The cathedral, adjacent to Avenida México, at the east side of the Plaza Principal, marks the center of Tepic . Dating from 1750, the cathedral was dedicated to the Purísima Concepción (Immaculate Conception). Its twin neogothic bell towers rise somberly over everything else in town, while inside, cheerier white walls and neoclassic gilded arches lead toward the main altar. There, the pious, all-forgiving Virgin de la Asunción appears to soar to heaven, borne by a choir of adoring cherubs.
The workaday Presidencia Municipal (City-County Hall) stands on the plaza opposite the cathedral, while the municipal tourist information office, with many good brochures, is just north of it, at the corner of Puebla and Amado Nervo. Back across the plaza, behind the cathedral and a half block to the north, the Museo Amado Nervo (Zacatecas Nte. 284, tel. 311/212-2916, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat.) occupies the house where the renowned poet was born on August 27, 1870. The four-room permanent exhibition displays photos, original works, a bust of Nervo, and paintings donated by artists J. L. Soto, Sofía Bassi, and Erlinda T. Fuentes.
Return to the plaza and join the shoppers beneath the arches in front of the Hotel Fray Junípero Serra on the plaza’s south side, where a platoon of shoe shiners ply their trade.
Head around the corner, south, along Avenida México. After about two blocks you will reach the venerable 18th-century former mansion that houses the Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia (Av. México 91 Nte., tel. 311/212-1900, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat. and Sun., $3). The palatial residence was built in 1762 with profits from sugarcane, cattle, and wheat. Since then, the mansion’s spacious, high-ceilinged chambers have echoed with the voices of generations of occupants, including the German consul, Maximiliano Delius, during the 1880s. Now, its downstairs rooms house a changing exhibition of charming, earthy pre-Columbian pottery artifacts from the museum’s collection. These have included dancing dogs, a man scaling a fish, a boy riding a turtle, a dog with a corncob in its mouth, and a very unusual explicitly amorous couple. In an upstairs room, displays illustrate the Huichol symbolism hidden in the cicuri (eye of God) yarn sculptures, yarn paintings, ceremonial arrows, hats, musical instruments, and other pieces. Also upstairs, don’t miss the monstrous 15-foot stuffed crocodile, captured near San Blas  and donated by ex-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari in 1989.
If you have time, cross Avenida México and continue one block along Hidalgo to take a peek inside a pair of other historic homes, now serving as museums. Within the restored colonial-era house at the southwest corner of Hidalgo and Zacatecas is the Museo de los Cuatro Pueblos (Museum of the Four Peoples, tel. 311/212-1705, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat.), which exhibits traditional costumes and crafts of Nayarit’s four indigenous peoples—Huichol, Cora, Tepehuan, and Mexica. Afterward, walk three doors farther on Hidalgo and cross the street, to the Casa de Juan Escuita, a colonial house furnished in original style. Visitors can tour the house 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–7 p.m. Monday–Friday and 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. It’s named after a Tepic-born boy who was one of Mexico’s beloved six “Niños Héroes”—cadets who fell in the futile defense of Chapultepec Castle (the “Halls of Montezuma”) against U.S. Marines in 1846.
Continue south along Avenida México; pass the state legislature across the street on the left and, two blocks farther, on your right, along the west side of the plaza, spreads the Spanish classical facade of the State of Nayarit Palacio de Gobierno. Inside the center rises a cupola decorated with a 1975 collection of fiery murals by artist José Luis Soto. In a second, rear building, a long, unabashedly biased mural by the same artist portrays the historic struggles of the Mexican people against despotism, corruption, and foreign domination.
Continuing about a mile south of Plaza Constituyentes past Insurgentes, where Avenida México crosses Ejército Nacional, you will find the Templo y Ex-Convento de la Cruz de Zacate (Church and Ex-Convent of the Cross of Grass). This venerable but lately restored monument has two claims to fame: the rooms where Father Junípero Serra stayed for several months in 1767 en route to California, and the miraculous cross that you can see in the open-air enclosure adjacent to the sanctuary. According to chroniclers, the cross-shaped patch of grass has grown for centuries (from either 1540 or 1619, depending upon the account), needing neither water nor cultivation. While you’re there, pick up some of the excellent brochures at the Nayarit State Tourism desk at the building’s front entrance.