Usually ignored by travellers, Guadalajara is an enchanting metropolis with a wealth of cultural sights, mouth-watering delicacies, and a few unimaginable nightlife — there are infinite issues to do right here to maintain you busy!
Mexico’s 2nd largest metropolis is situated within the state of Jalisco, which is dwelling to 2 of the nation’s most well-known exports — tequila and mariachi.
Whereas it most undoubtedly lives within the shadow of the capital, Mexico Metropolis, there’s lots happening in Guadalajara so as to add a cease right here in your Mexico travels.
In just some 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 just some of the various issues to do in Guadalajara, one of many high locations to go to in Mexico.
Benefit from your journey to the town by testing this checklist of high 21 issues to do in Guadalajara.
1. Discover the Historic Centre
One of the best ways to get launched to Guadalajara is with a stroll by means of the Centro Historico (Historic Centre). This tour with skilled information, Diego, is a good possibility and can cowl the entire spots.
Right here you’ll discover tree-lined plazas, beautiful cathedrals, necessary cultural establishments, bustling markets, and much extra. It’s a terrific place for an off-the-cuff stroll, as there are a number of pedestrian-only streets.
When 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.
You’ll want to stroll by means of the close by Liberation Sq. to snap a photograph with the Guadalajara signal. Wandering round this sq. is without doubt one of the finest free issues to do within the metropolis.
From right here you may have quick access to a number of museums, such because the Regional Museum of Guadalajara. You possibly can additionally simply seize a espresso and watch the 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 all the time extra useful to get an area’s perspective on the town. Each morning at 10AM, you possibly can be part of the free strolling tour to absorb the sights together with insights from an area information.
When you’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara whenever 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 stable suggestions from somebody who is aware of the town and also you’ll in all probability find yourself making a couple of new buddies.
Happening a strolling tour is without doubt one of the finest issues to do in Guadalajara to get your bearings within the metropolis.
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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 generally known as tortas ahogadas. The identify actually means “drowned sandwiches,” and also you’ll know why as quickly as you see one.
These native specialties are sometimes made with birote bread and chopped fried pork. The sandwich is then fully 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 among these sandwiches is without doubt one of the finest issues to do in Guadalajara when you may have a hangover — the locals think about it the most effective treatment (and I’ve to say, I agree).
Take a look at Tremendous Tortas Ahogadas and Tortas Ahogadas Don Jose…or, ask your strolling tour information, Airbnb host or good friend the place the most effective sandwiches in Guadalajara will be discovered! Consuming superb meals is unquestionably 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 most effective meals tour in Guadalajara right here.
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4. Go to the Authorities Palace
This 18th-century constructing seems to be very unassuming from the surface, however when you enter, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful murals from the artist Jose Clemente Orozco.
The scale of the work is unimaginable, particularly the one among Hidalgo which is situated 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. Be aware 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 sights. This strolling tour could be very extremely rated with a pleasant and educated information. Click on right here to study 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 checklist of Intangible Cultural Heritage a couple of years in the past.
All over the place you go in Mexico, the sounds of mariachi music observe, whether or not it’s a roaming band on the seashore or the presidential inauguration ceremony.
Take a look at this tour the place you’ll get to see the unimaginable Mexican conventional Charro cowboys, full with a Charreada (rodeo) and a few drinks whereas being serenaded with Mariachi. Click on Right here to study 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 be sure you come ready with a couple of songs aside from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Purchasing in Tlaquepaque
When you’re seeking to take dwelling some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll wish to be sure you embrace 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 identify 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 retailers on the town if you wish to see extra. Don’t really feel like determining transportation and the logistics for a visit to Tlaquepaque? Take a look at at the present time 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 turned a cultural establishment. It’s a lovely neo-classical constructing with a number of courtyards and galleries to discover.
This cool strolling tour with a pleasant information will actually assist you to make a visit to the Cultural Institute of Cabañas in addition to many different sights across the metropolis. Click on Right here to study extra about this tour.
The spotlight of visiting is unquestionably seeing the superb 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 digicam. 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 identify?
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 unquestionably one of many coolest issues to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.
You will 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 Specific practice. It’s a bit expensive, however it’s definitely an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
When 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 study extra.
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9. See a Lucha Libre Struggle
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 positive.
On Tuesday evening, head to Area Coliseo to absorb the high-flying Mexican wrestling. The expertise consists of round-trip transportation, your ticket to the matches, data out of your native information about what is definitely happening, and drinks.
Even should you’re not an enormous wrestling fan like me, an evening of lucha libre is tons of enjoyable. My spouse consistently rags on me for my love of American professional wrestling, however she loves going to lucha libre and has already seen three exhibits.
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 inexpensive, enjoyable exercise in Guadalajara! Click on right here for particulars.
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10. Pattern Craft Beers
Neglect about Corona and Modelo whenever you’re in Guadalajara and take a look at a few of the metropolis’s superior cervezas artesenales (craft beers). The craft beer scene is quickly increasing right here, which means you may have a number of selections for the place to seize a pint.
You possibly can be part of this distinctive tour that may embrace 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 study 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 stable menu of inventive 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 situated within the historic centre of Guadalajara. For an all-out assault in your senses, wander across the maze-like stalls of this big market that appears to be promoting nearly all the pieces beneath the solar.
This highly-rated strolling and meals tour is led by a really skilled information who has spent many years purchasing, consuming and guiding vacationers across the market. Extremely beneficial! Click on right here to study extra.
There’s contemporary produce, bootleg DVDs, leather-based merchandise, and even pets on the market right here.
It’s finest to come back 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 Competition (some of the cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are completely different festivals happening all all year long in Guadalajara, so be sure you test the calendar earlier than planning your journey.
You may find yourself on the town throughout a literary, movie, or music competition. In Mexico’s 2nd greatest metropolis, there’s all the time one thing happening. Click on right here to search out out what’s on throughout your journey.
Some of the well-known and necessary occasions of the 12 months in GDL is the Worldwide Mariachi Competition, which takes place on the finish of August.
There are parades, free live shows within the sq., and gala exhibits with world-class mariachi musicians within the theatre. Talking of the theatre, that brings us to the following level in our checklist 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 the town. To actually admire the constructing, you’ll must go inside and see the unimaginable 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. When you’re fortunate, you possibly can rating tickets to one of many gala performances in the course of the mariachi competition.
I attended one this 12 months and extremely advocate it should you get the prospect. Click on right here to buy tickets to the theatre, or just cease in whenever 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 constructed from goat or lamb. Though, generally it may be made with beef, mutton, and even hen. The meat is completely seasoned and extremely tender and is a must-try when within the metropolis. It’s among the finest dishes, I like it!
Whereas there are tons of locations cooking up birria in Guadalajara, few locations do it higher than Birreria las 9 Esquinas. You might need to attend for a desk right here, however it’s undoubtedly value it to do this native specialty.
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15. Go to the Gardens in Parque Colomos
Parque Colomos is a big inexperienced area within the northwest a part of the town. It’s stuffed with strolling paths and picnic areas, making for a terrific place to spend a leisurely afternoon outdoor.
A visit here’s a good break from the hustle and bustle of downtown and is without doubt one of the extra enjoyable locations to go to in Guadalajara.
One of the best half about taking a stroll by means of Parque Colomos is having the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. When you can ignore the man blasting reggaeton by means of his cellular phone, it’s nearly such as you’re truly in Japan. Click on right here for instructions to the park, it’s among the finest free issues to do in Guadalajara.
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16. Go to the Guachimontones
Not removed from Guadalajara (a couple of 45-minute drive), you’ll discover the superb archaeological website generally 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 anyplace else on the earth.
Exploring this archaeological surprise is without doubt one of the most attention-grabbing issues to do in Guadalajara and properly well worth the day-trip. It prices 30 pesos to enter, or you possibly can rent a information on website for 200 pesos. When you’d choose, you possibly can be part of a tour.
Soccer is a big a part of Mexican tradition, whether or not it’s cheering on the nationwide group 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, properly, doesn’t.
If you wish to watch among the finest groups within the league, bounce on the Chivas bandwagon. When you’d relatively root for the underdog, give your assist to the fledgling Atlas squad. Both method, you’re assured a beer-soaked celebration if the native heroes win.
18. Get together on Avenida Chapultepec
Guadalajara is a metropolis that likes to celebration, and among the finest locations to take action is Avenida Chapultepec. This stylish road is filled with eating places, bars, and golf equipment and is enjoyable any evening of the week.
On the weekend, you’ll additionally discover a bustling market on the island in the midst of the avenue. Native retailers peddle all types of wares right here, and it’s a extremely vibrant, vibrant scene. Yow will discover the road right here.
19. Get pleasure from Automotive Free Sundays
When you’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara on a Sunday, that is it. Whereas the celebration goes actually late on Saturday evening, Avenida Chapultepec transforms come Sunday morning.
Each week from 8AM-2PM, half of the road is shut right 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 visitors that normally plagues the town.
You’ll additionally discover pick-up volleyball video games, group health lessons, and varied non-profit organizations arrange alongside the highway. When you’re visiting Guadalajara on a Sunday, be sure you test it out.
20. Go on a Hike in Parque Mirador
For some nice views of the canyon and a few contemporary air, head as much as Parque Mirador for a brief hike. After strolling as much as the point of view, you possibly can sit right down to lunch on the Restaurant El Mirador.
This makes for a straightforward and enjoyable half-day journey out of the 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 come back again and get you a couple of hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
Situated about an hour’s drive south of the town is Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in all of Mexico.
There are a number of completely different cities alongside the lakeshore you possibly can go to, similar to Chapala and Ajijic. Due to its average local weather and exquisite environment, Lake Chapala can also be a favorite of expats, snowbirds, and retirees. Take a look at this tour from Guadalajara which takes in Lake Chapala and Ajijic.
The lake is a very fashionable 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 potential.
Get pleasure from a stroll alongside the lakefront Malecon or go on a brief boat journey out to the small islands. In case you have a couple of days to spare, I extremely advocate staying for an evening or two. This can be a chilled out place that we actually loved visiting. In case you have the time, be sure to take a look at Lake Chapala.
Visiting Guadalajara: FAQs
Guadalajara is unquestionably value a go to. It’s smaller and extra manageable than Mexico Metropolis, and presents a terrific metropolis break from coastal Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara has numerous festivals and occasions happening, nice eating places and bars, and lots of enjoyable day journeys as properly.
The town of Guadalajara is thought 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 per week within the metropolis of Guadalajara in case you have the time. In fact, you may spend longer, or you may even go to on a weekend. However, with per week, you’ll be capable of catch a soccer match, discover the historic middle, go to a few of the parks, perhaps catch an occasion or two, and naturally, do a day journey to Tequila, Tlaquepaque and Lake Chapala.
Guadalajara is mostly secure for vacationers, however regular precautions for an enormous metropolis apply. Don’t go away your belongings unattended, don’t flash your valuables, keep away from darkish streets at evening, and stroll with buddies should you can. It’s finest to stay to the touristy, vigorous downtown middle, and it’s suggested to keep away from the east facet of the Calaza de la Independencia, particularly after darkish. As with anyplace, 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 lots to supply potential travellers. It has all of the perks of an enormous metropolis minus a whole lot of the downfalls.
As an example, whereas there are unimaginable issues to do in Mexico Metropolis that you just shouldn’t miss, Guadalajara is way 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 come back dwelling to.
When you’re planning a visit to Mexico, be sure you 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 the town between travelling round Guanajuato and having fun with the entire superior issues to do in Puerto Vallarta. Nevertheless you get right here, you’re positive 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.