia:

  • Morelia is NOT a dog town. I saw maybe six dogs over the entire four days. It’s a stone/concrete jungle with little green space. Archie was forced to pee on the sidewalk…he’s still talking about that.
  • Morelia is culturally dense. It’s got an international film festival, music festivals, food festivals, galleries, exhibitions, museums, phenomenal regional food, monuments, churches, universities, gazillions of bookstores, and so much more I can’t even list it all. You can’t throw a rock without knocking down an artist of some kind.
  • The city was founded in 1541 by Antonio de Mendoza (Its original name was Valladolid). After Mexico’s War of Independence it was renamed for hero Jose Maria Morelos de Pavon, who was born in the city in 1765.
  • When dining in Mexico it can be hard to make it to desert without someone offering to play a song for money. Sometimes they’re good, other times not so much. But if this fellow asks you, say yes. He was terrific!

Guitar player, Morelia, Mexico

  • Morélia has one of the biggest Día de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico.
  • The mixed-fruit gaspacho cups are brilliant. It’s not the cold-soup gazpacho. It’s diced fruit topped with salt, a squirt of lime, chile piquin, valentina salsa, and crumbled cheese. There are different fruit combos but I had the one with jicama, mango, pineapple, and fresh OJ. Next time I might get it without the cheese (weird texture paired with fruit), but everything else was sublime.

Fruit gaspacho in Morélia, Mexico

  • When in Morelia, eat at Lu (Portal Hidalgo No. 229, across from the cathedral) and order the jicama rolls stuffed with jamaica leaves. Scout brought this to me when I was on my deathbed, and it brought me back from the brink. I have never tasted anything so good, and I’m grateful to have the type of foodie kid who would order this dish.
  • Morelia is known for its sweets and they even have a museum dedicated to the history of candy-making in the area.
  • When you feel like crap and have the energy level of a corpse, it’s acceptable to take a trolley tour.

Scout on the trolley tour, Morelia, Mexico

  •  Morelia has an aqueduct.

Aqueduct in Morelia, Mexico

  • Just to reiterate, Morelia is stunning and we might have to base here for a while.

Morelia, Mexico

El stantuario de nuestra seõre de Guadalupe, Morelia, Mexico

Morélia, Michoacán, Mexico

So, is Morelia really the best city in Mexico? We haven’t been everywhere yet, but at this point I’d have to say….YES!

Map of Morelia, Michoacan

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rhonda Albom September 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Wonderful photos. Looks like such a beautiful town, although three with colds and two hurricanes would really put a damper on it.

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2 Renee September 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thanks, Rhonda. Circumstances were not ideal, but we still had a great time. Just happy to be out in the world. 🙂

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3 Patti September 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm

This looks like a beautiful city with a vibrant culture. It’s unfortunate you weren’t feeling well but that just means you’ll have to go back, right?!

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4 Renee September 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Patti, exactly. We barely scratched the surface.

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5 Elaine September 29, 2013 at 8:18 pm

This city looks amazing! So happy for you guys on this great find 🙂

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6 travelwithkevinandruth.com September 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Absolutely agree on the gaspacho…on of the most interesting snack foods around. Almost a meal in itself actually!

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7 Renee September 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Yes, the cups are huge, aren’t they. Great value and so good!

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8 Lyndajo Thomas September 29, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Great post, Renee. Makes me want to go to there!

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9 Alma M.Rinasz September 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

You’re wrong about Morelia not being a dog friendly city! There are weekly dog training meetups at the local Bosque Cuauhtemoc (El Bosque), the Planeterium is another place where people take their pooches to run and frolick. Plus one of the local doggie orphanges has a weekly “meet and great” where you can go and see if you want to adopt a dog as you walk it through a local park. You guys needed to get out of the downtown area to see what I mean. When you come back, I will introduce you to the “dog society” in Morelia. 😉

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10 Renee September 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Alma, thank you!!! I am so relieved to hear this, you have no idea. I was referring specifically to the downtown core by Rose’s place, where there was hardly a dog to be seen. Yes, we will come back in November and you can show us all the great places to frolic. This is great news, because we really want to move to Morélia but we were worried it might not be good for Archie. 🙂

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11 Kerri October 2, 2013 at 8:47 am

Wow! It looks like an amazing city and sounds like a great place for a base.

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12 Renee October 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

Yes, it’s perfect, Kerri. You guys heading to Mexico at some point?

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13 Mary Lou Halbach October 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Hi Renee! This is Rose’s good friend in Morelia, Mary Lou, who just moved here two months ago with her husband and her dog!! So sorry I was under the weather while you were here. We would have loved to have met all of you, including Archie!

When things were better, we had a brunch with Rose, Susan and Michael C. at our new house, and one of the topics was how incredibly sharp and charming your daughter is. We would have loved to have you all here and our Bailey would have loved meeting Archie. Maybe next time.

Centro is a difficult place for a dog used to a yard, or at least a sizable nearby park. But, sweet Alma is correct. Morelianos love their dogs, and as you get out of centro you will find that she is on target on all levels. But, I will add that Bailey quickly acclimated to the street life in Morelia and by our third trip he was an old pro. We lived at Rose’s apartment and had to show him that alternate living was not all that bad. He adjusted and began to relish his 5 mile walks with my husband. And I might add he is almost 13 and deals with arthritis and elbow dysplasia. LOL, they both lost weight and my hubby cut his diabetes meds in half!

Hope to meet you on your future trip. We love it here and although we will make trips back and forth to see kids and grand kids, I can honestly say our hearts belong to Morelia, a divine city indeed.

Saludos,
Mary Lou

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14 Ryan October 7, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Morelia is a great little place but I think Mexico City is the best city in Mexico, and one of the best in the world.

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