Sinaloa civil protections authorities said there were no reports of injuries or damage.
Alberto Montoya Rodriguez, who runs the losmochis.com website from his home in Ahome, north of the city, said the ground seemed to shake for more than a minute, sending him and his neighbors into the streets.
"There was a lot a panic," he said, but there was no damage beyond "just a big scare."
Alejandra Cruz, a worker who answered the telephone at the Best Western Hotel in Los Mochis, said employees and guests were evacuated but returned to the building shortly after.
"We had customers in the restaurant that took to the streets," added Sujey Becerra, an employee of Las Fuentes Los Mochis, another hotel in the city.
In the city of La Paz, in Baja California Sur, authorities also reported panic, but said there was no damage or injuries.
Alfonso Gomez, assistant director of civil protection in La Paz, told The Associated Press by telephone that some schools and public buildings were evacuated, and city offices received calls from alarmed residents.
The same region was hit by three moderately powerful earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 5.5 to 5.8 Tuesday night and early Wednesday, but they caused no known damage.