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Americans Can Fly Nonstop To This Stunning Historic City In Mexico From 8 U.S. Cities

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Mexico is the number one destination for Americans craving some tropical weather and the kind of cultural getaway they wouldn't find easily Stateside.

You know, the gorgeous, ocher-colored cities, the magnificent Baroque cathedrals, and that irresistible Old World charm.

Aerial View Of Morelia, A Historic Colonial City In Michoacan, Central Mexico, Latin America

Lucky for them, they don't need to cross the pond to visit places steeped in history, as their southern neighbor is littered with cities dating back centuries—some even predating the founding of the American colonies that would eventually become the United States.

Not often remembered, Morelia is one of these culturally-charged gems, and it just happens to be extremely well-connected: you can fly there from as many as 8 U.S. airports.

Have We Been Sleeping On Morelia All Along?

Lush Green Garden Behind The Cathedral Of Morelia, Michoacan State, Central Mexico, Latin America

Morelia is the capital of Michoacán, a landlocked state in central Mexico that seldomly features on mainstream travel brochures, despite having an architecture just as impressive as Mexico City's, and the historical value rivals that of tourist-faves San Miguel de Allende and Campeche.

In fact, Morelia has more in common with Mexico's tourism hotspots than it normally gets credit for.

It has a perfectly preserved historic center, filled with buildings dating back as early as the 17th century, and much like Mexico City, San Miguel or Campeche, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Spanish Acqueduct In Morelia, Capital Of The Central Mexican State Of Michoacan, Mexico, Latin America

The international organization conferred its most coveted certification upon Morelia in recognition of its cultural significance: the present-day city is largely Spanish-built, but the area had been inhabited by natives like the Purépecha and the Matlatzinca for centuries prior.

It only reaches its prime, however, at the apex of the Spanish Empire, when it became an important trading hub, as well as a center for the sciences: the oldest university in the Americas, the Universidad Michoacán de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, was founded here in 1540.

Beautiful Architecture And Culinary Delights

Colonial City Of Morelia, Michoacan, Central Mexico, Latin America

Over the centuries, Morelia accumulated a host of monumental churches, monasteries, and regal structures, most of which continue to stand today.

These include the twin-towered cathedral, among the first built on the continent as its construction began in 1660 (learn more about it here), the landmark aqueduct, and the Government Palace.

Many of the buildings in the old quarter are built from Michoacán's signature pink sandstone, giving the cityscape a singular character.

However, it is still a major state capital, so don't expect it to be as quaint and peaceful as San Miguel de Allende or Taxco.

Cathedral Of Morelia Seen At Sunset, Michoacan, Central Mexico, Latin America

Traffic can get chaotic at rush hours, and you should watch your purse in crowded areas as pickpocketing rates are higher, but in general, it's an incredibly pleasant city to stroll—and if you do get overwhelmed and you need an escape, you're never too far from a lush-green garden or tree-bounded patio.

Morelia is also the perfect offbeat foodie destination, as it houses a number of established street food stalls serving generous portions of Mexican food for as little as $3, and indoor markets, most notably the Mercado de Dulces y Artesanias, paradise for sweet fiends and handicraft enthusiasts alike.

How Safe Is Morelia?

Historic Colonial City Of Morelia, Michoacan, Central Mexico, Latin America

Morelia has developed a reputation for being a little rough around the edges, and rightly so—gang activity is rife in the suburbs, and there's a travel warning in place for the state of Michoacán as a whole—but regular people are extremely friendly and hospitable, and the city center is relatively safe.

Still, Americans should maintain a higher level of situational awareness visiting Morelia: avoiding displays of wealth is advised (keep that shiny new iPhone in your pocket), beware of scammers, and if you're going out at night, stick to the well-lit, busier streets where the shops and restaurants are.

Historical Colonial City Of Morelia, Capital Of The Central Mexican State Of Morelia, Mexico, Latin America.jpg

You're also encouraged to choose a centrally-located hotel, so to minimize commuting, and especially your usage of taxis, where you may be more susceptible to scamming (and it's not like they're too expensive, anyways).

Mexico is one of the priciest destinations in Latin America, but if you're looking for a cultural getaway on a budget, there are lush boutique hotels in the heart of Morelia for as cheap as $141, and even five-star listings (with a pool, spa facilities and remarkable breakfast) will only set you back $206-248 a night.

You Can Fly Nonstop To Morelia From 8 U.S. Cities

Traveler Holding USA Passport At Airport

Despite not being anywhere near Mexico City or Guanajuato's level of popularity, Morelia hosts flights from as many as eight cities in the United States, making it a convenient cultural trip for Americans keen on experiencing ‘deep Mexico' away from the resort zones.

The most popular airline for flying to Morelia is Volaris, as they have the highest flight frequency, the largest network, and the cheapest airfares.

For example 25% of Kayak users have found one-way flights from Chicago for $296 round-trip, and $396 departing from and returning to Fresno.

The complete list of U.S. departure points offering flights to Morelia (MLM) can be seen below:

Happy woman on phone at the airport
  • Chicago Midway (MDW)

Volaris—1-2 flights per day, every day

  • Chicago O'Hare (ORD)

Volaris—1 flight every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday

VivaAerobus—1 flight every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

  • Houston (IAH)

United Airlines—1 flight per day, every day

  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

American Airlines—1 flight per day, every day

  • Oakland (OAK)

Volaris—1 flight every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday

  • Los Angeles (LAX)

Volaris—1 flight every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

  • San Jose (SJC)

Volaris—1 flight every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

  • Fresno (FAT)

Volaris—1 flight every Sunday, Wednesday, Friday

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.