It is located in the central part of the state, at . It stands at an altitude above sea level of some 915 metres, on the banks of the Río Mololoa and the Río Tepic, approximately 225 kilometers north-west of Guadalajara, Jalisco. Nearby are the extinct Sangangüey volcano and its crater lake. Tepic is the primary urban center of this rich agricultural region; major crops include sugarcane, tobacco and citrus fruits.
The city was founded in 1542. In the 2005 census, it reported a population of 295,204 people. Its surrounding municipality of the same name had a population of 336,403. The municipality has an area of 1,983.3 km² (765.8 sq mi).
It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tepic.
Nayarit has small stadiums built for football (soccer), and baseball; the state has 3 sport private clubs (one has an excellent golf course), and has multiple football (soccer) fields and places to play "pick up games", indoor football (soccer) courts, a Basketball center/gym (with wooden flooring), several volleyball courts, a bowling alley. In Tepic, tennis is a popular sport, but the most popular is soccer. The city also boasts a bullring, as do most Mexican cities. Tepic has several state teams. Both the soccer and the basketball teams are named "Coras".