Guadalajara Travel Guide

Guadalajara Overview

When the bustle and heat of the countrys capital becomes too much too handle, head west to the republics effervescent second city, Guadalajara. Often considered more laidback than Mexico City, dont be fooled by preconceptions because Guadalajara is as energetic as its counterparts and a great place to get a real taste of both customary and contemporary Mexico. After all, this is the city that introduced the world to tequila, mariachi music and sombreros, so anyone looking for a peaceful visit should think again as the three are visible on every street corner. Add to this the charming Centro Historico, a wealth of grand colonial architecture, galleries celebrating Jose Clemente Orozco, vibrant markets and a pulsating nightlife and the recipe for an exciting vacation is complete.

 
Guadalajara, Mexico can be loosely divided into four section: Guadalajara Centro, Zopopan, Tlaquepaque and Tonala. The bulk of Guadalajaras attractions are dispersed evenly throughout the many colorful and changing districts the city possesses. Start out in the Centro Historico, awash with leafy plazas, colonial mansions and fine museums. This is also a good spot to be based, owing to the large concentration of hotels and night time entertainment. Bohemians should make a move for the neighborhoods of Tlaquepauqe and Tonala, both havens for those interested in purchasing local folk-art. In order to get a fill of mariachi music, stop by Plaza de los Mariachis where come nightfall it is alive with local bands and street side bars. Zopopan is somewhat more upscale and has many shopping malls.
 
Guadalajara commands a handy location in the heart of Mexico, around 5-hours from Mexico City and bounded by verdant countryside. The city is also within easy reach of the warm Pacific waters lining the west coast and a short drive from the gorgeous beaches of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.

Things to do in Guadalajara

Basilica de la Virgen de Zapopan - Check out the citys most religiously significant monument, a majestic church commissioned in 1730 and home to a revered statue of the Virgin. The avenue leading up to the church and the plaza in which it stands are equally appealing, yet the main attraction is the statue, to which pilgrims crawl up to along the church aisle before praying for goodwill. The basilica plays a central part in the Fiestas de Octubre. 

 
Palacio de Gobierno - Looming over Plaza de Armas is a striking palace (now home to government offices) with Baroque façade and noticeable Aztec calendar clock. Be sure to step inside to admire the murals of Miguel Hidalgo and Bentio Juarez, both masterpieces by Jose Clemente Orozco.
 
Mercado Libertad - Otherwise known as Mercado San Juan de Dios, this market has it all; burritos, sombreros, leather goods and the kitchen sink. Claimed locally to be the worlds biggest indoor market, the 3-storeys chock full of traditional stalls is a great place to mingle, hunt out a bargain and engage in a price war with the sellers. After an energetic exploration head to the food court for some delectable cheap snacks.
 
Parque Agua Azul - Although being an action packed park, especially with kids enjoying the zoo and playgrounds, there are plenty of secluded green spaces in which to find refuge from the city mayhem. A great place to get stuck into a book or relax with a loved on. There is a M$4 entrance fee; however it includes admission to the butterfly house and small aviary. Ask around for event listings as the park hosts the occasional concert.
 
Museums in Guadalajara
Galeria Jorge Martinez - Next door to the citys best art school is this commendable gallery featuring modern and abstract art.
Museo Pantaleon Panduro - Wonderful museum showcasing ceramics and ceramic making talents from across the country. Stop by in June for the annual ceramic competition.
Museo Regional de Guadalajara - Best museum in the city with an assortment of exhibits showcasing the regions history from the early beginnings to the present day.
Museo de las Artes - Inside the Theatre Hall of the University of Guadalajara adorned with frescoes by Orozco that lead into a museum of modern art.
 
Estadio Jalisco - Football is deeply engraved in the culture of Guadalajara and the main stadium is a true theatre to the game, packing in up to 60,000 spectators on match days. Primarily home to local premier division side Las Chivas, the stadium has hosted World Cup games in 1970 and 1986. Check the website or tourist office for tickets. The citys two other clubs, Atlas and Los Tecos, ply their trade in the lower divisions, playing only occasionally at the main stadium.
 
Plaza Nuevo Progreso - The citys main bullfighting ring is located about 4km from the centre along Calzada Independencia, with fights starting in October and continuing on odd Sundays until March.
 
Lucha Libre Wrestling – Sunday’s and Tuesdays at Arena Coliseo in Centro Guadalajara.
 
Guadalajara Festivals
Mexico es el Mariachi - Late-August/September is the time to celebrate the home of Mariachi music through open-air concerts and dance performances taking place around the city plazas.
Feria Internacional del Libro - For 2 weeks beginning the end of November the Expo Guadalajara plays host to a huge international book fair. Events include prize-giving, exhibitions and readings.
Viva Tequila Festival - It wouldn’t seem right if there was not a tequila festival, therefore every March the city celebrates its famed beverage with conferences, live concerts and parades.
 
Mundo Cuervo - Northwest of the city is the town of Tequila and the birthplace of Mexicos favorite tipple. The town is home to a number of distilleries with the most visitor friendly being of the world famous Jose Cuervo Tequila. Tours go on a journey through the history and traditions of tequila making, naturally ending in a sampling session. The onsite shop sells numerous varieties of the liquor and there are also a number of hotels nearby for those wanting to see more of the town.
 
Guadalajara Nightlife
As Mexico’s 2ndcity and the home of mariachi and tequila, Guadalajara possesses a vibrant nightlife appealing to all tastes with an abundance of cantinas, DJ bars, piano lounges and nightclubs. There is excellent nightlife all over the city, but a good place to start is Calle Chapultepc. If you have a taxi drop you off on Chapultepc you will find many options from chill bars to rooftop lounges to clubs. Another place with a high concentration of clubs and bars is Calle Terranova in the neighborhood Providencia.
 
Bars in Guadalajara
Casa Bariachi - Boisterous restaurant cum music bar jumping to the sounds of mariachi bands.
El Callejon de los Rumberos - Cuban dance joint with live music and salsa classes in the early evening. Dress sharp and join the locals in shaking the body down to live salsa. Located on Chapultepec (cant miss it).
Bananas – Popular bar with table seating only located on Domicilio Chapultepec Sur #330. Tel: (33) 3615-4191
Cassette – Hip bar with a rooftop lounge pumping out American 90’s music. Located on one of the side streets in Chapultepec. Address: 1423 Calle Lopez Cotilla.
Escarabajo Scratch Bar - Funky bar in the Centro Historico where grunge rock, free flowing beer and an assortment of tequila reign supreme.
Santo Coyote Bar - Great food and over 50 tequilas get you in the mood for dancing at the adjoining club.
Bali Bar - Domicilio Av. Patria #600 local 20-A, Plaza Amistad, Zapopan. Tel: (33) 3673-1600
 
Clubs in Guadalajara
Américas – Popular club spinning up electronic music located on Domicilio Av. Américas #1462, Colonia Providencia. Tel: (33) 3817-4410
Angels - The citys outstanding mega club attracts a largely gay crowd and is easily the best late night partying town.
El Salmon – more of an open air lounge than a club, but a DJ spins cool beats. Good Thursday thru Saturday. Located around Av. Mexico at Av. Americas.
El Ray – Club right next to El Salmon that serves up Mescal.
Bosse - Upscale club located in Zapopan
Vango - One of the more exclusive clubs in Guadalajara. Located in Zapopan.
The Galleria – Hot club located on Ave Americas.
 
Live Music in Guadalajara
La Bodeguita del Medio - Cuban styled bar offering good food, sensual live music and dance lessons.
 
Theatres in Guadalajara
Teatro Degollado - Catch a theatre or dance performance at Guadalajaras stunning centrally located theatre.
Teatro Diana - Fairly new and modern theatre hosting a wide range of international bands and musicians as well as traveling Broadway shows.
 
Restaurants in Guadalajara
Abajeno – Located in Tlaquepaque, this authentic Mexican restaurant has live Mariachi music.
La Feria– AuthenticMexican food, located on Corona 291.?This is a fun place downtown.  They have shows at different times of the evening.  Call ahead for the show times.
ILatina - If you are going to eat at Mexican time - around 10 pm it is best to make reservations earlier in the day.?This is a funky 1970´s garage sale decor - but the only place in town to get that Mediterranean flavor along with the Oriental - Thai. VERY NOISY!! but ohhhhhh so good!! Located on Av. Inglaterra 3128 ?(behind the Expo Moda off of Vallarta) 
El Pargo del Pacifico – Serving up excellent Seafood, located at Lazaro Cardenas 4150. Open daily 12 – 6 pm
Chemary – Serving up traditional Spanish specialities like paella, Gazpacho, roast suckling pig.  Live music at midday. Located on Calle Guadalupe 596 (corner of Lazaro Cardenas).
 
Shopping in Guadalajara
There is a lot of good shopping in the city center, but if you are looking for an upscale shopping mall carrying all the big name American and European brands go to Centro Commercial Andares in Zapopan.

Hotels in Guadalajara

Budget Hotels Guadalajara

Donde el Indio Duerme - Nothing fancy but this bed & breakfast is great value for those on a tight budget. Tel (52) 33 3635 2189.
Hostel Guadalajara Centro - Lively hostel jam packed with backpackers and foreign students, Pay up front for a 4 nights for the price of 3 deal. Tel (52) 33 3562 7520.
 
Midrange Hotels Guadalajara
Hotel Morales – Excellent mid-range hotel located in Centro Guadalajara. Av. Ramon Corona No. 243. Tel: (33)36585232. www.hotelmorales.com.mx
Hotel San Francisco Plaza – Located just around the corner from Hotel Morales, this mid-range hotel sits in a garden in Centro Guadalajara. Address: Degollado #267. Tel: 3613.8954.  web:  www.sanfranciscohotel.com.mx
Hotel Fenix - Modern hotel in the heart of all the action. Pay a few pesos extra for the buffet breakfast. Tel (52) 33 3614 5714.
La Casa de Retono - Charming bed & breakfast with 8 bright rooms and sun soaked courtyard. Tel (52) 33 3587 3989.
 
Luxury Hotels Guadalajara
Hilton Guadalajara - Huge luxury hotel complete with steakhouse, wine bar and pool and solarium. Tel (52) 33 3678 0505.
Villa Ganz - Stylish boutique hotel with plenty of luxury trimmings and close to a good selection of bars and restaurants. Tel (52) 33 3120 1416.

Guadalajara Weather

Guadalajara Travel Resources

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