Usually missed by travellers, Guadalajara is an enchanting 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 house to 2 of the nation’s most well-known exports — tequila and mariachi.
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 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 via the Centro Historico (Historic Centre). This tour with skilled information, Diego, is a superb choice and can cowl all the spots.
Right here you’ll discover tree-lined plazas, beautiful cathedrals, vital cultural establishments, bustling markets, and much extra. It’s a fantastic place for an off-the-cuff stroll, as there are a number of pedestrian-only streets.
For those who 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.
Make sure you stroll via the close by Liberation Sq. to snap a photograph with the Guadalajara signal. Wandering round this sq. is likely one of the finest free issues to do within the metropolis.
From right here you might have easy accessibility 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 definitely visited by yourself, it’s at all times 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 soak up the sights together with insights from an area information.
For those who’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara if 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 the town and also you’ll most likely find yourself making just a few new associates.
Happening a strolling tour is likely one of the finest issues to do in Guadalajara to get your bearings within the metropolis.
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 often called 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 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 one in all these sandwiches is likely one of the finest issues to do in Guadalajara when you might have a hangover — the locals take into account it the perfect 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 pal the place the perfect sandwiches in Guadalajara might be discovered! Consuming wonderful meals is unquestionably 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 concerning the historical past and significance of every dish. Discover out extra about the perfect 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 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 positioned on the principle 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 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 may be very extremely rated with a pleasant and educated information. Click on right here to study extra.
5. Hearken to Reside 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 observe, 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 make sure to come ready with just a few songs apart from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Purchasing in Tlaquepaque
For those who’re trying to take house some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll wish to make sure to 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 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 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 at the present time tour.
7. Go to the Cultural Institute Cabañas
One of the crucial 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 ultimately grew to become 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 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 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 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 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 definitely one of many coolest issues to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.
You could have 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 prepare. It’s a bit dear, nevertheless it’s definitely an superior expertise that’s price splurging on.
For those who don’t wish to take the prepare, 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
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 soak up 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 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 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 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 if 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, that means you might have a number of selections for the place to seize a pint.
You’ll be able to be part of this distinctive tour that can 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.
One in every 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 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 all the pieces underneath the solar.
This highly-rated strolling and meals tour is led by a really skilled information who has spent many years buying, consuming and guiding vacationers across the market. Extremely advisable! 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 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 successful mixture. Discover the market on the map, right here.
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12. Take Half in a Native Competition (one of the vital cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are completely different festivals occurring all all year long in Guadalajara, so make sure to 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 at all times one thing occurring. Click on right here to search out out what’s on throughout your journey.
One of the crucial well-known and vital 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 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
One of the crucial 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 need to 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. For those who’re fortunate, you possibly can rating tickets to one of many gala performances through the mariachi pageant.
I attended one this 12 months and extremely suggest it in the event you get the possibility. Click on right here to buy tickets to the theatre, or just cease in if 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, typically 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 among the best 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 price it to do that 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 filled with strolling paths and picnic areas, making for a fantastic place to spend a leisurely afternoon open air.
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 most effective half about taking a stroll via Parque Colomos is with the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. For those who can ignore the man blasting reggaeton via 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 best 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 website often called 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 likely one of the most attention-grabbing issues to do in Guadalajara and effectively well worth the day-trip. It prices 30 pesos to enter, or you possibly can rent a information on website for 200 pesos. For those who’d desire, 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 staff through the World Cup or watching native groups compete within the Liga MX. Guadalajara is house 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, effectively, doesn’t.
If you wish to watch among the best groups within the league, leap on the Chivas bandwagon. For those who’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. Occasion on Avenida Chapultepec
Guadalajara is a metropolis that likes to get together, and among the best 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 course of the avenue. Native retailers peddle all kinds of wares right here, and it’s a extremely vibrant, vibrant scene. You could find the road right here.
19. Take pleasure in Automobile Free Sundays
For those who’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara on a Sunday, that is it. Whereas the get together 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 autos. Joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, and skaters all take to the streets to take pleasure in just a few hours freed from the grid-locked site 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. For those who’re visiting Guadalajara on a Sunday, make sure 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 possibly can sit all the way 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 organize for them to return again and get you just a few hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
There are a number of completely different cities alongside the lakeshore you possibly can go to, reminiscent of Chapala and Ajijic. Because of 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 talked-about 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. If in case 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. If in case you have the time, ensure that to take a look at Lake Chapala.
Visiting Guadalajara: FAQs
Guadalajara is unquestionably price a go to. It’s smaller and extra manageable than Mexico Metropolis, and gives a fantastic metropolis break from coastal Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara has numerous festivals and occasions occurring, nice eating places and bars, and plenty of enjoyable day journeys as effectively.
Town of Guadalajara is understood 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 when you’ve got the time. After all, you may spend longer, or you may even go to on a weekend. However, with every week, you’ll be capable of catch a soccer match, discover the historic heart, 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 secure for vacationers, however regular precautions for an enormous metropolis apply. Don’t depart your belongings unattended, don’t flash your valuables, keep away from darkish streets at evening, and stroll with associates in the event you can. It’s finest to stay to the touristy, vigorous downtown heart, 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 quite a bit to supply potential travellers. It has all of the perks of an enormous metropolis minus lots of the downfalls.
For example, whereas there are unimaginable issues to do in Mexico Metropolis that you simply 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 return house to.
For those who’re planning a journey to Mexico, make sure to add Guadalajara to your itinerary. It’s the proper place to cease for just a few 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.