About Guanajuato


  • Jardín de la Unión
  • Templo de San Diego (Church of San Diego)
  • Monumento a El Pípila (Monument to El Pípila)
  • Callejón del beso (Alley of the Kiss)

The heart of Guanajuato essentially defines what a historical city center should be. Throw out the map and lose yourself in the tangle of narrow alleys, each flanked by impeccably preserved Spanish colonial houses in pale shades of pinks, yellows, reds and blues.

Guanajuato center

To get yourself right into the thick of things, head directly for the Jardín de la Unión (Garden of the Union), the triangle-shaped plaza that serves as the social hub and major meeting point of Guanajuato. Surrounded by restaurants, pastel-colored façades, the baroque Church of San Diego and the magnificent Teatro Juárez, this picturesque little niche is one of the city's most popular spots to sit back and read in the shade of the trees or meet up with friends. The shaded triangle-shape retreat also features a gazebo, plenty of benches, stone fountains and romantic street lamps.

South of the Jardín de la Unión and the Church of San Diego and west of the Don Quijote Iconographic Museum is the "funicular," the trolley-like railway that will take you up the steep hill to Monument to El Pípila. The monument honors local hero Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, otherwise known as "El Pípila." In 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo and his forces launched their bid for Mexican independence, Guanajuato's Spanish troops had holed themselves up in the Alhóndiga and were shooting out at the independence rebels.

The chances of success were looking pretty grim when El Pípila strapped a stone slab on his back to shield himself from the bullets and torched the Alhóndiga gates. The heroic effort paved the way to the first military victory for Hidalgo and his cohorts in the quest for Mexican independence. The story and the monument are of great historical and cultural value, but one of the highlights of the hill top monument is the incredible birds-eye view of Guanajuato spread out below.

West of the Jardín de la Unión and just a few meters uphill from the intimate Plazuela de los Ángeles, a small square known for its ice cream stands and for the students who lounge about on the stairs, is the Callejón del beso- probably Guanajuato's smallest major attraction. Of the scores of teeny-tiny streets that comprise the city, the Callejón del beso, or Alley of the kiss, is the absolute narrowest- so narrow, in fact, that the balconies of the houses flanking the street practicall touch.

Local legend tells the tale of Guanajuato's own pair of star-crossed lovers. Allegedly, the daughter of a wealthy Guanajuato family fell in love with a common miner- a relationship taht was quickly forbidden by her family. However, the miner rented a room right across the alley from hers, which allowed them to secretly steal kisses and share a few private moments... that is, until their clandestine relationship was inevitably discovered. The story ends rather tragically for the pair, but it's a romantic concept nonetheless.