Typically neglected by travellers, Guadalajara is an interesting metropolis with a wealth of cultural sights, mouth-watering delicacies, and a few unbelievable nightlife — there are limitless issues to do right here to maintain you busy!
Mexico’s 2nd largest metropolis is positioned within the state of Jalisco, which is dwelling to 2 of the nation’s most well-known exports — tequila and mariachi.
In only a few days right here, I took within the sights of the historic metropolis centre, visited the nation’s largest lake, and joined the raucous crowd for a soccer sport! These are only a few of the numerous issues to do in Guadalajara, one of many high locations to go to in Mexico.
Profit from your journey to town by testing this listing of high 21 issues to do in Guadalajara.
1. Discover the Historic Centre
The easiest way to get launched to Guadalajara is with a stroll via the Centro Historico (Historic Centre). This tour with skilled information, Diego, is a good choice and can cowl all the spots.
Right here you’ll discover tree-lined plazas, beautiful cathedrals, essential cultural establishments, bustling markets, and much extra. It’s an ideal place for an informal stroll, as there are a number of pedestrian-only streets.
In the event you determine to go by yourself, begin your exploration off within the Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by the double-spired Guadalajara Cathedral and the historic Governor’s Workplace.
Be sure you stroll via the close by Liberation Sq. to snap a photograph with the Guadalajara signal. Wandering round this sq. is among the finest free issues to do within the metropolis.
From right here you’ve quick access to a number of museums, such because the Regional Museum of Guadalajara. You possibly can additionally simply seize a espresso and watch town go about its day.
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2. Go on a Free Strolling Tour
Whereas the historic centre is well visited by yourself, it’s at all times extra useful to get an area’s perspective on town. Each morning at 10AM, you possibly can be a part of the free strolling tour to absorb the sights together with insights from an area information.
In the event you’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara while you first arrive, that is it.
Excursions meet on the gazebo within the Plaza de Armas and final about two hours. Along with studying in regards to the historical past and tradition of Guadalajara, you’ll get strong suggestions from somebody who is aware of town and also you’ll most likely find yourself making a couple of new associates.
Occurring a strolling tour is among the finest issues to do in Guadalajara to get your bearings within the metropolis.
3. Feast on Tortas Ahogadas
All that strolling round is bound to make you hungry. When in Guadalajara, you possibly can’t miss out on the native favorite often known as tortas ahogadas. The title actually means “drowned sandwiches,” and also you’ll know why as quickly as you see one.
These native specialties are usually made with birote bread and chopped fried pork. The sandwich is then utterly drenched in a sauce made primarily from dried chili peppers.
They’re then served up with some slices of white onion, radishes, and the standard array of salsas and sizzling sauces you’ll discover on any Mexican desk.
Grabbing one in all these sandwiches is among the finest issues to do in Guadalajara when you’ve a hangover — the locals think about it the perfect treatment (and I’ve to say, I agree).
Try Tremendous Tortas Ahogadas and Tortas Ahogadas Don Jose…or, ask your strolling tour information, Airbnb host or buddy the place the perfect sandwiches in Guadalajara might be discovered! Consuming wonderful meals is certainly one of many high issues to do in Mexico.
I extremely advocate becoming a member of a meals tour like this one to not solely style the meals, however have an skilled native information inform in regards to the historical past and significance of every dish. Discover out extra about the perfect meals tour in Guadalajara right here.
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4. Go to the Authorities Palace
This 18th-century constructing appears to be like very unassuming from the surface, however when you enter, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful murals from the artist Jose Clemente Orozco.
The dimensions of the work is unbelievable, particularly the one in all Hidalgo which is positioned on the principle staircase.
The Authorities Palace is free to enter, making it a high exercise for individuals who are backpacking Mexico on a funds. Word that it’s not open on weekends.
Be part of a strolling tour extremely rated one so you possibly can have an area information present you the sights and clarify the historical past and tales behind the points of interest. This strolling tour could be very extremely rated with a pleasant and educated information. Click on right here to be taught extra.
5. Take heed to Reside Mariachi Bands
Maybe no kind of Mexican music is extra well-known than mariachi. It even made the UNESCO listing of Intangible Cultural Heritage a couple of years in the past.
In every single place you go in Mexico, the sounds of mariachi music comply with, whether or not it’s a roaming band on the seashore or the presidential inauguration ceremony.
Try this tour the place you’ll get to see the unbelievable Mexican conventional Charro cowboys, full with a Charreada (rodeo) and a few drinks whereas being serenaded with Mariachi. Click on Right here to be taught extra about this expertise.
It’s believed that modern-day mariachi music originated in Jalisco, the Mexican state the place Guadalajara is the capital. As such, there’s no higher place to dive into this conventional Mexican music than proper right here in GDL.
Head to the Plaza de los Mariachis within the night and rent a band to serenade you. Simply you should definitely come ready with a couple of songs apart from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Procuring in Tlaquepaque
In the event you’re seeking to take dwelling some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll wish to you should definitely embody a visit to close by Tlaquepaque (strive saying that one thrice quick).
As soon as its personal metropolis, Tlaquepaque was absorbed by the city sprawl of Guadalajara and have become a municipality.
Tlaquepaque is known for its lovely, hand-painted pottery. Within the Nahuatl language, the title truly means “place above clay land.”
You can begin off within the Mercado de Artesanías to get a really feel for what’s on supply, after which department out and go to extra of the person outlets on the town if you wish to see extra. Don’t really feel like determining transportation and the logistics for a visit to Tlaquepaque? Try this present day tour.
7. Go to the Cultural Institute Cabañas
Some of the attention-grabbing issues to do in Guadalajara is to go to the Cultural Institute Cabañas. It was based in 1791 as a hospital/orphanage by the Bishop of Guadalajara and finally grew to become a cultural establishment. It’s a fantastic neo-classical constructing with a number of courtyards and galleries to discover.
This cool strolling tour with a pleasant information will actually assist you make a visit to the Cultural Institute of Cabañas in addition to many different sights across the metropolis. Click on Right here to be taught extra about this tour.
The spotlight of visiting is certainly seeing the wonderful frescoes by Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco, together with his well-known work Hombre de Fuego (The Man of Hearth).
It’s closed on Mondays however free to go to on Tuesdays. In any other case, it prices about $2 to get in and one other $1 if you wish to use your digital camera. Click on right here to search out it on the map.
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8. Drink Tequila in Tequila
Do you know that Mexico’s most well-known beverage comes from a city of the identical title?
Not removed from Guadalajara, you’ll certainly discover the Mexican city of Tequila. Taking a visit up there to go to the agave fields and some of the distilleries is no doubt one of many coolest issues to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.
You could have a number of choices for visiting Tequila, from merely catching an area bus and doing it your self to taking a trip on the famed Tequila Categorical practice. It’s a bit dear, but it surely’s definitely an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
In the event you don’t wish to take the practice, this enjoyable tour consists of transport there and again, tequila tastings, snacks, a pleasant and educated information, and a go to to a distillery. Click on Right here to be taught extra.
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9. See a Lucha Libre Combat
Some of the enjoyable issues to do in Guadalajara is seeing a Lucha Libre match. This was a spotlight of my journey to Guadalajara for certain.
On Tuesday night time, head to Enviornment Coliseo to absorb the high-flying Mexican wrestling. The expertise consists of round-trip transportation, your ticket to the matches, info out of your native information about what is definitely happening, and drinks.
Even for those who’re not an enormous wrestling fan like me, an evening of lucha libre is tons of enjoyable. My spouse continuously rags on me for my love of American professional wrestling, however she loves going to lucha libre and has already seen three reveals.
We even put collectively a handy-dandy information to seeing lucha libre in Mexico for you, so test it out and add it to your itinerary in GDL. Don’t miss this reasonably priced, enjoyable exercise in Guadalajara! Click on right here for particulars.
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10. Pattern Craft Beers
Overlook about Corona and Modelo while you’re in Guadalajara and take a look at among the metropolis’s superior cervezas artesenales (craft beers). The craft beer scene is quickly increasing right here, which means you’ve a number of decisions for the place to seize a pint.
You may be a part of this distinctive tour that may embody strolling round and testing a few of Guadalajara’s cool structure, adopted off by a brewery tour and sure… some scrumptious native beers. Click on right here to be taught extra.
Certainly one of my private favorite spots to sip on a tasty craft beer in Guadalajara is the Patan Ale Home. They’ve tons of superior native beers on faucet, a strong menu of artistic bar meals, and so they even have DJs spinning on the weekend. Salud!
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11. Wander Round Mercado Libertad
Mercado Libertad is a sprawling indoor market positioned within the historic centre of Guadalajara. For an all-out assault in your senses, wander across the maze-like stalls of this large market that appears to be promoting nearly all the things beneath the solar.
This highly-rated strolling and meals tour is led by a really skilled information who has spent a long time procuring, consuming and guiding vacationers across the market. Extremely beneficial! Click on right here to be taught extra.
There’s recent produce, bootleg DVDs, leather-based merchandise, and even pets on the market right here.
It’s finest to return to the market hungry, as there’s a big meals court docket right here cooking up a number of native specialties, such because the aforementioned tortas ahogadas and scrumptious bowls of pozole. It’s quick, low cost, and tremendous native – a profitable mixture. Discover the market on the map, right here.
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12. Take Half in a Native Pageant (some of the cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are completely different festivals happening all all year long in Guadalajara, so you should definitely test the calendar earlier than planning your journey.
You may find yourself on the town throughout a literary, movie, or music pageant. In Mexico’s 2nd largest metropolis, there’s at all times one thing happening. Click on right here to search out out what’s on throughout your journey.
Some of the well-known and essential occasions of the 12 months in GDL is the Worldwide Mariachi Pageant, which takes place on the finish of August.
There are parades, free live shows within the sq., and gala reveals with world-class mariachi musicians within the theatre. Talking of the theatre, that brings us to the following level in our listing of finest issues to do in Guadalajara.
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13. See a Present at Teatro Degallado
Some of the lovely buildings in Guadalajara, Teatro Degallado is a neo-classical theatre within the historic centre of town. To actually admire the constructing, you’ll need to go inside and see the unbelievable murals. It’s free to enter when there isn’t a present on.
There are common performances within the theatre, together with operas and symphony orchestras. In the event you’re fortunate, you possibly can rating tickets to one of many gala performances in the course of the mariachi pageant.
I attended one this 12 months and extremely advocate it for those who get the prospect. Click on right here to buy tickets to the theatre, or just cease in while you’re visiting Guadalajara to see if there’s a last-minute present you possibly can attend. Discover the theatre on the map, right here.
14. Have Dinner at Birreria las 9 Esquinas
One other dish that Guadalajara is known for is birria – a spicy stew normally comprised of goat or lamb. Though, generally it may be made with beef, mutton, and even rooster. The meat is completely seasoned and extremely tender and is a must-try when within the metropolis. It’s top-of-the-line dishes, I adore it!
Whereas there are tons of locations cooking up birria in Guadalajara, few locations do it higher than Birreria las 9 Esquinas. You may need to attend for a desk right here, but it surely’s positively value it to do that native specialty.
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15. Go to the Gardens in Parque Colomos
Parque Colomos is a big inexperienced house within the northwest a part of town. It’s filled with strolling paths and picnic areas, making for an ideal place to spend a leisurely afternoon open air.
A visit here’s a good break from the hustle and bustle of downtown and is among the extra enjoyable locations to go to in Guadalajara.
One of the best half about taking a stroll via Parque Colomos is with the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. In the event you can ignore the man blasting reggaeton via his cellular phone, it’s nearly such as you’re truly in Japan. Click on right here for instructions to the park, it’s top-of-the-line free issues to do in Guadalajara.
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16. Go to the Guachimontones
Not removed from Guadalajara (a few 45-minute drive), you’ll discover the wonderful archaeological website often known as Los Guachimontones. It dates again to the Teuchitlan custom, a pre-Columbian society that existed from round 300 BCE to 900 CE.
This website is notable for its round stepped pyramids, which aren’t discovered wherever else on the earth.
Exploring this archaeological surprise is among the most attention-grabbing issues to do in Guadalajara and effectively definitely worth the day-trip. It prices 30 pesos to enter, or you possibly can rent a information on website for 200 pesos. In the event you’d favor, you possibly can be a part of a tour.
Soccer is a big a part of Mexican tradition, whether or not it’s cheering on the nationwide workforce in the course of the World Cup or watching native groups compete within the Liga MX. Guadalajara is dwelling to two soccer groups – Chivas and Atlas. The previous performs at Estadio Akron whereas the latter hosts its video games at Estadio Jalisco.
The dynamic between the 2 groups is form of like that between the Yankees and Mets. One wins on a regular basis and the opposite, effectively, doesn’t.
If you wish to watch top-of-the-line groups within the league, soar on the Chivas bandwagon. In the event you’d somewhat root for the underdog, give your help to the fledgling Atlas squad. Both approach, you’re assured a beer-soaked celebration if the native heroes win.
18. Social gathering on Avenida Chapultepec
Guadalajara is a metropolis that likes to occasion, and top-of-the-line locations to take action is Avenida Chapultepec. This stylish road is stuffed with eating places, bars, and golf equipment and is enjoyable any night time of the week.
On the weekend, you’ll additionally discover a bustling market on the island in the course of the avenue. Native retailers peddle all types of wares right here, and it’s a very vibrant, vibrant scene. You’ll find the road right here.
19. Take pleasure in Automotive Free Sundays
In the event you’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara on a Sunday, that is it. Whereas the occasion goes actually late on Saturday night time, Avenida Chapultepec transforms come Sunday morning.
Each week from 8AM-2PM, half of the road is shut all the way down to all motorized autos. Joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, and skaters all take to the streets to take pleasure in a couple of hours freed from the grid-locked site visitors that normally plagues town.
You’ll additionally discover pick-up volleyball video games, group health courses, and numerous non-revenue organizations arrange alongside the street. In the event you’re visiting Guadalajara on a Sunday, you should definitely test it out.
20. Go on a Hike in Parque Mirador
For some nice views of the canyon and a few recent air, head as much as Parque Mirador for a brief hike. After strolling as much as the perspective, you possibly can sit all the way down to lunch on the Restaurant El Mirador.
This makes for a simple and enjoyable half-day journey out of town. It’s robust to get your self on the market on public transportation, so that you’re higher off ordering an Uber. Attempt to prepare for them to return again and get you a couple of hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
There are a number of completely different cities alongside the lakeshore you possibly can go to, reminiscent of Chapala and Ajijic. Due to its average local weather and exquisite environment, Lake Chapala can also be a favorite of expats, snowbirds, and retirees. Try this tour from Guadalajara which takes in Lake Chapala and Ajijic.
The lake is a very talked-about place for locals to go to on weekends and holidays. As such, it’s higher to go to in the course of the week if attainable.
Take pleasure in a stroll alongside the lakefront Malecon or go on a brief boat journey out to the small islands. When you have a couple of days to spare, I extremely advocate staying for an evening or two. It is a chilled out place that we actually loved visiting. When you have the time, be sure to take a look at Lake Chapala.
Visiting Guadalajara: FAQs
Guadalajara is certainly value a go to. It’s smaller and extra manageable than Mexico Metropolis, and provides an ideal metropolis break from coastal Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara has plenty of festivals and occasions happening, nice eating places and bars, and plenty of enjoyable day journeys as effectively.
Town of Guadalajara is understood for tequila, mariachi, historical past and traditions. That is the second largest metropolis in Mexico, and is a good place to go to.
I like to recommend spending every week within the metropolis of Guadalajara in case you have the time. After all, you would spend longer, or you would even go to on a weekend. However, with every week, you’ll be capable to catch a soccer match, discover the historic heart, go to among the parks, perhaps catch an occasion or two, and naturally, do a day journey to Tequila, Tlaquepaque and Lake Chapala.
Guadalajara is mostly protected for vacationers, however regular precautions for an enormous metropolis apply. Don’t depart your belongings unattended, don’t flash your valuables, keep away from darkish streets at night time, and stroll with associates for those who can. It’s finest to stay to the touristy, full of life downtown heart, and it’s suggested to keep away from the east facet of the Calaza de la Independencia, particularly after darkish. As with wherever, ask your resort or Airbnb host the place to go and the place to keep away from throughout your keep.
Now You Know What To Do in Guadalajara
As you possibly can see, Guadalajara is a metropolis that has loads to supply potential travellers. It has all of the perks of an enormous metropolis minus loads of the downfalls.
As an example, whereas there are unbelievable issues to do in Mexico Metropolis that you simply shouldn’t miss, Guadalajara is far smaller and simpler to get round than the capital.
There’s sufficient to see within the historic centre to maintain you busy for a day or two, loads of superior day-trips to scenic areas, and wonderful culinary and nightlife scenes to return dwelling to.
In the event you’re planning a journey to Mexico, you should definitely add Guadalajara to your itinerary. It’s the proper place to cease for a couple of days on an extended journey round Mexico.
I visited town between travelling round Guanajuato and having fun with all the superior issues to do in Puerto Vallarta. Nonetheless you get right here, you’re certain to have a good time having fun with all the highest issues to do in Guadalajara.
Photos on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.