Usually neglected by travellers, Guadalajara is a captivating 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 residence 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 recreation! These are only a few of the various issues to do in Guadalajara, one of many prime locations to go to in Mexico.
Take advantage of your journey to town by testing this listing 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 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 plenty extra. It’s an important place for an off-the-cuff stroll, as there are a number of pedestrian-only streets.
In the event you resolve 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 should definitely stroll by means 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 gotten quick access to a number of museums, such because the Regional Museum of Guadalajara. You might 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 a neighborhood’s perspective on town. Each morning at 10AM, you may be part of the free strolling tour to absorb the sights together with insights from a neighborhood information.
In the event you’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara once you first arrive, that is it.
Excursions meet on the gazebo within the Plaza de Armas and final about two hours. Along with studying concerning the historical past and tradition of Guadalajara, you’ll get strong suggestions from somebody who is aware of 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.
3. Feast on Tortas Ahogadas
All that strolling round is bound to make you hungry. When in Guadalajara, you may’t miss out on the native favorite often 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 usually 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 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 gotten 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 good friend the place the most effective sandwiches in Guadalajara could be discovered! Consuming wonderful meals is unquestionably 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 concerning 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 unbelievable, particularly the considered one of Hidalgo which is positioned on the primary staircase.
The Authorities Palace is free to enter, making it a prime exercise for many who are backpacking Mexico on a price range. Notice that it’s not open on weekends.
Be part of a strolling tour extremely rated one so you may have a neighborhood 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 be taught extra.
5. Take heed 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.
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.
Take a look at 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’ll want to come ready with a number of songs apart from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Procuring in Tlaquepaque
In the event you’re seeking to take residence some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll wish to you’ll want to embrace 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 the most effective villages for purchasing 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 known 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 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
One of the crucial 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 finally turned a cultural establishment. It’s a stupendous 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 unquestionably 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 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 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 indubitably one of many coolest issues to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.
You’ve got a number of choices for visiting Tequila, from merely catching a neighborhood bus and doing it your self to taking a experience on the famed Tequila Categorical practice. It’s a bit expensive, nevertheless it’s definitely an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
In the event you don’t wish to take the practice, this enjoyable tour contains 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
One of the crucial 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 contains round-trip transportation, your ticket to the matches, info out of your native information about what is definitely occurring, 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 always 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 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 once you’re in Guadalajara and check out a few of the metropolis’s superior cervezas artesenales (craft beers). The craft beer scene is quickly increasing right here, that means you’ve gotten a number of selections for the place to seize a pint.
You may 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 be taught extra.
One among 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, they usually 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 enormous market that appears to be promoting nearly every little thing underneath 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 be taught extra.
There’s recent produce, bootleg DVDs, leather-based merchandise, and even pets on the market right here.
It’s greatest to come back to the market hungry, as there’s a big meals courtroom 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 (probably the most cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are totally different festivals occurring all all year long in Guadalajara, so you’ll want to examine the calendar earlier than planning your journey.
You would possibly 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 occurring. Click on right here to seek out out what’s on throughout your journey.
One of the crucial 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 listing of greatest issues to do in Guadalajara.
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13. See a Present at Teatro Degallado
One of the crucial stunning buildings in Guadalajara, Teatro Degallado is a neo-classical theatre within the historic centre of town. To actually admire the constructing, you’ll should 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 may rating tickets to one of many gala performances in the course of the mariachi pageant.
I attended one this 12 months and extremely suggest it for those who get the possibility. Click on right here to buy tickets to the theatre, or just cease in once you’re visiting Guadalajara to see if there’s a last-minute present you may 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 constituted of 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 the most effective dishes, I find it irresistible!
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 area within the northwest a part of town. It’s stuffed with strolling paths and picnic areas, making for an important 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 means of Parque Colomos is with the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. In the event you can ignore the man blasting reggaeton by means 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 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 wonderful archaeological web site 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 web site is notable for its round stepped pyramids, which aren’t discovered anyplace else on the earth.
Exploring this archaeological surprise is among the most fascinating issues to do in Guadalajara and properly definitely worth the day-trip. It prices 30 pesos to enter, or you may rent a information on web site for 200 pesos. In the event you’d desire, you may be part of a tour.
Soccer is a large a part of Mexican tradition, whether or not it’s cheering on the nationwide crew in the course of 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 type 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 the most effective groups within the league, bounce on the Chivas bandwagon. In the event you’d somewhat root for the underdog, give your help to the fledgling Atlas squad. Both method, you’re assured a beer-soaked celebration if the native heroes win.
18. Celebration on Avenida Chapultepec
Guadalajara is a metropolis that likes to celebration, and the most effective locations to take action is Avenida Chapultepec. This stylish avenue 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 kinds of wares right here, and it’s a very vibrant, vibrant scene. Yow will discover 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 celebration goes actually late on Saturday evening, Avenida Chapultepec transforms come Sunday morning.
Each week from 8AM-2PM, half of the road is shut all the way 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 site visitors that normally plagues town.
You’ll additionally discover pick-up volleyball video games, group health lessons, and varied non-revenue organizations arrange alongside the highway. In the event you’re visiting Guadalajara on a Sunday, you’ll want to 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 may 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 organize for them to come back again and get you a number of hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
There are a number of totally different cities alongside the lakeshore you may 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. Take a look at 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. In case you have a number of days to spare, I extremely suggest staying for an evening or two. It is a chilled out place that we actually loved visiting. In case you have the time, make certain 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 an important metropolis break from coastal Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara has a number of festivals and occasions occurring, nice eating places and bars, and plenty of enjoyable day journeys as properly.
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 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 usually secure 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 evening, and stroll with pals for those who 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 anyplace, 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 may 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 loads of the downfalls.
As an illustration, whereas there are unbelievable 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 areas, and glorious culinary and nightlife scenes to come back residence to.
In the event you’re planning a journey to Mexico, you’ll want to add Guadalajara to your itinerary. It’s the proper place to cease for a number of days on an extended journey round Mexico.
I visited town between travelling round Guanajuato and having fun with the entire 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.
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