Teach Me Mexico shares the easiest way to get to your Spanish-language-learning dream in Guanajuato, Mexico.

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Glorious Guanajuato

What to Do in Guanajuato

History. Culture. Architecture. Spanish. Experience Mexico through your lens.

Things to Do in Guanajuato, Mexico

Get Out Your Camera with the Historic Lens

Darling, colonial Guanajuato remains relatively small in size but big on things to do and see. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Take photographs. I read somewhere that Guanajuato is the most photographed city in all of Mexico. I can’t cite the source but I believe it -- and you will too!
  • Explore the Valenciana Mine
  • Descend a mine shaft. Founded in 1554, Guanajuato quickly became lavishly rich due to the large amounts of silver and other metals found in the surrounding hills. At its height, the city’s mines produced the majority of the world’s silver. In the most well-known mining district, La Valenciana, you can still visit a small museum and if bold, go down a shaft at the Boca Mina San Ramón.
  • Time travel back to the days of Mexican independence. The Alhóndiga de Granaditas witnessed the first significant insurgent victory. A grain/seed warehouse that became a fortress for the Spaniards, it was overtaken by rebels because of heroics of El Pípila, a strong miner who, using a stone as a body shield, was able to set the place on fire, thus driving out the Spaniards. In later retaliation, the Spaniards hung Hidalgo and others’ heads there as warning to quell uprisings. Today is museum.


Put on the Cultural Filter

Specimen at the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato
  • Marvel at the mummies. Unwrapped and not embalmed. Apparently just the perfect dry conditions in the above-ground crypts of the municipal cemetery “preserved” a number of bodies over the last century, some of which are on display in the Museo de las Momias. The Egyptians would have been envious.
  • See where Diego Rivera was born. The famous Mexican muralist came into this life in 1886 and lived for the first six years in what is now the Museo y Casa de Diego Rivera. The home now houses a collection of his and others’ works. Don’t miss the photos in the small theater.
  • University of Guanajuato
  • Go to school. (In addition to your Spanish school, of course!) A cultural center and force, the University of Guanajuato brings film, music festivals, symphony concerts, public lectures and seminars, and the student musical groups to the streets, theaters, and other venues in the city. Its physical presence alone is commanding from its main fortress/castle on the hill.
  • Check out where the 1% lived. The former mansion of a mine-owning marquis, the Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato now displays 18th-and-19th-century popular and fine art pieces. It’s next to the university’s main building.
  • Attend the Festival Internacional Cervantino. Latin America’s most important cultural festival, this month-long international event every fall floods the streets, plazas, and theaters with the world’s best in music, theater, dance, visual arts, literature, new ideas, and people!
  • Get a shot of the impressive Teatro Juárez. Take in a performance in the simply regal Porfirian edifice or just sit on the steps under the massive columns. The Teatro is also one of the primary venues of the Festival Internacional Cervantino.

Adjust Settings for Priests, Parks, and Panoramas

One of Guanajuato's Many Little Churches

The Spanish ultimately left Guanajuato, of course, but not before they left their Catholic mark (as in most of Mexico). Be sure not to miss these embodiments of the power and wealth of the Church:

  • Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato, which houses a jeweled statue of the city’s patron virgen, supposedly hidden from the Moors in Spain for 800 years
  • Templo de San Diego, across from the central Jardín de la Unión
  • Templo de la Compañía de Jesús, built in 1747 and now used by the university

El Pípila

Although many colonial cities center on one main square, multiple plazas and small parks pepper Guanajuato’s historic center. Stop for a coffee or to study your Spanish at the

  • Jardín de la Unión, the “main” green, manicured little triangle almost facing the Teatro Juárez
  • Plaza de la Paz, another pleasant green patch in front of the Basílica
  • Plazuela de los Ángeles, a spot for students to hang out with their pareja and an ice cream
  • Plazuela de San Fernando, my personal favorite for a snack or cena, often to the tune of a roving musician

Take in the whole scene at once by riding the funicular behind the Teatro Juárez up to the lookout at the El Pípila monument. If a little box on rails isn’t your thing, you can take a bus too. Walk down (or up, if you’re really in shape!).


Zoom in a Bit Farther Out

Within a few close miles to the city center, find other precious lodes (in addition to the mines), including the

  • Templo la Valenciana (Iglesia de San Cayetano), an exemplary display of the city’s -- and Church’s -- former riches, north of the centro on the hill overlooking city
  • Ex-hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera, a little west of town, this magnificent colonial mansion built at the end of the 1600s boasts equally impressive gardens, both of which demonstrate how the rich of the time lived

Other Activities in Guanajuato

Your language school in Guanajuato offers additional fun ways to practice your newly learned Spanish, such as dancing, cooking, and cultural outings.

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