10 Best Things to Do in Puebla City, Mexico 2023: Guide
This list of the best things to do in Puebla will help you organize a visit to one of the oldest cities in Mexico, making the most of your time.
Located about two hours by road from Mexico City, Puebla de Zaragoza (its original name) harmoniously combines its tradition, history, art, and delicious dishes of Mexican gastronomy. This combination makes it one of the destinations you can miss on your trip to Mexico.
It is worth dedicating a whole day to visit all the tourist attractions concentrated in its beautiful historic center. If you have more time, take an excursion to see some of the wonders of the surroundings, such as Cholula and its famous pyramid.
Based on our experience in this city during our trip to Mexico, we have made this list of the ten essential places to see in Puebla. Let’s start!
What to do in Puebla
1. Relax in the Zócalo
You can start your visit to the old town of Puebla by going to the lively Zócalo square, the heart of the historic center presided over by the emblematic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
The Cathedral Basilica of Puebla was built between the 16th and 17th centuries. It was the first central church in the New World and has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
After leaving behind its baroque façade and two twin towers almost 70 meters high, you will enter its interior, which could well be a museum due to the large number of works of art that it preserves, such as sculptures, paintings, and frescoes, as well as magnificent religious elements. Such as the altar, the choir, and different chapels.
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In the Zócalo square, there is also the Municipal Palace, which stands out for its gray quarry façade and an interior with a staircase made of white Carrara marble and the beautiful Cabildos hall.
After these visits, you can sit on one of the benches in the Zócalo, under the shade of the trees, to watch the daily hustle and bustle or have a drink on one of its terraces. One of the best things to do in Puebla is to book this guided tour that will allow you to learn more about the city’s history and not miss anything important.
Cathedral hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
2. Visit the Palafoxiana Library
A few meters from the Zócalo and inside the Casa de la Cultura is the Palafoxiana Library, one of the most exciting buildings to visit in Puebla.
Founded in 1646 with the donation of 5,000 books by Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, it was the first public library in America and is among the most beautiful in the world.
It is worth going in to see its old cedar shelves full of books, manuscripts, and engravings of great value, such as “The nine books of the History of Herodotus” (1473) or the “Nuremberg Chronicle” (1493).
Near this library, at number 14 Portal Hidalgo street, is the Tourist Office, where you can ask for a map, and they will tell you if there is an unsafe street. It is essential to remember that although the city’s tourist area should not represent any security problem, other areas may be more insecure. That is why it is best to go to the tourist office so that they can answer any questions about your tour.
We were visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
3. Enter the Temple of Santo Domingo
Leaving the library, you can take a walk through the narrow streets of the historic center full of colonial houses, squares, and monuments until you reach the Temple of Santo Domingo, which houses the valuable Rosario Chapel.
Dedicated to the Virgen del Rosario, protector of sailors and benefactor of the city of Puebla, this chapel is one of the best religious works to visit in Mexico and was listed as the Eighth Wonder of the world by Fray Diego de Gorozpe in 1690.
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Made in New Spanish Baroque, it stands out for its elaborate wooden figures and altars covered in 24-carat gold leaf that showed the great wealth the Catholic Church treasured in colonial times.
Visiting hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sundays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
4. Buy in the Street of Sweets
Another of the best things to do in Puebla is to buy typical Puebla sweets, such as sweet potatoes and borrachitos, on Avenida 6 Oriente, known as Calle de los Dulces.
In this charming street full of pastry shops and a good atmosphere, there is also the Serdán House Museum, three brothers who were vital in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and who changed the country’s course.
After seeing the bullet holes in the façade, the result of the first shooting of the Revolution, of this beautiful 19th-century mansion, you can go inside to review an important period in the history of Mexico.
When leaving the museum, we advise you to continue walking along Avenida 6 until the end, where the colorful Principal Theater is located, which, due to its yellow color, reminds us of the buildings of the town of Izamal.
Museum hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
5. See the Temple of San Francisco
Walking along the five de Mayo boulevard, you will arrive in a few minutes at the beautiful façade made up of large panels of Puebla tiles and a 63-meter-high tower of the Temple of San Francisco, another of the essential places to see in Puebla.
This building, built in the 17th century and dedicated to the Five Wounds of San Francisco, impresses for having the mummified body of the blessed layman Fray Sebastián de Aparicio inside a silver urn.
6. Find a craft in El Parian.
The next stop on the route through Puebla in one day will take you to the El Parián craft market, located between the streets of 2 and 4 Oriente.
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In addition to trying poblano sweets like Santa Clara pancakes, muéganos, mamoncillo, and sweet potatoes, this colorful market is perfect for finding local crafts like famous skulls, wood carvings, clothing, pottery, and many other gifts.
7. Stroll through the Artist’s Quarter of Puebla
Strolling through the Barrio del Artista, located in front of the Parián market, around the Plazuela del Torno or del Factor, is another thing to do in Puebla.
In this bohemian neighborhood founded in 1940 by a group of Fine Arts teachers, you will find numerous workshops where you can see how painters, drafting technicians, sculptors, and all kinds of artists work and later exhibit them in their shops or art galleries.
In addition to shopping for art, it’s worth spending time in this area full of trendy cafes and restaurants like Casareyna, our favorite for trying local dishes like mole, chiles en nogada, cemitas, and chalupas. Other best restaurants in PueblaThey are Casa Barroca, Hotel Royalty, and the Anafre Rojo.
8. Walk the Callejón de los Sapos
The Alley or Plazuela de los Sapos, named after a plague of toads that settled in this place after a flood, is another of the most beautiful places to see in Puebla.
This pedestrian street, surrounded by beautiful and colorful colonial houses, has an extensive market for antiques and furniture to decorate your home. You can end your visit to this alley at the La Pasita cantina, where you can try its famous local raisin liquor.
9. Visit the Amparo Museum, another of the things to do in Puebla.
Back at the Zócalo, you can stop at the Amparo Museum, one of the most important in Puebla, with a magnificent terrace where you can have a drink while enjoying the beautiful views of the old town.
Opened in 1991, this cultural space houses a valuable collection of pre-Hispanic, colonial, modern, and contemporary Mexican art.
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We were visiting hours: Wednesday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
10. Climb the Cuexcomate Volcano
We suggest you complete this list of essential things to do in Puebla by taking a taxi or car to Cuexcomate, the smallest volcano in the world.
This 13-meter-high cone originated from the flow of hot springs caused by the eruption of the Popocatepetl volcano in 1064, creating a small geyser.
In addition to going up to the top of the volcano, you can go down some metal stairs into the crater, where you can see caverns and sulfurous water.
Is Puebla worth visiting?
Puebla is statistically one of the safer places to visit in this diverse and exciting country. It’s also less polluted and with better traffic than its much larger neighbor, Mexico City. The capital city of Mexico is also known as CDMX. This combination makes it great for families to use as a base for exploring.
What is Puebla best known for?
Puebla is Mexico’s fourth metro area in population and of its oldest. Among Mexicans, it is known for its delicious food, beautiful churches and rich, cultural scene.
How do I spend a day in Puebla?
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- Eat mole.
- Browse Parian Market.
- Visit the Artist’s Quarter.
- Learn at the Amparo Museum.
- Visit a 100-year-old shot bar.
- Indulge on Sweet Street (Calle del Dulche)
- Admire the wonderful buildings.
- Go inside Puebla Cathedral.
Is it better to stay in Puebla or Cholula?
The pro of staying in Cholula is that it’s a self-contained town with its own center, so you get restaurants, bars, and shops just like you’d find in Puebla but it’s cheaper, cleaner, less crowded, and more laid back. Cholula also has a surprisingly good food scene.