Guanajuato City in Mexico is one of the most colorful and vibrant cities we have ever explored. There is so much to do, see, and eat in the incredible UNESCO World Heritage city! But what might be the best things to do in Guanajuato?
We spent a month and a half living in and exploring this town and have put together a list of our favorite things to do in Guanajuato Mexico.
The first part of this things to do in Guanajuato list are things that cost money (typically not very much.) If you are on a budget and are looking for free things to do in Guanajuato scroll down and you will find a great list of free things!
Awesome Things To Do In Guanajuato
1. Hike or Ride to El Piplia Lookout
When searching what to do in Guanajuato you are bound to find info and photos of the El Piplia lookout. This is definitely a must do when visiting as it gives you an amazing view of the entire city and its glorious colors. At the top, there is also a statue of El Piplia who is a very famous character in Guanajuato’s history. Legend says he was a not so strong guy who picked up a huge rock to protect himself from attackers as he burned down the door of the granary in Guanajuato. Inside all of the Spanish colonists were hiding from the revolutionaries. This storming of the door sparked the beginning of the Mexican revolution and now to this day, Mexico is an independent country!
You have two options when wanting to visit the El Piplia lookout, 1.) Ride the funicular or 2.) Walk! The funicular is a short ride on a tram straight up the mountain and cost 25 pesos. If you’re in the mood for some exercise you can start at the El Callejón del Beso and follow the signs to the lookout.
2. See a Baseball Game
Besides soccer, baseball is super famous in Guanajuato. We lived really close to the baseball stadium (Estadio Jose Aguilar y Maya) and found it a fun thing to do on Saturday or Sunday morning. Stop by the stadium during the week to get the schedule for the weekend- games usually happen Friday-Sunday.
3. Row Your Boat at Presa De La Olla
The other direction from Guanajuato Centro is a section of Guanajuato called La Presa. It is totally worth the time spent walking there (~35 mins from centro- I would suggest walking so you can take in the views and beautiful architecture along the way.) Right before you near the Olla (reservoir), there is a beautiful park called Parque Florencio Antillon where you can take a stroll and step into nature for a bit. Right after the park is the Olla, a small little lake where you can rent a rowboat and paddle around! There is also a cute little restaurant on the edge of the water with yummy food and cheap beers where you can watch families paddle their boats around.
4. See a Concert at a Theater
When looking for what to do in Guanajuato City we stumbled upon the different theaters in town that hold concerts and other cultural events! Guanajuato is a University town and the students often put on different concerts, plays, and expos. Check at the Teatro Principal during your stay to see if there are any symphonies being held. We were lucky and while we were there Teatro Juarez (the big, gorgeous theater across from the Jardin) had a symphony that cost 100 pesos for us to attend.
Check out the Universities website for cultural events happening during your stay.
5. Take a Salsa Lesson
After you’ve walked around and seen all the gorgeous streets and architecture in Guanajuato you might be wondering what else is there to do in Guanajuato? Well, right across from Teatro Juarez on the 2nd floor is a salsa and rumba studio where beginners are totally welcome! Check out their Facebook page for more info on times.
6. Take Your Salsa Moves to the Jardin
Every Thursday around 5 pm, people gather in the Jardin to show off their salsa and rumba dance moves while also dancing the night away. Even if you aren’t the best dancer, anyone wondering what to do in Guanajuato has got to check this out. Besides just watching the dancing, it’s great for relaxing in the gorgeous atrium style garden and listening to some awesome mariachi music.
7. Take Your Salsa Moves to the Club
If you are feeling really confident, La Dama & El Guajuancó are great places to go to for live music and dancing. Intimidated to go on your own? Our awesome friend, Vanina, has an incredible Airbnb experience where she will take you to both clubs and give you a mini salsa lesson beforehand. It is a great way to interact with the locals and have an awesome evening out on the town!
8. Visit Guanajuato’s Mummy Museum
No ‘things to do in Guanajuato Mexico guide’ would be complete without a visit to the Mummy Museum. In my opinion, it is quite a… different museum to say the least. The bodies were thought to be disinterred during the late 1800s. During that time there was a tax that was required to be paid if you wanted your loved one to be forever buried. If you couldn’t afford the tax, the bodies were dug up and placed in a nearby building waiting for someone to pay the tax. Due to Guanajuato’s climate, the bodies were still intact after being dug up and they remain this way where you can go see them now today.
Even though it can be quite a controversial topic and experience, we enjoyed our time spent at the mummy museum. You can see photos of Guanajuato in the time period at which the people passed away and a lot of their clothes and shoes are still intact. It cost $85 pesos (~$4.30 USD) and $50 pesos (~$2.50 USD) for students to visit the mummy museum. The museum is open daily from 9-6pm.
It is quite a bit of a walk from the town center and from where most people stay so we suggest getting a taxi there and walking back. Any taxi driver will know where you want to go if you say Museo De Los Momias and it should cost you no more than 100 pesos from anywhere in the city.
(Money-saving tip- if you have a student ID some places in Guanajuato will let you use it, others will only accept it if you have a Mexican student ID.)
9. Spend an Afternoon at Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera
This was our absolute favorite thing to do in Guanajuato and should definitely go on your must-see list while exploring this incredible town. Haciendas are common throughout Mexico and are large estates or plantations where some super-rich people build their houses. When the hacienda becomes an ex-hacienda, the person has died and the estate is now public or private property where people can come visit and enjoy the gorgeous gardens and scenery.
Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera has some of the most gorgeous Mexican-style garden architecture I've ever seen. I couldn't stop snapping pictures! If you are looking for a great place to have an Instagram photo-shoot, look no further! As you are walking through the ex-hacienda each garden has a different theme and a different feel. Bring your own drinks and snacks to have the best picnic you've ever had!
The Ex-Hacienda is located in Marfil and is not within walking distance from downtown Guanajuato. Any taxi driver will know where you want to go if you say Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera. When leaving, ask the person manning the front desk to call you a taxi. A taxi should cost no more than $70-100 pesos (~$3.50 - $5 USD) each way. It cost $40 pesos to get in (~$2.00 USD) to get in and it's open daily 9-6pm
10. Spend a Day at the Museums
There are a ton of Museums in Guanajuato and honestly, it could have taken us an entire month just to visit them all. The ones that stood out to us and we think are worth a visit when looking for things to do in Guanajuato are:
Museo Inconografico del Quijote
If you are a Don Quijote fan than this museum is for you. Ron started reading the Don Quijote book while we were in Guanajuato so he really enjoyed the subtle salutes to him throughout the town. The museum has some gorgeous works of art as well as some large murals. I'm not much of a museum person and I really enjoyed my time here.
It cost $30 pesos (~$1.50 USD) to get into the Museo Inconografico del Quijote. There is also a nice coffee shop amidst the paintings and statues where you can relax while drinking a coffee if you're not much of a museum person.
Diego Rivera Museum/Home
The Diego Rivera Museum is a museum of Diego Rivera's works of art as well as his childhood home. The part that is his home, in my opinion, wasn't very exciting but I did enjoy walking around this interesting museum.
It cost $55 pesos (~$2.60 USD) to get into both the Diego Rivera Museum and home. If you are looking to see a Diego Rivera mural, there is (just) one inside this museum!
Alhóndiga de Granaditas Museum
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas building is a museum in itself. The building used to be a grain storage building and is a pivotal place in the Mexican War of Independence. The museum has many different rooms where you can learn about Mexican history and the War of Independence. If you don't read/speak Spanish we suggest using your phone to translate the signs so you can have a better understanding of the museum as a whole.
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas museum cost $50 pesos (~$2.50 USD) to get in and is open 10-6pm every day but Mondays.
11. Take a Tour of the Mines
There are a couple of different mines in Guanajuato that you can visit during your time. Guanajuato used to be a mining town in the 18th century and actually supplied 75% of the worlds silver for 50+ years! After the mines were shut down, Guanajuato became somewhat of a ghost town until the government decided to open the University of Guanajuato. It is now a booming University town and a huge tourist destination because of its rich culture.
El Nopal Mines
You can visit the El Nopal Mines on your own without a tour if you would like. The University students will give you a tour of the mines in Spanish and the cost is $25 pesos ($1.25 USD) which includes the tour guide. Any taxi driver will know where you want to go if you say El Nopal Mines and should not cost you any more than $100 pesos one way.
If you are looking to go on a day tour of different mines surrounding Guanajuato, our friend from the Free Walking Tour also offers tours of the mines. Although not free, you will be transported around to each different mine and have an English speaking guide.
12. Attend a Concert/Cultural Event at Museo Iconografico del Quijote
Besides just being a museum, the Museo Inconograbidoc del Quijote holds concerts, shows movies and has cultural events in the atrium at different times throughout the month. When we were there, there was a schedule posted out front explaining the different cultural activities, times and prices.
13. Have a Drink in the Plazas
While you’re wandering around the gorgeous streets of Guanajuato, you will find yourself in these picturesque plazas with beautiful ornate fountains in the middle. Each plaza is a bit different but they all have a European vibe with lush greenery and cobblestone. Our favorite plaza to just chill out in and watch life go by while sipping a cerveza or michelada was Plaza De Fernando. For a secluded & secret rooftop with a view, go up the stairs in Tragaluz and head to the back.
14. Go on a Callejoneada
This is probably one of the most famous things to do in Guanajuato. You definitely won’t miss this when walking around by the Jardin de la Union and Teatro Juarez because there are guys everywhere dressed up in Spanish colonial outfits trying to sell you tickets. I would suggest to definitely go on one, and ask if there is anyone who can translate for you if you don’t speak Spanish!
You can catch the first part of the Callejoneada show right in front of the Museo ex Convento Dieguino (next to Teatro Juarez) where the men sing their hearts out and perform with their outfits on. The next part of the Callejoneada is walking through the alleyways and stopping along the way to hear jokes, legends of that part of the city, and more music. Price is between $90-120 pesos.
15. Go on a Street Food Walking Tour
Hands down one of the best things to do in Guanajuato is to go on a street food walking tour. Guanajuato has some delicious street food, but sometimes it can be overwhelming to find where the best places are to eat! Go on this street food tour as soon as you get to Guanajuato and you can continue to visit the food stalls you went to the rest of the time you are in Guanajuato!
16. Try the Different Mezcals
Guanajuato is a great place to sample different mezcal made throughout the region. If you have never tried mezcal, just know that the Mexican people sip it rather than taking it like a shot. When it is served, it usually comes with a variety of fruit, some chili powder and maybe some salt. After you take a sip it is common to eat a bite of fruit dipped in chili powder to get rid of the bite.
A great place to try a variety of mezcal that also has an awesome outdoor garden area with really nice vibes is Café Carcamanes. If you are not such a fan of mezcal, Café Caramanes also has a great selection of craft beer made throughout Mexico!
Free Things To Do In Guanajuato
1. Hike to La Buffa
One of the best things to do in Guanajuato if you are looking to get away from the city and into nature is to hike to La Buffa. La Buffa is famous for rock climbers, but there is an easier way up that does not require any rock climbing (only a bit of rock scrambling.) Make sure you bring plenty of water and go with a group, as it can sometimes be dangerous to go alone. Download the app WikiLocs for a trail you can follow made by an avid Guanajuato hiker!
2. Go on a Free Walking Tour
When we were looking for things to do in Guanajuato I stumbled upon a Facebook page Free Walking Tours -Guanajuato. We decided it might be worth it to attend just to learn things about the city we might not know yet. We are so glad we went! Bere, our guide, was amazing and we learned so much history about the city and little things we would have never discovered if we didn’t attend the tour. Even though it’s free, it’s polite to give your guide a tip since you aren’t paying anything for the tour- they appreciate it!
3. Check out the Catherdrals
When walking around looking for things to do in Guanajuato, it is impossible to miss all the grand, gorgeous cathedrals that are sprinkled throughout the city. The most famous one, The Basílica is right in the middle of the city and totally worth a moment to go inside and marvel at the amazing architecture and paintings.
4. Sneak a Kiss at Callejon del Beso (Kissing Alley)
A trip to Guanajuato wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this fun tourist attraction. Even though it’s really a pretty cheesy attraction, the story behind the Callejon del Beso is quite sad (and probably not true.) The legend goes there was a couple that lived across the alley from one another and would sneak kisses over the alley on their balcony each night. One night the guy got a little frisky and snuck into the girl's room. Soon after her father caught them and got so angry he stabbed his daughter and her lover. Once realizing what he did he then stabbed himself.
It is very common to go to this alley and take a picture of you and your significant-other kissing. You can even pay extra to go up on the balconies and lean over to kiss. If you don’t want to pay- don’t worry- just snap a photo down below on your own.
5. Check Out the University- and its View!
A things to do in Guanajuato list wouldn't be complete without a trip up the University steps! The University is pretty in itself but the view at the top is what makes the hike up worth it!
6. Explore the Markets
There is no way you can miss the markets when looking for things to do in Guanajuato. The Hildago Market is located very centrally and used to be an old train station right in the middle of the city. The market is a great place to experience Mexican culture by shopping alongside the locals for your fruits and veggies and other food items.
You should also definitely not miss the experience of eating at a local market. Find a stall where lots of people are congregating and choose a stool. Another great place to get a cheap delicious meal is right outside the Hildago market (to the left if you're looking at the market.) There are a ton of vendors set up with a variety of Mexican dishes to choose from!
7. Wander the Streets
Last, but definitely not least, would be to just wander around Guanajuato admiring the gorgeous architecture and street life. I really enjoyed just walking around and taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful weather Guanajuato is pretty much always graced with. While you are wandering the streets don’t forget to try the street food, especially the ice cream!
Wondering why we decided to make Mexico our next travel destination?! Check out our post giving you the low down on our decision to move to Mexico for 4 months!