This is the most comprehensive itinerary to connecting with the authentic Guanajuato, Mexico.
The best part?
You can meet and make friends with locals along the way while exploring the windy streets, stunning bright colored houses, and large divine structures.
The vibe of the city is what I love about Guanajuato. Everyone is engaged in every little shop, central plaza, narrow streets, governmental buildings, and godly churches. This is a city that will take you to the many heights of the world. From the underground roads to the statue of El Pípila that overlooks the town below.
There’s a catch:
Despite this itinerary covering the many places that you should visit in Guanajuato, the city immerses its local authenticity to you no matter where you are. The difficulty in making friends and building relationships with the community is unreal here. You are constantly exposed to the youthful and liveliness the city has to offer.
Thanks to my journey through the cobblestone roads, I have compiled a comprehensive itinerary on how to become a local in Guanajuato for you! These places exert their beauty and uniqueness that make up this authentic city. Additionally, these sites introduce you to the local lifestyle, as well as learning the religion and culture of Guanajuato.
The Teatro Juarez is a grandeur theater that was inspired by ancient Rome and Greece. What was once considered the most gorgeous and prestigious theater in all of Mexico, it houses the many performances that expose the audience to its famous work that has been inspired by the International Cervantes Festival. Known for its angelic symphony orchestra, the orchestra played such beautiful songs that touched the heart and soul. It’s the tones and sounds produced by the talented musicians that send chills throughout your body. It’s captivating, and it’s definitely worth your time. Additionally, it’s painted in a red-and-gold interior. This theater presents its elegance by stimulating your eyes, ears, heart, and soul. You leave the theater feeling in love with Guanajuato. That’s how you know you have built a relationship with this historic city.
Alhóndiga de Granaditas
This ancient fortress was used as an old grain storage during the Mexican War of Independence. Through its many years, it has come to be called “by the people of Guanajuato.” This place has a special place in the heart of Guanajuato’s history. This is one of the best ways to learn more about Mexico’s history and how it achieved its independence. Nonetheless, despite diving into the history, this is one of the places that hold the annual International Cervantino Festival. Held at the wide stairs near the main plaza, live performances attract numerous locals. Fortunately, Alhóndiga de Granaditas brings in locals no matter what event is being held!
Monumento al Pípila
This massive monument was built in honor of the hero, El Pípila, who torched the Alhóndiga gates. Representing the cities victory for independence, it overlooks the whole city showing the vibrantly colored houses, divine-looking churches, and more of the amazing buildings that make up this breathtaking city. It’s a must-see, not only for the interesting monument but for the picturesque view of the city. The perfect place to truly embrace the city’s vibe in a different, yet unique way. The best way to get the most out of the trip there is to walk instead of taking the funicular. By trekking through the streets, you get to enjoy the sight of authentic neighborhoods and even get the chance to meet new locals on your way there. A word of advice is to take a different route on your way back so that you can trek through new neighborhoods and encounter new locals!
The Unión Garden is an amazing place to meet locals. The ornamental trees are trimmed perfectly which, when you walk through the garden, looks like a rooftop hedge. From dusk to dawn, the Jardin de la Union is constantly bustling with live music and performances. Although you can come across locals just by trekking through the streets, this is the hotspot for local activity. I was able to make a college friend by approaching him while he was studying on a bench. If you are a couple, you can easily approach many of the local couples that hang around in the joyful atmosphere. This little garden can play a big role in your adventures for finding friends in Guanajuato. The vibe is already cheerful, so all you have to do is embrace it and converse with the many people already having fun there. It’s especially easy since there is always galore of locals waiting for you!
Parroquia de Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato
Parroquia de Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato is the church of the patroness of the city. Known for its impressive dome structure, the church stands out more than the rest. Additionally, the exterior isn’t the only thing that makes this church so special. The interior is what makes this place so special. As soon as you enter, you are greeted with a majestic, alluring, and stunning altar. The wooden sculpture of the Virgin, Our Lady of Guanajuato, and Child with a silver base was donated to the city of Guanajuato by King Charles I and his son Felipe II as recognition for the cities mining prosperity. Within the church’s three bodies, it’s filled with breathtaking altars, divine-looking sculptures, silver and gold decorations, and magnificent artwork. This church resembles how far this city has transformed.
Templo de San Cayetano
The first thing I have to say about this church is that once you step in, your eyes will stay wide open! Holy s***! You wouldn’t even dare to blink. Built at the opening of the La Valencia mine, it was to give thanks to San Cayetano for the riches that the mine provided. The three altars that were inspired by the Mexican Churrigueresque style are completely covered in gold. It looks out of this world! Words can’t describe how complicated, yet mesmerizing it looks. Since Guanajuato is known for its wealth through mining, these altars show every visitor the story of the city of how mining played a major role. Needless to say, words can’t even come close to describing the beauty of such intricate artwork through the use of the highly respected material, gold. No wonder why many locals call it the Church of Gold.
Bocamina San Ramón
Despite the wonders that lie in the city, many tourists seem to disregard the roots that started it. I recommend that you visit here because, after all, Guanajuato is famous for its mines. Guided by tours, they provide you with information on the miner’s working conditions and the precious metals they had to scavenge for. It was very compact in the mines that it might be uncomfortable for some people. Take in the experience and truly empathize the history, but don’t do it too long because the tour guide decided to pull a joke on me by turning off the lights in the mines because I took too long! Nonetheless, it’s typically filled with tourists more than locals. However, you must inform yourself about the history in order to become a local yourself. That’s how you build a connection with the city!
San Miguel de Allende
La Parroquia looks out of this world! It looks like it was taken from the movie, Harry Potter. This city holds every factor that makes Guanajuato. From its joyful, cobblestone streets to its never ending gorgeous architectural display. With so many English services available to tourists, you are able to easily interact with many of the locals that reside in this delightful place. One of the many ways you are able to truly connect with the locals here is to embrace the thriving art scenes. The plaza in front of La Parroquia is the perfect place to converse with the community as well as appreciate the regular parades and festivals that are common. I actually got to experience a local parade, and it was amazing! Tall man-made characters and bands filled the streets with their positive and amusing energy.
Universidad de Guanajuato
The Universidad de Guanajuato is a frequently visited site by locals. Being a student myself, I felt this place had a familiar vibe. Given that it’s a school and that many students come by, I was able to relate. Even for the many travelers that aren’t in school, you can reminisce about your past as a student and capture the feeling of familiarity. You are able to connect with the many locals, students, and adults that sit on what seems like a never-ending staircase. Typically filled with groups of friends and couples, you can easily engage in their activities. I recommend visiting in the afternoon to the night because that’s the time where most locals come to spend their time.
Guanajuato is special and unique. This place is not only for art lovers but for people who love to build relationships with the local people and city. Even though tourists flock to the places listed above, they are mainly dominated by the local community. In essence, they coexist with each other. The wonderful thing about Guanajuato is you don’t need an itinerary to show you exactly where to go to converse with the residents. But rather, every street is yours to encounter new opportunities to meet them!