A pueblo (town) of some four million people, charmingly unselfconscious Guadalajara has somehow, and rather without trying, become Mexico’s second city. While often neglected by travelers, the city’s charms are distributed equally and liberally throughout its distinct neighborhoods. The city’s Centro Histórico (Historic Center) is dotted with proud colonial relics that house museums, government offices, bars and hotels. More modern and spread out Chapultepec is sprinkled with fashionable restaurants, coffeehouses and nightclubs. Mellow suburbs Tlaquepaque (upscale) and Tonalá (grassroots) are a folk-art shopper’s dream destinations; and Zapopan has some interesting colonial sites, but is better known as Guadalajara’s Beverly Hills. Guadalajara residents (nicknamed tapatíos, which also refers to anyone Jalisco-born) are warm and eager to share the essence of their city.
Guadalajara’s many contributions to the Mexican lifestyle include tequila, mariachi music, the broad sombrero, charreadas (rodeos) and the Mexican Hat Dance, and these days it is also known for its outstanding food. From streetside taco and torta ahogada (chili-soaked pork sandwich) stands to neighborhood cafes to fine dining rooms in restored colonial mansions, you’re never far from a great meal in joyful Guadalajara.
Best places to stay in Guadalajara
Guadalajara destination guides
Zapopan Tour from Guadalajara: Basilica of Our Lady and Huichol Art Museum
Visit the top two attractions in the nearby town of Zapopan on this 4-hour tour from Guadalajara with a local guide. Just a 25-minute drive from Guadalajara, Zapopan is known for its stunning Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan, which houses a sacred statue of the Virgin, attracting millions of Catholic pilgrims each year.
Tlaquepaque Food Tour and Tequila Tasting
Get acquainted with Tlaquepaque and its culinary traditions on this 3-hour food tour! Taste delicious local dishes and sample the tequila of Jalisco while surrounded by the art, folklore and mariachi music of Tlaquepaque, a small town near Guadalajara.