The Central Mexican city of Guanajuato is an underrated gem! From outdoor activities to cultural treasures, there are so many things to do, even if you only have 3 days in Guanajuato. Families with kids of all ages will find all kinds of Guanajuato tours to enjoy in the city.
While San Miguel de Allende is popular among tourists, the city of Guanajuato is also interesting and fun to visit. It’s the capital of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, located about a four hour bus ride from Mexico City.
For families looking to spend at least 3 days in Guanajuato with kids, there are plenty of options for exploring this historic and beautiful city.
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If you spend time in central Mexico, you’ll find there are plenty of historical towns worth exploring. To prepare for your 3 days in Guanajuato, here are some interesting facts about the city’s history.
Like San Miguel de Allende, the city of Guanajuato is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It received that designation in 1988.
The city played a significant role in Mexican history. It also has beautiful Spanish architecture and many historical mines. At one point in history, Guanajuato was the leading producer of silver in the world. Some mines are still open today for visiting during Guanajuato tours.
Many of the mines of Guanajuato were operated by indigenous workers. These workers were paid the equivalent of one or two dollars per day, despite the mines themselves making hundreds of millions of pesos annually.
The city of Guanajuato played a pivotal role in Mexican independence. It served as the location of the siege of Guanajuato, where thousands of insurgents were killed.
Guanajuato also has a rich culture. In fact, it's a beautiful city to visit during holidays like Dia de la Muertos and Christmas.
There are several options for getting to Guanajuato with kids. If you’re looking for a bus to Guanajuato, you can take either Primera Plus or ETN. The bus to Guanajuato route from Mexico City cost 600 pesos (roughly $30 USD) to 800 pesos (roughly $40 USD). You can book ahead of time on their website.
If you want to rent a car, you can book a car rental through Expedia from Mexico City or any other city. Car rentals require insurance. If you are a citizen of the US or Canada, you will not need an IDP, but nationals of other countries may require one. Check out the Mexico car rental information here to get more details.
For getting around Guanajuato and getting to your Guanajuato tours, the public buses, called urbanos, serve set routes around the city. Fares cost 5 pesos per person per ride (roughly $.25 USD). Taxis are also quite affordable, between 35 to 50 pesos, depending on where you are going. Uber is available in Guanajuato, but is not reliable.
Many of Guanajuato’s sites and attractions are close to Centro. So this is a good place to start when looking for Airbnb Guanajuato City options.
Expect to pay between $60 to $200 USD per night for these Airbnb Guanajuato City properties, depending on the location. So make sure that your Mexico travel budget can accommodate for the type of lodging you book.
If you prefer hotels to lay your head after your Guanajuato tours, here are some of the best hotels in Guanajuato for you to book during your 3 days in Guanajuato with kids:
Click here to explore the best of what Central Mexico has to offer.
If you’re planning to visit Guanajuato, here’s a list of the family-friendly things to do in Guanajuato, Mexico. These activities will offer you the best of Guanajuato, and allow you to experience all the many facets of Mexican culture.
If you only have 3 days in Guanajuato, pick 4-6 of these best Guanajuato tours to book. But if you have more time to spend, feel free to explore all of these fun things to do in Guanajuato City.
One of the best ways to get to know a new city is to take a tour. When you first visit Guanajuato with kids, be sure to take one of the trolley tours offered by Transportes Turisticos de Guanajuato. They have a stand at the Plaza de la Paz, around the corner from the basilica.
Transportes Turisticos de Guanajuato offers several different Guanajuato tours by trolley. They range from an hour to four hours. The tours take you throughout the city of Guanajuato. Tour guides explain the sites as you pass them. If you’re traveling with kids, this is an ideal short one hour tour. The tour gives a good introduction to the city without being too long.
The tour stand is open every day from 9am to 8pm. The one hour tours are available at 1pm and 4pm. Plan to arrive at least one hour before to book your tickets. All tours are in Spanish. Tickets cost 100 pesos per person.
[Unsplash photo of people walking on Guanajuato streets]
Guanajuato is known for being a cultural destination. But it’s actually a fun outdoor destination too! If you’re looking for outdoor things to do in Guanajuato with kids, consider taking a tour with Turismo Alternativo en Guanajuato.
But if you’re not into horseback riding, Turismo Alternativo en Guanajuato offers other types of family-friendly Guanajuato tours. You can choose from mountain biking, ATV tours, and climbing. They even offer hiking Guanajuato experiences and hot air balloon Guanajuato tours.
Book your tours with Turismo Alternativo en Guanajuato here:
If you’re hanging around the Jardin de la Union, or in Centro, you’re sure to see men and women dressed as troubadours. They wear Renaissance style costumes and carry musical instruments with them. These men and women are the Callejoneadas. They lead musical tours around the alleyways of Guanajuato. For visitors to Guanajuato, it’s one of the most entertaining Guanajuato tours to take.
The tours are in the evenings, and are in Spanish. They involve a lot of singing and audience participation. The Callejoneadas begin their tour in front of the church next to Teatro Juarez. They lead you through the back alleys of Guanajuato, ending at Callejon del Beso. Throughout the tour, the Callejoneadas sing songs, and invite the audience to sing and dance along.
Tours are offered by multiple companies, and at multiple times throughout the night. You can purchase tickets from any of the costumed men and women walking throughout Centro. If you’re planning on doing the tour with kids, opt for an earlier tour, to avoid cranky kids. The earliest tours offered are around 7pm.
Guanajuato is a city full of legends. One of the famous legends is the one surrounding the Callejon del Beso, the Alley of the Kiss. As part of your Guanajuato tours, you’ll want to be sure to stop by this very narrow alley near the Plaza de los Angeles.
According to local legend, a rich woman named Ana lived in one of the houses in the alley. Across the alley from her house, a poor miner named Carlos rented a room. The two fell in love, and often leaned over their balconies to kiss across the alley. But Ana’s father disapproved of the relationship. One night as the two were kissing, he stabbed Ana in the back. The two of them, locked in a lover’s embrace, fell off the balcony to their death.
Visitors to Guanajuato love taking their picture at the Callejon del Beso. If you’re planning on checking out this teeny tiny alley, plan to come in the middle of the week during the day to avoid the crowds.
The Teatro Juarez, located in central Guanajuato, is a historic theater built in the late 1800s. It is open for Guanajuato tours when there are no performances going on. The first performance at Teatro Juarez was the opera, Aida in 1903. The theater is still in operation, and you can find a schedule of performances posted nearby the theater.
The majestic building, with its broad front steps, giant columns, and statues across the roof, is hard to miss. It’s located in the Centro area of Guanajuato. If you’re wondering what to do in Guanajauto with kids, and want to visit the theater, you can take a self-guided tour.
The Teatro Juarez is open to the public from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10am to 1:45pm and 5pm to 7:45pm. Admission is 35 pesos for adults. Children are free. There is a 30 peso fee for use of a camera. The theater is closed for tours on days when there is a performance.
Behind the Teatro Juarez is the Funicular. It’s a vertical tram that takes you up the hill behind the theater. Riding the Funicular is a great way to get views of the city during your Guanajuato tours. There are two tracks that run in both directions. Each tram carriage holds about six people, and is operated by a conductor. You can buy your tickets either at the bottom of the hill or at the top of the hill.
Tickets to the Funicular cost 30 pesos for adults and 15 pesos for kids. You can purchase one way or round trip (for double the price) tickets. The Funicular opens around 8am and closes around 9pm every day.
One of the other legends of Guanajuato, is the true legend of El Pipila. Born Juan Jose de los Reyes Martinez Amoro, El Pipila was a miner in Guanajuato. During the Mexican War of Independence, he was known for taking a torch and burning down the doors of the Spanish-controlled Alhondiga de Granaditas. He did this all while carrying a slab of rock on his back to protect himself from Spanish bullets.
Since mining was an important part of Guanajuato’s history, the city has a fondness for El Pipila. The Monument al Pipila is located at the hill behind Teatro Juarez, at the top of the Funicular. From Centro, you can see El Pipila at the top of the hill overlooking the city. He is standing tall, carrying a flaming torch.
There is a small museum at the base of the statue that provides some information about that historical moment. You can climb stairs up to the top of the statue, where a glass encased platform allows you views of the city. Visiting the statue is free, and is one of the popular things to do in Guanajuato with kids for Mexican tourists. The museum costs 20 pesos, so it’s an inexpensive addition to your Guanajuato tours.
One of the more unique things to do in Guanajuato with kids is to visit the Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera.As its name suggests, the Ex-Hacienda San Gabrield de Barrara is a former hacienda of General Gabriel de la Barrera.
The space is 22,000 square meters of gardens and Spanish style architecture. There are 17 themed gardens throughout the grounds. You can take a self-guided tour to explore them. The main home of General Gabriel de la Barrera is decked out in 17th century architecture and decor. It gives you a glimpse of what life was like for the Spanish aristocracy in Mexico at the time.
Mexico at the time was a divided society. The minority Spanish held power over the majority of the indigenous population. General Gabriel de la Barrera lived in this grand property with his family. Yet at the same time, his workers, who were primarily indigienous, toiled to provide for his lifestyle.
The Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera is open to the public from Mondays through Sundays from 9am to 6pm. Entrance fees cost 30 pesos for adults, and 20 pesos for children over the age of 6.
You can also book private Guanajauto tours that include a visit to Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera, like this one here:
If you’re looking for some relaxing things to do after your Guanajuato tours, head to the southwestern part of the city. There, you’ll find the Presa de la Olla. It’s a city dam and reservoir dating back to the 1700s.
The Presa de la Olla was built to help Guanajuato ensure a steady supply of water. A garden was built at the base of the dam in the late 1800s. The area surrounding the Presa de la Olla has some beautiful buildings representing Neoclassical and European styles. And there are also some government buildings, including the Governor's Palace.
The Presa de la Olla is free to visit. But you can also rent boats to ride around the reservoir. Boat rentals cost 35 pesos per person for a one hour ride. Life vests are included in the boat rental, and are available in all sizes. There are even life vests for toddlers.
The city of Guanajuato has a strange fascination with Don Quixote. He’s the fictional title character from Miguel de Cervantes’ Spanish novel, The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha.
There are statues of Don Quixote found throughout the city. And in October, Guanajuato hosts El Cervantino. It’s a theater festival dedicated to Miguel de Cervantes.
Within Centro, one of the most uniquely Guanajuato things to do during your Guanajuato tours is to visit the Museo Iconografico del Quijote. It’s a museum dedicated entirely to Don Quixote. It was created by Eulalio Ferrer, who’s life was greatly influenced by the story of Don Quixote.
The Museo Iconografico del Quijote has multiple levels of rooms surrounding a central courtyard. The rooms hold various statues and paintings of Don Quixote. It’s quite impressive to see this city’s fascination with the story!
The Museo Iconografico del Quijote is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9:30am to 7pm. And it’s open on Sundays from 12pm to 7pm. Admission into the museum is 30 pesos for adults. Admission for children under the age of 13 costs 10 pesos.
For a primer on Mexican history, head to the Alhondiga de Granaditas as part of your Guanajuato tours. This museum is also known as the Museo Regional de Guanajuato. It provides those who visit Guanajuato with kids with an overview of Mexican culture and history, from pre-Hispanic civilization to post-independence Mexico.
The Alhondiga de Granaditas was a former grain storage. It was later used as a fortress by the Spanish during the Mexican War of Independence. The Alhondiga de Granaditas became a museum in 1958.
The Alhondiga de Granaditas has two stories of rooms. The rooms surround a central courtyard. Each room covers a period of Mexican history. When you purchase your ticket, you can ask to borrow an informational packet.
The packet goes into more depth for each exhibit. They have Spanish and English versions of the informational packet. Also, in each room are laminated informational sheets that you can read to learn more about each exhibit.
Tickets to the Alhondiga de Granaditas cost 75 pesos for adults. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 6pm. It is open on Sundays from 10am to 3pm.
Across from the Alhondiga de Granaditas is the Museo de Cera. It’s a small wax museum. But if you’re looking for cheap things to do in Guanajuato with kids during your Guanajuato tours, this museum is worth visiting.
There are seven rooms in this museum. Each room has wax figures representing Mexican history, Guanajuato legends, and notable figures around the world.
Take note that there are some graphic depictions in the museum, such as severed heads and mummies. There is also a room dedicated to nightmare type monsters. So if your kids are sensitive to scary things, you may want to avoid that area.
The Museo de Cera is open every day from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are 30 pesos for adults and 25 pesos for students. You can walk through the whole museum in about ten or fifteen minutes.
Another suggestion for what to do in Guanajuato with kids is to visit the Museo de las Momias, known in English as the Mummy Museum. The Museo de las Momias is located further west of the city from the Alhondiga de Granaditas. It is situated on top of a hill, next to a cemetery.
The museum is filled with naturally preserved mummies from the 1800s. These mummies were exhumed from the cemetery due to the failure of their relatives to pay a grave tax that was required at the time. There are about 59 mummies on display, including some babies.
Take note, if your children are sensitive to the subject of death, you may want to avoid this museum during your Guanajuato tours.
The Museo de las Momias is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9am to 6pm, and Fridays to Saturdays from 9am to 6:30pm. Tickets are 85 pesos for adults, and 50 pesos for kids over 1.2 meters tall. There is also a 30 peso fee for use of a camera.
If you’re an art lover and looking for Guanajuato things to do, then you’re in luck! Guanajuato has a large selection of art museums which you can visit as part of your Guanajuato tours.
One art museum in Guanajuato is the Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato. It is located near the University of Guanajuato. There are some really beautiful murals in the museum. And many of the exhibits showcase works from influential Mexican artists.
The Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays. It’s open from 10am to 7pm. It’s also open on Sundays from 10am to 3pm. Tickets cost 25 pesos for adults.
On the topic of art, the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, is well-loved by the city of Guanajuato. He spent part of his childhood in the city. And if you’re looking for fun things to do in Guanajuato with kids, you can visit his childhood home. It’s now called the Museo Casa Diego Rivera.
The Museo Diego Rivera is located in Centro, near the Santa Fe Tunnel. It contains artifacts from Diego Rivera’s home. It also holds some of Diego Rivera’s artwork. You’ll also find artwork from other Mexican artists.
Before visiting the Museo Casa Diego Rivera, my kids and I watched a few videos about Diego Rivera’s artwork. While we were at the museum, we had fun identifying the pieces that we recognized. We also tried our hand at guessing which period of his career the paintings and drawings were from.
The Museo Casa Diego Rivera is open to the public. Hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 6:30pm. On Sundays, the museum is open from 10am to 2:30pm. Entrance into the museum is 25 pesos for adults, and 10 pesos for students.
If you’re a Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lover, one of the Guanajauto tours you need to do is this Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo themed tour:
Guanajuato has several gardens and plazas throughout the city where locals love to hang out and that you can visit during your Guanajuato tours. Many of these public spaces are lined with restaurants for eating.
One public space is the Jardin de la Union, located across from the Teatro Juarez. The garden itself is fairly small. It has a gazebo and a couple of fountains. But there are often mariachi groups performing around the garden. And the many options for al fresco dining along the park provides a perfect venue for listening to mariachi performances.
The Jardin de la Union is also full of local vendors and artisans selling their wares. You can buy some beautiful art right outside of the Teatro Juarez.
Guanajuato is built on top of a series of tunnels. The tunnels wind in and out of the city. These tunnels were originally built to help pass water through the city. But later, they were converted as a means to direct traffic back and forth across town. If you’re planning to visit Guanajuato with kids, you will most likely spend some time zipping through these tunnels either by taxi or by bus.
If you’re in the mood for some explorative Guanajuato tours, you can spend an afternoon walking through the tunnels. At the very least, you can walk a portion of the tunnels. There are stairs throughout Centro that lead you down to the tunnels. They are fun to explore, even with kids. But be careful walking along the tunnels. Some of the cars do go by pretty fast.
One of the fun Guanajuato things to do for visitors as part of their Guanajuato tours is to check out the Mercado Hidalgo. Visiting a local market helps give you a glimpse of how people live their day to day lives.
There are stalls selling produce, meats, and household goods. Some of the stalls also sell food to eat. On the second level of the market are stalls selling souvenirs. The Mercado Hidalgo is open every day. Most of the stalls open around noon, and close around 6pm.
If you’re looking for day trips from Guanajuato, an excursion worth taking while doing your Guanajuato tours is to visit one of the mines. Mina de San Juan de Rayas is located on Panoramica road and overlooks the city of Guanajuato. The mine was created in the 1500’s, and is still in operation today.
While you can’t go inside the mine, you can certainly visit the area on top of the mine. The view of the city from that vantage point is breathtaking.
For a mine that you can visit, head to Bocamina San Ramon, in nearby Valenciana. This mine has a museum that you can visit and learn all about the mining history of Guanajuato.
You can combine many of these Guanajuato attractions by doing walking tours of the city. Be sure to allocate at least a day to do a walking tour. And make sure your kids are able to walk the tour.
If you only have 2 days in Guanajuato with kids, then a walking tour is a great way to get a feel for the city all at once. Here are some of the best Guanajuato tours to book to give you a good overview of the city:
Like nearby San Miguel de Allende, the city of Guanajuato is a beautiful city. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has so many attractions to offer for families.
If you’re planning to visit Guanajuato in the near future, consider these best Guanajuato tours to book for your vacation. And feel free to mix it up with your own fun activities.
Want another beautiful and historic Mexican city to explore? Take a look at this itinerary for San Miguel de Allende.