30 Top Things To Do In Guanajuato – A Must-Visit In Central Mexico

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Guanajuato is one of the most beautiful towns in Mexico and one of our favorite places to visit. It is packed with colorful colonial buildings and narrow alleyways that snake their way up the steep valley slopes. Due to its location in a narrow valley, there are also many great hikes nearby. Guanajuato is well known by Mexican tourists but not so much by the international world. This means that you can really have a Mexican experience without crowds of other foreign tourists. So whether you are an outdoorsy person or someone who is more interested in architecture and history there are so many things to do in Guanajuato.

Brief History Of Guanajuato

The area where Guanajuato is located was originally settled by the Spanish in the 1540s when they found deposits of gold here. Later silver was discovered and these discoveries bought thousands of migrants to the area.

Mining continued for many years and during the 18th century, Guanajuato extracted the most silver in the world. This made it the richest city in Mexico for a long time which resulted in the construction of many beautiful churches and buildings in the city.

The exterior of a beautiful old church in Guanajuato.
The Templo De Campania is one of the many beautiful churches built in Guanajuato.

Mining stopped for many years but was restarted in 1870 and more wealth flowed into the city. During this period the beautiful Teatro Juarez was built which is one of the most famous buildings in town.

During the 1700s Guanajuato suffered many floods and two of them nearly wiped the city out. To help stop the flooding many tunnels were built under the city to divert the water. But in the 1960s a dam was built and the tunnels were no longer needed for water so traffic was diverted down them.

The tunnels are a very unique feature of the town and something you should definitely check out!

1. Walk The Colorful Streets

There are many Mexican towns full of colorful buildings but for me, there is something special about Guanajuato. Because the city is located in a narrow steep valley there is a maze of narrow alleyways snaking up the hills.

The narrow alleyways are a great place to get lost and there are murals, pretty houses, and squares hidden around every corner.

But no matter where you are in the city center you will be surrounded by pretty colors. So go for a wander and enjoy all the pretty colorful alleyways.

One of the many colorful streets in Guanajuato.
A colorful square in guanajuato viewed through an archway.
There are also quite a few pretty little squares in Guanajuato.
Some colorful murals in Guanajuato.

2. Ride The Guanajuato Funicular For An Awesome View

Guanajuato is a beautiful city to view from above and the best spot to see it is in front of Monumento Al Pipilia. To get there you can take a ride in the funicular which costs 60 pesos for a return ticket. It is a short ride up but you get a really cool view over the city.

You can also walk up if you feel like a bit of exercise. It is not a super long way and there is some nice street art you can look at on the way up. To walk up look for Camino A Pie Para Visitar El Pipila on google maps and follow the signs to the top.

A man sitting on a ledge from the monumento al pipillia one of the top things to do in guanajuato.
The view over Guanajuato in front of Monument Al Pipilia.
Katharina standing on some stairs next to some street art in Guanajuato.
Some cool street art on the path up to Monument Al Pipilia.

At the top, you will see Monument Al Pipilia a statue overlooking the city. The statue is of a local miner Juan José de los Reyes Martínez Amaro known as El Pipilia who is a hero of Guanajuato.

During the Mexican War of Independence troops loyal to Spain had barricaded themselves inside a building in Guanajuato. The local militia who were trying to defeat the Spanish could not get to the building because of gunfire.

So El Pipilia strapped a rock to his back and crawled to the doors of the building and set it on fire. This allowed the militia inside to defeat the Spanish and El Pipilia became a hero.

Next to the statue, there will also be vendors around selling food and snacks if you are hungry at the top.

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3. Jardin De La Union At Night – One Of The Best Things To Do In Guanajuato At Night

Jardina De La Union is the beautiful central square of Guanajuato which is great to visit at any time of day. There are beautifully manicured trees lining the center of the square. But visiting here is one of the best things to do in Guanajuato at night.

At night time there will be a number of musicians walking around the square playing music if you pay them. Or one night we went and an orchestra was putting on a free concert in the gazebo.

But it is also a great place to people-watch and see all the families and tourists enjoying the square. There are also a number of fancy-looking restaurants lining the square. So you can also have a meal while you enjoy the atmosphere of the square.

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An orchestra playing some music in a gazeba in Guanajuato.
An orchestra playing in the gazebo in Jardin De La Union.
People walking around in Jardin De La Union with an interesting statue in the foreground.
An interesting statue at Jardin De La Union.

4. Teatro Juarez

The Teatro Juarez is arguably the most beautiful building in town. It is also located right next to the Jardin De La Union so you cannot miss it while walking along Gunajuato’s central walking street.

It was built around 1870 from money bought into town when mining was restarted. The greek columns with statues on top will have you questioning whether you are in Mexico as it feels very European.

The interior of the theater is also beautiful and worth a visit. A visit will cost 30 pesos but when we were in town the theater was closed for visits so hopefully, it opens up soon.

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The Teatro Juarez a beautiful building and one of the top things to do in Guanajuato.
The statues in front of Teatro Juarez.

5. Guanajuato Mummy Museum

The Guanajuato Mummy Museum is definitely an unusual thing to do in Guanajuato. But what is surprising is that the Mummy Museum is actually the most popular tourist attraction in town.

The mummies exist because of the climate of Guanajuato which caused people’s bodies to become mummified after they are buried. In the 1800s if your family failed to pay a cemetery tax after you were buried your body was exhumed.

So in the 1800s when bodies were exhumed it was discovered they had been mummified. Over the years word got out about the mummies and people would pay graveyard workers to view them. For many years an unofficial museum was running. But eventually, an official museum was created and it still exists to this day.

We have written an in-depth article about the Guanajuato Museum so if you want to learn more read it here.

One of the guanajuato mummies inside a glass box wearing a suit
The first Mummy discovered in Guanajuato was a Frenchman named Remigio Leroy.

6. Check Out The University

One thing you will notice about Guanajuato is that it is quite a youthful city especially compared to nearby San Miguel De Allende. A large reason for this is Guanajuato University.

More than 30,000 students attend Guanajuato University so there are a lot of cool bars and cafes in town. But for tourists, the best part of this is the beautiful University building.

It is a very impressive building and a great thing to do in Guanajuato. When you visit I recommend walking up to the top of the stairs for a great view of the city.

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A man standing on the stair leading up to the main building of Guanajuato University.
The steps lead up to the main university building.

7. Hike La Bufa

Guanajuato sits in a steep valley surrounded by mountains but the most prominent peak is the rocky La Bufa. Hiking up to the top is a spectacular day hike that is easily accessible from downtown Guanajuato.

There are spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and you will really feel like you are out in nature. Hiking up to La Bufa is one of our favorite things to do in Guanajuato. We have gone up both times we have visited Guanajuato and both times we have had the whole summit totally to ourselves.

If you would like to know more details about hiking La Bufa read our article here.

A hiker with his dog standing on the top of a rocky mountain near Guanajuato.
The rocky summit of La Bufa.

8. Explore The Tunnels

One of the truly unique things about Guanajuato is the system of tunnels winding under the city. The tunnels were originally created to divert floodwaters away from the city center.

In the 1960s a dam was built and the tunnels were no longer needed for floodwaters so they were turned into roads for cars.

Most of the tunnels are primarily used for cars but there are also footpaths that some locals use to walk along. So you can take a walk through them if you want. But just be warned that the air inside is pretty terrible as it is full of exhaust fumes.

But if you want to avoid exhaust fumes the best way to see them may be to jump in a taxi and ask the driver to go through them.

A car driving along a street at night about to enter a tunnel.
An entrance to one of the tunnels close to downtown.
Katharina walking through tunnels a cool thing to do in Guanajuato.
Walking through the tunnels on the way to the supermarket.

9. Mercado Hidalgo + Eat A Guacamaya

Mercado Hildago is the largest market in Guanajuato and a great place to visit. The building is an interesting shape as it was originally intended to be a train station. But the train station was never finished so the building is now used for a market.

The market has a wide range of things to purchase such as fresh fruit and vegetables, arts and crafts, spices, and more.

There is also a wide range of vendors selling smoothies, tacos, sandwiches, and other foods.

A huge mexican flag hanging over the top of a busy market in Guanajuato, Mexico.
A huge Mexican Flag in Mercado Hidalgo.
A Guacamaya a traditional thing to eat in Guanajuato.
A Guacamaya is a local sandwich.

If you are looking to try some food that is special to Guanajuato you can try a Guacamaya. The Guacamaya is a sandwich filled with pork rinds avocado, tomato, cilantro and salsa. It is a heavy sandwich and definitely not very healthy but it tastes good!

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10. Don Quixote Museum

Checking out museums is a great thing to do in Guanajuato and the Don Quixote museum is a quirky one that is surprisingly good. The whole museum is dedicated to the art of the book character Don Quixote.

The museum was created by a man named Eulalio Ferrer who was forced to leave Spain because of the Civil War. While in France as a refugee he received a copy of the book Don Quixote and it had a huge impact on his life.

A statue outside of the Don Quixote museum in Guanajuato.
A statue of Don Quixote outside of the museum.

So throughout his life, he collected Don Quixote’s artwork and opened the museum in 1987. It is strange to go to a museum dedicated to one character in a book but it is actually very good.

Entrance to the museum is 30 pesos (1.5 USD) and on Tuesdays it is free.

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11. Plaza De San Fernando

Plaza De San Fernando is a pretty square in Guanajuato that has many restaurants and cafes. In the evening, in particular, there is a really nice atmosphere here so make sure to come through at night time.

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A fountain in the middle of plaza san fernando surrounded by colorful buildings in guanajuato
Plaza San Fernando is a pretty square surrounded by bars and cafes.

12. Eat On A Bridge At Santo Cafe

In my opinion, the best location where you can have a meal in Guanajuato is on the bridge at Santo Cafe. At Santo Cafe, there is a pretty bridge over a walking street with two tables outside.

You may have to wait or be lucky to get a seat outside as people are often waiting but it is a really cool spot. But one of my favorite things about Santo Cafe is that the food is actually very affordable with big portions.

A bridge over a colorful alleyway one of the top things to do in Guanajuato.
The bridge you can eat on outside Santo Cafe.
A plate of pasta and another plate of enchiladas from Santo Cafe in Guanajuato.
Vegan pasta for 85 pesos and Chicken Enchiladas for 110 pesos.

We ordered vegan pasta for 85 pesos (4 USD) and Chicken Enchiladas for 110 pesos (5.50 USD) and both plates were huge. It was actually one of the cheapest meals we had in Guanajuato and tasted good too.

So even if you can get a seat on the bridge it is also a good spot to go for a cheap meal.

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13. Walk The Streets Behind Santo Cafe

After you have a meal at Santo Cafe you can also go for a walk around the pretty streets nearby. I have already mentioned walking the colorful streets is one of the best things to do in Guanajuato. But the street as you go up the hill across from the bridge is in my opinion one of the prettiest in Guanajuato and a great place to take some photos.

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Katharina standing on a colorful street in Guanajuato.
A pretty street straight up the hill from Santo Cafe.

13. Be A Tourist At Cellejon De Beso

The Cellejon de Beso or The Alley of The Kiss is one of the most touristy things to do in Guanajuato. The reason it is so popular is that it is the location of a tragic love story.

Many years ago there was a girl from a rich family who fell in love with a poor miner. As neither of their families would approve of the relationship they would sneak out at night to meet up. Eventually, the young miner decided to rent a room across the alleyway from the girl’s house. Then at night they could sneak out onto the balcony and kiss across the narrow alleyway.

Standing in a narrow alley way in Guanajuato.
Us standing in the Cellejon De Beso.

Unfortunately, the girl’s father found out and waited for them one night. When they came out to meet the father stormed onto the boy’s balcony and threw him off killing him instantly.

Now people come to visit and kissing on the spot is said to bring good luck to a couple.

I would recommend visiting early in the morning as it gets busy later in the day and there is obviously not much space in the alley.

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14. Have A Drink At The Beer Company

The beer company is a bar in Guanajuato that specializes in craft beers. The beers are quite pricey here but they have a good selection of Mexican craft beers and the staff are friendly and speak good English.

But the best part for us was the rooftop area it is really well set up and has great views of the surrounding area.

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Katharina sitting with a beer on a rooftop in Guanajuato.

15. Enjoy Some Vegan Food At Guanajuatito

Guanajuato does not have many vegan restaurants but a good one to visit is Guanajuatito. They do vegan versions of typical Mexican dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and pozole.

The menu de dia is a good option here as well. With the menu del dia you will get an entree such as soup, main course, a drink and a small dessert for 120 pesos (6 USD).

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A bowl of pozole with some tortillas and glasses of juice on a colorful table cloth.
A vegan pozole at Guanajuatito.

16. Hike Cerro De La Sirena

Cerro De La Sirena is a less well-known hike in Guanajuato but gives you awesome views of Guanajuato. The path is not as well marked as La Bufa and far fewer people come up this way so it is good if you feel like being a bit adventurous.

To get to the starting point you need to go to the end of a road called Cam. A La Aparecidia and make your way uphill. You will. be able to find the way by following arrows spray painted onto the rock.

It is a steep path so is quite difficult with the altitude but is great exercise and there is an awesome view from the top. Once you reach the summit you can go back down the way you came or follow the arrows down the other side of the mountain.

Katharina standing on a cliff face with a dog in front of a white cross.
Katharina at the top of the Cerro De La Sirena.

17. Have A Gordita At Las Gueras

In Guanajuato our favorite street food to have were Gorditas. They consist of pieces of corn dough that have been split in half and the center is filled with a filling of your choice.

There is a wide range of fillings such as egg, beef, chicken, potatoes, veggies, mushrooms, chickpeas and more. What we particularly liked about gorditas in Guanajuato is they were fried in oil. This meant they were relatively healthy and not too soggy which can often happen with Mexican food.

Our favorite gordita stand was Las Gueras where a gordita costs 18 pesos or just under 1 USD. There is usually a line but the ladies make the gorditas fast and the line moves fast.

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Three gorditas on a plate with people lining up to buy food in the background.
A mushroom, egg and pepper gordita.

18. Eat At Tazón de Barro, Comida Medicinal

Tazon De Barro is a small unique vegan restaurant that we loved. Every day there is a set menu with an entree, main, and drink that is prepared by the chef and owner which costs 150 pesos.

The cool thing about Tazon De Barro is that it feels like you are eating in someone’s home rather than a restaurant. There are two bars to eat at while Lucy prepares the food for you that are right next to the kitchen.

So it almost feels like you have a personal chef preparing the food for you. Lucy the owner is super friendly and was nice to talk to while we were there. All the food was super healthy, tasty, and interesting so we highly recommend it if you are looking for a healthy option.

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A vegan main dish at a restaurant in Guanajuato.
Our main was made of potato, mushrooms, spinach, and walnuts.

19. Have Coffee At Cafe Tal Or Vivo Cafe

In my opinion, Mexico is not an easy country to find good coffee. Many cities do not have decent cafes but in Guanajuato, coffee lovers are in luck as there are two great cafes. Cafe Tal and Vivo Cafe both have very good coffee.

Cafe Tal has multiple locations spread around town and we had a great Americano there. The interiors are very minimalistic but the coffee was cheap and really good.

But our favorite was probably vivo cafe as their americano and matcha latte were excellent. The atmosphere inside Vivo Cafe was also a bit better in my opinion so I would highly recommend checking it out.

A cup coffee and a matcha latte at vivo cafe in Guanajuato.
An americano and matcha latte at Vivo Cafe.

20. The Regional Museum Of Guanajuato

The Regional Museum of Guanajuato is an art and history museum housed in a building that was used as a fortress in the Mexican War of Independence.

It is quite a large museum and has quite a few exhibitions showing artifacts from the history of Mexico. But one of my favorite parts is the large murals in the staircases that also depict the history of the region.

Katharina standing on a terrace overlooking a large colorful mural inside the regional museum of Guanajuato.
One of the cool murals inside the Regional Museum of Guanajuato.

Entrance to the museum is 65 pesos (3 USD)

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21. Plazuela De Mexiamora

Plazuela De Mexiamora is another pretty square in Guanajuato that is hidden away from most tourists. The square is up the hill a bit and there are no shops so you will likely just see a couple of locals relaxing on the benches. But it is worth going to visit as it is a colorful pretty area.

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On old man sitting on a bench in a colorful square with some brightly colored flags hanging above his head.
Locals relaxing at Plazuela De Mexiamora.

22. Plaza De San Roque

Plaza De San Roque is another peaceful little square with a pink stone church. There is not a lot going on here but as always there are some pretty colorful houses to check out.

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Katharina standing in front of a pink church.
The church at Plaza De San Roque.
Katharina standing in front of a house that is painted pink and light blue.
A colorful house at Plaza De San Roque.

23. Museo Del Pueblo De Guanajuato

The Museo Del Pueblo De Guanajuato is a small museum that features modern and historical art. It is inside a beautiful old house and is only 30 pesos to enter so it is well worth stopping for a quick walk around.

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Allan standing in front of a mural at Museo Pueblo Del Guanajuato one of the top things to do in Guanajuato.
A mural inside the Museo Del Pueblo de Guanajuato.

24. Go On A Historical Walking Tour

Guanajuato is a city full of history so a great way to learn about this is to go on a walking tour.

Guanajuato Walking tours offer 3-hour walking tours for 450 pesos (22 USD). They offer tours in English and Spanish so it is a great way for everyone to learn about the history of Guanajuato.

25. Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato

The Basilica Colegiata de Nuestra Senora de Guanajuato is the main church in Guanajuato and one you will pass multiple times while in town. The bright yellow church can be seen from any viewpoint in town and is one of the most easily recognizable buildings.

The church was built between 1671 and 1696 so has been in the center of town for hundreds of years. From the outside, it is not the most impressive church but I would recommend having a look inside as the interior is beautifully decorated.

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The Basilica Colegiata de Buestra Senora de Guanajuato a yellow church one of the top things to do in Guanajuato.
The Basilica Colegiata de Buestra Senora de Guanajuato.
The interior of a beautiful church in Guanajuato.
The interior of the basilica.

26. Historical Walking Tour

Guanajuato is a city that is full of history and a great way to learn that history is to go on a walking tour.

Guanajuato walking tours offer historical walking tours for 450 pesos (22 USD). The tour lasts for 3 hours and can be taken in English and Spanish and will take you around all the important historical sites in the city center.

27. Go On A Tour With The Callejoneadas Guanajuato

The Callejoneadas is a musical tour through the streets of Guanajuato that traces its roots back to Spain. The tour guides will take you on a tour through the main alleyways of the city while telling stories and folklore of the city while dressed in old-style costumes.

The tour guides wear costumes which were the uniforms of Spanish students from the 14th and 15th centuries. In Spain, it was a tradition for students to play music and interpret songs to make some money. So this tradition was introduced to Mexico and has been taking place in Guanajuato since 1881.

Today it is a full fledge tourist activity and if you walk through town in the evenings multiple people will ask you to buy tickets for a tour. Tickets cost 185 pesos (9 USD).

Singers leading people on a tour of some streets at night time.
The Callojeneadas taking a tour through Guanajuato.

28. Walk A Street That Used To Be A River

As you walk through Guanjuato you may see a street that winds through the city and on both sides there are the steep walls of surrounding buildings. The reason that no buildings open onto this street is that it used to be a river.

There used to be a river that flowed through town but after dams were built the river dried up. So now when you walk down this street it feels like you are walking between the walls of a castle.

Not many tourists come down here but I think it is really interesting and a cool place to go for a walk.

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A man in a blue shirt and black jeans walking down a street with high stone walls.
The high walls surround the street in the middle of town.
A car driving down a street with high stone walls a great thing to do in Guanajuato.
The castle-like buildings in the center of Guanajuato.

29. Day Trip To San Miguel De Allende

San Miguel De Allende is another super pretty town located a 1 hour and 30-minute drive from Guanajuato. Although it is located very close by there is a very different atmosphere in San Miguel.

San Miguel is very popular with Americans to retire and there are a lot of wealthy people there. So prices are a lot higher for food and accommodation but it also means there are a lot of great places to eat at.

It is arguably the prettiest town in Mexico and makes an awesome day trip from Guanajuato.

View down a beautiful street in San Miguel De Allende with the roof of a church in the background
One of the many pretty streets in San Miguel De Allende.

👉 Read more of our articles on Things To Do In San Miguel De Allende and more below.

How To Get To San Miguel + Top Things To Do, Best Vegan Restaurants In San Miguel, Christmas In San Miguel, Unusual Things To Do In San Miguel, Best Tacos In San Miguel De Allende.

30. Day Trip To Queretaro

Queretaro is another beautiful town located just under 2 hours from Guanajuato. You will not find anywhere near as many tourists in Queretaro but it is a beautiful city that is well worth visiting.

Queretaro has to be one of the cleanest large cities we have seen in Mexico and it is starting to get popular for people to move here. It has a huge historical center with lots of beautiful old buildings.

It is a long day trip from Guanajuato so it could be a good idea to stay for a few nights.

A statue in downton queretaro with colorful buildings in the background
A statue in downton in Queretaro.

How To Get Around Guanajuato


The best way to get around Guanajuato is by walking as the city center is relatively small. The center of town also has a few pedestrian-only streets which makes it great for walking. A lot of the streets that go through the city center are also really congested with traffic. So driving through is not a good idea.


Taxis and Uber are very affordable and great if you need to get to the bus station. We found that there were not a lot of Ubers in town though so if you have to wait a long time it may be easier to take a taxi.

A green taxi driving down the road in Guanajuato.
One of the green taxis you will see everywhere in Guanajuato.


The buses in Guanajuato are cheap costing only 10 pesos per ride. They can be a really cheap option to get from the bus station into the city center or to get a ride to the Mummy Museum.

One of the old buses you will see in Guanajuato.

Now You Know The Best Things To Do In Guanajuato

It is a really beautiful city with some much to do if there is anything else you think I should add to the list let me know in the comments below.


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Passionate about travel, sustainability and minimalism. Co-founder of happyhealthynomads.

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