Walking Tour Guanajuato Mexico
Yup, it’s got hills. But the centro of Guanajuato, Mexico, is perfect for a walking tour, and we created one to see all the sites we’d researched. With bright house colors popping off the mountain, most of the traffic underground, and the perfect temperature for an urban amble, we set off on a wonderful adventure through this gorgeous colonial town of students, history, and culture. We even found not one, but two!, delicious vegan places for some great chow.
Download an interactive map of this walking route right here.
First Stop: The Teatro Juárez
Start your walk at the Teatro Juárez, Plazuela de Cata No. 1, Guanajuato. This gorgeous Mexican Neoclassical building, constructed in 1872, soars from the street. Sculpted lions adorn the entrance and 8 muses float above the roofline. Currently the teatro is used for music, theater and dance performances.
Kisses for Everyone at Callejon de Besos
After checking out the cool trees and plaza across from Teatro Juarez at the Jardin de la Union (make sure to come back in the evening for all the street performances and food carts!), head toward the Callejon de Besos. This cute little alley, just shoulder-width wide, is Guanajuato’s most romantic spot. See how many kisses you can sneak as you climb the short, but steep staircase. Maybe you’ll lock your love with the other padlocks on the gate!
Up to the Monumento Pípila via the Guanajuato Funicular
Next up, we caught the funicular (De La Constancia 17, Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato) up to the top of Guanajuato to check out the statue of Pípila (Cerro de San Miguel S/N, Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato.) The funicular costs just 30 pesos. Buy a one way ticket.
At the top of the mountain, enjoy the views. The sun sets to the left (west) of the statue, so it’s not necessarily a good sunset spot. But it’s nice to catch the golden hour of the sunset casting its glow across the rainbow of colors that make Guanajuato.
Pípila, the statue on top of the mountain, is the nickname of the hero who casts his shadow over the town. This silver miner lead an insurgency against the Spanish in the War of Mexican Independence in 1810, setting fire to the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, our next stop.
Going Down through the Mural Alley
Walk down the hill and then up toward the Alhóndiga de Granaditas (C. Mendizábal 6, Centro, 36000 Guanajuato), or the corn exchange building. Housing Guanajuato’s local history museum, this historic building held the Spanish who fled from the insurgents as Mexico fought for its independence. Although only used for grain storage for eight months, the building has become a symbol of the start of the War of Independence. Inside is an eternal flame to the heroes and leaders of the War.
Tunnels of Guanajuato
Wait, is that a tunnel? One of the beautiful things about Guanajuato being a UNESCO world heritage site is that it became this way due to its tunnels. Although many of the tunnels were dug in the 1800s for the silver mining industry, more tunnels were dug later to manage stormwater. The project included two dams, a small artificial lake, and a retaining pond that went up above the city, now the Presa de la Olla area. In addition, in the late 1960s, more tunnels connected the network, thus pushing most car traffic underground and resulting in a mostly pedestrian city.
Hello Diego, You Mural Beast
Continue your adventure to the Casa de Diego Rivera Museo (Positos 47, Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato.) Perhaps one of Guanajuato’s most famous sons, Diego Rivera was born here. He eventually became one of Mexico’s most revered painters, married Frida Kahlo, and died in Mexico City. The museum showcases his artistic growth and the people who influenced him. It’s worth a stop in for just $40 pesos.
The Façade Might Be the Best Part
Practically next store, you can enjoy the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Primer Depósito (Positos 25, Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato). The façade alone is worth the walk. We loved the lovely pink and the funky mask hanging off the fascia. Inside, the bronze sculptures delighted our contemporary art interests. It’s $20 pesos to get in.
A Giant University of 30000 Students!
We were enjoying Guanajuato on the International Day of the Woman, so it was such a delight to stumble upon the celebration of the day at the University of Guanajuato (Lascuráin de Retana No. 5 Centro. Guanajuato). Started in 1732, this public, Jesuit-based university, holds 30,000 students, and confers 153 academic programs, including 13 doctorates, 39 masters programs, and 65 bachelor’s degrees.
Fresh Market Named After Local Hero, Hidalgo
No good Mexican city exists without a good fresh market. Guanajuato’s famous market is Mercado Hidalgo. Loaded with old-style wooden stalls, you can find everything you need to eat, remember, and enjoy Guanajuato. We loved that the interior is within the old iron train station with a clock tower designed by Eiffel (of Eiffel tower) himself. Sadly, the train station never materialized, and when Porforio Diaz dedicated the building, it immediately became a market in the early 1900s. Named after Miguel Hidalgo, who was one of the leaders of the insurgency, Hidalgo was executed and his head strung up outside of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas for his participation in the uprising.
No to the Mummies?
By the way, we trekked all the way to the Mummy Museum (Explanada del Panteón Municipal s/n, Centro, 36000 Guanajuato). Steve went in, and I didn’t. I’ve seen mummies before, and I wasn’t interested in seeing them again. Steve, on the other hand, found it fascinating yet grotesque. So, we’re split on recommending it. If you’ve got the time, it’s a nice walk up the hill and past the other old train station and painted train.
Religion Comes First
Of course, all good Mexican cities have churches that tower above all else. Guanajuato is no exception. Two grand cathedrals stand within three blocks of each other. The 17th Century Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato (C. Ponciano Aguilar 7, Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato) has an 8th century statue of the Virgin Mary. The impressive Iglesia de San Diego (Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato) reflects the richness of the mining companies who restored it. In front of the Basílica, you’ll find the giant G, marking Guanajuato’s centro.
Where to Eat Great Vegan Food in Guanajuato
Overjoyed with excitement to find two vegan restaurants in Guanajuato, our first stop for dinner found us at Bahn Mi. A Vietnamese café, I had the very delicious curry with tofu. A bit spicy, I sipped on my limonada with ginger to cool off my mouth! For lunch, we stumbled into a subterranean café with a nice outdoor seating area. Guanajuatita Cafe, also known as Guanajuato Vegano Resturante, served up a delightful menu del dia of Pineapple Water, Zucchini Blossom soup, Swiss Enchiladas, and wedding cookies for dessert. We even met another fun vegan family traveling through Mexico (Hi Kat and Val!) whom we shared travel tips.
We loved Guanajuato and plan to return. What did you enjoy? Did you get to the Don Quixote Museum? We missed it. But it’s a reason to come back. Hasta luego, Guanajuato!