Guatemala City

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Guatemala City - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena

    The city's best museum, the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress, focuses on textiles of Guatemala's indigenous community, with an impressive array of handwoven fabrics from...

    The city's best museum, the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress, focuses on textiles of Guatemala's indigenous community, with an impressive array of handwoven fabrics from 120 highland villages, some of which date from the 19th century. It will provide you with a good background in the regional differences among textiles before you head out to the highlands. You'll also find sculptures, photographs, and paintings, including works by Andres Curruchich, an influential Guatemalan folk painter. Multimedia and interactive weaving displays make the museum engaging for all ages—watch one of the short introductory videos describing the museum's holdings to get you grounded—and there's a café, a bookstore, and a terrific gift shop. The only drawback is its location—at the bottom of a long hill at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín.

    6 calle final, zona 10,, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01010, Guatemala
    502-2361--8081

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q35
  • 2. Catedral Santiago de Guatemala

    Built between 1778 and 1867, Guatemala City's cathedral replaced the old Catedral de Santiago Apóstol in Antigua, destroyed in that city's 1773 earthquake. The structure...

    Built between 1778 and 1867, Guatemala City's cathedral replaced the old Catedral de Santiago Apóstol in Antigua, destroyed in that city's 1773 earthquake. The structure is a rare example of colonial architecture in the Old City. Standing steadfast on the eastern end of the Plaza Mayor, it is one of the city's most enduring landmarks, having survived the capital's numerous 20th-century earthquakes. The ornate altars hold outstanding examples of colonial religious art, including an image of the Virgen de la Asunción, the city's patron saint. Off a courtyard on the cathedral's south side—enter through the church—stands the Museo de la Arquidiócesis de Santiago Guatemala, the archdiocesan museum with a small collection of colonial religious art and artifacts.

    8 Calle and 7 Av., Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01001, Guatemala
    502-2232--7621

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Cathedral: Mon.–Sat. 7–1 and 2–6, Sun. 7–6; museum: Mon.–Fri. 9–1 and 2–5, Sat. 9–1 and 2–4; closed Sun.
  • 3. Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias

    The city's fine-arts complex consists of the imposing Teatro Nacional and the open-air Teatro del Aire Libre. Named for Guatemala's Nobel Prize–winning novelist who spent...

    The city's fine-arts complex consists of the imposing Teatro Nacional and the open-air Teatro del Aire Libre. Named for Guatemala's Nobel Prize–winning novelist who spent much of his life in exile for opposing Guatemala's dictatorship, the hilltop cluster of buildings overlooks the Old City. Check out the performance schedule while you're here and pick up a ticket if something strikes your fancy. Prices are far lower than what you'd pay at a comparable venue in Europe or North America. The only way to see the theater, other than attending a performance, is to take a 1½-hour tour.

    24 Calle 3-81, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01001, Guatemala
    502-2232--4041

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q30, Weekdays 9–4
  • 4. Cervecería Centroamericana

    The capital's Cervecería Centroamericana has brewed the majority of the beer sold in Guatemala since 1886. If you've been traveling around the country, you've seen...

    The capital's Cervecería Centroamericana has brewed the majority of the beer sold in Guatemala since 1886. If you've been traveling around the country, you've seen (and likely sampled) Gallo, its ubiquitous flagship beer, pronounced GAH-yo. The cervecería manufactures a complete line of beverages, including Gallo Light, Victoria lager, the dark bock beer Moza, and Malta Gallo malt liquor. Gallo, incidentally, is marketed in the United States, but under the name "Famosa." (A certain California winery already holds the rights to the "Gallo" name there.) The brewery offers fun, informative hour-long tours in Spanish and English of its installations several blocks north of the Old City each Monday to Thursday at 8, noon, and 3 pm. (A taxi is the best way to get here.) Reservations are necessary, and should be made at least a week in advance. Best of all, the whole thing is free, and the tour concludes with samples (also free) in the brewery café.

    3a Avenida Norte Final, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01002, Guatemala
    1801

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 5. El Correo

    You can mail packages from your hotel, but it's far more fun to come to the main post office, housed in a cantaloupe-color structure dating...

    You can mail packages from your hotel, but it's far more fun to come to the main post office, housed in a cantaloupe-color structure dating from the colonial era.

    7 Av. 12-11, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, Guatemala
    502-2413--0202

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Weekdays 8:30–5:30, Sat. 9–12.
  • 6. Iglesia de La Merced

    If religious iconography is your thing, step inside this lovely church dating from 1813 to see its baroque interior. Many of the elaborate paintings and...

    If religious iconography is your thing, step inside this lovely church dating from 1813 to see its baroque interior. Many of the elaborate paintings and sculptures originally adorned La Merced in Antigua, but were moved here after earthquakes devastated that city. The church also has two small museums.

    1a Calle Poniente and 6a Avenida Norte, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01001, Guatemala
    502-7832--0559

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Daily 7–7
  • 7. Iglesia de San Francisco

    The Church of St. Francis, built by its namesake Franciscan order between 1800 and 1851, is known for its ornate wooden altar. A small museum...

    The Church of St. Francis, built by its namesake Franciscan order between 1800 and 1851, is known for its ornate wooden altar. A small museum explains the church's history.

    13 Calle 6–34, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01001, Guatemala
    502-2232--6325

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Daily 10:30–4
  • 8. Jardín Botánico

    Garden

    The small but lovely Botanical Garden at the northern end of Zona 10 contains an impressive collection of plants managed by the Universidad...

    The small but lovely Botanical Garden at the northern end of Zona 10 contains an impressive collection of plants managed by the Universidad de San Carlos. Your ticket price also includes admission to a small, adjoining natural-history museum.

    Calle Mariscal Cruz 1–56, near Av. La Reforma, Zona 10, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01010, Guatemala
    -2334–6065-gardens

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q10, Closed Sat.–Mon.
  • 9. La Aurora Zoo

    It's small, but the capital's zoo is well arranged and well maintained. The facility contains several exhibit areas, including the African savanna, the Asian subcontinent,...

    It's small, but the capital's zoo is well arranged and well maintained. The facility contains several exhibit areas, including the African savanna, the Asian subcontinent, the Mesoamerican tropics, and a down-home farm. You'll see everything from giraffes and elephants to cows and ducks. The zoo's proximity to the nearby Children's Museum makes a convenient outing for families with kids.

    5 Calle Interior Finca La Aurora, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01013, Guatemala
    502-2463--0463

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q32, Closed Mon.
  • 10. Mapa en Relieve

    If you want to get the lay of the land before you head out to the country, this unusual relief map depicts Guatemala's precipitous topography....

    If you want to get the lay of the land before you head out to the country, this unusual relief map depicts Guatemala's precipitous topography. The layout is so immense—1,800 square meters, or 19,500 square feet—that your best view is from an observation tower. What makes it even more amazing is that it was completed in 1905, before satellite and aerial topography, and long before Google Earth. The flashy Spanish-language Web site focuses on the late-19th- and early-20th-century development and construction of the map, a labor of love of engineer (and amateur geographer) Francisco Vela (1859–1909). Altitudes are greatly exaggerated: horizontally, the map uses a 1:10,000 scale, but vertically, it's 1:2,000. The map lies several blocks north of the Old City, not far from the Cervecería Centroamericana and its brewery tour; a taxi is your best bet for getting here.

    Av. Simeón Cañas, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01002, Guatemala
    502-5632--5708

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q30, Daily 9–5
  • 11. Mercado Central

    A seemingly endless maze of underground passages is home to the Mercado Central, where handicrafts from the highlands are hawked from overstocked stalls. It's not...

    A seemingly endless maze of underground passages is home to the Mercado Central, where handicrafts from the highlands are hawked from overstocked stalls. It's not as appealing as the open-air markets in Antigua or Chichicastenango, but the leather goods, wooden masks, and woolen blankets found here are often cheaper. There are skilled pickpockets in the market, so keep an eye on your belongings.

    8 Calle and 8 Av., Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01001, Guatemala
    502-2230--1579

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Mon.–Sat. 8–6,
  • 12. Mixco Viejo

    North of Guatemala City lie the 12th-century Mayan ruins of Mixco Viejo. The mountaintop site, thought to be largely ceremonial, was one of the last...

    North of Guatemala City lie the 12th-century Mayan ruins of Mixco Viejo. The mountaintop site, thought to be largely ceremonial, was one of the last Mayan places to fall to Pedro de Alvarado and the conquistadors in 1525. Excavation began on the site's 120 structures in 1954. Temples and palaces make up Mixco Viejo, but most notably it contains several ball courts used in the ballgame of pitziil, a game with many variations seen throughout pre-Columbian indigenous civilizations. (Historians today group the games under the general heading ulama, a Nahuatl word meaning simply "ballgame.") Objectively, it resembled a mix of soccer and volleyball, but for the Maya, pitziil transcended mere sport, providing a cosmic link between mortals and gods, between past and future. Mixco Viejo is no Tikal or Quiriguá, but it's a favored destination for weekend visitors from the capital, who come for the splendid views of the surrounding countryside. A small museum documents the history of the site.

    San Juan Sacatepequez, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01057, Guatemala
    No phone

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q20, Daily 7–4:30
  • 13. Museo de la Arquidiócesis de Santiago Guatemala

    Off a courtyard on the cathedral's south side—enter through the church—stands the Museo de la Arquidiócesis de Santiago Guatemala, the archdiocesan museum with a small...

    Off a courtyard on the cathedral's south side—enter through the church—stands the Museo de la Arquidiócesis de Santiago Guatemala, the archdiocesan museum with a small collection of colonial religious art and artifacts.

    07 Avenida 06 - 73, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, Guatemala
    502-250--6868

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q10, Closed Sun.--Mon.
  • 14. Museo de los Niños

    Via interactive exhibits, the capital's splendid Children's Museum takes the young and young-at-heart on a journey through space, the human body, a coffee plantation, and...

    Via interactive exhibits, the capital's splendid Children's Museum takes the young and young-at-heart on a journey through space, the human body, a coffee plantation, and a giant Lego exhibit. Multiple tickets are available at a slight discount Friday afternoon and weekends. We recommend making a kids' day out by combining this museum with a visit to the nearby zoo.

    5a Calle 10-00, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01013, Guatemala
    502-2475--5076

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q35, Tues.–Fri. 8:30–noon and 1–4:30, weekends 9:30–1:30 and 2:30–6, Closed Mon.
  • 15. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología

    Dedicated to the history of the Maya, the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology has a large and excellent collection of Mayan pottery, jewelry, masks,...

    Dedicated to the history of the Maya, the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology has a large and excellent collection of Mayan pottery, jewelry, masks, and costumes, as well as models of the ancient cities. The jade exhibit, in particular, is stunning. The museum is a must for understanding the link between ancient and modern Mayan cultures, but the exhibits are labeled in Spanish only.

    6 Calle and 7 Av., Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01013, Guatemala
    502-2475--4399

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q60, Closed Mon.
  • 16. Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno

    Surrealism and multimedia works are among the wide range of styles represented at the National Museum of Modern Art. Some of the collection does go...

    Surrealism and multimedia works are among the wide range of styles represented at the National Museum of Modern Art. Some of the collection does go back to the early-19th-century independence period. Many of Guatemala's most distinguished 20th-century artists are represented here, including Efraín Recinos and Zipacna de León. Exhibits include works by other Latin American artists from similar periods.

    Salón No. 6, Finca Nacional “La Aurora”, Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01013, Guatemala
    502-2472--0467

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q50, Closed Mon.
  • 17. Museo Popol Vuh

    Religious figures, animals, and mythological half-animal–half-man creatures with stolid eyes, hawkish noses, and fierce poses inhabit this museum. Though much smaller than the city's other...

    Religious figures, animals, and mythological half-animal–half-man creatures with stolid eyes, hawkish noses, and fierce poses inhabit this museum. Though much smaller than the city's other museums, Popol Vuh has an interesting display of well-preserved stone carvings from the Preclassic period, with the earliest pieces dating from 1500 BC. Some statues are quite large, all the more impressive given that they were each cut from a single stone. Also look for the "painted books," which were historical records kept by the Maya. The most famous is the museum's namesake, the Popol Vuh, otherwise known as the Mayan Bible, which was lost (and later recovered) after it was translated into Spanish. An ample collection of colonial artifacts and rotating special exhibits round out the museum's offerings. Monthly evening public lectures, in Spanish, deal with topics related to the institution's holdings.

    Calle Manuel F. Ayau 6 Final St., Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01010, Guatemala
    502-2338--7896

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q35, Closed Sun.
  • 18. Palacio Nacional de la Cultura

    The grandiose National Palace was built between 1937 and 1943 to satisfy the monumental ego of President Jorge Ubico Castañeda. It once held the offices...

    The grandiose National Palace was built between 1937 and 1943 to satisfy the monumental ego of President Jorge Ubico Castañeda. It once held the offices of the president and his ministers, but now many of its 320 rooms house a collection of paintings and sculptures by well-known Guatemalan artists from the colonial period to the present. Look for Alfredo Gálvez Suárez's murals illustrating the history of the city above the entry. The palace's ornate stairways and stained-glass windows are a pleasant contrast to the gritty city outside its walls. You must visit with a guide, who will take you on a 30-minute highlights tour, which leaves every half hour throughout the day. Your visit includes a stop at the presidential balcony off the banquet room. If the palace is a must on your itinerary, call ahead to confirm that it is open; the building occasionally closes for presidential functions.

    6 Calle and 7 Ave., Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01001, Guatemala
    502-2232--8550

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Q40, Weekdays 9-4:30.
  • 19. Plaza Mayor

    Some people refer to this expanse as the Parque Central, but, despite a few trees, it's more vast concrete plaza than park. Clustered around this...

    Some people refer to this expanse as the Parque Central, but, despite a few trees, it's more vast concrete plaza than park. Clustered around this historic square are landmarks that survived the 19th and 20th centuries' earthquakes. One original building did not get through the 1917 earthquake: the colonial-era Palacio del Gobierno, which once stood on the plaza's west side, was leveled and later cleared, adding a second city block to the expanse of the square. In the center of the plaza is a fountain where children sometimes splash while their parents relax on the nearby benches. Photographers set up shop here on weekends, putting up small backdrops of rural scenes—you can have your picture taken in front of them. On Sunday, the best day to go, the plaza is filled with vendors and families relaxing on their day off.

    Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01001, Guatemala
  • 20. Zona Viva

    The so-called "lively zone" is undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan area of town. The daytime crowd is mostly business executives, but at night a more vivacious...

    The so-called "lively zone" is undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan area of town. The daytime crowd is mostly business executives, but at night a more vivacious bunch takes over. The precise definition of the neighborhood differs depending on whom you talk to, but it roughly centers on the area from avenidas La Reforma and 4, and calles 12 and 14, fanning out from there. Streets accommodate pedestrians overflowing from the narrow sidewalks on which restaurants have introduced outdoor seating, and lines extend from bars. You won't find the boutiques that characterize most upscale neighborhoods; those that do exist are mostly inside the large, international chain hotels. An exception to this is Plaza Fontabella (4 Av. 12–59), an attractive outdoor mall with a variety of upscale shops selling everything from books to home decor to custom-made suits.

    Guatemala City, Departamento de Guatemala, 01010, Guatemala

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