Typically ignored by travellers, Guadalajara is an interesting metropolis with a wealth of cultural sights, mouth-watering delicacies, and a few unbelievable 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.
In only a few days right here, we 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 places to visit in Mexico.
Profit from your journey to the town by testing this checklist of prime 21 issues to do in Guadalajara.
Observe: This text has been up to date 2020 to replicate present points of interest, prices and extra. Get pleasure from your journey to Guadalajara!
1. Discover the Historic Centre
One of the best ways to get launched to Guadalajara is with a stroll by way of the Centro Historico (Historic Centre). Right here you’ll discover tree-lined plazas, beautiful cathedrals, necessary 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.
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 have got 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 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 walking tour to soak up the sights together with insights from an area information. If you happen to’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 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 couple of new pals.
Occurring 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 certain to make you hungry. When in Guadalajara, you possibly can’t miss out on the native favorite often called 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 standard array of salsas and sizzling sauces you’ll discover on any Mexican desk.
Grabbing certainly one of these sandwiches is among the greatest issues to do in Guadalajara when you have got a hangover — the locals think about it the very best remedy (and I’ve to say, I agree).
Try Super Tortas Ahogadas and Tortas Ahogadas Don Jose…or, ask your strolling tour information, Airbnb host or pal the place the very best sandwiches in Guadalajara may be discovered! Consuming superb meals is certainly one of many prime things to do in Mexico.
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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 dimensions of the work are unbelievable, particularly the certainly 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 funds. Observe that it’s not open on weekends.
5. Hearken to Reside Mariachi Bands
Maybe no sort of Mexican music is extra well-known than mariachi. It even made the UNESCO list for Intangible Cultural Heritage a couple of 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.
It’s believed that modern-day mariachi music originated in Jalisco, the Mexican state that Guadalajara is the capital of. 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 couple of songs apart 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 wish to be sure you 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 legendary for its lovely, 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 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 day tour.
7. Go to the Cultural Institute Cabañas
One of the crucial fascinating issues to do in Guadalajara is to a go to 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 wonderful neo-classical constructing with a number of courtyards and galleries to discover.
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 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 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 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 trip on the famed Tequila Express train. It’s a bit dear, however it’s actually an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
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9. Take the Occasion Bus to Lucha Libre
One of the crucial enjoyable issues to do in Guadalajara is taking the Red Pub party bus to the lucha libre fights.
Each Tuesday night time, they roll out their British double-decker bus and head to Area Coliseo to soak up the high-flying Mexican wrestling. The tour consists of round-trip transportation, your ticket to the matches, and even a free beer again on the pub!
Even in case you’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 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.
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10. Pattern Craft Beers
Neglect about Corona and Modelo once 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, that means you have got a number of decisions for the place to seize a pint.
Certainly one of my private favorite spots to sip on a tasty craft beer in Guadalajara is the Patan Ale House. 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 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 underneath the solar. 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 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.
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12. Take Half in a Native Pageant (one of the crucial cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are completely different festivals occurring all all year long in Guadalajara, so be sure you examine 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 greatest metropolis, there’s at all times one thing occurring. Click 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 International Mariachi Festival, 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 following level in our checklist of greatest 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 must 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. 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 12 months and extremely advocate it in case you get the possibility. Click 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 possibly can attend.
14. Have Dinner at Birreria las 9 Esquinas
One other dish that Guadalajara is legendary for is birria – a spicy stew normally constituted of goat or lamb. The meat is completely seasoned and extremely tender and is a must-try when within the metropolis.
Whereas there are tons of locations cooking up birria in Guadalajara, few locations do it higher than Birreria las 9 Esquinas. You may 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 the town. It’s filled 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 among the extra enjoyable locations to go to in Guadalajara.
The most effective half about taking a stroll by way of Parque Colomos is with the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. If you happen to can ignore the man blasting reggaeton by way of his cellular phone, it’s nearly such as you’re really in Japan.
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16. Go to the Guachimontones
Not removed from Guadalajara (a few 45-minute drive), you’ll discover the superb archaeological web site 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 web site is notable for its round stepped pyramids, which aren’t discovered anyplace else on this planet.
Exploring this archaeological surprise is among 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 web site for 200 pesos. If you happen to’d favor, you possibly can be part of a tour.
17. Cheer on the Native Soccer Groups
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 2 groups – Chivas and Atlas. The previous performs at Estadio Akron whereas the latter hosts their 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 probably the greatest groups within the league, leap on the Chivas bandwagon. If you happen to’d reasonably 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 social gathering, and probably the greatest locations to take action is Avenida Chapultepec. This stylish road is filled 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.
19. Get pleasure from Automotive Free Sundays
If you happen to’re questioning what to do in Guadalajara on a Sunday, that is it. Whereas the social gathering 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 take pleasure in a couple 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 numerous non-profit 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 contemporary 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 out right here on public transportation, so that you’re higher off ordering an Uber. Attempt to organize for them to return again and get you a couple of hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
Positioned about an hour drive south of the town is Lake Chapala, the biggest freshwater lake in all of Mexico.
There are a number of completely different cities alongside the lakeshore you possibly can go to, akin to Chapala and Ajijic. Because of its reasonable 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 through the week if attainable.
Get pleasure from a stroll alongside the lakefront Malecon or go on a brief boat journey out to the small islands. If in case you have a couple of days to spare, I extremely advocate staying for an evening or two.
Now You Know The Greatest Issues 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 an enormous metropolis minus a number of the downfalls.
As an illustration, whereas there are unbelievable things to do in Mexico City 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 places, and wonderful culinary and nightlife scenes to return residence to.
If you happen to’re planning a trip to Mexico, be sure you add Guadalajara to your itinerary. It’s the proper place to cease for a couple of days on an extended journey round Mexico.
I visited the town between travelling round Guanajuato and having fun with the entire superior things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Nonetheless you get right here, you’re certain 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.
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