1. Dancing in the main square is a thing
In the Parque Central, you’ll notice an imposing bandstand covered by an arched roof with swirling decorations. Twice a week, marimba and other music is performed live, and you can join locals dancing in front of the stage.
The Parque Central is also the city’s cultural hub. The National Palace here – often referred to as “The Big Guacamole” for its green exterior – now houses the Palacio de Cultura and regularly puts on events in the square.
2. You’ll find Guatemala’s biggest brewery here
Craft beer has just begun to emerge in Guatemala, with small breweries starting to pop up across the country. But, for the original Guatemalan beer, head to the Cervecería Centro Americana. The brewery has been running for more than 125 years and there’s even a museum, the Museo de Cervecería Centroamericana.
Take a tour around the museum’s red-brick interior walls, lined with large barrels and outdated equipment, from typewriters to original machinery.
3. Sexting is encouraged
No, it’s not what you think. “Sextear” or “sexteando”, which awkwardly translates as “to go sexting”, is the term used by locals for hanging out along Sexta Avenida. Guatemala’s recent regeneration is most evident along this road.
One of the city’s most glamorous streets in the mid-nineteenth century, by the 1980s, Sexta Avenida was crammed with stalls hawking all sorts of wares. Now pedestrianised and lined with sweet-smelling trees, the street’s grand buildings have been renovated and new businesses are opening up all the time. Today, it’s once again a popular place for a weekend stroll.
4. You can join a poetry reading
You can’t miss La Bodeguita del Centro; with its bright pink and blue exterior, it’s one of Guatemala’s hippest nightlife spots. Inside, walls lined with posters and covered in writing give you something to look at as you enjoy a Guatemalan tipple.
It’s not only popular for its live bands and good food, either. The venue also holds regular poetry readings, talks and exhibitions, and is a brilliant place to gain a deeper cultural understanding of the city.