Guadalajara is the second-largest city in Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco. It is a vibrant and cultural destination that offers a variety of attractions and experiences for travelers. Whether you are interested in history, art, cuisine, or nightlife, you will find something to enjoy in Guadalajara. Here are 10 of the best things to do in Guadalajara Mexico.
1. Visit the Guadalajara Cathedral
The Guadalajara Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city and a must-see for any visitor. The cathedral was built in the 16th century and has a mix of architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical. The cathedral features four towers with yellow-tiled domes, a stunning interior with stained glass windows and paintings, and a crypt with the remains of several bishops and archbishops. The cathedral is also home to the second-largest organ in Mexico and hosts regular concerts and services.
2. Explore Tlaquepaque
Tlaquepaque is a charming neighborhood that was once a separate town but is now part of Guadalajara. It is known for its colorful streets, colonial buildings, art galleries, and craft shops. Tlaquepaque is the perfect place to shop for local pottery, glassware, textiles, and jewelry, as well as to admire the works of local artists. You can also enjoy the lively atmosphere of Tlaquepaque’s main plaza, where you can find street performers, mariachi bands, and delicious food stalls.
3. Admire the Ceramic Museum
The Ceramic Museum (Museo Regional de la Ceramica) is located in Tlaquepaque and showcases the rich tradition and diversity of Mexican pottery. The museum displays more than 300 pieces of ceramic art from different regions and periods of Mexico, ranging from pre-Hispanic to contemporary. You can learn about the history, techniques, and styles of Mexican pottery, as well as see demonstrations by local artisans. The museum also has a gift shop where you can buy some unique souvenirs.
4. Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan
The Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan is another impressive religious building that you should not miss in Guadalajara. The basilica was built in the 17th century and is dedicated to Our Lady of Zapopan, the patron saint of Jalisco. The basilica has a beautiful facade with carved stone columns and statues, a dome with a lantern tower, and an elegant interior with gold leaf decorations and paintings. The basilica also houses a small statue of Our Lady of Zapopan that is believed to have miraculous powers and attracts millions of pilgrims every year.
5. Enjoy the Tequila Express
If you are a fan of tequila, you will love the Tequila Express, a train tour that takes you to the town of Tequila, where the famous drink originated. The Tequila Express departs from Guadalajara on weekends and offers a scenic ride through the agave fields that produce the raw material for tequila. Along the way, you can enjoy live music, snacks, and drinks on board. Once you arrive in Tequila, you can visit one of the distilleries and learn how tequila is made and taste different varieties.
6. Visit the Hospicio Cabañas
The Hospicio Cabañas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important cultural landmarks of Guadalajara. The hospicio was built in the 19th century as a hospital and orphanage for the poor and needy. It is a remarkable example of Neoclassical architecture, with a large courtyard, arches, and domes. The hospicio is also famous for its murals by José Clemente Orozco, one of the most renowned Mexican muralists. The murals depict the history and identity of Mexico and its people, with powerful images and symbols.
7. Enjoy the Guadalajara Zoo
The Guadalajara Zoo is one of the best zoos in Latin America and a great place to visit with your family or friends. The zoo has more than 4,000 animals from different continents and habitats, including lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, pandas, penguins, and more. You can also enjoy various attractions and activities at the zoo, such as a safari ride, a cable car ride, a train ride, a butterfly house, an aquarium, and a reptile house. The zoo also has a conservation program that aims to protect endangered species and educate visitors about wildlife.
8. Explore the Guadalajara Regional Museum
The Guadalajara Regional Museum is located in a former convent that dates back to the 18th century. The museum showcases the history and culture of Jalisco and western Mexico, from pre-Hispanic times to the present day. The museum has 16 rooms that display various artifacts, such as pottery, sculptures, paintings, weapons, costumes, and furniture. You can also see a collection of fossils and minerals, a mummy from the state of Colima, and a meteorite that fell in Jalisco in 1776.
9. Experience the Mariachi Plaza
Mariachi music is one of the most emblematic expressions of Mexican culture and Guadalajara is its birthplace. If you want to experience the authentic mariachi atmosphere, you should visit the Mariachi Plaza (Plaza de los Mariachis), where you can find dozens of mariachi groups playing their instruments and singing their songs. You can also enjoy some delicious Mexican food and drinks at one of the restaurants or bars around the plaza. The Mariachi Plaza is especially lively on weekends and holidays, when locals and tourists gather to celebrate and have fun.
10. Taste the Local Cuisine
No trip to Guadalajara would be complete without tasting its delicious local cuisine. Guadalajara is known for its dishes that combine corn, beans, meat, cheese, and spices, such as tortas ahogadas (sandwiches soaked in spicy sauce), birria (spicy stewed meat), pozole (corn soup with meat), enchiladas (tortillas filled with cheese and sauce), and carne en su jugo (meat cooked in its own juice). You can also try some of the typical desserts and drinks of Guadalajara, such as jericalla (custard), cajeta (caramel), tejuino (fermented corn drink), and agua fresca (fruit water).
Guadalajara is a wonderful destination that offers something for everyone. You can enjoy its rich history, culture, art, cuisine, and nightlife. You can also explore its natural beauty and wildlife. You can also experience its traditions and festivals, such as the International Mariachi Festival in September or the Day of the Dead in November. Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, Guadalajara has it all. Book your trip today and discover why Guadalajara is called “the Pearl of the West”.