The colourful, mountainside city of Guanajuato is probably one of the most photogenic places I’ve visited in my life. We stayed for just 3 days, but found ourselves longing for a bit more time. The city, which is filled with winding lanes, brightly coloured houses and bustling plazas, has found itself at the top of lots of travel lists recently. But, even though its now very much on the radar of international tourists, it still manages to keep its laidback, local charms.
If you’re planning a trip to Mexico and want to get away from the usual hot spots on the Yucatan, this would be my top recommendation. Not only is the city gorgeous to look at, it’s filled with plenty of fun and unique things to keep you entertained. These are some of my favourite things to do in Guanajuato!
12 Fun and Unique Things to do in Guanajuato
Getting Lost on the Side Streets
Guanajuato is one of those cities that you don’t really need a map to navigate yourself around. As cheesy as it sounds, I loved spending time wandering and getting lost. Every little street is postcard perfect so you can hardly make a bad turn! We found lots of cute little gems when we did our exploring this way.
Exploring the Plazas
Like most cities in Latin America, Guanajuato’s plazas are full of life, with lots going on. You’ll see people selling tamales, catching up with friends on the benches or listening to musicians. The city has several plazas so wander between a few and see which one has the best vibes!
Hopping from Church to Church
Much like plazas, another Latin American staple that Guanajuato isn’t lacking is churches! I loved the churches in Guanajuato as they were ridiculously grand and gorgeously decorated. If you’re lucky, you might even see a quincenera or wedding taking place while you’re there!
Visiting the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato
Definitely one of the weirdest places I’ve visited on my travels, the Mummy Museum isn’t a place I won’t be able to forget any time soon! There are 100 mummys on display including the world’s smallest mummy and even a pregnant mummy. You’ll definitely need a strong stomach and disposition to enjoy it!
One thing I was really unsure about was how the museum came to aquire all the mummys…. some stories say that the mummy’s families hadn’t paid their grave tax so the bodies got handed over. I didn’t confirm whether that was true or not but it’s definitely feasible. However they came to be there, you must admit that it’s a pretty unique thing to do in Guanajuato!
Cost: 50 MXN
Taking a Street Food Tour in Guanajuato
One of my favourite hobbies that I’ve aquired in 2017 has been taking foodie excursions in new cities! We took an awesome street food tour in Guanajuato that not only introduced us to the best foods to try around the city, but also showed us some of the top sights, too! My favourite dish of the day was the blue corn smut quesadillas. Sounds disgusting, tasted amazing!
Book your Street Food Tour in Guanajuato here!
Cost: 550 MXN
Shopping in the Mercados
No matter where I am in the world, I always take some time to discover the local markets and Mexico completely spoiled me. Every city has several mercados where you can buy fresh produce and taste all the best street food for local prices! One of the things that I loved most about the Hidalgo Mercado in Guanajuato was the classic ornate building that it was housed in. From the outside it looked like a train station but inside, it was filled with more things than you could imagine; traditional clothing, handcrafted wicker baskets, exotic fruits and, of course, a huge selection of fun themed pinatas!
Enjoying an Afternoon Mezcal
If you didn’t have a mezcal, did you really go to Mexico? I hated mezcal when I first tried it and thought that it tasted like a cross between tequila and whisky. Not a great combo. But, like any strong alcoholic spirit, over time, I got used to it. I discovered that I like aged, smoky mezcals more than the cheap, paintstripper ones and that, with an orange slice, it’s the perfect afternoon sipper. There are lots of cute little bars in Guanajuato where you can lounge around and soak up the atmosphere so don’t feel too bad about stopping for a bevy. It’s a very respectable cultural activity, in my eyes!
Cost: 25 MXN +
Trying a Liquid Chocolate Espresso
If you’re looking to indulge but would prefer a beverage that’s not of the alcoholic nature, then I’d definitely recommend you to try the lustworthy combination of espresso and liquidised chocolate at Cafe Tal. We were introduced to this place by our Street Food Tour guide, Ashley, and went there everyday on our trip. I’m usually not a fan of chocolate and coffee drinks but this was something else. The rich, smooth chocolate paired perfectly with the espresso. Exactly what you need after a long day of sightseeing!
Cost: 19 MXN for a chocolate espresso
Having a Nosey in Diego Riviera’s House
Diego Rivera was one of Mexico’s most famous artists and the one-time husband of Frida Kahlo. His house in Guanajuato has now been turned into a gallery where you can see some of his works along with the works of other contemporary Mexican artists. Even if you don’t know much about Diego Riviera, there are still lots of interesting pieces to see in the house!
Cost: 20 MXN
Admiring the Best View of Guanajuto
The El Pipila Statue commemorates one of Guanajuato’s most famous heroes and offers an unrivaled view of the city. To get to this lookout, a lot of people decide to take the funicular railway. Although this a fun way to get to the top, we recommend walking and checking out some of the murals along the way. It’s a good way to burn off all the food you’ll be munching on, too.
Visiting the Theatre
Teatro Juarez is one of Guanajuato’s most iconic buildings with an ornate facade and elegant interiors. It’s possible to watch productions here, take a tour, or just appreciate it from outside. We were there at the same time as the Guanajuato Film Festival but didn’t realise that every move was free and had English subtitles! Some were even playing at Teatro Juarez! So, if you’re in Guanajuato around this time, don’t miss out on such a cool opportunity!
Cost: 35 MXN (for a tour)
Getting Caught up in Mariachi Mayhem!
Ahhh mariachis. So romantic and lovely until you’re in the middle of 5 different bands all competing for everyone’s attention! We were walking down one of the busy streets in Guanajuato one night and every few steps, we’d walk into another group of mariachis playing a song! Noisy but definitely not lacking in energy or passion!
Where to Stay in Guanajuato
We stayed at this extremely cute hostel on our trip and loved the decor, the views and, especially, the breakfast! If you think of cornflakes, toast and jam when you think of hostel breakies, you’ll feel completely spoiled with the service here.
Cost: 290 MXN for a dorm incl breakfast
There are honestly so many fun and unique things to do in Guanajuato! Whether you like eating your way round the city, lounging around in plazas or ya know, discovering dead bodies, it’s well worth a visit.
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Disclaimer: We were guests of Mexico Street Food Tour. However, no matter how much someone feeds us, you can be sure that I’ll always give you my honest opinion! All thoughts are my own.