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Dariece Swift By
Posted 14 Apr, 2020 | 28 Comments
Posted in: Mexico, Things To Do, Travel Blogs

The UNESCO listed city of Guanajuato is quite possibly the most picturesque place in all of Mexico. Brightly coloured buildings tumble-down the hillside, leading to lovely plazas and squares.

The temperature is perfect, the people are friendly and there are endless amounts of things to do in Guanajuato, making it a must-visit destination in Mexico.

After spending 5 nights in this lovely mountain town, we can honestly say that it’s a great place for travellers to visit, and we can’t wait to return. 

There are numerous things to see in Guanajuato, but here’s my list of the 12 best.

1. Wander The Colourful Lanes

Guanajuato is a well-designed city with plenty of plazas and squares, and leading away from those squares are many lanes and alleyways just waiting to be explored.

The colours of the buildings are bright and cheerful, and the little streets are endless.

You may get lost in the labyrinth of streets in the hills, and if so, just wander downhill until you eventually arrive in the center of town.

things to do in guanajuato walk the alleyways

The center of the city is pedestrian-only, meaning you can explore without worrying about vehicles, exhaust or loud horns honking.   

So, where are all the cars? They’re underground!

That’s right, there’s hardly any traffic in Guanajuato due to the network of tunnels beneath the city.

These tunnels were initially built to prevent flooding of the nearby Rio Guanajuato (river) from damaging the city, but today the tunnels are now protecting the city from traffic.

This makes Guanajuato one of the most enjoyable cities to walk around in. 

Walking around and exploring on foot is one of the best things to do in Guanajuato for sure. Put your phone away, and don’t worry about Google Maps here —  getting lost is all part of the fun.

2. Visit The Mummy Museum

Of all the attractions in Guanajuato, visiting a museum filled with mummies is definitely the most offbeat.

One story says that these people had to be dug up from the cemetery in order to make room for new bodies.

Another states that a perpetual burial tax was issued and those who couldn’t afford it, had their beloved family members dug up and moved.

Regardless of which story is true, what was discovered wasn’t skeletons as planned.

Due to the large amounts of clay and limestone in the ground, the bodies became mummified!

attractions in guanajuato mummies

Every local person you talk to will tell you to visit this museum, which houses over 100 mummified bodies. Mexicans are obsessed with death and their infatuation with this museum only helps to prove that.

Westerners may find it a bit eery, creepy and sad, as we’re not as comfortable with death as other cultures are. Regardless of how you feel, it’s a very interesting museum and one of the weirdest things to do in Guanajuato.

The museum is open from 9:00 – 6:00pm every day and costs 50 pesos ($2.10) to enter. Click here to find the Mummy Museum on the map. 

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3. Enjoy A Show At The Theatre

There are a couple of theatres in Guanajuato with Teatro Principal (main theatre) having performances and events weekly — typically on Fridays during the months of February – June.

The symphony orchestra is fabulous and tickets cost between 80 – 100 pesos ($3.40 – $4.25) for two hours of incredible music. If you’re wondering what to do for date night in Guanajuato, this is it. Click here to find Teatro Principal on the map.

symphony in guanajuato things to do

Another option is to join this Airbnb Experience with a local.

You’ll learn all about the arts and music scene in Guanajuato and Mexico, take in a symphony performance (at either Juarez or Principal Theatre), and afterward, enjoy dinner at one of the top restaurants in the city. Click here to learn more.

4. Visit The Alley of The Kiss

The name of this famous alleyway comes from an old folk tale.

Apparently, two young people lived across the alley from each other and although the girl’s father forbade their relationship, they were in love and continued to see one another.

Because the lane is so narrow, their balconies almost touched, allowing the young couple to kiss in secret! 

alley of kiss guanajuato mexico

The story has a tragic ending, but if you go to this alleyway and stand on the red step and kiss your significant other, you’ll have 7 years of happiness.

For couples, this is one of the most romantic things to do in Guanajuato.

5. Go On a Food Tour (one of the best things to do in Guanajuato for foodies!)

If you’re interested in sampling delicious street foods, visiting some markets and walking around the city, this tour is for you!

The food in Mexico has historical significance and has actually been given UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status. Not only that, but the cuisine is so tasty. The best way to find (and eat) traditional food is by joining a tour with a knowledgable guide. 

From authentic gorditas and sopes, to tomales and tacos, this food tour will take you around to all of the hot-spots and best vendors.

After devouring delicious snacks, sipping on Mexican coffee and finishing it all off with homemade ice cream, you’ll be ready for a nap. Check out Mexico Street Food Tours for details.

*Warning, this video will make you hungry!

6. Wander Through Diego Rivera’s Home

Diego Rivera was Frida’s husband and a famous artist in Mexico.

His home has now been turned into a museum/art gallery and you can wander through and take a glimpse into the rooms of his actual home — which are still set up with furniture.

In order to turn the home into an art gallery, the house has been added onto. You’ll find some fantastic pieces are here, by both Rivera’s and other more modern artists as well. Click here to find Diego’s home on the map. 

7. Ride the Funicular

The funicular is a tram-car pulled by a cable, which takes you up the side of the mountain.

places to visit in guanajuato

It’s kind of like an escalator, which is great as the mountainside is quite steep. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over the colourful city of Guanajuato, as well as an up-close view of the statue of Pipila, a local hero.

The funicular is located behind the Teatro Juarez. A one-way ticket costs 30 pesos, while a return journey is 60. I recommend taking the funicular up, and walking down. Click here to find it on the map. 

8. Go Shopping

There are a few markets in town, but the most important (and biggest) is the Mercado Hidalgo.

Vendors set up shop here selling everything from fresh fruits and clothing to cheese and meat.

hidalgo market guanajuato

You may notice that the iron building sort of resembles a train station, and you’re right, that’s what it was initially supposed to be!

Even if you’re not interested in purchasing anything, it’s still worth a visit to see the unique building and the goods for sale.

9. Check Out The Churches and Cathedrals

There are numerous churches and cathedrals in and around the city center.

You can’t miss the vibrant yellow Basilica de Guanajuato which dominates the main plaza, while the San Cayetano (La Valenciana) is located out near the mines.

basilica church guanajuato

The Templo de la Compañía is considered one of the finest examples of Churrigueresque style in Latin America. The facade of this church may seem a bit rundown, but the interior is stunning.

Even if you’re not a religious person, you can’t help but be in awe of the beautiful structures.

10. Visit the Alhóndiga de Granaditas (art and history museum)

This building has been used for many things over the years.

Initially, it was a grain storehouse, before becoming a fortress for the Spaniards. After that, it was used as an armory, then a school, then a prison, before finally becoming a museum.

This was also the place of the first victory over the Spanish during the War Of Independence in 1810. Don’t miss the beautiful murals above the staircase.

The building is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00am – 6:00pm. The entrance fee is 30 pesos ($1.25), click here to find Alhondiga de Ganaditas on the map. 

11. Join a Historical Walking Tour

Wandering around aimlessly in Guanajuato is fun, but if you want to learn about the buildings you’re looking at, the history of the city, and find some secret spots, then I suggest joining a walking tour with a local. 

The same owner of the food tour listed above runs an interesting tour on foot around the city. During the trip, you’ll explore back alleys, two museums, Diego Rivera’s home, Teatro Juarez, and take a ride up the funicular to the spectacular viewpoint.

things to see in guanajuato

To end the tour, you’ll enjoy a coffee or alcoholic drink from a rooftop bar. This is a great way to spend a few hours and see some offtrack places in Guanajuato.

At the end, you’ll ride the funicular up to the stunning viewpoint and enjoy a coffee or alcoholic drink from a rooftop bar. Click here to learn more.

12. Explore The Mines

Guanajuato made a name for itself (and fortunes) due to the silver mines surrounding the city. 

There are 2 mines that are worth visiting, but they aren’t for those who are claustrophobic. 

El Nopal Mine is the closest to Guanajuato and is the smaller of the two.

Tour guides here are local university students who are studying this field. Many of the tours will only be held in Spanish, but it’s interesting to visit even if you don’t completely understand the language.

The cost to enter is just 30 pesos ($1.25), and a tip for the students is appreciated. You can find El Nopal Mine on the map here

The second and larger mine in the area is La Valenciana. 

La Valenciana mine guanajuato things to do

This was the deepest and most extensive mine in the area and had it heyday during the 17th century.

Here, you can descend down a 60m shaft into the depths of the mine! This mine is one of the more unique places to visit, and experiences to have in Guanajuato.

The cost to entre La Valenciana is 30 pesos ($1.25). The mine is located 5 kilometers from the city center. You can find it on the map here

Now You Know What To Do in Guanajuato

Never during our travels have we fallen in love so quickly with a city. Guanajuato is an incredible place with many interesting things to see and do.

This list literally could have gone on and on! We highly recommend visiting this UNESCO city in Mexico and hope you love it as much as we did.

And, don’t miss our epic travel guide to Mexico which lists everything you need to know about travelling to this amazing country. 

Images in this article were provided by Shutterstock, a website for sourcing royalty-free images and videos. Learn more here.

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Dariece Swift

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Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and an expert in saving money, finance management, building an online business and of course… travel. She loves meeting new people, trying new cuisines, and learning about the unique cultures of our world. She has over 10 years of experience helping others to realize their travel dreams and has worked in numerous jobs all over the world to help pay for travel. Her advice about long-term travel, remote work, and location independence has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider and Forbes.

Learn more about Dariece Swift on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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28 thoughts on “12 Best Things To Do in Guanajuato, Mexico

  1. Guanajuato is an excellent world heritage site. It’s popularly known for its art festivals like Festival Cervantino. For a visitor like me, I saw the artistic sites and significant religious rites in Mexico.

  2. Oh WOW! A museum of mummy’s? That’s kind of cool and yes, I think maybe the Mexican’s do love death and have a different relationship than westerners, I’d love to have the chance to check that out (later).

    I also think the kissing photo is sweet (with the storey). What was the tragic ending? Is it like the Mexican Romeo and Juliet where they both die young and pretty or is it worse than I imagine?

  3. It’s such a great city, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed all that it has to offer 🙂

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. Hi Stacey,

    thanks for commenting 🙂

    The ending is worse actually, apparently the father of the girl killed her because she disobeyed him and brought shame to the family 🙁

    A great story with a horrible ending!

    cheers.

  5. Guanajuato was our number 1 on the list to visit this summer in Mexico. Unfortunately we did not make it, but reading all of this makes me visit next time even more!

  6. We visit Guanajuatoregularly. Wandering downtown is our favorite thing to do. Visiting the tiny shops, taking in the colors and view as we stroll for hours.

  7. We live in Puerto Vallarta and are planning a visit to Guanajuato in July. Why is June through December the best time to visit? Are there less people, because that is what we are hoping for. Thanks!

  8. We live in Culver City Ca and we are going to fly to Mexico City and then we’ll visit Guanajuato on May 28, why isn’t May a favorite time to visit Guanajuato?, it’s one day enough to visit some of the main attractions?

  9. Thanks for the info!!!
    I believe that at callejon del beso you are supposed to kiss up in tha valconies. Do you see them in your pic?

  10. Guanajuato looks and sounds like such a pretty and peaceful place! I am doing some future travel planning right now and am so looking forward to visiting this city one day. It sounds like there are some interesting things to do there as well. Thanks for sharing! Great article as always, guys.

  11. Almost bypassed Guanajuato but it’s back on the list. We will be there next week, really looking forward to it! Where else in Mexico is a must see for you guys? We are thinking of heading to Mazatlan and along the Pacific coast for a bit.

  12. Is there an English speaking population in Guanajuato? I’m thinking of moving there to explore and spend time working on Art and writing

  13. There are a few expats there, and many of the Mexican people speak English. I’m sure you would learn how to speak Spanish as well!

    Enjoy.

  14. Amazing! We loved Guanajuato.

    Also, Isla Holbox, Mexico City, San Cristobal, Palenque (ruins), Valladolid, Merida and the surrounding villages / sites, Puerto Vallarta is nice, San Pancho, Guadalajara…Mexico is amazing.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Guanajuato, my boyfriend and I are planning a trip there in December and I got a lot of great ideas from your story!

  16. I just got back from San Miguel de Allende and loved it. Now, I’m researching about other places in Gto to go and after reading your post we’re excited to visit Guanajuato City. Travel on amigos.

  17. We love Guanajuato as well and have visited all the places you mentioned. An additional place that was recommended to us by a local expat was the catrina store – it is upstairs in a sweet shop opposite the theatro near the jardin. Huge selection of catrina dolls, small and large, in a vast selection of costumes. Quite impressive! We live in San Miguel de Allende so we are lucky to be able to visit any time we want, especially convenient when flying out of Leon.

  18. You’re so lucky to live so close! We didn’t make it to San Miguel de Allende, but have heard very good things 🙂 We need to come back! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  19. Hey! Loved your food tour video! We’ve literally just left Guanajuato and thought we’d share a little 360º video compile we made of some of our favourite places in the city.
    https://youtu.be/1FP4UVM–tk

  20. Wow! Makes me wish I’d visited Guanajuato City. I was in San Miguel de Allende this past summer but didn’t get to make it to Gto. Won’t miss it next time. Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. Not only “check out the churches” but go to Mass. There are opportunities to attend Mass morning, afternoon and evening seven days a week. You’ll get a real glimpse into the family life of authentic Mexican culture. Guanajuato is at the heart of one of the most Catholic areas in all Mexico so that if you’re Catholic from any part of the world, you can participate in the Sacraments. Here’s another novel idea. Go to confession in Spanish!

  22. Great read, Dariece! Gto is an amazing place, for sure. Don’t forget the Cervantino festival in October and the Callejonadas where you stroll through the tight callejones (windy walking streets) with a group of period dressed musicians singing traditional songs.

    I’d like to add there are a few useful Facebook groups serving the Guanajuato expat and visitor community. The first is geared for those visiting or living in Guanajuato. The other Group is a constantly updated list of activities and events in Guanajuato – art, music, food… everything.

    expat / visitors community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/gtomx/

    events and activities: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1587748181247376/

    Gracias!

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