When you first think of Mexico, it is very likely that a few of the things that may come to mind have their roots in Guadalajara, Jalisco! Mariachis, Tequila, and Charros are just a few fan favorites that originated in the state of Jalisco! Guadalajara is a big city that retains the culture and traditions of Mexico while boasting a modern side as a growing metropolis.
Things to Do
This Pueblo Mágico (magic town) is technically a separate city from Guadalajara, but it is one that you cannot miss! Tlaquepaque was one of the first of many extremely colorful, colonial cities that we visited in Mexico. Our initial reaction of being completely blown away by the history, architecture, culture, and charm still holds true today. The Guadalajara airport is closer to Tlaquepaque than it is to the city center of Guadalajara, so in planning your trip you may want to either begin or end your trip in Tlaquepaque in order to save a few minutes in traffic through Guadalajara (which can become SUPER bad!) Be sure to have a churro in the main plaza and check out El Abajeño and Nieves de Garrafa Chapalita (more information on restaurants below!)
♦ Tonalá Craft Market
On Thursdays and Sundays, this suburb of Guadalajara turns into one huge market that seems to stretch on for forever! Whether you are shopping for the ultimate souvenir or for a few decorative items for your house, you can find it all in Tonalá. Perfect for a half day adventure to get out of the main hubbub of Guadalajara and into a shopper's paradise!
♦ Guadalajara Zoo
If you are coming to Guadalajara with kids, the zoo is an excellent option to spend a few hours. Heck, we went without kids and we had a blast! Get up close and personal with monkeys and take the ski lift to get a birds eye view of the lions, tigers, and bears!
♦ Hike in the Barrancas de Huentintán
Just next to the zoo is another excellent option for those seeking adventure- though this option is much less kid friendly than the zoo. We will be quite honest in saying that we are NOT the best people to take hiking directions from. We got lost (big time!) on this hike- so we suggest doing some additional research if you plan to do this hike! We can, however, confirm the views from both the top and bottom of the canyons are beautiful!
♦ Avenida Chapultepec
This is one of the more fun avenues in all of Mexico. Lined with all sorts of restaurants, bars, and shops- you will not get bored walking along this tree lined avenue. Perfect for a long walk with plenty of places to stop and rest. Be sure to check out Cerveceria Chapultepec for a drink and Tomate for food! Both great options right along the avenue. (More information on these places below!)
♦ Bosque Los Colomos
If horseback riding is your thing, add this one to your list! For $150 pesos (around $7 USD) per person/hour you can ride horses throughout this beautiful park. Another great feature of the Bosque Los Colomos that cannot be missed is the Japanese Gardens. They aren’t huge, but they make for a great spot to take some family pictures. You can plan to spend 2-3 hours wandering in the park.
♦ Stroll Downtown Guadalajara
A trip to Guadalajara wouldn't be complete without visiting the awesome, historic downtown area! The amount of sites to see in downtown alone can pretty daunting, so we suggest planning to spend more than just one day downtown. Here you can find the Metropolitan Cathedral, in which construction began in 1558, the beautiful Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres, the Octavio Paz Ibero-American Library, the Plaza de Armas, the Teatro Degollado, the Plaza de los Mariachis, the Palace of the State Government (which contains some pretty impressive murals!) and so much more! Be sure to grab a coffee at Chai and a meal at Guadalajara's famous restaurant, La Chata. Another famous place you can't miss is Croissants Alfredo. They make THE BEST chocolate and cajeta croissants that are just life-changing! Finally, plan to eat lunch in the San Juan de Dios Market..You'll thank us later. More information on these restaurants below!
♦ Take a Tequila Tour
This isn’t any old tequila tour, this is a first class experience with Herradura. Hop aboard the Herradura Express and enjoy a day riding a luxurious train through a Mexican hillside, sipping tequila, and learning about what makes tequila so unique. This tour is one of the more expensive tours that we will recommend, but it is also the BEST tour we have ever taken. From beginning to end, it is a top notch experience that you will never forget!
Where to Eat
♦ Tlaquepaque street food--Quite possibly the best part about Tlaquepaque is the street food! Be sure to try the churros! Address: Calle Juárez 231, Centro, San Pedro Tlaquepaque
♦ El Abajeño--Another great option if you are in Tlaquepaque. El Abajeño doesn’t have the best food we have ever had, but they have live Mariachi in the evenings and it is a ton of fun! Address: Calle Juárez 231, Centro, San Pedro Tlaquepaque
♦ Nieves de Garrafa Chapalita--Ice cream anyone? Nieves de Garrafa is nothing like the ice cream you will find in the US. Well, it tastes pretty similar but here you will find both water and milk based ice creamS with all sorts of flavors. Lucky Charms, Nutella, Rocky Road, you name it, they have it! Address: Calle Juárez 246, Centro, San Pedro Tlaquepaque
♦ Cafe Chai--If you are looking for a great breakfast option in Tlaquepaque look no further than Chai. They have a weekend breakfast buffet that is really good and very affordable.
NOTE: Arrive early for the buffet! Address: Calle Independencia 208, Centro, San Pedro Tlaquepaque
♦ La Chata--This classic Guadalajara establishment is a must visit restaurant. This may sound pretty random, but the tostadas are amazing! Address: Av. Ramón Corona 126, Guadalajara
♦ Cerveceria Chapultepec--This Guadalajara staple is amazing! Everything is a dollar! Everything. The beer. The burgers. The tacos. The margaritas. Everything! The portions aren’t huge, but still. It’s awesome! Address: Calle Mexicaltzingo 1938, Col Americana, Guadalajara
♦ TOMATE Taqueria--Located on the beautiful Avenida Chapultepec this is one of our favorite taquerias in Guadalajara. The portions sizes are big and the al pastor is delicious!
Address: Av Chapultepec Sur 361, Col Americana, Guadalajara
♦ El Terrible Juan Café--Terrible Juans is anything but terrible. I can still remember by bacon and cheese sandwich like it was yesterday. El Terrible Juan Café has some of the most memorable non-Mexican food that we have ever eaten in Mexico. It’s good. And oh yeah, the coffee is good too! Address: Calle José Guadalupe Montenegro 1871, Col Americana, Guadalajara
♦ Croissants Alfredo--Typically when we think of pan dulce (sweet bread) in Mexico we think of Mexico City, but Croissants Alfredo is putting up some good competition against the likes of Panaderia Ideal and Pasteleria Madrid! If you have never had pan dulce before, this is a great place to start. The croissants are a must try as are the molletes dulces (long piece of bread with white frosting on top). However, if I were you, I would choose 3-5 pieces of bread (they are pretty cheap) and see what you like the best. Address: C. Morelos 229, Zona Centro, Guadalajara
♦ The Market (San Juan de Dios)--Some of the best food we have ever had in Mexico has been inside San Juan de Dios. The market is huge and can be a little intimitadiing if it is your first time in Mexico, but if you are on the hunt for authentic Mexican street food, you will certainly find it at the market! Our favorite stand is called Taqueria Uruapan. Address: Calle Dionisio Rodríguez 52, La Perla, Guadalajara
Where to Stay
♦ Tlaquepaque--we absolutely loved this area full of airbnbs. Note there are several available in this same building, which is in a great location and felt very, very safe with a 24/7 security person. Click the map below to start your search for airbnbs in this great spot!
♦ Guadalajara--We had a great stay at the Holiday Inn & Suites in downtown. We don’t often stay in name brand hotels in Mexico, especially brands from the US, but we really enjoyed our stay at the Holiday Inn in Guadalajara. it is a mid-range hotel that is in a great location and is extremely comfortable.
Click HERE to book the Holiday Inn and Suites in Centro Historic.
Whatever you plan for your time in Guadalajara, we hope you enjoy it! As always, feel free to email us at email@example.com with any other questions you have!
Until next time, Have Less. Do More. Be More.