Usually ignored by travellers, Guadalajara is a captivating metropolis with a wealth of cultural sights, mouth-watering delicacies, and a few unimaginable nightlife — there are countless 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 undoubtedly lives within the shadow of the capital, Mexico Metropolis, there’s so much 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 high locations to go to in Mexico.
Benefit from your journey to town by trying out 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 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, attractive cathedrals, essential cultural establishments, bustling markets, and plenty extra. It’s an amazing place for an informal stroll, as there are a number of pedestrian-only streets.
If you happen to 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.
Remember to stroll via 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 have got quick access to a number of museums, such because the Regional Museum of Guadalajara. You may 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 definitely visited by yourself, it’s all the time extra useful to get an area’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 an area information.
If you happen to’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 stable suggestions from somebody who is aware of town and also you’ll most likely find yourself making just a few new buddies.
Occurring 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 may’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 without doubt one of the finest issues to do in Guadalajara when you have got a hangover — the locals think about it one of the best remedy (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 will be discovered! Consuming wonderful meals is certainly one of many high 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 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 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 in all Hidalgo which is situated on the primary staircase.
The Authorities Palace is free to enter, making it a high exercise for many who are backpacking Mexico on a price range. Word that it’s not open on weekends.
Be a part of a strolling tour extremely rated one so you may have an area information present you the sights and clarify the historical past and tales behind the points of interest. This strolling tour may be very extremely rated with a pleasant and educated information. Click on right here to study extra.
5. Hearken to Dwell Mariachi Bands
Maybe no sort of Mexican music is extra well-known than mariachi. It even made the UNESCO checklist of Intangible Cultural Heritage just a few 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 be sure you come ready with just a few songs aside from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Purchasing in Tlaquepaque
If you happen to’re trying to take residence some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll wish to be sure you embrace 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 one of the best villages for purchasing 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 legendary 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 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? Try this present day tour.
7. Go to the Cultural Institute Cabañas
Some 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 finally turned a cultural establishment. It’s an attractive neo-classical constructing with a number of courtyards and galleries to discover.
This cool strolling tour with a pleasant information will actually make it easier 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 wonderful frescoes by Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco, together with his well-known work Hombre de Fuego (The Man of Fireplace).
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 no doubt 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 experience on the famed Tequila Categorical practice. It’s a bit expensive, however it’s actually an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
If you happen to 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 Battle
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 for those who’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
Neglect about Corona and Modelo while 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 have got a number of decisions for the place to seize a pint.
You may be part of this distinctive tour that may embrace 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.
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 stable menu of artistic 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 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 thing beneath the solar.
This highly-rated strolling and meals tour is led by a really skilled information who has spent a long time purchasing, consuming and guiding vacationers across the market. Extremely really helpful! Click on right here to study 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 Competition (some of the 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 pageant. In Mexico’s 2nd largest metropolis, there’s all the time one thing happening. Click on right here to seek 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 Competition, which takes place on the finish of August.
There are parades, free concert events 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 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 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. If you happen to’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 while 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 legendary for is birria – a spicy stew often made out 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 top-of-the-line 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 house within the northwest a part of town. It’s filled with strolling paths and picnic areas, making for an amazing 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 stress-free 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. If you happen to can ignore the man blasting reggaeton via his cellular phone, it’s virtually 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 couple of 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 anyplace else on the earth.
Exploring this archaeological marvel is without doubt one of the most fascinating issues to do in Guadalajara and nicely definitely worth the day-trip. It prices 30 pesos to enter, or you may rent a information on website for 200 pesos. If you happen to’d favor, you may 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 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 top-of-the-line groups within the league, bounce on the Chivas bandwagon. If you happen to’d somewhat 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. Occasion on Avenida Chapultepec
Guadalajara is a metropolis that likes to celebration, and top-of-the-line 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 course of the avenue. Native retailers peddle all kinds of wares right here, and it’s a very vibrant, vibrant scene. You could find the road right here.
19. Take pleasure in Automotive Free Sundays
If you happen to’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 automobiles. Joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, and skaters all take to the streets to get pleasure from just a few hours freed from the grid-locked visitors that often plagues town.
You’ll additionally discover pick-up volleyball video games, group health courses, and varied non-revenue organizations arrange alongside the highway. If you happen to’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 perspective, you may sit right 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 just a few hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
Positioned about an hour’s drive south of town is Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in all of Mexico.
There are a number of totally different cities alongside the lakeshore you may go to, reminiscent of Chapala and Ajijic. Because of its average local weather and delightful environment, Lake Chapala can be a favorite of expats, snowbirds, and retirees. Try this tour from Guadalajara which takes in Lake Chapala and Ajijic.
The lake is a extremely popular 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 just a few days to spare, I extremely suggest staying for an evening or two. It is a chilled out place that we actually loved visiting. When you have the time, be certain that 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 amazing metropolis break from coastal Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara has a number of festivals and occasions happening, nice eating places and bars, and plenty of enjoyable day journeys as nicely.
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 when you’ve got the time. In fact, you would spend longer, or you would 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, possibly 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 depart your belongings unattended, don’t flash your valuables, keep away from darkish streets at evening, and stroll with buddies for those who 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 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 so much to supply potential travellers. It has all of the perks of a giant metropolis minus numerous the downfalls.
As an example, 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 glorious culinary and nightlife scenes to return residence to.
If you happen to’re planning a journey to Mexico, be sure you add Guadalajara to your itinerary. It’s the right place to cease for just a few 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. 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.