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 residence to 2 of the nation’s most well-known exports — tequila and mariachi.
Whereas it most positively lives within the shadow of the capital, Mexico Metropolis, there’s rather a lot 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 recreation! These are just some of the numerous issues to do in Guadalajara, one of many prime locations to go to in Mexico.
Take advantage of your journey to the town by testing this listing of prime 21 issues to do in Guadalajara.
1. Discover the Historic Centre
One of the simplest ways to get launched to Guadalajara is with a stroll by way of 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, 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.
In case 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 by way of the close by Liberation Sq. to snap a photograph with the Guadalajara signal. Wandering round this sq. is among the greatest free issues to do within the metropolis.
From right here you’ve easy accessibility 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 definitely 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 a part of the free strolling tour to soak up the sights together with insights from an area information.
In case 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 strong suggestions from somebody who is aware of the town and also you’ll in all probability find yourself making a number of new pals.
Happening a strolling tour is among 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 certain to make you hungry. When in Guadalajara, you possibly can’t miss out on the native favorite referred to 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 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 everyday array of salsas and scorching sauces you’ll discover on any Mexican desk.
Grabbing considered one of these sandwiches is among the greatest issues to do in Guadalajara when you’ve a hangover — the locals take into account 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 buddy the place the most effective sandwiches in Guadalajara might be discovered! Consuming wonderful meals is certainly one of many prime issues to do in Mexico.
I extremely suggest 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 appears to be like 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 considered one of Hidalgo which is situated 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. Observe 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. Hearken to Dwell Mariachi Bands
Maybe no sort of Mexican music is extra well-known than mariachi. It even made the UNESCO listing of Intangible Cultural Heritage a number 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 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 be sure you come ready with a number of songs apart from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Purchasing in Tlaquepaque
In case you’re trying to take residence some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll wish to be sure you embody a visit to close by Tlaquepaque (attempt saying that one 3 times quick).
This tremendous cool day journey tour will take you to Tlaquepaque and Tonala, two of the most effective villages for procuring round Guadalajara. Click on Right here to be taught 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 legendary for its stunning, hand-painted pottery. Within the Nahuatl language, the identify really 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? Take a look at today 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 gorgeous neo-classical constructing with a number of courtyards and galleries to discover.
This cool strolling tour with a pleasant information will actually enable 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 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 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 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 trip on the famed Tequila Specific practice. It’s a bit expensive, nevertheless it’s actually an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
In case 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 positive.
On Tuesday night time, head to Enviornment Coliseo to soak up 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 when 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 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 inexpensive, enjoyable exercise in Guadalajara! Click on right here for particulars.
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10. Pattern Craft Beers
Overlook about Corona and Modelo whenever you’re in Guadalajara and check out a number of 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.
Considered 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 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 every part below 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 really helpful! 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 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 Competition (one of the crucial cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are totally different festivals happening all all year long in Guadalajara, so be sure you 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 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 reveals with world-class mariachi musicians within the theatre. Talking of the theatre, that brings us to the following level in our listing of greatest issues to do in Guadalajara.
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13. See a Present at Teatro Degallado
Some of the stunning buildings in Guadalajara, Teatro Degallado is a neo-classical theatre within the historic centre of the town. To actually 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. In case you’re fortunate, you possibly can rating tickets to one of many gala performances through the mariachi competition.
I attended one this 12 months and extremely suggest it when 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 legendary for is birria – a spicy stew normally produced from goat or lamb. Though, typically 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 probably the greatest 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, nevertheless it’s positively 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 a terrific 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 stress-free locations to go to in Guadalajara.
The very best half about taking a stroll by way of Parque Colomos is with the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. In case you can ignore the man blasting reggaeton by way of his cellular phone, it’s nearly such as you’re really in Japan. Click on right here for instructions to the park, it’s probably the greatest 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 web site referred to as Los Guachimontones. It dates again to the Teuchitlan custom, a pre-Columbian society that existed from round 300 BCE to 900 CE.
This web site is notable for its round stepped pyramids, which aren’t discovered wherever else on this planet.
Exploring this archaeological marvel is among the most attention-grabbing issues to do in Guadalajara and nicely well worth the day-trip. It prices 30 pesos to enter, or you possibly can rent a information on web site for 200 pesos. In case you’d choose, 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 through the World Cup or watching native groups compete within the Liga MX. Guadalajara is residence 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 sort of like that between the Yankees and Mets. One wins on a regular basis and the opposite, nicely, doesn’t.
If you wish to watch probably the greatest groups within the league, leap on the Chivas bandwagon. In case you’d quite root for the underdog, give your assist to the fledgling Atlas squad. Both manner, 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 probably the greatest 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 types of wares right here, and it’s a extremely vibrant, vibrant scene. You’ll find the road right here.
19. Take pleasure in Automotive Free Sundays
In case 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 right down to all motorized autos. 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-revenue organizations arrange alongside the highway. In case 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 recent 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 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 largest freshwater lake in all of Mexico.
There are a number of totally different cities alongside the lakeshore you possibly can go to, equivalent to Chapala and Ajijic. Because of 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 highly regarded place for locals to go to on weekends and holidays. As such, it’s higher to go to through the week if doable.
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 number of days to spare, I extremely suggest staying for an evening or two. This can be a chilled out place that we actually loved visiting. When you have the time, be certain 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 presents a terrific metropolis break from coastal Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara has numerous festivals and occasions happening, nice eating places and bars, and plenty of enjoyable day journeys as nicely.
The 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 per week within the metropolis of Guadalajara when you’ve got the time. In fact, you would spend longer, or you would even go to on a weekend. However, with per week, you’ll have the ability to catch a soccer match, discover the historic middle, go to a number of the parks, perhaps catch an occasion or two, and naturally, do a day journey to Tequila, Tlaquepaque and Lake Chapala.
Guadalajara is usually protected for vacationers, however regular precautions for a giant metropolis apply. Don’t depart your belongings unattended, don’t flash your valuables, keep away from darkish streets at night time, and stroll with pals when you can. It’s greatest to stay to the touristy, energetic 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 rather a lot to supply potential travellers. It has all of the perks of a giant metropolis minus a variety of the downfalls.
As an illustration, whereas there are unimaginable 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 residence to.
In case you’re planning a journey to Mexico, be sure you 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 all the superior issues to do in Puerto Vallarta. Nonetheless 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.