All it takes to know Guanajuato is worth a visit is a look at its skyline. A rainbow of colorful homes and buildings sit upon a landscape covered in hills, sprinkled with trees, and surrounded by mountains. The vibrancy shines through, ready to invigorate visitors with genuine hospitality and lively spirit even on the cloudiest of days. Guanajuato-bound travelers should add these attractions to their travel plans for an authentic experience of one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities.
10 See The Colorful Cathedral
Whatever a traveler believes, it’s always a good idea to see a destination’s historic churches. Guanajuato possesses an impressive collection of beautiful houses of worship, and the Basilica of Our Lady Guanajuato is among the most recognizable in all of Mexico.
Wine red stripes complement the vibrant yellow facade of the cathedral located in the heart of the city. An iconic 8th-century sculpture of the namesake Lady welcomes guests to admire the stunning exterior, a beautiful blend of neoclassical and baroque architecture. Unsurprisingly, the inside is as breathtaking as the outside, adorned with a gold altar, wooden sculpture, and a restored 11th-century organ.
9 Sneak A Smooch On Kissing Lane
The people of Guanajuato love stories. Their favorites are of the supernatural variety, but they also have a soft spot for romance. Callejón del Beso (Kissing Lane) is a narrow alleyway painted in warm shades of orange, pink, and red. Legend says a pair of star-crossed lovers used to meet in secret to sneak kisses across the two-foot-wide alleyway, the young woman leaning out from her bedroom window with puckered lips. Today, couples tuck themselves into the alley to share kisses that supposedly ensure seven years of luck in love.
8 Check Out The Museum Of The Mummies
During the 19th-century, cholera devastated Guanajuato. Large numbers of residents passed away, and the living worked fast to bury their lost loved ones to prevent further spread. Many bodies were buried in mass or shallow graves. When the pandemic died down, officials began charging a tax for the continued care of the gravesites, and anyone who could not pay saw their deceased family members exhumed.
Surprisingly, the bodies were extremely well-preserved, mummified by the unique mineral composition of the soil. Word of the mummies in the warehouse spread, and curious residents began sneaking around to get a peek. Tourists caught on, so the city set up a museum to house the mummies, charging an admission fee to witness the gruesome and fascinating attraction.
7 Enjoy Some Fresh Air At Jardín De La Unión
Charming plazas are all over Guanajuato, adorned with lovely fountains and well-manicured flora. One of the most beautiful is Jardín de la Unión. An array of restaurants, bars, and notable architecture surround the gardens, making it an ideal spot to sit on a bench with a cup of coffee and watch the day go by. At night, the space transforms into an open-air venue. Mariachi bands and student performers entertain the passersby, the air pulsing with lively culture.
6 Dine On A Local Specialty
During the 18th century, Guanajuato’s silver mining business boomed. The mineral was so abundant that much of the labor force worked in the mines. A grueling job requires proper sustenance, and wives often brought plates of Enchiladas Mineras (Miner’s Enchiladas) to their husbands to keep them going. A hearty helping of potatoes, lettuce, chiles, carrots, and cheese goes into corn tortillas and is topped with a delightful sauce. The dish can still be found in street stalls and restaurants all over the city, and anyone who visits should give the delicious and historic meal a try.
5 Grab A Souvenir At Mercado Hidalgo
The building alone is reason enough to visit Mercado Hidalgo. Built to celebrate Mexico’s 100th anniversary of independence, the market building is filled with stalls where local farmers, artists, and other vendors sell their goods. It’s a nice place to grab a trinket or two to remember the trip and observe the flow of everyday life in the city. There are also plenty of stalls serving up delicious cuisine, and locals are happy to share their favorite spots to grab tortas, carnitas, and fresh-squeezed juices.
4 Travel Through The Underground Tunnels
One of Guanajuato’s most recognizable features is its narrow streets. Tunnels initially built to prevent flooding have been repurposed for car and pedestrian use to keep traffic flowing. Anyone visiting should go underground to explore the impressive tunnel system, which is sometimes used as a venue for live performances and art exhibits.
3 Catch A Show At Juárez Theater
Juárez Theater is a work of art in itself. From the outside, the building looks like it could be right at home in Ancient Rome. Twelve pillars support the main entrance, the rooftop adorned in bronzed statues from Greek mythology. The interior is the definition of opulence, with stunning shades of red and gold, elaborate carvings, and luxurious seating. The theater still regularly puts on performances, but even if a visitor can’t make it to a show, they’ll be just as entertained by the magnificent display of neoclassical architecture.
2 Get Inspired At Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Guanajuato has a knack for repurposing its decommissioned buildings, and one of the coolest is Alhóndiga de Granaditas. The former grain storage facility now exhibits an impressive collection of pre-Colombian art and pieces focused on Mexican heroes. Every year, Guanajuato hosts El Cervantino, a festival celebrating international art, and utilizes the space in Alhóndiga as an auditorium for live performances.
1 Explore History At La Valenciana Mine
To truly understand the wonder of Guanajuato, visitors should make it a point to visit the site responsible for putting the city on the map. At one point, the Valenciana Mine produced more than half of the entire world’s silver. UNESCO designated the mine a World Heritage Site, and portions of the mine have been restored to their former glory. Visitors can descend into dimly lit tunnels to see the spots where the hardworking miners excavated the mineral for the prosperity of their city. Old tools of the trade are on display in the museum for added appreciation of what went into the excavation.
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