The mayor (Alcalde), Químico Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres, has transformed Mazatlán into a true paradise for everyone. Unlike destinations like Los Cabos, the city of Mazatlán does not rely on American tourists for their economy. They are supported by Monterrey, Durango, and other neighboring states, helping to make this destination affordable to the American tourist.
I am sure that the locals would selfishly like to keep the beauty of Mazatlán to themselves, but the secret is out! Continue reading to discover the top 10 things to do in Mazatlán!
A New App to Help You Navigate Mazatlán
Mazatlán’s City Council recently launched MZTourist, a new bilingual (English/Spanish) app that helps travelers to find the best beaches, lodging, transport, and food the city has to offer. It also includes a directory of official institutions, money exchange offices, bathrooms, public parks, and banks.
MZTourist makes touring the city easy and safe, listing the local health protocols, emergency numbers, road assistance, and a direct link to the Tourist Assistance and Protection Center. And the app even displays alerts when beaches are at capacity, helping enthusiastic travelers to avoid crowds and limit Covid exposure.
Top Attractions in Mazatlán
When visiting Mazatlán, I was impressed to see how beautiful, clean, and safe this popular cruise port is. The mayor has invested in expanding roads, making them more accessible for bicyclists and vehicles.
The Malecon, a coastal walkway spanning more than 13 miles, offers gorgeous views of the beach and several gardens for tourists to enjoy. It’s one of the longest boardwalks in the world and spans from Olas Altas Beach to Mazatlán’s historic district.
At first glance, Mazatlán might look like your typical beach resort, but it is a city with a rich and enduring history. The city’s indigenous, Spanish, and French roots are visible in the local architecture and art scene. Mazatlán is an exciting destination, featuring some of Mexico’s top attractions, hotels, restaurants, and more.
Top 10 Things to do in Mazatlán
#1 – Sunset Views. Mazatlán has the most beautiful sunsets. The city even has its own Golden Zone (see point #5), where visitors can enjoy the best views and most exciting attractions in the city all at once. While in Mazatlán, make it a point to take in the vibrant illuminating skies. Sunsets in Mazatlan are breathtaking and not to be missed.
#2 – Walk the Malecon. One of the longest boardwalks in the world, the Malecon is perfect for strolling, jogging, and people watching along the coastline. This 13-mile stretch boasts numerous shops, souvenir booths, street food vendors, and restaurants where you can dine with an ocean view.
#3 – Tour the City in a Pulmonía. A ride in one of these open-air taxis is a must if you want to get around the city and enjoy the nightlife. Pulmonías are the way to travel, decked out with colorful lights, high-end sound systems, and custom paint jobs. Cruise the Malecon in style to the sounds of your own DJ.
#4 – El Faro Lighthouse. Considered the highest lighthouse in the Americas, and one of the tallest operating lighthouses in the world, El Faro reaches 160 meters above sea level and admission is free! There is a great, scenic hike to reach the top, and once you do, you can enjoy stunning views of the city down below. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and carry along some water. The hike will take about 45 minutes. Go early and beat the heat and crowds, or go late in the day to enjoy the incredible sunset views.
#5 – Visit Zona Dorada. The Golden Zone, or Zona Dorada as it’s known, is one of the best places to enjoy the best beaches and nightlife Mazatlán has to offer. It’s a great place to enjoy the beach, play in the water, or ask one of the local fishermen to sell you their daily catch. You can also enjoy laid-back restaurants, outdoor clubs, music, all-inclusive resorts, spas, and more.
#6 – Observatorio Mazatlán 1873. Constructed in the 1800s as a lookout for pirates, the Mazatlán observatory is one of the most amazing locations to witness blazing sunsets. Visitors can also enjoy Mezcal tastings, a bird observatory, and ziplining coming soon. Take the tour and learn more about the city’s rich history while taking 360-degree views of Mazatlán, the port, and the bay.
#7 – Seafood, Seafood, Seafood! El Cuchupetas was one of my favorite places to enjoy seafood in Mazatlán. They have the fishermen stopping by throughout the day with fresh seafood to fill their kitchens. I couldn’t get enough of their oysters, which are enormous, briny, and meaty. The restaurant, established more than 60 years ago, is a popular dining spot with locals and tourists alike and is only a short drive from the airport. The restaurant spans multiple buildings, including houses that were converted to add space for additional diners.
Located at Calle Jesús Carranza 301, Centro, 82200 Villa Unión, Sin., Mexico.
#8 – Machado Square. The weekend is filled with live music and people at Machado Square. Hang out, shop, or take a stroll and enjoy the many cafes and restaurants that surround this gorgeous public park. This plaza is the social center of the city and the heart of old town Mazatlán. La Plaza Machado is also home to social and cultural events, such as the Carnival Food Fair, local art exhibitions, theaters, and book fairs.
#9 – The Best Ice Cream! Visit Nieves de Garrafa Don Hilario. This little ice cream stand has been a staple in Mazatlán for over 30 years. It’s now overseen by Don Hilario’s son and continues to be a family-run business. At Don Hilario’s, they focus on seasonal ingredients with new flavors to taste all year long. Or you can enjoy the classic flavors, like Caramel, Pecan, Mango, and Coconut.
Located next to the Cathedral. Calle José María Canizales 628, Centro, 82000 Mazatlán, Sin., Mexico.
#10 – Panama Restaurant & Bakery. A must-visit for their delicious Pay de Guayaba! Family restaurants are a staple of Mazatlán and this one is no exception. Their Guayaba pie was one of my favorites. I loved it so much that I was inspired to try and make it at home. It was a decent knock-off, but I highly recommend visiting the Panama restaurant and trying it for yourself. It’s just too amazing. They have so many other amazing and fun flavors to try too, so don’t miss it!
Chef Rosie is the award-winning Chef-Owner of Provecho Grill and a two-time winner of the SoCal Chef Open. As a chef and TV personality, she has appeared on Food Network’s Supermarket Stakeout (2019) and The Cooking Channel’s Farmer’s Market Flip (2017).
Chef Rosie is also a contributing columnist for Menifee Buzz and Valley News, recounting her culinary adventures to thousands of readers each week. Through her blog, culinary tours of Mexico, and food & wine events, Chef Rosie leads her readers and guests on an exploration of Mexican cuisine and culture.