Old Mazatlan is a charming part of the city, where residents and visitors alike can spend days strolling on the beach, window shopping, and even visiting the area’s nightclubs. The Centro Historico Mazatlan was once occupied by smugglers, who left temporary shelters and houses behind; throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, sailors from the world over, including China, Spain, Germany, and North America, began to colonize the area. In the 1950s, tourism in this part of Mexico skyrocketed, shifting the city’s primary industry and causing Mazatlan to grow. Suburbs and other residential areas were developed, and many residents moved from the historic city center to these new developments. During this time, the once-beautiful Centro Historico Mazatlan was all but abandoned and left to ruin.
In the early 1990s, several citizens, with the help of state funding, renovated the Angela Peralta Theater within Old Mazatlan, spurring a renaissance of the historical city center. With this reconstruction, one by one, other buildings were restructured to their former glory, and in the midst of it all, an organization was formed with all efforts pointed to the restoration of Centro Historico Mazatlan. Today, the city center is a proud and beautiful reminder of Mazatlan’s history and cultural heritage. It’s a popular destination for travelers looking for local culture and things to do in Mazatlan.
The local historical attractions are a great option if you want to learn about local culture beyond visiting the theater or just wandering around the historic center. The museum offers great insight into local history and the history of Mexico overall, with both permanent and temporary exhibits, cultural activities on-site, and a bookstore specializing in regional history and art. A block off Olas Altas Boulevard, the museum features archaeological artifacts specifically from Mazatlan and the surrounding area.
In addition, the city center is close to theaters, live music venues, restaurants and bars, and plenty of popular beaches. Machado Square is among the most prized locations of old Mazatlan, where visitors will find the restored Angela Peralta Theater, along with a selection of local art shops, hotels, and choice restaurants that offer indoor and outdoor seating—some establishments even offer music for their diners. Along with the theater, the Centro Historico Mazatlan is also known for its other cultural attractions, including the Municipal Arts Center, Mazatlan Institute of Culture, and the annual Carnaval.
Among the biggest attractions in Mazatlan are its beaches, and the historical district has a great location for visiting these as well. Nearby, Playa Olas Altas is a popular destination among beach-goers who are looking to go surfing, stroll along the boardwalk, sunbathe, and visit the local shops. The Centro Historico, more than just about anywhere else in Mazatlan, is one of the best places to go shopping during your vacation. In addition, you’re not far from Playa Norte and its lovely stretches of sand.
Above all, the nightlife in the historic center of downtown Mazatlan is second to none, and vacationers will be pleased to know that this also one of the safest parts of the city. There are often nightclubbers out and about until 3 a.m., particularly during the annual college Spring Break, when the city is especially popular among students seeking great beach parties. If you’re looking for a peaceful vacation, this is not the best time to go, but if partying the night away in Old Mazatlan is right up your alley, there’s no better time to travel.
From the grandly restored architecture to the rightfully proud multicultural hub of the city, old Mazatlan offers a unique insight into the history and heritage of the area. There are plenty of hotels and vacation rentals in the area as well, for travelers who want to center their vacation on the heart of the city.