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June 08, 2023

Top 6 Things to See and Do in Downtown Puerto Vallarta This Summer

Welcome to the El Centro neighborhood, the heart of Old Town Puerto Vallarta, where you will find an exciting downtown area, full of attractions and experiences for all travelers. 

Iconic Puerto Vallarta landmarks such as the El Malecon boardwalk—the heartbeat of the city—, the world famous sculpture The Boy on the Seahorse, and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, are at the center of it all.

Here's a comprehensive guide to the top 6 attractions to see and things to do in Downtown Puerto Vallarta.  Of course, the Malecon Boardwalk is an absolute must.

Explore the Malecon Boardwalk

Take a stroll along the Malecon to begin your adventure in Downtown Puerto Vallarta.  This scenic oceanfront boardwalk stretches 2,500 feet along the coastline and offers stunning ocean views and a vibrant atmosphere.  

You can enjoy your boardwalk stroll by biking along the bike path that runs parallel to the shore.  Or you can walk all the way up to Lázaro Cárdenas Park from the Los Milenios sculpture on 31 de Octubre Street, right at the beginning of the Malecon.

Don't miss the opportunity of sitting at the famous seaside art installation La Rotonda del Mar.  Climb the steps of the In Search of Reason sculpture and, like its moon-faced figures, try to reach for the stars.  Or, as the sun sets and colors the sky, take a photo with the iconic sculpture The Boy on the Seahorse

Puerto Vallarta's El Malecon boardwalk provides the perfect backdrop for relaxation and recreation, whether you're taking a leisurely stroll, jogging or simply sitting on a bench to take in the natural beauty.

Visit Iconic Landmarks

As you stroll through the cobblestone streets of Downtown Puerto Vallarta, you will come across a number of iconic landmarks.  Some of these must-see attractions, located in the El Centro area, include: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, and Cerro de la Cruz Lookout. 

The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a stunning architectural masterpiece, symbolizing Puerto Vallarta's rich cultural heritage and testifying to Mexico's enduring religious legacy.  With its iconic crown-topped tower and vibrant colors, the church is a must-see for locals and tourists alike. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church offers a truly enriching experience, whether you are seeking a place for quiet reflection, admiring architectural marvels, or immersing yourself in the cultural fabric of Puerto Vallarta.  

Located at the top of Cerro de la Cruz, this popular overlook offers visitors an awe-inspiring panoramic view.  The view stretches from the cobblestone streets of Downtown Puerto Vallarta to the shimmering waters of the Pacific Ocean.  

Located just a few minutes from the Malecon, the Cerro de la Cruz Lookout is a very special and accessible landmark.  Hiking all the way to the top can be a bit of a challenge for some travelers, as it is uphill and there are many steps along the way. 

Once up, the effort is rewarded with majestic views of Banderas Bay and the mountains surrounding Downtown Puerto Vallarta.  Wearing comfortable shoes and bringing enough water to stay hydrated is highly recommended.

Shop ‘Til You Drop at El Centro

Downtown Puerto Vallarta is a shopper's paradise with an abundance of boutiques, art galleries and markets.  Explore the narrow cobblestone streets and browse eclectic shops where you can find unique artwork, handmade crafts, jewelry and souvenirs to take home.

One of the highlights of Downtown Puerto Vallarta is the Cuale River Flea Market.  You will find a treasure trove of handicrafts, jewelry and clothing as you stroll through the colorful stands.  This traditional mercado is a great place to find unique, locally made souvenirs that reflect the creative spirit of Puerto Vallarta and support local artisans.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta is also home to an impressive array of boutiques and shops that cater to the fashion conscious traveler.  Here you will find trendy and unique fashion items; from bohemian-inspired clothes to chic beachwear, from designer labels to locally made garments. 

A Few Tips For Your Shopping Trip 

· Always bring cash. Some smaller shops and markets may not accept credit cards.

· When shopping at local flea markets, practice your bargaining skills.

· Some of the best shops and boutiques are tucked away from the main thoroughfares, so don't be afraid to explore the side streets.

Taste the Local Culinary Delights 

Downtown Puerto Vallarta offers a delicious culinary scene where you can indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine as well as international flavors.  From street food stands serving delicious tacos to upscale gourmet restaurants, you will find a wide variety of dining options.

In the heart of El Malecon, you will find a treasure trove of street vendors and food stands.  All ready to satisfy your cravings.  The aromas of tempting street food will draw you closer as you stroll along the boardwalk, past the Los Arcos Amphitheater.  

From refreshing aguas frescas and nieve de garrafa (Mexican sorbet) to delicious esquites (Mexican corn salad), these vendors serve up a delicious array of local delicacies that will delight your taste buds and leave you wanting more.  

Explore the local food markets and treat yourself to a wide variety of culinary delights.  Add a spicy kick to your dishes back home by sampling traditional Mexican condiments, salsas and hot sauces.  

Tantalize your taste buds with local delicacies such as artisanal chocolates, gourmet tequila and tropical fruits.  Don't miss the opportunity to take home a piece of Puerto Vallarta's vibrant food scene. 

Enjoy Street Performances

On the Malecon boardwalk talented street performers captivate audiences with their music, dance and artistic displays.  Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Downtown Puerto Vallarta, take in a captivating performance, and support local artists as they showcase their talents.

Located in the heart of El Centro, the Los Arcos Amphitheater is an open-air attraction that comes alive at night with a variety of live music and other artistic performances during the weekends.  Los Arcos is also a great spot for photo ops and fabulous views of Puerto Vallarta's famous sunsets.

Don't miss the opportunity to listen to the Puerto Vallarta Municipal Brass Band play live every Thursday and Saturday evening at the kiosk in the main square of the Plaza de Armas.  Sip on a refreshing tuba on one of the benches surrounding the kiosk, while watching local seniors dance to traditional Mexican tunes.    

Dress to Impress for the Night 

Downtown Puerto Vallarta offers a variety of nightclubs where you can dance the night away.  Enjoy live music and immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere.   Get ready to experience unforgettable nights filled with music, entertainment and good vibes—nothing but good vibes!

Downtown Puerto Vallarta is known for its lively nightclubs.  They offer a variety of musical genres to suit every partygoer's taste.  There's something for everyone, from the pulsating beats of electronic dance music to the rhythms of salsa, reggaeton and Latin pop.

Those who love to dance can show off their moves on the dance floor or simply groove to the infectious beats while sipping their favorite cocktail.  Clubs will keep you going into the wee hours of the morning with their vibrant energy.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta has you covered if you're a fan of live music.  A number of venues are home to local bands and talented musicians, providing a platform for both established and up and coming artists.  You can immerse yourself in a variety of musical styles, from traditional Mexican music to rock, jazz and live DJ sets.  Sit back, relax, and let the live music transport you to a world of rhythm and melody.


Share your best Downtown Puerto Vallarta photos on our social media (Instagram, Facebook & Twitter) using the hashtag #PuertoVallarta.

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