Guanajuato: a Travel Guide to One of the Most Beautiful Cities in Mexico

Guanajuato is a beautiful city in Central Mexico and is known for its silver mining history and colonial architecture. It is a popular city to visit because of its colorful houses, narrow streets and alleyways, and great food and culture.


If you visit Central Mexico, definitely put this gem of a city on your bucket list. It is often called one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in Mexico and for a really good reason. The historic center of the city is also UNESCO recognized.

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Keep on reading to find out the best things to do in Guanajuato.

Before I get started I wanted to include two important tips to get the most out of your stay in Guanajuato.

Avoid coming here on the weekends, especially on Sundays. Oh boy, we arrived on a Sunday and there were just way too many people.

Keep in mind Guanajuato is a small city with narrow streets and alleyways and people from the cities around Guanajuato come here on the weekends to visit and the city just can´t handle that kind of volume. You couldn’t even walk on the sidewalks without bumping into others.

Trust me, it´s no fun walking around in a small town with this many people. It takes away the charm of the city. When we walked around on Mondays everything was fine and we really had an amazing time here. So keep that in mind if you plan your trip and consider visiting on weekdays.

Book a hotel in the center. Almost everything you can do in Guanajuato is located in the historic center.

There are many hotels on the hills where you will have a nice view but we found that you can find amazing hotels in the city center for a really good price. If your hotel is located on a hill you have to climb stairs up and down to get to the main attractions.

We stayed at this hotel and it was really affordable and only a short walk from the main attractions like the Theatre and the Basilic church.

Now let me tell you the 10 best things to do in Guanajuato:

1. Stroll around the colorful streets and alleyways

The Top thing to do in Guanajuato is to just walk around. Yes, you´ve heard correctly. This city is known for its beautiful streets, colorful houses, and small alleyways. There is also so much to see besides the stunning architecture like little parks and sculptures.

Guanajuato streets
Guanajuato streets

The cars are all driving under the city in tunnel systems so a big part of Guanajuato´s historic center is car-less and easily walkable. You will find yourself walking around and marveling at the beautiful architecture and it´s truly one of the best things to do in Guanajuato. Also, the sidewalks in Guanajuato are not as bad as in other cities, so you can walk around in sandals or comfortable shoes.

2. Callejón del Beso (The Alley of the Kiss)

This street is probably the most famous in all of Guanajuato. It´s a narrow alley with two balconies where couples come to kiss.

The street is famous because of a tragic Romeo and Julliette type of story about two lovers Ana and Carlos. They both were madly in love but Ana´s wealthy father didn´t want her to see Carlos, a poor miner. So they would stand on each side of their balcony and kiss each other. When Ana´s father found out, he murdered both of them brutally.

It´s a pretty sad story but nowadays couples love to come here and snap a photo of a kiss. It’s said that you have seven years of happiness when you kiss here.

Callejón del Beso, Guanajuato

It costs 50 pesos for each balcony, so 100 pesos ($5 USD) in total to come here as a couple and snap a picture. There is also a little shop where you can buy souvenirs and the people who work there will happily take the picture of you with your phone (that´s why you have to pay). They also have a photographer and you can buy your picture in a frame for an additional 50 pesos (as of February 2022).

3. Jardin de La Union & Teatro Juárez

This is the main square in Guanajuato and where the famous Teatro Juárez is located. This is where all the action is. The park is busy and there are a couple of shops, restaurants and a Starbucks. There are also street vendors that sell you all kinds of things and you can buy tickets for the theatre.

Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato

The theatre is beautiful and even if you´re not interested in the shows, it is worth coming by and taking a picture or relaxing on the stairs in front of it. It´s one of the best things to do in Guanajuato.

4. Ride the Funicular

The Funicular is located behind the Teatro Juárez and it is well worth taking a trip uphill. The ride is short but the view from the Funicular and from the top is absolutely incredible. Guanajuato’s colorful houses are really pretty when you walk through the streets but seeing them from the top of a hill is a whole other level of beauty.

It costs 35 pesos one-way and 70 pesos ($4USD) if you want to go up and down.

We decided to only go up and then walk down Guanajuato’s beautiful streets and I would recommend doing it this way. Even though you´re pretty far up, it is only a 10-minute walk down all the stairs to be back in the city center.

Pro Tip: Stand at the back of the Funicular to have the best view to take pictures of the city.

5. Monumento Al Pipila

El Pipila is the name of a local hero of Guanajuato. He became famous as a hero of the War of Independence and this is a monument dedicated to him on top of a hill.

When you take the Funicular up, this is where you will have the pretty view from. There are stairs and benches to relax and soak in the view. And there are also a lot of street stands and you can buy souvenirs and jewelry.

6. Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato (Basilic cathedral)

The red and yellow Basilic cathedral of Guanajuato is located in the Plaza de la Paz and was built between 1671 and 1696. It is in front of the plaque that names the center of Guanajuato as a World Heritage site.

The plaza is nice and has a lot of restaurants. There is always something going on here and the church is beautiful, which makes it one of the best things to do in Guanajuato.

7. Museum of the Mummies of Guanajuato

This museum is a well-known attraction in Guanajuato. It has over 100+ mummified bodies and explanatory videos. Mexico is known for being more comfortable with the dead than other countries, even dedicating a full day to celebrate dead people on the 2. of November each year.

If you are not that comfortable with seeing mummified bodies you might want to skip this one. I was really torn between going here because I think it´s fascinating but I also was scared of having nightmares afterward. So I decided to skip it (also my boyfriend didn´t want to go) but it is one of the best things to do in Guanajuato.

8. Relax in one of the many parks and plazas

Guanajuato has a lot of beautiful parks and plazas where you can relax on a bench, read a book or people watch. If you walk around the city chances are you end up in one of the parks on accident because there are just so many of them.

Some of them have beautiful fountains or statues. Others have street stands where you can buy food or souvenirs. There are often people that play instruments and make music.

It is a great way of spending an afternoon and one of the best things to do in Guanajuato.

9. Mercado Hidalgo

Mercado Hidalgo is a cast-iron building from the 1910s with tons of food stands, stalls, and souvenir shops. You can find anything from souvenirs to jewelry, hats, candy, and fresh fruit and produce here. It is huge and worth a visit, even if you are not in the mood for shopping.

Just walk around and look at what people have to offer and you might find one or two things to take home with you.

10. Visit the nearby mines

Guanajuato became the world´s leading silver extraction center in the 18th century. The town’s fine Baroque and neoclassical buildings are a result of the prosperity of the mines.

You can visit these mines all around Guanajuato. For example, there is La Valenciana Mine which is about 6km out of Guanajuato’s historic city center. Not only the city center but also the surrounding mines of Guanajuato are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The best Cafes and Restaurants in Guanajuato

  • Los Campos: This is a really popular restaurant and for a good reason. They have great food and amazing cocktails. I had their Campestre cocktail with Mezcal and it was a 11/10. We had the championes starter, a salad and a burrito and everything was incredibly delicious. The staff was attentive and friendly and the value for money was unbeatable. Check them out when you´re in Guanajuato.
Los Campos Guanajuato
Los Campos Guanajuato
  • La Trattoria: We were in the mood for pizza on our last night here and had a super cheesy pizza and great Chardonnay here. They are located right at the Jardin de La Union and they have small balconies where you can eat, people watch, have a great view of the Theatre and listen to the people that play music on the street.
  • Santo Cafe: This is my favorite café in Guanajuato. Their vegetarian baguettes are to-die for and they have great iced coffee and smoothies. Also they have 35 pesos (<$2USD) freshly squeezed orange juice so it´s a perfect breakfast and brunch spot.
Santo cafe Guanajuato
  • Cafe Tal: This café is small and they have a couple of tables in a really dark room. I didn´t like that it was so dark there but I had to mention it because their coffee was really good. We had an Americano and an Iced latte and both drinks were delicious. They also have croissants and a nice fruit plate for breakfast. Unfortunately not many other options to eat so I would recommend coming here for a mid-day coffee but not for food.
  • Pali Gastronomia: This cafe/restaurant was across from our Hotel so we came here right after we arrived in Guanajuato. They have great Matcha lattes and a really delicious apple strudel. They are a art gallery and restaurant so it is a cool place to relax, have a coffee or eat and admire the art.
  • Café Conquistador: They are a small cafe with only a handful of tables. We came here to have a mid-day coffee break and I had a great Iced coffee. It was also really close to our hotel and I brought my laptop with me because they have amazing Wifi to work from.
Cafe Conquistador

Guanajuato is a truly beautiful city and even though it´s not that big, there are plenty of things to do here and well worth a visit. It has so much charm and beauty to it so I would highly recommend visiting this gem of a city.

What do you think of Guanajuato? Have you been here?

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Jessica Buck

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