28 Best Things To Do In Puebla, Mexico For 1-2 Days

colourful street Things to do Puebla

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Planning a trip to Puebla? I’m jealous because, even though I just got back, I’m dying to go again. There are so many ways things to do in Puebla Mexico including simply wandering and soaking up the vibe of this charming city.

Puebla is one of my favourite places in Mexico so far. I couldn’t help but compare it to Oaxaca with its colourful colonial buildings and local markets serving regional delicacies like mole. But Puebla is quieter, making it one of the best places in Mexico to experience the culture without feeling OTT touristic.

It’s worth noting that as a solo traveller in Mexico, I felt totally safe during my trip.

PUEBLA ESSENTIALS

Accommodation: Booking.com / Hostelworld

 Copy of Lonely Planet Mexico

Activities in Puebla: GetYourGuide

Getting there: Rentalcars.com / Busbud

Puebla intro

Puebla is the name of the state as well as its capital city. I’ll be talking about the city in this Puebla travel guide. Aside from nearby Cholula in Puebla state, I didn’t have time to explore other places in the region but there are plenty of destinations to check out.

The other great thing about visiting Puebla is its close proximity to Mexico City. It only takes 2 hours by bus from the capital. Along with Taxco and Tepoztlan, it’s one of the best short trips from CDMX. I’ll explain what to do in Puebla whether you have either 1 day or 2.

Getting to Puebla

Getting to Puebla by bus – Simply board a bus from Tapo (Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente) in Mexico City. You can catch a taxi there from your accommodation or catch the Metro for 5 pesos to San Lazaro Station which connects to the bus terminal.

Buses to Puebla from Mexico City depart every 30 minutes and cost around 250 pesos ($13) each way when booking on Busbud. The journey takes just 2 hours.

Getting to Puebla by day tour – while are many things to see in Puebla Mexico and I’d recommend spending 2 days if possible, you can take an organised day tour if time’s tight. I’d opt for this full-day tour from CDMX to Puebla and Cholula.

Blue Beatle car beside busy Puebla Street

Where to stay in Puebla

  • Budget hotelHotel Isabel ($39)
  • Splash out hotelHotel Boutique Casareyna ($97)
  • Hostel – I stayed at Posada Vee Yuu (from $8) which is a lovely, colourful hostel with spacious rooms. They organise walking tours and games nights to get to know new people.

History of Puebla

Puebla is a city with little indigenous history: it was built by the Spanish to connect their government of Vera Cruz with the capital of Mexico City. Designed and planned by the bishop (apparently based upon messages from angels, earning the nickname Puebla de los Angeles AKA City of the Angels), it’s an organised city built upon a grid of 100 blocks with many, many grand churches.

The other historic event that puts Puebla on the map is the Battle of Puebla in 1862 which saw the Mexican army defeat the French, under orders of Napoleon, who were trying to capture Mexico. They were defeated on the 5th of May or Cinco De Mayo, an event now celebrated annually in Puebla and the USA.

2 days in Puebla

While you could spend way longer, many travellers visit for two days. It’s a small city yet there’s plenty to fill your Puebla itinerary.

If you’ve got two days, I would recommend one of the following options:

  • Spend a busy day seeing Puebla and a second taking a day trip to Cholula
  • Spend both days wandering beautiful Puebla at your leisure with more time for eating and museums.

Keep reading for my ultimate 2 day Puebla itinerary.

20 things to do in Puebla Mexico

Time for me to tell you about all the very best places to visit in Puebla! I managed to squeeze all the below Puebla activities into 2 days so I can vouch that it’s possible.

Here’s what to do in Puebla Mexico for foodies, culture lovers and history buffs! I’ll share the main Puebla tourist attractions as well as my favourite hidden gems.

1. Eat mole

Mole poblano

Eating mole in its birthplace should be high on your Mexico bucket list! Poblanos (people from Puebla) will tell you mole was invented here, although people from Oaxaca also lay claim to it. The only thing to do? Try it in both!

This delicious sauce made of chocolate, chili, nuts, onion, garlic and spices. It takes an age to prepare but is worth every moment. Eat it drizzled over chicken or enchiladas.

Related tour: Puebla mole poblano cooking class and market tour

2. Take a free walking tour

I booked a fantastic free walking tour of Puebla with Estacion Mexico. It runs every day in English and Spanish from 11am and lasts 2.5 hours. Our guide was fantastic: entertaining and super knowledgeable!

Not only will you learn about the history of the city and tour the key things to do in Puebla, but you’ll also learn about the regional foods. We even got to try some samples of mole sauce!

3. Browse Parian Market

Local crafts at Parian Market Puebla
The best place to shop

This colourful artisan market is one of the best places to visit in Puebla to shop for affordable souvenirs or browse and soak up the atmosphere. Interestingly, the name El Parian is not Spanish but a Filipino word adopted during Spanish colonial rule.

The market was still quiet when I walked through at 10am so you should visit after lunch for the best atmosphere. Don’t forget to haggle; the vendors expect it.

4. Visit the Artist’s Quarter

artists quarter
Arty corners

Just across the road from Parian Market is the Artist’s Quarter.

Here, small galleries display their work beside a cobbled courtyard. It’s a good spot for people-watching and wandering, especially on a sunny day. For a bohemian night and live music, visit Cafe Gallery Amparo from 8-11pm on Saturdays (entry 25 pesos).

5. Shop for Puebla Talavera Pottery

Ornate, handpainted glazed ceramics from Puebla are famous around Mexico and the world. You’ll notice beautiful tiles on buildings in the city, earning it the nickname, ‘City of Tiles’.

Although Talavera pottery originated in Spain, Poblana Talavera has been mixed with prehispanic tradition and techniques practised before the arrival of the conquistadors. The land in Puebla is some of the most fertile in Mexico thanks to the volcanos surrounding the region, resulting in quality clay.

Shop for dishes, plates, vases and countless other Talavera items. There are lots of places to shop for Talavera in Puebla but you can’t do better than Uriarte Factory.

Remember to check for the four marks proving it’s real showing the name, factory and location. These are painted and sealed so that if the police (acting under the Mexican Talavera Regulatory Council) rub alcohol across the mark, it doesn’t come off. Vendors can be charged with 3-5 years in jail for selling fake Talavera!

6. Learn at the Amparo Museum

One of the best things to do in Puebla for history lovers is visit the Amparo Museum of Puebla. With over 3,500 items and exhibitions on ancient Mexican, pre-Hispanic culture, and Black history of Mexico, there’s a lot to learn.

I would point out that only about half the exhibits are in English. Entry is 35 pesos.

7. More museums in Puebla

Puebla is a cultural city with lots to learn about. A few museums to visit include:

Note – one Saturday, a month, the museums are free from 5-10pm. Check if your trip lines up!

  • Revolution Museum – this preserved 19th-century house peppered with pellets was the site of the first battle of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. It’s worth a visit for those with a real interest in this period (and perhaps some pre-existing knowledge) as I found parts of this museum quite dry. Entry is 55 pesos.
  • Museo Casa de Alfeñique – this unique Spanish house was built by the owner for his wife featuring a wedding cake-like structure on top. Inside is a small museum with art and artefacts.
  • Museo Carolino – an art museum in a beautiful building with a tranquil cafe onsite. I was told it was free but found entry to be 100 pesos, perhaps because there was a Da Vinci exhibition on?
  • Museo Casa del Mendrugo – this culture museum holds exhibits of pre-hispanic funeral rites, the remains of Chuchita (the oldest inhabitant of Puebla) and Talavera pottery, protected by UNESCO. Entry is 50 pesos or free on Wednesdays (and free if you eat in the restaurant).
  • The museum next to Biblioteca Palafoxiana in Casa de la Cultura – I missed the name of this place but it’s a small, free museum displaying typical Poblano costumes and dress. One with a spectacular headpiece worn by men mimics the style and colour of a local bird.

8. Visit a 100-year-old shot bar

Traditional drink mexico
Day drinking

I was advised not to leave without drinking daytime shots at La Pasita. This quirky bar full of antiques and memorabilia has been serving its signature shots for decades. Don’t miss the statue dedicated to the famous local who drank 100 shots and passed away immediately after! He’s remembered as a local hero.

Pop into this busy bar and rub shoulders with the locals from 1pm daily. Make sure to try the house namesake shot, a sweet brown liquid with a raisin on top and a cube of cheese inside. Sounds weird, tastes amazing!

Read next: Puebla food guide

9. Indulge on Sweet Street (Calle del Dulces)

Sta Clara Dulcheria
Sweets galore

What to do in Puebla for foodies? Gorge yourself senseless on sugar, of course!

Sweet shops run the length of Calle del Dulce (Sweet Street). They sell a selection of signature sweets so you’ll see the same offerings in each store.

You’ll also notice how cheap the prices are in Puebla. I bought a basket containing 12 or so little desserts for 30 pesos. If you’re looking for the best places in Puebla to pick up souvenirs, you’re onto a good one!

10. Go inside Puebla Cathedral

Puebla Cathedral

The second-largest cathedral in Mexico, after Mexico City Cathedral, is located in Puebla and took over 100 years to be built between 1575 and 1690. It was once the tallest cathedral in the country, but now it’s only the third tallest.

Around the gates can be found 58 cherub statues, a reference to the angles who allegedly helped the Spanish bishop design the city. The Cathedral dome is designed to look like the Church of St Peter in the Vatican.

This Roman Catholic church sits at the heart of the Zocalo, opening onto the large central plaza where locals sit and socialise. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Puebla whether or not you’re religious: it’s extremely impressive, laden with gold and other precious materials.

Interior

11. Other religious sites

Once the richest city in the Americas, it’s little wonder that Puebla is awash with Catholic monuments. I’m not religious so I had no interest in visiting them ALL but, since they’re some of the top attractions in Puebla, it’s worth seeing a couple even if just from the outside.

Churches to visit in Puebla include:

  • Templo de Santo Domingo – the Capilla del Rosario (above right) inside this 17th-century church is even more grand and gold-gilded than the cathedral. It’s worth peeking inside, and arriving there along 5 de Mayo street which is bustling with locals rather than tourists sightseeing.
  • La Compañía – a few blocks from the Zocalo, this grand Jesuit church is dedicated to the Holy Spirit. A legend says it’s the final resting place of Catarina de San Juan, an Asian slave credited with inspiring the traditional China Poblana dress style for women in Puebla.
  • Church of San Cristóbal – a grand yellow church with a beautiful tiled dome on Calle de Dulces. Sweets and culture in one place!
  • Ex-convento de San Francisco de Puebla – a short walk from the city centre, this church is bright and colourful from the outside, unlike the dark stone Cathedral. It was the first convent in the city, built in 1730.

12. Spot street art

Street art of elderly woman Puebla
Art beside Ecce Homo Church
Finding street art activities in puebla

For a fun and alternative activity in Puebla, go street art hunting. I was amazed by the urban art I saw in Puebla: I expected a few murals but the art was so detailed, covering whole buildings.

You won’t see much street art in the historical streets of the city centre but you will find it a 5-10 minute walk away.

Puebla street art locations include the streets surrounding Capilla Ecce Homo Church and the area running from the back of Puebla Secret Tunnels (Calle 4 Nte) towards Xanenetla. A new piece I found when revisiting Puebla in May 2023 is this enormous mural running along Blvd. Héroes del 5 de Mayo.

Related read: Where to find street art in Oaxaca, Mexico

13. Fall in love with Barrio de los Sapos

The view from Panalma Cafe

This beautiful callejon is one of the most attractive places in Puebla. Barrio de los Sapos translates as ‘place of the frogs’ referring to a time when the nearby river would flood, bringing amphibians to the barrio.

Today, it’s frog-free and lined with colourful houses. A tour guide explained that, in Puebla, you’re not allowed to paint your house the same colour as your neighbours. The residents of Frog Alley are certainly playing by the rules!

I found a lovely cafe with a balcony overlooking this street. An antique shop hides the entrance to Panalma but, after you’ve made your way up a gorgeous yellow staircase, you reach this peaceful hidden gem.

14. Stay for the weekend markets

Antique market

What to do in Puebla on weekends? Well, Barrio de los Sapos and the surrounding streets come to life with antique markets. You can buy everything from genuine antiques to tourist souvenirs, jewellery and the like. It’s a lively place with many bargains to be found!

15. Eat churros

Four churros and hot chocolate in Puebla
Puebla La Churreria

Take a break from sightseeing in Puebla and relax with churros and chocolate.

You’ll find churros, which date back to Spanish rule, in every Mexican city. Puebla has a particularly good churreria with a totally obscure name which you might struggle to figure out… Puebla La Churreria!

They serve crispy, oozy churros coated in sugar or cinnamon for 4 pesos apiece. Dunk them in hot chocolate to your heart’s content.

Read next: what to eat in Mexico – 36 traditional dishes

16. Ride the Teleférico

When it comes to Puebla sightseeing, you can’t do much better than drinking in panoramic views from a gondola-style cable car.

The teleférico is located away from Puebla centre past the neighbourhood of Xananetla. Head to Parque del Paseo del Teleférico and enjoy a 10-minute ride for just 50 pesos.

17. Explore the Historic Zone of the Forts

At the top of the hill reached by the Teleferico, you can explore this large green space home to many Puebla attractions like the Museum of Evolution, the Planetarium, Guadalupe Fort Museum and numerous historical monuments.

It would be easy to spend a whole day here, especially given the fantastic views over the city. There are several parks like Parque Lago de La Concordia where you can relax.

18. Estrella de Puebla

Although it’s further from the city, you may want to take a spin on this giant Ferris wheel. The views are impressive, plus you’ll glimpse the famous volcanos in the background.

Estrella de Puebla is located as far from the teleférico as you can get, closeby to Angelópolis Lifestyle Center Mall and Parque del Arte. It’s open from 11am on weekends and 3.30pm on weekdays, closing at 10pm.

If coming from central Puebla in a taxi, expect to pay around 60 pesos each way.

19. Try cemitas

Sandwich with cheese, ham, avocado and chipotle in Puebla

As you’re probably realising, many of the best things to do in Puebla revolve around food! Cemitas are similar to tortas but made with a type of bread popular in Puebla.

These Mexican sandwiches can be filled with a number of ingredients including quesillo (stringy cheese also sometimes known as Oaxaca cheese), milanesa, avocado and chipotle. You’ll find them all over the city but Cemitas y Tortas La Poblanita is an unbeatable spot.

Expect to pay 50-90 pesos.

20. Visit Biblioteca Palafoxiana

Book shelves of ancient library Puebla

One of the most popular attractions in Puebla is Biblioteca Palafoxiana, recognised by UNESCO as the oldest public library in the Americas.

If you’re a fan of history or literature, you can pop inside this decadent library home to 45,000 books. These range from the 15th to the 20th century but the library itself was built in 1646.

Entrance to Biblioteca Palafoxiana is 50 pesos or 30 for students. I wasn’t totally blown away and you’d be hard-pushed to spend more than 20 minutes here, but it’s an interesting thing to do in Puebla nonetheless. Find it upstairs in the Casa de la Cultura.

21. Catch live music in Casa de la Cultura

casa de la cultura things to do puebla
Weekend celebration

At weekends, there’s live music and events in this colourful house of culture. When you enter, you can scan a QR code that will tell you the schedule for the rest of the weekend. I caught a full-scale live band with a super-talented singer during my visit.

22. Sample chile en nogada

Typical Mexican dish served in Puebla
Chile en nogada

Many cities in Mexico have speciality dishes you won’t find elsewhere. During another weekend away, I discovered unique food in Tepoztlan and the same can be said for Puebla.

Chile en nogada translates as chili in walnut. As the name suggests, one giant green chili (non-spicy) is stuffed with a hash of apple, pear and peach, bathed in a pool of creamy walnut sauce with pomegranate seeds.

Chile en nogada is a seasonal dish, usually found between April and October. But keep a beady eye out and you’ll find a few places, like Fonda Tipicana La Poblana, serving it year-round.

23. Take a day trip to Cholula

Cholula cathedral
Cholula Church, one of the best things to see in Puebla!

If you’ve finished sightseeing in Puebla, consider a day trip to Cholula.

This small, colourful city a 40-minute drive from Puebla has been voted a Pueblo Magico (magic town). The Mexican Tourism Board have awarded 32 destinations this status as a result of their cultural charm, folklore or cuisine.

Read next: a complete guide to visiting Cholula

In Cholula, you can walk underground through Tlachihualtepetl, the Great Pyramid of Cholula built by indigenous Toltec people. Afterwards, climb up the sunny yellow church (dating back to Spanish rule) on top and look out over colourful Cholula and the volcanos behind.

In Cholula Zocalo (part of Cholula San Pedro), there are more churches, museums and traditional markets to be found. In the cooler barrio of San Andrés Cholula, there are speciality coffee shops and bars due to the large student population. I’d recommend spending a whole day in Cholula or staying overnight.

Getting from Puebla to Cholula: Travel by taxi (Uber or InDrive for 120-140 pesos) or local bus. Alternatively, take an organised day tour from Puebla to Cholula. Book a half-day Cholula tour or a full-day tour including Cholula and a stop in Atlixco known for chocolate making.

24. Secrets Tunnels of Puebla

Underground tunnel in Puebla
Secrets Tunnel

One of the more unusual activities in Puebla is walking under the city through hidden walkways.

These tunnels are called secret for a reason: they were built in the 1500s but only discovered in 2016. Apparently, there had been rumours of these tunnels for generations but no evidence they actually existed.

When they were discovered, there were antiques and weaponry found inside, thought to date back to the Battle of Puebla with France.

Walking through the tunnel network is a fun thing to do in Puebla that takes around 10 minutes. I only paid 10 pesos entry with my student card and I believe it was 30 without. You might want to hire a guide otherwise you won’t learn much about the tunnels.

On a hot day, you can head inside the tunnels just to escape the heat!

25. Xanenetla

Street art of sleeping boy Xananetla

For an unusual place to visit in Puebla, take a trip to Xanenetla neighbourhood after visiting the underground tunnels. You’ll start to see colourful street art and houses, especially along Calle 4 Nte. As you get closer to Xananetla you’ll see even more. Use the Google pin for Murales de Xanenetla to begin.

Note – while walking in this area, a local warned me to be careful with my camera. He presumably meant that thieves operate in the area and, while I didn’t see evidence of this myself, I thought I’d pass the message along so you can be aware.

Xananetla is a hidden gem so if you’ve got 2 days in Puebla, I’d recommend exploring the area.

Xananetla
Peacock and horse street art PueblaStreet art near the Secret Tunnels
Street art near the Secret Tunnels

26. Cool down at Carmen Sodas

This cute juice bar run by a friendly old man is a lovely place to hydrate and escape the heat. There are endless juices and ice creams to try but I went with maracuya (passion fruit) soda made with fresh fruit. I later learnt that it has more than 50 years of history, open since 1945!

Passion fruit juice at Garmen Sodas Puebla
35 pesos well spent!

27. Visit Square Carolina

This is a historic corner that may be of interest to historians. It’s where Porfirio Diaz – prior to becoming president of Mexico – was held after being captured during the Battle of Puebla in 1862 before escaping. There’s even a bar named La Fuga de Don Porfirio meaning ‘the escape of Don Porfirio’. Visit for mezcal, beer and Mexcian music.

28. Climb the world’s smallest volcano

Far less volatile than Popocatépetl is Cuexcomate, a tiny inactive volcano in a quiet suburb of Puebla. It’s just 13 metres tall with a small ladder leading up it. If you’re more about tourist sights than hardcore trekking, this is a unique and easy thing to do in Puebla.

It’s a 15-20 minute drive from the downtown so, if you don’t have a car, jump in an Uber.

2 day Puebla itinerary

Option #1 including Cholula:

Day 1: Explore the main tourist attractions in Puebla Mexico today, starting by wandering the streets and markets around the Cathedral and Church of Santo Domingo. Visit the Amparo Museum and Biblioteca Palafoxiana before stopping for lunch of chile en nogada, a cemita or mole.

For the afternoon, buy desserts on Calle de Dulces and stroll the Artist’s Quarter and Parian Market. Finish with sunset views by riding the Teleférico.

Day 2: Take a day trip to Cholula. Visit the Great Pyramid of Cholula and walk up the hill to Our Lady of Remedies Church. Explore the Zocalo, eat at Mercado Municipal San Pedro Cholula (the local market) and visit churches including Templo de San Gabriel.

If you stay for the evening, there are lots of bars like Jazzatlan with beer gardens for traditional Mexican drinks and spirits.

Great Pyramid of Cholula things to do Puebla

Puebla itinerary option #2 (not including Cholula)

Day 1: Begin your day by wandering the streets and squares of Puebla and getting a feel for the city. Grab chile en nomads for lunch at Fonda Tipicana La Poblana and wander the Artists Quarter and Parian Market.

In the afternoon, visit the Secret Tunnels and walk further to Xananetla for street art spotting.

Day 2: Indulge in some cultural activities in Puebla by visiting the Amparo Museum and Biblioteca Palafoxiana. Grab a cemita for lunch and indulge in dessert along Calle de Dulces. Take a ride on the Estrella or Teleférico.

Try signature shots at La Pasita (before it closes at 5.30pm) and eat mole for dinner somewhere local like Fonda de Santa Clara.

General pack list

I hope you enjoy these Puebla Mexico things to do!

If you have a better idea of what to see in Puebla and how to plan a trip, please save and share this post!

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Getting around by bus (environmental option) – buses in Mexico are comfy with free snacks and an in-journey entertainment system. I use Busbud to find the best prices.

Driving in Mexico – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in Mexico (and all around the world).

For hotels and apartments, I use Booking.com. They have a wide range of accommodation for all budgets, plus the loyalty programme gives you discounts and upgrades.

For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com. Hostels in Mexico are great for meeting other travellers.

To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.

I use GetYourGuide for tours & activities when I don’t want to travel solo. I also check Viator as they often have fun & unique options.

EatWith – your one-stop for Mexico food tours, cooking classes and hosted meals with local chefs and foodies.

Pick up the latest copy of Lonely Planet Mexico.

Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.

For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.

Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips from 10+ years of travel!

See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

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Things to do in Puebla

2 thoughts on “28 Best Things To Do In Puebla, Mexico For 1-2 Days

  1. Eloise Petrin says:

    Thank you Rose for an excellent introduction to Puebla. We now know how to fill our two days there next February. You’ve made it easy!

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