Guanajuato is such an intriguing place to travel in Mexico with so many awesome things to do! Many people say that Guanajuato is the most beautiful city in Mexico. We can’t disagree. This colorful colonial city is simply stunning.
Located smack in the middle of Mexico’s central highlands, there is lots to love about Guanajuato. This city has such colorful architecture, a continuously festive atmosphere, a deep mining history, and a cool mountain setting. Yet it’s the loads of things to do in Guanajuato that make this alluring town such an awesome travel destination in Mexico.
Guanajuato’s leafy plazas and opulent theaters often give visitors the feel of a quaint European town. But Guanajuato is oozing with unique Mexican culture and history. Plus the tasty local cuisine found all over town will remind you that you are most definitely in Mexico!
Get To Know Guanajuato, Mexico
For some background, Guanajuato came to prominence as a prosperous silver-mining town with origins that go all the way back to the mid-1500’s! As Guanajuato developed around the mines, the town wasn’t exactly planned. Instead, Guanajuato was haphazardly built into the mountainside as the town grew with the silver boom, giving Guanajuato the unique and colorful Mexican-colonial architecture that you see today.
The centuries-old alleyways and Baroque buildings remain as functional businesses and homes. This now makes for an extremely scenic setting to roam around, unlike any anywhere else in Mexico or the world.
The historic town of Guanajuato and the adjacent mines are even listed as one of Mexico’s 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Guanajuato is recognized by UNESCO for its signature architecture, silver mines, and deep history. (Read the full description: here.)
After three trips to Guanajuato and even a monthlong stay, it has easily become one of our favorite places to travel in Mexico. And we’ve found it to be a fairly underrated travel destination in Mexico too.
Although Guanajuato is arguably under-appreciated, this town in Mexico’s central highlands is not exactly an undiscovered destination. Guanajuato is a hotspot for domestic tourism.
During our visits, we noticed many Mexicans flocking here to experience the many things to do in Guanajuato. Yet with only a trickle of international travelers around, it’s clear that Guanajuato is not firmly on the global tourist trail like other popular Mexico destinations.
We find Guanajuato to be safe and the people here continually prove to be friendly and welcoming, as is the norm throughout the colonial highlands. Guanajuato is a university town, so it is full of young people. This youthful presence lends to the city’s fun and festive atmosphere. Yet it’s all the fun things to do in Guanajuato that makes the city such a worthwhile destination to travel to in Mexico.
It’s possible to experience most of these things to do in Guanajuato within a few days. We suggest staying for a minimum of two nights to try to pack it all in. Although a longer stay will better allow travelers to deeply discover all the best things to do in Guanajuato that are reviewed throughout this travel guide.
So without further ado, the following suggestions sum up what we’ve found to be the best things to do in Guanajuato, Mexico!
Best Things To Do in Guanajuato Mexico
Below is a map to help visually understand exactly where all these things to do in Guanajuato are. Some people find the town a bit difficult to navigate at first, so feel free to save this custom Google Map we created. Then come back to it on your smartphone when on the ground in Guanajuato.
All the points of interest listed in this post are illustrated here.
1) Get Lost in Guanajuato’s Historic Old Town
Let’s begin this list with what we argue to be the very best thing to do in Guanajuato: simply stroll along the historic pedestrian streets of the Old Town.
The center of Guanajuato is completely pedestrian-friendly with only a few streets where cars are permitted at all. Instead of car-clogged roads, you’ll find a labyrinth of walkable streets and alleyways that meander through this stunning town that’s built into the mountainside.
Getting lost in this maze may be one of the best things you can do in Guanajuato. We recommend ditching the map and GPS while roaming around centro. You’ll gain a sense of discovery as you stumble across charming surprises around each corner.
Also, be sure to wander into Guanajuato’s elaborate network of tunnels. These subterranean streets were initially built as a means to divert flooding, but today they are instead used to divert traffic out of the historic city center. Most of Guanajuato’s tunnels do have sidewalks. Yet we’d only suggest poking into the shorter ones. Leave the longer tunnels for the cars!
2) Experience Guanajuato’s Super Creepy Mummy Museum
Mummies aren’t only associated with ancient Egypt. One of the main attractions in Guanajuato is the Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum). In the 1800s there was a cholera outbreak that led to an influx of deaths and hence burials. Decades later the cemetery enacted a tax that family members needed to pay to keep their loved ones in the ground.
Some didn’t pay and hence their relatives were dug up. It turns out that Guanajuato’s unique geology had created a natural mummification process. At some point, curious visitors wanted to see these mummies. So cemetery workers began charging for entry. They eventually built a museum to display the mummies, which is a top attraction in Guanajuato today.
It can be disturbing to see the 100+ mummies, many of which are so well preserved that you can still easily see their facial expressions. After all, Guanajuato’s mummies are only a little more than a century old. Many of the mummy’s family members are said to still live in the area today.
As long as you’re not easily rattled, the Mummy Museum is just one of those places you have to check out. In fact, it’s one of the most popular things to do in Guanajuato and there is often a line to get into the museum.
3) Visit Guanajuato’s Grand Basílica
Known as the Basílica de Nuestra Señora, the tall & towering church was constructed way back in the late 1600s. If you’re properly dressed, pop inside this beautiful Baroque-style church to catch a glimpse of its infamous jewel-incrusted Virgin Mary.
For a real cultural experience, drop by on a Sunday and attend mass in this pretty yellow church that rises above the town.
There’s no need to search for this grand cathedral. If walking around Guanajuato’s historic city center, you’ll undoubtedly stumble across the looming Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato.
It looks beautiful when it’s lit up at night too!
4) Go Deep Into an Ancient Mine To Explore Guanajuato’s Mining Past
Guanajuato came about as a silver mining town. So one of the quintessential things to do in Guanajuato is to visit one of those silver mines that initially put the city on the map. Strap on a hard hat to be guided into the dark depths of these old mines.
El Nopal Mina (the Nopal Mine) is the closest mine to Guanajuato city center. Here, an engineering student will tour you around the old mine shaft.
Another mine that is popular with Guanajuato bus tours is the Valenciana mines, also known as Minas San Cayetano. Located five kilometers from the city center, it is further to reach for those who need their own transport. But since it is more popular, it has regularly departing tours in which you likely won’t have to wait to join a short group tour of these mines.
Guanajuato’s mining tours tend to be in Spanish. So without a working knowledge of the language, you won’t be able to grasp the guide’s tales of Guanajuato’s mining history. Yet we find it to still be worth following the guide underground for the 35-minute tour to be able to experience this signature feature of Guanajuato.
Side Trip Nearby the Valenciana Mines: Iglesia San Cayetano
If venturing out to Valenciana mines, it’s a must-do to also incorporate a stop at Iglesia San Cayetano. As such, we suggest venturing out to the Valenciana area on the outskirts of Guanajuato, rather than the Nopal Mines, to experience both the famous church and the mines next door.
Legend has it that the San Cayetano church was built in the late 1700s with the wealth from the adjacent Valenciana mines. The ornate gold-laden alter of Iglesia San Cayetano could really demand its own section on this Best Things To Do in Guanajuato Travel Guide. Yet we’ll just mention it here, as the church sitting next to the mines that funded its existence can easily be visited within a 5-10 minute side trip from the Valenciana mines.
5) Take a Ride Up Guanajuato’s Funicular
You can’t spell funicular without “fun!”
Guanajuato’s dual red funicular system is indeed a fun way to get to the Pipila Monument lookout point. But the funicular also boasts some of the best views in Guanajuato during the steep ride up the 102-meter (335-foot) long track.
💡 Travel Tip: When boarding the funicular, try to score a position at the back, facing downward toward the city. Then have your phone or camera ready to take some epic shots as the funicular rises. Or better yet, put down the camera and just enjoy those sweet views as the funicular lifts you up the hill.
There are a series of alleyways that can be used to walk up to the same point that the funicular goes to. But given the inexpensive funicular ticket and the steep incline of those alleyways, it’s very worthwhile to take a ride on the funicular instead. We suggest taking the funicular one-way (up, of course) to the Pipila Monument and then strolling down the maze of tight cobblestone alleyways.
If returning back to Guanajuato centro on foot too, just be sure to specify a one-way ticket, “sencillo,” when purchasing from the ticket booth. Then get ready to be swiftly lifted 76 meters (249 feet) in altitude up the 42-degree incline, all while taking in those awe-inspiring city views.
6) Soak in Guanajuato’s Best Views at the Pipila Monument
The Pipila Monument is that enormous statue perched up on the hill that seems to watch over the town. But Pipila is also the most notorious mirador (viewpoint) in Guanajuato.
It’s here at the Pipila Monument, where visitors can get a birds-eye view of the entire historic city center. From this lookout point, there are some superb photography opportunities to capture wide shots of this colorful city.
The monument itself becomes somewhat of an afterthought once you see the sweeping views of Guanajuato. Yet the looming monument that honors a local independence hero is fairly impressive too.
Come to the Pipila Mirador on a clear day and bring your camera to capture sprawling views of this colorful city. While perched above the city center, you can easily see all the famous buildings, like the basilica, the University, and the theatre down below
With this downward-looking vantage point, it’s also interesting to see how even the rooftops are painted to color-coordinate with the structures they top.
There are some drink and snack vendors up at the Pipila Monument, so this mirador can be a welcoming spot to give your feet a break. Relax on the steps or a bench while soaking in those sweeping views. Whatever you do, just be sure to come here. Gazing down from the Pipila Mirador is definitely one of the best things to do in Guanajuato.
7) A Guanajuato Tradition: Share a Kiss in the Callejón del Beso
While Guanajuato has many narrow alleyways, this particular alley has a story behind it that is just as colorful as this city itself. The local legend tells of a young girl from a well-to-do family who fell in love with a poor miner boy that the family did not approve of. The boy rented the room exactly across this narrow alley from the girl’s room. At night they would sneak out to their balconies to kiss across this little alleyway.
The boy would sometimes climb into the girl’s room and one night her father caught them in the act. In a fit of rage, the father stabbed and killed his daughter. Meanwhile, the boy tried to escape out the window but plunged to his death in the alleyway below.
Like most urban legends, there are a few variations of this tragic tale but they all follow this same theme. Today a superstition lives on in which couples who smooch in Alley of the Kiss are rewarded with seven years of good luck!
Many couples simply stroll through the alley to pop a smooch. But if you really want to get into this Guanajuato legend, you can actually pay a small fee to access the opposing balconies for a kiss over this famous Guanajuato alleyway.
8) Take a Hike in Guanajuato
While Guanajuato is most often recognized for its colorful architectural charms, there’s also loads of natural beauty that surround the pretty colonial town. It only takes a 20-minute walk through the city’s narrow alleyways to get to the rural edge of Guanajuato, where fantastic hiking opportunities await across the mountains!
Despite the awesome scenery and fun trails, trekking around Guanajuato is not much of a popular pursuit.
We regularly only see cows and goats, rather than other people, while scrambling up the rocky terrain. Perhaps it’s partly due to the completely nonexistent trail signage and lack of hiking info. It’s a bit disappointing, as many travelers are missing out on some spectacular vistas surrounding the town.
But we’re here to fill in any adventurous souls on where to go hiking in Guanajuato.
Our favorite hike in Guanajuato is on the trail to the blue cross at La Bufa.
Guanajuato’s La Bufa hike is a spectacular trek that takes about 3 hours roundtrip to pursue. The route passes by small waterfalls, big rock formations, and the Cueva de San Ignacio de Loyola, which is a cave steeped in legend. The final push towards the summit of La Bufa involves a fun rock scramble that should only be pursued by fit and experienced hikers.
For anyone who enjoys trekking, then hiking to La Bufa is definitely a must for things to do in Guanajuato!
9) Check Out the Guanajuato University
Guanajuato is a university town and you’ll definitely notice students while ambling about the colorful city. That’s because the University of Guanajuato boasts a massive attendance of over 30,000 students!
The campus is somewhat spread out across the city center. Yet there is a notable main building just a block away from the Basilica. To find it, keep an eye out for the iconic staircase.
It’s an interesting building to look at from below. But be sure to walk all the way up those stairs! As a reward, you’ll receive a nice view of the city center.
10) Visit Guanajuato’s Many Art & History Museums
Guanajuato isn’t just the home to mining and colorful colonial buildings. There are over a dozen art and history museums that add to the city’s culture. In addition to the aforementioned mummy museum, here are the other three most popular museums in Guanajuato:
Diego Rivera museum ($25 pesos, 10:00-6:30): Guanajuato was the birthplace and home to Mexico’s most famous artist, Diego Rivera. The Diego Rivera museum shows off what the home was like at the time of Rivera’s infancy when he lived in Guanajuato. It, of course, also showcases some of his artwork.
At the Regional Museum of Guanajuato (Alhóndiga de Granaditas) ($65 pesos, 10:00-5:30), visitors learn about Mexican history in the area, which particularly focuses on Mexico’s War of Independence, given this was the very site of the first rebel victory.
The Museo de Iconografico ($30 pesos, 9:30-6:45) pays homage to the iconic Spanish literary hero.
11) Admire the Teatro Juarez
You can’t come to Guanajuato without pausing to appreciate the famed Juarez Theatre, sprouting up from the center of town. Built in the late 1800s, the tall columns of the ornate structure helps to give the city a European flair.
Today you can take a quick stroll to self-tour around the inside the theatre. But Teatro Juarez is an active theatre too. So if you happen to be in Guanajuato while a performance is taking place, we suggest getting concert tickets instead of self-tour entry tickets.
Check the box office when you get into town.
12) Go To a Baseball Game with the Most Scenic Backdrop
Could Guanajuato’s unassuming Estadio Aguilar y Maya have one of the most beautiful outfield backdrops of any baseball stadium?
We sure think so!
While not as popular as fútbol (soccer), baseball does have a decent following in Mexico and even a 16-team professional league that plays in the country throughout the summer months. But here in Guanajuato, there’s a small municipal league that keeps the local crowd entertained. The bargain-priced $25-peso ticket provides access to seats right behind home plate to cheer on the home team amidst that colorful backdrop.
To find out Guanajuato’s baseball game times, simply walk by the stadium to have a look at the schedule that’s posted by the ticket booth. During our last visit, games were being held daily at a scheduled time of 4:00 pm. Although, we found they don’t actually start until closer to 5:00.
It’s a really fun and casual atmosphere. There tends to be plenty of seats and is not crowded at all. A sound guy sits in the stands and taunts the away team with sirens when the opposing team goes up to bat. Meanwhile, the scoreboard is charmingly changed by hand.
During the last game we attended, the snack and drink lady didn’t arrive until the second inning. Players would visit her while waiting to bat to buy something to munch on. She doesn’t have cervezas but can direct you to a friendly hombre who will make Coronas appear for $20-pesos a pop.
It’s all a great experience and such a fun thing to do in Guanajuato, even if you just pop in for a few innings to check out that stunning backfield.
13) Go Rowboating Around Presa de la Olla
A fun thing to do in Guanajuato on a nice day is to take a quick paddle on the boats around Presa de la Olla. Stroll a bit outside of the city center and you’ll eventually come across a park surrounding the presa (dam). It’s here that you can rent rowboats to paddle around the manmade lake.
There’s also a small tower you can climb up to get a birds-eye view of the area. Several eateries also line the lake serving basic local fare. So work up an appetite with oars, then pop in for a snack and reward your efforts with a cold cerveza.
14) Join Guanajuato’s Famous Night Walk: Callejoneadas
Callejoneadas is a nighttime tradition in Guanajuato that’s been going on for over 50 years. These callejonedas are evening strolls through Guanajuato’s alleyways and plazas in which you’re accompanied by strolling musicians dressed in period costumes.
This night stroll through Guanajuato is equal parts comedy show, cultural tour, and musical performance, all while slowly ambling around town. It’s become a tradition among things to do in Guanajuato.
Do beware that these evening strolls are only in Spanish. It can still be enjoyable for the atmosphere, night sights, songs, and certain jokes that can be picked up by body language and social cues. But non-Spanish speakers will likely miss out on the storytelling and many of the punchlines. Guanajuato’s nightly strolls can be hit or miss too, as each tour is entirely different. Enjoyment can really depend on the personality of the guides.
15) Wander Around the Sprawling Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera
This gorgeous 17th-century hacienda has some of the most spectacular gardens we’ve seen in Mexico. The vast grounds surrounding the ancient estate are so atmospheric and impressive. While passing through the many vine-covered walls, it feels like something straight out of a movie.
This San Gabriel de Barrera hacienda was built back in the late 1600s by a descendant of the owners of one of the major silver mining operations that Guanajuato was built on. The colonial home is now a museum that showcases period furnishings from that era. Yet it’s the well-kept gardens that seem to go on forever all around the property that really impress and make this hacienda stand out.
It’s easily possible to spend a few hours wandering around the estate, meandering between the lush interior courtyards and the many adjacent gardens. Even if you’re not really into museums, visiting this scenic hacienda is still a great thing to do in Guanajuato to wander the ultra-scenic grounds.
Any photographers may find themselves overwhelmed with opportunity. Yet the same could be said for most places around Guanajuato.
Bonus Thing To Do in Guanajuato: Find the Frogs!
We promised to sum up the 15 best things to do in Guanajuato, but we can’t help but add in one more. Go see the frogs!
Did you know that Guanajuato is named after frogs? The indigenous people here named the area Guanajuato, meaning “Land of Frogs.” There is some conflicting lore as to where the name originated from, but today Guanajuato embraces the frog theme. So be on the lookout for namesake sculptures found throughout town. Ribbit!
Top 10 Eating & Drinking Things To Do in Guanajuato Mexico
Oh, we’re not done yet with recommendations for things to do in Guanajuato!
We find that eating and drinking can be as equally rewarding things to do as notable attractions. This can be particularly true in Mexico. On that note, this next section of things to do in Guanajuato is all about food & drink!
The following foodie recommendations are about the more unique and quintessential eating and drinking experiences in Guanajuato, rather than attempting to notate all the best restaurants in Guanajuato.
16) Eat Guanajuato’s Signature Dish: Miner’s Enchiladas
There are many regional Mexican dishes to try in Guanajuato, yet the food the city is most known for is enchiladas mineras, or miner’s enchiladas. As Guanajuato came to prominence as a silver mining town, this dish was created as a quick & easy lunch used to fuel up the miners for a hard day’s work.
Miner’s enchiladas are composed of day-old tortillas dipped in a red chili sauce, flash fried, and then stuffed with ranchero cheese. Then the enchiladas are topped with onions, carrots, and potato along with even more sauce and cheese.
Today miner’s enchiladas are typically served alongside a piece of chicken, but traditionally this is a standalone dish. Miner’s enchiladas can be found on menus all throughout Guanajuato and even at street stalls.
17) Unwind with a Drink within Guanajuato’s Cafe-Lined Plazas
A favorite Guanajuato pastime of locals and visitors alike is chilling out in the city’s beautiful leafy plazas. Jardin de la Union is the most popular and centrally located, near the theatre. Go to any of the cafes lining the plaza, order a few drinks, and soak in the beautiful atmosphere. Solo street musicians and full mariachi bands will pass by with offers to serenade you.
Our favorite café at Jardin de la Union is Bar Tradicional Luna. We find they have the best prices on drinks, including promotions with buckets of beer, or cubetas de cerveza. But the good value they offer also draws the most customers. As a result, their alluring patio often becomes completely full. So go to Bar Tradicional Luna early in the afternoon to secure a table. Located: here.
Plaza de San Fernando is another great plaza to relax at outdoor cafes. It tends to be less busy and frequented more by locals. La Inundacion de 1905 is a great spot to grab a beer there. That is, if you can snag one of the few plaza-facing tables which always seem to be taken. Located: here.
Yet one of our absolute favorite spots to grab a drink on the plaza is atop a balcony overlooking Plaza La Paz. It’s at a bar that’s hidden in plain sight. At the La Taberna de Sancho, there are only two coveted tables on the balcony. Yet during the afternoon, we regularly find them to be surprisingly vacant. If you notice this, then head upstairs to occupy those seats and enjoy the people-watching down below at this scenic location in front of the Basilica. Beers start at $25 pesos. Located: here.
18) Eat Sopa Azteca Atop a Bridge Crossing an Alleyway
A visit to the Santo Cafe is another Guanajuato staple. The restaurant spills out onto a quaint bridge that crosses over one of the town’s many alleyways. It makes for a fantastic place to dine while people-watching. Considering this cafe’s notoriety and picturesque location, the menu is surprisingly affordable.
There are only two tables on the bridge, so if they are both occupied, then you can take solace with a window table that overlooks the charming alley.
Santo Cafe is known for its Sopa Azteca. We can personally confirm it is, in fact, delicious; but do know they make some tasty crepes too, among many other dishes!
19) Shop (and Eat) ’til You Drop at the Hidalgo Market
The Mercado Hidalgo is Guanajuato’s big indoor market. You can find loads of local specialties here, whether you’re coming here to eat or shop. You’ll encounter everything from fresh vegetables to handicrafts, meats, souvenirs, piñatas, clothes, and complete home-cooked meals. Even if you’re not planning to buy anything, it’s still a fun detour to wander around the markets many stalls.
If you do stop into the market for a meal, consider going just outside the far end of the market. It’s there that the señoras will aggressively compete with one another while hanging off their balconies, trying to woo customers into their establishments. It can be a funny experience to take part in as you consider which one to eat at.
20) Try the Homemade Ice Cream: La Garrafa Nieves
This Guanajuato ice cream shop produces its own, fresh-churned nieve, “snow,” AKA ice cream. La Garrafa Nieves has dozens of unique local flavors too! You can taste everything from tequila ice cream to queso (cheese) ice cream. We didn’t care much for the tequila ice cream but the queso ice cream is surprisingly tasty!
Or try the kiss of the devil ice cream if you dare. They have a few locations around the city center.
21) Go For A Pub Cantina Crawl
Cantina culture is a fun aspect for any drinkers to experience when visiting Mexico. While traditionally these are places for men, Guanajuato is full of friendly cantinas that welcome chicas with a smile. So walk through the signature swinging doors, pony up to the bar, and order a shot of tequila with a cerveza.
The most well-known cantina in Guanajuato is Bar el Incendio, which is popular with Guanajuato’s student crowd. But there are many other cantinas all around the city, so you can create a fun cantina crawl around town and duck into a few of them.
Just remember, these are beer and tequila type of places. Don’t come to these cantinas expecting to order a mixed drink or even a margarita.
Most of Guanajuato’s cantinas in the historic center are indeed welcoming. But do beware that there are some cantinas that are more of men’s affair, particularly so later at night. It doesn’t hurt to poke your head and gauge the vibe before ordering a drink. Expect to pay about $20-pesos for a cerveza.
🍺 Bar el Incendio is a great bet to start out at any time and always welcoming. Located here.
🍺 La Norteña is a friendly cantina with a baseball theme, near the stadium. Located here.
🍺 Los Barilitos, near the market, is a cantina that’s best visited earlier and has an interesting urinal set-up for men. Located here.
22) Indulge in Endless Botanas at Clave Azul
This legendary botanero is full of character and a friendly owner. Come here for drinks between 2:00 – 5:30 pm and you’ll be treated with complimentary botanas while sipping cervezas. Botanas are essentially the Mexican version of tapas, and Clave Azul does a great rendition on this tradition. With each drink ordered, a mystery snack will come along with it.
Some say that Clave Azul is hidden and difficult to locate, but the central location is really quite easy to find. Google Maps will lead you to the exact location, which is set only a few steps back from Plaza de San Fernando. We’ve never seen a menu at Clave Azul and not sure that one exists. Yet to provide some idea of pricing, we paid $45-pesos per beer that each came with a generous botana.
23) Seek Out Some Microbreweries in Guanajuato
Somewhat surprising for this thriving college town, there are no craft brewpubs within the historic city center. But if you’re growing tired of yet another Corona or Victoria, it is possible to find some local cerveza artesanal (craft beer) in Guanajuato. However, you’re going to have to work for it a little. There are two breweries operating within the city, but they are both well outside of Guanajuato centro.
Cerveza Gambusino is in the middle of nowhere and only offered bottle sales to-go during our last visit. Although the brewer told us he was renovating an onsite bar. Cerveza Gambusino beers are also sold at Bar el Incendio, so it can be a more convenient option to drink this Guanajuato-brewed beer at that cantina instead.
Also out of the way, is Tierra Adentro Cerveceria Artesanal, where you can drink house-brewed beer. We found the food here and the bottle artwork to shine more than the cerveza itself. But for any beer lovers looking to tick off some different brews in Guanajuato, it could be worth the trek.
For an alternative to venturing over to these out-of-the-way breweries, consider the Beer Company Guanajuato. There are two different locations within a few minutes from one another, which share this same name. One is a craft beer store. The other is a new beer bar with a rooftop patio.
The store sells a wide assortment of local brews from all over the region and beyond. The very friendly and helpful English-speaking guy running the Beer Company allows cracking open a bottle in the store and lingering for a chat. Yet just a short stroll away is the Beer Company Guanajuato bar, which has a wide selection of craft beer to drink onsite.
24) Gorge Yourself on Street Food in Guanajuato
There’s a great street food scene that occurs nightly in Guanajuato. You can find everything from tortas to miner’s enchiladas and everything in between. The food is priced well and made with love. Adventurous eaters will have some daring foods to seek out such as tacos loaded up with pig intestines. (We couldn’t do it!)
Instead, our favorite is the simple, yet delicious, esquites. Ask for these cups of corn “con todo” (with everything) and they’ll construct a gut-busting corn kernel parfait that is full of crema and/or mayonnaise, loads of grated white cheese, and hot sauce. It’s so good!
💡 Guanajuato street food safety tips: We found the hygiene standards of the street stalls to be mostly very clean throughout the many vendors. But do take some modest precautions when eating Guanajuato’s street food.
- If the person who prepares the food also does the money exchange, watch for gloves to handle the cash.
- Also, look for flies around any open food containers. We avoid the fruit stalls throughout Guanajuato that tend to attract many flies.
- Perhaps most importantly, look for a stall with a steady stream of local customers. If they’re willing to wait in line, it must be for something good. And with many customers, the food also stays hot and fresh!
A large assortment of street food vendors cluster around Plaza de La Paz in the evening. But you can find them all throughout Guanajuato.
25) Discover Guanajuato’s Finer Side
We love Guanajuato’s street food and its little taco joints, but sometimes it’s nice to splurge a bit too. And Guanajuato has a few great finer dining opportunities to do so. Some of these restaurants, like Mestizo, are on the pricier side. Others like, Los Campos, are surprisingly affordable. Consider making reservations, as these places do get booked up. Here are a few of the best in Guanajuato, but we’re only scratching the surface here:
🍽️ Mestizo – Often cited as one of the best restaurants in Guanajuato, Mestizo serves an upscale twist on local cuisine.
🍽️ Casa Mercedes – The delicious dishes and reasonable prices lure people out of the city center to seek this otherwise secluded restaurant.
🍽️ Los Campos – Serving a gastronomic spin on local Mexican cuisine, this has become our absolute favorite restaurant in Guanajuato and among our favorites in all of Mexico. Los Campos wins us over not only by the excellent food, but the phenomenal value, great service, fantastic drinks, and excellent mescals. It’s a must. Most dishes are shareable, so it can be fun to order several plates for the table to be able to try multiple menu items. We suggest about three plates per couple, or four to depart uncomfortably stuffed. You can review their entire menu with prices: here. Consider making advanced reservations.
A Few More Food & Drink Things to Do In Guanajuato:
We wanted to keep these Guanajuato food & drink suggestions to 10 suggestions. But we can’t help but slide in just a few more.
🌮 Tacos! When traveling anywhere in Mexico, you must try the local tacos. There are many great taquerias (casual taco joints) in Guanajuato, but we have two favorites in Guanajuato Centro. Try El Paisa, located here. Also try El Trompo, located here. Let us know in the comments which one you like best!
🥃 Mescal! While the state of Oaxaca is most famous for mescal, Guanajuato is also one of the ten Mexican states that produce this delicious smokey agave liquor. In September 2018 a great new mezcal bar just opened in Guanajuato called Salmiana Agave Bar (now Metate restaurant). Go!
☕ Coffee! When you’ve had too much mescal the night before, go to Cafe Tal to help wake up. For a real jolt, order the super-caffeinated, chocolatey rich espresso drink they call Parkinson. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you. Cafe Tal is located here.
Where to Stay in Guanajuato Mexico
There are many great places to stay in Guanajuato for all budgets. We suggest staying somewhere in Guanajuato that is either in the historic city center or within easy reach. The center of town is where all the action is, so it’s a wise idea to not stay too far away.
Advanced reservations can be a smart idea, as some of the best places do get booked up during high season and over weekends. Yet if coming in October during Cervantino Festival, advanced reservations are absolutely critical.
We’ve scouted out and have personally stayed at many different places throughout Guanajuato to make suggestions depending on travel style and budget.
Hostels in Guanajuato Mexico
Hostels in Guanajuato are a great option for solo travelers and anyone looking for more of a fun/social vibe. Yet, couple travelers and groups will likely find better value sharing a room in a budget-friendly hotel. Here are our hostel suggestions:
- Casa de Dante is often recognized as the best hostel option in Guanajuato. Clean & beautiful rooms, friendly staff, and even an amazing Mexican breakfast is included all for about $15-$20 USD per night depending on your room/bed preference. It’s no wonder the hostel has maintained a phenomenal reputation with its consistently great hostelworld reviews, despite being a hefty 15-minute walk from the city center.
- If Casa de Dante is fully booked or you want to be more centrally located, instead try Corral D Comedias Hostel located within the historic center. It’s also clean, well-priced (particularly for dorm beds), and includes a great breakfast.
- La Fuente: If you can get past the somewhat hard beds, you’ll enjoy a very central location and an awesome rooftop patio. Check prices and availability for your dates on HostelWorld.
Good Value Rooms in Guanajuato – Around $30 Per Night
These are some of the best private rooms you can find in Guanajuato. These are smaller type accommodation, rather than large hotels. So you’ll receive a more personal touch in addition to great value at these cheap and cheerful places:
- Casa de Pita: These comfy rooms are located right in the heart of Guanajuato. With prices starting at about $30 USD per night including breakfast, Pita’s House is among the very best hotel values in town.
- Hotel Plaza Baritillo: We stayed in the basic yet comfortable rooms here in a fantastic location that is a bargain for around $30. Ask for the room on the top floor to get a window with a view, as pictured below.
- Casa Tepozanes is well situated in the historic center and has a few bright and clean rooms for about $35 USD per person.
Great Hotels with Great Prices in Guanajauto
For a more traditional hotel with a bit of elegance, try some of these fantastic options in Guanajuato, that are all still under $100 per night!
- El Meson de los Poetas: Each of the rooms at “The Poet’s Inn” has been inspired by a different poet. Plus it has a great location, situated in a historic building that dates back to the 1700’s!
- Hotel Casa Lunatta: For a more quiet location that is still within walking distance to the center of town, try the highly rated Casa Lunatta. Stylish & modern rooms await, as does an included breakfast. Some rooms have great balconies too. We loved our stay here and the decor of our balcony room reminded us of something straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. Room pictured below.
- Hotel de la Paz: If you want a hotel with the most central location in Guanajuato, this is it. The La Paz Plaza right outside the front door is always a happening scene right in the enter of Guanajuato. That and the big elegant rooms make this a smart choice.
Hotels Worth the Splurge in Guanajuato
If you’re visiting Guanajuato to celebrate something or just want to stay somewhere luxurious, there are some incredible high-class boutique hotels scattered throughout the colonial city to consider. Here are some of the best hotels for a bit of luxury:
- Boutique 1850: You can’t get a much better location in Guanajuato than right on the Jardin. Boutique 1850 has artistic and classy rooms, a beautiful spa, and a rooftop bar with killer views.
- Alonso 10 Boutique: This well-situated hotel comes with an artist’s touch. The elegant rooms and lobby feature many artworks. Guests rave about the included breakfast.
- Villa Maria Cristina: After a long day touring around Guanajuato, you can plop down into the hot tub on the beautiful patio or go for a swim in the indoor pool. Rooms here are as spacious as they are stylish to aid in your relaxation.
Guanajuato Apartment Rentals for Longer Stays
There are some great apartment rentals throughout Guanajuato found Airbnb.
Whenever we stay somewhere for a week or longer, we always prefer to settle into an apartment. When we first came to Guanajuato for a monthlong stay that’s exactly what we did and we had a great experience in a local apartment.
We suggest limiting an apartment search to within Guanajuato’s historic city center or within walking distance. Gauge the distance before booking and remember the walk may have some steep hills.
Also, note that many Airbnb hosts offer steep discounts when you stay a week or for 28 days or longer, so an Airbnb in Guanajuato can provide particularly good value for lengthier stays. If you’ve never used Airbnb before you can use our Airbnb referral code to save $40 on your first booking!
Guanajuato Travel Tips To Know Before You Go
Here are a few travel tips to keep in a mind as you plan to roam around the colorful streets of Guanajuato:
🚕 Using Taxis and Ubers to Get Around Guanajuato.
Centro Guanajuato is very walkable. But to go further afield, up the city’s hills or through its tunnels, a taxi or Uber can be required. We find taxis to be easier, more frequent, and more convenient when traveling within a few kilometers. Yet if going further, such as to the bus station or airport, Ubers can prove cheaper. Using Uber can be particularly handy for those without a firm grasp on Spanish to explain directions, since using Uber allows passengers to simply input the destination in the app. The same Uber app at used at home also works in Guanajuato. Just ensure you have a local or international data plan.
🚗 Important note about using Uber in Guanajuato:
Sit in the front seat. Taxis in Guanajuato aren’t too happy about the existence of Uber taking away their business. So Uber drivers operating in Guanajuato like to be discreet. Therefore, they really prefer if you sit in the front seat.
💬 Be Prepared with Some Basic Spanish.
Guanajuato is not frequented by international travelers as much as some of Mexico’s other popular tourism destinations. As such, not much English is spoken here at all. If you don’t know any Spanish, be sure to brush up on some basics before you go. And before your trip, download the free Google Translate app to your phone. (Android download here | iPhone download here)
🇲🇽 Learn Spanish
It can be a great idea to learn some basic Spanish before a trip to Guanajuato. It will make a trip to Guanajuato much easier and enjoyable. Even learning a few simple pleasantries can go a long way with pointing and a smile. We also like to use Babbel as an easy, fun, and inexpensive way to learn Spanish. With each lesson just 10-15 minutes, it’s something we can always work into the day and the associated app even lets us use it on-the-go. Right now you can use this discount link to save 25% off a 6-month or longer subscription.
🎒 What to pack for Guanajuato Mexico:
Pack for a trip to Guanajuato like you would for any cool weather destination. Guanajuato is up in the highlands after all, so long sleeves and light jackets are recommended. The temperatures do become warm in the afternoon with highs ranging from about 70°F / 21°C in winter months and can exceed 85°F / 29°C during the warmest months of April-June.
It does cool off considerably at night though. Expect overnight low temperatures to range between 40°F / 4°C and 55°F / 13°C. So pack something to keep warm at night. Be sure to review our Ultimate Packing Checklist & Packing Tips to help ensure you’ll have everything you need.
📅 Best Time to Visit Guanajuato Mexico:
Any time of year can be a great time to visit Guanajuato!
- December to January are traditionally the coolest months and it begins to gradually warm in February and March. Dry.
- April and May, before the rains, tend to bring the warmest weather. It remains dry.
- In June, once those occasional rains, it brings the trees back to life, as the dry surroundings become green again.
- July to September, the rainy season continues to bring occasional showers and mild temperatures.
- October and November bring a cooling and drying trend.
🎉 Fiestas in Guanajuato
In between all of the seasonal weather changes, Guanajuato hosts loads of fiestas throughout the year. Guanajuato can get busy and festive during traditional holidays in Mexico like Semana Santa and Day of the Dead. Yet Guanajuato’s biggest fiesta is the Cervantino Festival, in which the city swells to capacity with visitors during October. (In 2019: Oct 7 – 27.) During this time, accommodation prices in Guanajuato rise and hotels get booked full, so advanced reservations are absolutely critical.
☔ Rainy Season in Guanajuato
The rains come June-September in Guanajuato. It doesn’t rain all day, every day during this time of year and it shouldn’t prevent a trip to Guanajuato. But do expect the potential for occasional showers during these months. And pack a travel umbrella like this, if arriving then.
☠️ Stay Safe in Guanajuato Mexico
Overall we’ve personally never had any safety concerns at all in Guanajuato Centro. We feel comfortable walking around at night, without issue. It’s a friendly town and we haven’t noticed any major danger threats. That said, there are some bad neighborhoods that locals have cautioned us to avoid in Guanajuato. But most visitors will not encounter these neighborhoods if staying within Centro and sticking to the locations listed within the travel guide.
🚱 Don’t drink the water in Guanajuato
The tap water in Guanajuato is generally is not safe to drink. Use bottled water only. There’s no need to worry about ice, as most establishments use packaged ice made from purified water. Also, consider traveling with this compact LifeStraw. We have one and it’s come in handy a few times during our travels when water wasn’t drinkable and stores were closed.
⚠️ Get Travel Insurance
You never know what may happen during a trip to Mexico. Usually, all will be fine, but possibilities can include getting sick, a flight gets canceled, car accidents, earthquakes, lost baggage, phone becomes lost or stolen, rental car damage, etc. Travel insurance will have you covered so that you don’t incur the high cost of these unfortunate possibilities. We never roam around Mexico without it. We use and have been happy with World Nomads, with what we’ve found to have the best price and coverage combination. Enter the dates for your trip to get a quick estimate.
😄 Enjoy Guanajuato Mexico!
Enjoy the food, the culture, the people, the fiestas, and all the fun things to do in Guanajuato that make it such a great place to visit!
Best Things To Do in Guanajuato Mexico?
So those are all of our favorite things to do in Guanajuato, along with some travel tips to help pursue them. If you go or if you’ve been, please let us know in the comments what some of your favorite things to do in Guanajuato are. Also, don’t hesitate to comment with any questions you may have if planning a trip to Guanajuato, Mexico.
Guanajuato is such a fun city to roam around! We hope you think so too.
-John & Heather of Roaming Around the World
Publishing note: This travel guide about the Best Things To Do in Guanajuato Mexico was initially published in July 2017, following our first visit. It is now regularly updated to contain the latest information as we continue returning to this awesome city, most recently updated in April 2019.