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Top Activities in Guatemala City

See all 197 things to do in Guatemala City

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Guatemala City Attractions

National capital, Guatemala's largest city, and the most populous city in Central America, Guatemala City is the economic and cultural hub of the country. Although the city has a tumultuous history that spans civil war, earthquakes, authoritarian rule, and ongoing poverty, it's a fascinating urban metropolis with a palpable energy and plenty of things to do and see. Immerse yourself in Guatemala's heritage as you discover colonial architecture and world-class museums, and get a feel for the city's nightlife and shopping possibilities. Outside the city, the mountainous Guatemalan Highlands are known for natural treasures like the still-active Pacaya Volcano and the majestic Lake Atitlán.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Guatemala City

Guatemala City is divided into 22 different zonas, or zones, that unfurl in a spiral pattern from the center. Zone 1 designates the oldest section of the city, while Zones 10 and 13 offer museums, restaurants, and nightlife to enjoy beyond the city center.

Zone 1

Zone 1 encompasses the historic area that was constructed in 1775 when the Spanish established Guatemala City as a small town. You're likely to begin your sightseeing in this district, as many of the city's landmarks can be found here, including the Plaza de la Constitución, the Palacio Nacional, and the Mercado Central.

Zone 10

Widely known as the Zona Viva, or "Lively Zone," Zone 10 is an upscale nightlife hub packed with restaurants, bars, and hotels. For a respite from the urban hustle and bustle, discover the leafy splendor of the Jardín Botanico, Guatemala's only botanical garden. Francisco Marroquín University houses the city's most renowned museums—the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena and the Museo Popol Vuh.

Zone 13

Most travelers pass through Zone 13 on their way from La Aurora Airport, but this district is also worth a visit for its attractions. Take the kids to the La Aurora Zoo, or delve into Guatemala's cultural heritage at the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

Things to See in Guatemala City

Uncover historical and cultural gems in Guatemala's largest city. Learn about indigenous textiles and clothing at the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena, and then head next door to the Museo Popol Vuh to browse an extensive collection of Maya art. At the center of the city, the expansive Plaza de la Constitución, also known as the Parque Central, is flanked by historic and impressive buildings, including the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral, the grandiose Palacio Nacional, and the National Library of Guatemala. Behind the cathedral is the Mercado Central, the city's sprawling and colorful underground market. The primarily residential Zone 2 is worth a visit for its massive, open-air Relief Map, which lays out Guatemala's topography in incredible detail.

Sightseeing in Guatemala City

Choose from a variety of excursions to top Guatemalan destinations within a few hours of Guatemala City. Explore the cobblestone streets of Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its Spanish Baroque and colonial architecture. On a day trip in the Guatemalan Highlands, take a breathtaking cruise on the volcanic Lake Atitlán—the deepest lake in Central America—and visit the indigenous village of Santiago Atitlán for a glimpse of authentic Maya culture. To the north, the town of Chichicastenango is famous for its open-air market, where you can browse an array of traditional handicrafts, food, and flowers. For a dose of family-friendly fun, spend the day on the thrilling rides at Xetulul Theme Park, or discover the wave pools and water slides at Xocomil Water Park. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the steep slopes to the crater of the mighty Pacaya Volcano, which lies just south of Guatemala City. The adventure ends with a rejuvenating dip in the natural thermal pools at the Kawilal Hot Springs.

Things to Do in Guatemala City with Kids

Escaping with the youngsters? You'll find plenty of activities in Guatemala City that'll put big grins on little faces. Try out these family friendly experiences:

Free Things to Do in Guatemala City

A trip to Guatemala City doesn't have to hurt your hip pocket. You can leave your wallet at home if you check out:

National Museum of Modern Art - Whatever your age, this gallery will rouse your imagination and grip your attention.

Guatemala City Hall - Architecture fans will no doubt enjoy marveling at the modern design of this local landmark.

Centro Cívico - You'll feel like you've traveled back in time while discovering the secrets of this historic attraction.

Justo Rufino Barrios - Socialize with the local residents and seek out the true personality and energy of this special place.

Embassy of Canada - Introduce yourself to a local and find out why many tourists swing by this place.

Aldawa Mosque - Connect with your spiritual side or simply take in the tranquil atmosphere at this religious site.

Botanical Garden - Organize a picnic and enjoy a relaxing stroll around the gorgeous plant life.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Guatemala City

Zona 10

Zona 10 is known for its ample dining options, and you can make a stop by Oakland Mall and Plaza Fontabella Shopping Center while in the area.

MuseumsFriendly PeopleBusiness

Zona Historico

Unique features of Zona Historico include the shopping and historic sites. Make a stop by National Palace (Palacio Nacional) or Museum of Invisible Musicians while you're exploring the area.

CathedralsChurchesUrban

Zona 1

Zona 1 is noteworthy for its historic sites, and you can make a stop at top attractions like National Palace (Palacio Nacional) and Guatemala City Hall.

CathedralsVolcanoesChurches

Zona 11

Zona 11 is well-liked for many features, particularly its restaurants, shopping, and spas. Though there might not be top sights in Zona 11, consider a stop by Kaminaljuyu or Paseo Cayala, located nearby.

DiningBusinessShopping

Zona 2

Travelers enjoy Zona 2 for its monuments and historic sites. Consider checking out Relief Map while you're in the area.

MonumentsHistorical Buildings

Zona 12

Travelers enjoy Zona 12 for its churches and theme parks. Consider checking out Mundo Petapa while you're in the area.

ChurchesCathedralsTheme Parks

Learn More About Guatemala City | Blog


Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Guatemala City on a sunny day?

Enjoy the great weather (and get a little exercise as well) with these popular outdoor activities:

What to do in Guatemala City on a rainy day?

If the weather is miserable during your getaway, dry yourself off and dive into these terrific indoor activities:

Are there cheap things to do in Guatemala City?

Enjoy yourself without spending a packet with an Antigua Guatemala Afternoon Half Day Tour or an Experience Antigua Walking Tour.

What can you do in Guatemala City for free?

You could store your credit card in the hotel safe for the day, because these great attractions will cost you nothing at all:

  • Paseo Cayala
  • Plaza Fontabella Shopping Center
  • Oakland Mall
  • Castillo de San Felipe de Lara