Its mountainous terrain and strategic location within the Cordillera mountain range give Baguio City the advantages of a cool temperature and scenic views.
The city has an abundance of forest reserves, parks, and pine trees, and the high elevation provides many places – from the city center to the outskirts – with sweeping vistas.
Aside from its unique mix of natural and historical attractions, a combination of cultures that incorporates Spanish, American, and native Ibaloi and Cordilleran tribal influences gives the city a unique socio-cultural flavor.
As a retail and urban hub, Baguio boasts of an economic zone and a technology enclave as well as a number of stores carrying imported and top brands.
Co-existing with these establishments are souvenir and other shops selling goods distinctly Baguio such as strawberry products, knitted wear, woodcraft, and silver jewelries.
Baguio center attractions
Within the Baguio central business district are several spots identified as tourist draws by the City Government. They are of walking distance from many Baguio accommodation establishments and include parks, shopping areas, and historical monuments.
1. City Hall building
The Baguio City Hall building was built in 1949-1950.
Your tour within the city center should start at City Hall. This current building, constructed in 1949-1950, replaced the one built in 1910 during the term of E.W. Reynolds, first city mayor, hat was destroyed during World War II in 1945.
To get more details about this building, such as how to get there or its GPS coordinates, and the other sites in the list, download the Baguio Guide from the Google Play Store.
2. Burnham Park
Man-made lake at Burnham Park.
One of the interesting nature spots in Baguio is an urban park named after the American architect, Daniel H. Burnham, who laid plans for the city in the 1900’s. The park is a sprawling green space encompassing 32 hectares right in the city center. It is just a few minutes walk from City Hall.
The Baguio Guide app provides a list of the different activities you can do in Burnham Park.
3. Baguio Cathedral
The Baguio Cathedral is one of the most photographed buildings in the city.
Standing on a hill originally referred to as “Kampo” by the native Ibalois, the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral depicts Gothic architectural influences in its twin spires, stained glass, and rose windows.
The structure also has a distinctive pink color. It was built in phases starting in 1920 not by the Spaniards by a Catholic Mission established by missionaries of the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) from Belgium in 1907.
4. Baguio City Public Market
Strawberries are sold cheaply and in abundance at the Abanao Market, also known as the Baguio City Public Market.
Baguio is known for its strawberries and in no other area in the city is this fruit sold cheaply and in abundance than in the public market.
Also called Abanao Market, it is located at the foot of Session Road along Magsaysay Avenue.
Other tourist draws
Trips to other attractions take more time because they’re located some distance from the city’s nucleus. Such trips need to be planned and the route plotted ahead of time especially since Baguio has a lot of one way streets.
5. Baguio Botanical Garden
The Baguio Botanical Garden features a wide variety of plants.
Take a stroll along the winding trails and stone steps of the Baguio Botanical Garden. It has a wide range of flowering, herbal, and decorative plants interspersed with pine trees. Some plants are even for sale.
The garden’s main entrance is along Leonard Wood Road, between the Teacher’s Camp and Pacdal Circle. It had been in the past been called Igorot Village, Imelda Park, and Centennial Park. Within the huge park are relics from its Igorot Village days, such as tribal huts and sculptures.
There are pocket gardens within the park dedicated to Baguio’s sister cities. There is a network of Japanese tunnels as well. The Baguio Botanical Garden is just a kilometer away from the city center.
6. Mines View Park
Mines View Park is a top tourist attraction in Baguio,
No other spot encapsulates the city’s breathtaking scenery better than Mines View Park.
The park, located in the outskirts of Baguio, offers a wide and clear view of Benguet’s mountain ranges where gold, silver, and other ores were once mined, hence its name.
Souvenir items and other Baguio products are sold in the area. Silver jewelry, which the city is known for, is sold at the Ibay’s and Pilak branches in Mines View.
7. Camp John Hay
The world-class golf course at Camp John Hay.
Camp John Hay has often been referred to as the “little Baguio” with Baguio City. The urban design for Baguio created by American architect Daniel H. Burnham in the 1900’s was for a community with a population expected to reach but not breach 25,000.
Some 100 years later, the city’s population has grown to over 10 times more. There are more people, houses, and cars on the road.
Camp John Hay offers a picture of Baguio City as it used to be. More information about Camp John Hay and the things you shouldn’t miss in the mountain resort can be found at the Baguio Guide mobile app that’s offered for free download in the Google Play Store.
8. Wright Park
Visitors may ride any of the horses at Wright Park.
A favorite of kids and adults alike in Baguio is Wright Park where an organization of pony boys offers horseback rides. It is located northeast of the city center.
From the horseback riding area, a stone stairway leads to the “Pool of the Pines,” a quiet stretch with a 100-meter long shallow and narrow pool lined on both sides by Baguio’s towering pines.
The park is named after Luke Edward Wright, American governor-general of the Philippines (1904-1906).
9. The Mansion
Built in 1908, The Mansion on Leonard Wood Road housed a succession of American governor-generals. It is located just across Wright Park.
It is now utilized as the official residence of the Philippine President in the summer capital. The Baguio Guide app contains more information about this Baguio attraction such as where they got the inspiration for its wrought iron gates.
10. Philippine Military Academy
War relics and memorabilia displayed at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) grounds.
This premier military institution has its beginnings in Spanish colonial times. Established in the 19th century, it became the venue for the training for sons of soldiers and those aspiring for higher military positions.
Don’t forget to check out the Philippine Military Academy museum, which displays memorabilia related to the development of the academy. PMA allows visitors a peek into a typical cadet room at the museum.
11. Tam-Awan Village
Tam-awan Village features Tribal icons and dwelling huts.
Set on a rolling slope along Lt. G. Tacay Road, Tam-Awan Village promotes and preserves tribal and indigenous cultures and practices.
It offers accommodations in authentic dwelling places of Benguet’s different tribes. The village features seven Ifugao and two Kalinga huts made of indigenous materials.
Following the trail within the village’s mountainous terrain will lead guests to great views of the surrounding environs. The West Philippine Sea sunset, on a clear day, may be viewed from the area.
Lodging and entrance fees provided in the free Baguio Guide mobile app that’s available for download at the Google Play Store.
12. BenCab Museum
National artist Benedicto Cabrera displays his collection of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture at the BenCab Museum.
Located along Km. 6 Asin Road, Cabrera’s museum also features works of rising contemporary artists.
An interesting albeit mature spot in the museum is the Erotica Gallery. Drawings, paintings, sculpture, and other artworks by various artists with an erotic subject or theme are displayed there.
13. Ifugao Wood Carvers Village
The way to BenCab museum is dotted with woodcarving shops. The area is known as the Ifugao Wood Carvers Village. Beautiful, hand-carved products are sold at low prices in the shops.
14. Lourdes Grotto
The uphill way to the shrine of the Lady of Lourdes.
A shrine to the Lady of the Lourdes is located close to the BenCab Museum. The Our Lady of the Lourdes Grotto is accessible through the Dominican Hill Road and pilgrims need to climb 252 steps to reach it.
Since it is located on a high elevation, the shrine also offers fantastic views of the mountainsides.
15. The Prayer Mountain and Tourism Center (Dominican Hill)
Once a monastery, the Diplomat Hotel now lay abandoned and in ruins.
When the Americans were encouraging people to come to Baguio, the councils of the Province of the Dominican Order voted to construct a monastery on a 17-hectare property they had acquired in the city.
The monastery was later turned into the Diplomat Hotel that is now abandoned and in ruins on Dominican Hill. Residents even say it’s haunted.
16. Bell Church
Located on the border of Baguio City and La Trinidad Valley, this cluster of temples called Bell Church features oriental architecture, ornate gateway, dragon ornaments, and Buddha-guarded windows. It sits atop a hill. The priest in the Bell Temple preaches a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity.
Aside from a list of top places to visit, the Baguio Guide mobile app that is offered for free download at the Google Play Store also contains information on Baguio hotels, restaurants, and other key information.