Typically ignored by travellers, Guadalajara is a captivating metropolis with a wealth of cultural sights, mouth-watering delicacies, and a few unimaginable 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 residence 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 loads occurring in Guadalajara so as to add a cease right here in your Mexico travels.
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 recreation! These are only a few of the numerous issues to do in Guadalajara, one of many prime locations to go to in Mexico.
Profit from your journey to the town by trying out this record of prime 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 the Centro Historico (Historic Centre). This tour with skilled information, Diego, is a superb possibility and can cowl the entire spots.
Right here you’ll discover tree-lined plazas, beautiful cathedrals, essential cultural establishments, bustling markets, and plenty extra. It’s an awesome place for an off-the-cuff stroll, as there are a number of pedestrian-only streets.
If you happen to 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.
Make sure to stroll by the close by Liberation Sq. to snap a photograph with the Guadalajara signal. Wandering round this sq. is likely one of the greatest free issues to do within the metropolis.
From right here you will have quick access to a number of museums, such because the Regional Museum of Guadalajara. You could possibly 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 at all times extra helpful to get an area’s perspective on the 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.
If you happen to’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 strong suggestions from somebody who is aware of the town and also you’ll most likely find yourself making a number of new mates.
Happening a strolling tour is likely one of the greatest 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 title 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 scorching sauces you’ll discover on any Mexican desk.
Grabbing one among these sandwiches is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Guadalajara when you will have a hangover — the locals contemplate it one of the best 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 good friend the place one of the best sandwiches in Guadalajara might be discovered! Consuming superb meals is certainly one of many prime 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 one of the best 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 skin, 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 positioned on the principle staircase.
The Authorities Palace is free to enter, making it a prime exercise for many who are backpacking Mexico on a finances. 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 may be very extremely rated with a pleasant and educated information. Click on right here to study extra.
5. Hearken to Stay Mariachi Bands
Maybe no sort of Mexican music is extra well-known than mariachi. It even made the UNESCO record of Intangible Cultural Heritage a number 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 seaside or the presidential inauguration ceremony.
Try 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 remember to come ready with a number of songs aside from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Buying in Tlaquepaque
If you happen to’re seeking to take residence some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll need to remember to embody a visit to close by Tlaquepaque (strive saying that one thrice quick).
This tremendous cool day journey tour will take you to Tlaquepaque and Tonala, two of one of the best villages for procuring round Guadalajara. Click on Right here to study extra about this tour.
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 provide, 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
One of the fascinating 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 ultimately grew to become a cultural establishment. It’s a phenomenal 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 certainly 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 seek 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 for sure one of many coolest issues to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.
You’ve got a number of choices for visiting Tequila, from merely catching an area bus and doing it your self to taking a journey on the famed Tequila Categorical practice. It’s a bit dear, nevertheless it’s definitely an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
If you happen to don’t need 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 Combat
One 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 Area 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 occurring, and drinks.
Even in the event you’re not an enormous wrestling fan like me, an evening of lucha libre is tons of enjoyable. My spouse continually 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
Neglect about Corona and Modelo whenever you’re in Guadalajara and check out among the metropolis’s superior cervezas artesenales (craft beers). The craft beer scene is quickly increasing right here, which means you will have a number of selections for the place to seize a pint.
You may be a part of this distinctive tour that can embody strolling round and trying out 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.
One in all 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 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 positioned 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 the whole lot beneath the solar.
This highly-rated strolling and meals tour is led by a really skilled information who has spent many years procuring, 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 greatest 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 successful mixture. Discover the market on the map, right here.
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12. Take Half in a Native Pageant (probably the most cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are totally different festivals occurring all all year long in Guadalajara, so remember to test the calendar earlier than planning your journey.
You would possibly find yourself on the town throughout a literary, movie, or music competition. In Mexico’s 2nd largest metropolis, there’s at all times one thing occurring. Click on right here to seek out out what’s on throughout your journey.
One of the well-known and essential occasions of the yr 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 subsequent level in our record of greatest issues to do in Guadalajara.
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13. See a Present at Teatro Degallado
One of the lovely buildings in Guadalajara, Teatro Degallado is a neo-classical theatre within the historic centre of the town. To really admire the constructing, you’ll should 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. If you happen to’re fortunate, you possibly can rating tickets to one of many gala performances through the mariachi competition.
I attended one this yr and extremely advocate it in the event you get the possibility. 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 rooster. The meat is completely seasoned and extremely tender and is a must-try when within the metropolis. It’s the most effective 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 might need to attend for a desk right here, nevertheless 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 house within the northwest a part of the town. It’s stuffed with strolling paths and picnic areas, making for an awesome place to spend a leisurely afternoon outside.
A visit here’s a good break from the hustle and bustle of downtown and is likely one of the extra enjoyable locations to go to in Guadalajara.
The perfect half about taking a stroll by Parque Colomos is having the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. If you happen to can ignore the man blasting reggaeton by his cellphone, it’s nearly such as you’re truly in Japan. Click on right here for instructions to the park, it’s the most effective 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 wherever else on this planet.
Exploring this archaeological marvel is likely one of the most fascinating 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. If you happen to’d choose, you possibly can be a part of a tour.
Soccer is a large a part of Mexican tradition, whether or not it’s cheering on the nationwide crew through the World Cup or watching native groups compete within the Liga MX. Guadalajara is residence to 2 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 type 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 the most effective groups within the league, leap on the Chivas bandwagon. If you happen to’d moderately 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. Get together on Avenida Chapultepec
Guadalajara is a metropolis that likes to get together, and the most effective locations to take action is Avenida Chapultepec. This fashionable avenue 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 kinds of wares right here, and it’s a extremely vibrant, vibrant scene. You’ll find the road right here.
19. Take pleasure in Automobile Free Sundays
If you happen to’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara on a Sunday, that is it. Whereas the get together goes actually late on Saturday night time, Avenida Chapultepec transforms come Sunday morning.
Each week from 8AM-2PM, half of the road is shut right down to all motorized automobiles. Joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, and skaters all take to the streets to get pleasure from a number of hours freed from the grid-locked visitors that normally plagues the town.
You’ll additionally discover pick-up volleyball video games, group health courses, and varied non-profit organizations arrange alongside the street. If you happen to’re visiting Guadalajara on a Sunday, remember to 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 perspective, you possibly can sit right down to lunch on the Restaurant El Mirador.
This makes for a simple and enjoyable half-day journey out of the town. It’s powerful 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 number of hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
Positioned about an hour’s drive south of the town is Lake Chapala, the most important freshwater lake in all of Mexico.
There are a number of totally different cities alongside the lakeshore you possibly can go to, reminiscent of Chapala and Ajijic. Due to its reasonable local weather and delightful 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 fashionable place for locals to go to on weekends and holidays. As such, it’s higher to go to through 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. In case you have a number of days to spare, I extremely advocate staying for an evening or two. It is 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 certainly value a go to. It’s smaller and extra manageable than Mexico Metropolis, and provides an awesome metropolis break from coastal Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara has plenty of festivals and occasions occurring, nice eating places and bars, and lots of enjoyable day journeys as effectively.
Town of Guadalajara is thought for tequila, mariachi, historical past and traditions. That is the second largest metropolis in Mexico, and is a superb place to go to.
I like to recommend spending every week within the metropolis of Guadalajara in case you have the time. In fact, you might spend longer, or you might even go to on a weekend. However, with every week, you’ll have the ability to catch a soccer match, discover the historic middle, 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 a giant metropolis apply. Don’t go away your belongings unattended, don’t flash your valuables, keep away from darkish streets at night time, and stroll with mates in the event you can. It’s greatest to stay to the touristy, full of life downtown middle, 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 lodge 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 a giant metropolis minus a number of the downfalls.
For example, whereas there are unimaginable issues to do in Mexico Metropolis that you just 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 places, and glorious culinary and nightlife scenes to return residence to.
If you happen to’re planning a visit to Mexico, remember to add Guadalajara to your itinerary. It’s the right place to cease for a number 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 certain to have a good time having fun with all the highest issues to do in Guadalajara.
Photographs on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
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