Typically missed by travellers, Guadalajara is an interesting 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 dwelling 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 prime places to visit in Mexico.
Profit from your journey to town by trying out this checklist of prime 21 issues to do in Guadalajara.
1. Discover the Historic Centre
The easiest way 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 possibility 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 an important place for an informal stroll, as there are a number of pedestrian-only streets.
In case 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.
Remember to stroll by way of the close by Liberation Sq. to snap a photograph with the Guadalajara signal. Wandering round this sq. is without doubt one of the greatest free issues to do within the metropolis.
From right here you will have quick access to a number of museums, such because the Regional Museum of Guadalajara. You could possibly 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 all the time extra helpful to get an area’s perspective on town. Each morning at 10AM, you may be a part of the free walking tour to absorb 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 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 mates.
Happening a strolling tour is without doubt one of 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 may’t miss out on the native favorite generally 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 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 standard array of salsas and scorching sauces you’ll discover on any Mexican desk.
Grabbing considered one of these sandwiches is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do in Guadalajara when you will have a hangover — the locals contemplate it the perfect treatment (and I’ve to say, I agree).
Take a look at Super Tortas Ahogadas and Tortas Ahogadas Don Jose…or, ask your strolling tour information, Airbnb host or pal the place the perfect sandwiches in Guadalajara may be discovered! Consuming superb meals is certainly one of many prime things to do in Mexico.
I extremely advocate 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 here.
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4. Go to the Authorities Palace
This 18th-century constructing appears 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 considered one of Hidalgo which is situated on the principle staircase.
The Authorities Palace is free to enter, making it a prime exercise for individuals who are backpacking Mexico on a funds. Be aware 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 walking tour may be very extremely rated with a pleasant and educated information. Click here to study extra.
5. Hearken to Stay Mariachi Bands
Maybe no kind of Mexican music is extra well-known than mariachi. It even made the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage a number of years in the past.
In all places 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 unimaginable Mexican conventional Charro cowboys, full with a Charreada (rodeo) and a few drinks whereas being serenaded with Mariachi. Click 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 remember to come ready with a number of songs apart from “La Cucaracha.”
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6. Go Buying in Tlaquepaque
In case you’re trying to take dwelling some distinctive souvenirs out of your journey to Mexico, you’ll wish to remember to embody 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 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 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 this day tour.
7. Go to the Cultural Institute Cabañas
One of the vital 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 turned a cultural establishment. It’s a fantastic neo-classical constructing with a number of courtyards and galleries to discover.
This cool walking tour with a pleasant information will actually show you how to make a visit to the Cultural Institute of Cabañas in addition to many different sights across the metropolis. Click Here to study extra about this tour.
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 digital camera. Click 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 indubitably one of many coolest issues to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.
You’ve 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 expensive, nevertheless it’s actually an superior expertise that’s value splurging on.
In case you don’t wish to take the practice, this fun tour contains transport there and again, tequila tastings, snacks, a pleasant and educated information, and a go to to a distillery. Click Here to study extra.
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9. See a Lucha Libre Battle
One of the vital 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 Enviornment Coliseo to absorb the high-flying Mexican wrestling. The expertise contains round-trip transportation, your ticket to the matches, data out of your native information about what is definitely happening, 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 inexpensive, enjoyable exercise in Guadalajara! Click 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 few of the metropolis’s superior cervezas artesenales (craft beers). The craft beer scene is quickly increasing right here, that means you will have a number of decisions for the place to seize a pint.
You’ll be able to be a part of this unique tour that can embody 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 here to study extra.
One among 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, 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 walking and food tour is led by a really skilled information who has spent a long time purchasing, consuming and guiding vacationers across the market. Extremely beneficial! Click here to study 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 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, here.
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12. Take Half in a Native Competition (some of the cultural issues to do in Guadalajara)
There are completely different festivals happening all all year long in Guadalajara, so remember 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 greatest metropolis, there’s all the time one thing happening. Click here to search out out what’s on throughout your journey.
One of the vital well-known and vital 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 exhibits 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 vital lovely buildings in Guadalajara, Teatro Degallado is a neo-classical theatre within the historic centre of town. To really admire the constructing, you’ll must 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 may rating tickets to one of many gala performances throughout the mariachi pageant.
I attended one this 12 months and extremely advocate it in the event you get the prospect. Click 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 may attend. Discover the theatre on the map, here.
14. Have Dinner at Birreria las 9 Esquinas
One other dish that Guadalajara is known for is birria – a spicy stew normally made out of 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 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 may 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 town. It’s filled with strolling paths and picnic areas, making for an important place to spend a leisurely afternoon outside.
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.
The most effective half about taking a stroll by way of Parque Colomos is having the ability to see the beautiful Japanese gardens. In case you can ignore the man blasting reggaeton by way of his mobile phone, it’s nearly such as you’re really in Japan. Click here for directions 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 couple of 45-minute drive), you’ll discover the superb archaeological site generally 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 planet.
Exploring this archaeological surprise is without doubt one of the most attention-grabbing issues to do in Guadalajara and properly well worth the day-trip. It prices 30 pesos to enter, or you may rent a information on web site for 200 pesos. In case you’d favor, you can join a tour.
Soccer is a large a part of Mexican tradition, whether or not it’s cheering on the nationwide group throughout the World Cup or watching native groups compete within the Liga MX. Guadalajara is dwelling to two football teams – 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 probably the greatest groups within the league, leap on the Chivas bandwagon. In case you’d quite 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 probably the greatest locations to take action is Avenida Chapultepec. This fashionable road is stuffed 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. You can find the street 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 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 visitors that normally plagues town.
You’ll additionally discover pick-up volleyball video games, group health courses, and numerous non-profit organizations arrange alongside the street. In case you’re visiting Guadalajara on a Sunday, remember 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 perspective, 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 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 come back again and get you a number of hours later.
21. Take a Day Journey to Lake Chapala
There are a number of completely different cities alongside the lakeshore you may go to, reminiscent of Chapala and Ajijic. Due to its reasonable local weather and exquisite environment, Lake Chapala can 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 throughout 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. In case you have a number of days to spare, I extremely advocate staying for an evening or two. This can be a chilled out place that we actually loved visiting. In case 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 affords an important 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 properly.
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 every week within the metropolis of Guadalajara when you’ve got the time. After all, you can spend longer, or you can even go to on a weekend. However, with every week, you’ll be capable of catch a soccer match, discover the historic middle, go to a few of the parks, possibly catch an occasion or two, and naturally, do a day journey to Tequila, Tlaquepaque and Lake Chapala.
Guadalajara is mostly safe for vacationers, however regular precautions for an enormous metropolis apply. Don’t go away your belongings unattended, don’t flash your valuables, keep away from darkish streets at evening, and stroll with mates in the event you can. It’s greatest to stay to the touristy, full of life downtown middle, and it’s suggested to keep away from the east aspect 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 loads 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 things to do in Mexico City 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 come back dwelling to.
In case you’re planning a trip to Mexico, remember to 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 town between travelling round Guanajuato and having fun with all the superior things 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.
Pictures on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.