Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city and the capital of the state of Jalisco, is blessed with sunny skies and spring-like weather year-round. This means there is no bad time to visit, but if you particularly like dry weather and a busy cultural program, you'll want to head there in fall.
Listen out for mariachi, drink tequila, enjoy folk dancing and see Mexican cowboys on horses performing charrería… A lot of what’s considered quintessentially Mexican hails from Guadalajara. Use this month-by-month breakdown of climate, crowds, and cultural events and festivals to help you plan the best time for your trip.
December and Semana Santa through to Easter are the best times to go to escape the cold back home
Winter is the busiest time in Guadalajara when it comes to tourism, especially around Christmas, but the two-week school holiday period comprising Semana Santa and Easter can also be considered peak travel season. During this time, hotel prices will be higher than usual, but – depending on where you live – traveling to Guadalajara in the winter and spring might be worth your while to escape the cold. Winter in Guadalajara is mild, with average temperatures of 16℃ (61℉), highs of 24℃ (75℉) and lows of 10℃ (50℉). Spring can get hot, with the temperature reaching 33℃ (91℉) and no rain. You can expect to see some crowds during both of these peak seasons, as it’s when Mexicans tend to take their holidays.
October to December is the best time to go for great weather and festivals
Fall is indisputably Guadalajara’s best season. Not only is the weather pleasant with little to no rain, but it’s when the city’s calendar of events is at its finest. Maximum temperatures stay in the high 20℃s (high 80℉s), which allows visitors to comfortably explore the city on foot, and nighttime temperatures don't go below 13℃ (56℉). When it comes to culture, you can get your fill during this time: Fiestas de Octubre, Día de Muertos, and the International Book Fair are some of the main events you might want to check out.
June through September is the best time to go for deals (if you don’t mind the rain)
July is the rainiest month in Guadalajara, but it rains throughout the whole summer season. While the temperature itself isn’t uncomfortably hot, it rains every evening, which could get in the way of your sightseeing. On a positive note, you won’t find many crowds as those wishing to take vacations escape to nearby beaches (Puerto Vallarta is not far) and you might find good hotel deals. Rather than walk around aimlessly in the city, this is a good time to explore Guadalajara’s many museums and vibrant culinary scene.
January is the coolest time of year
The first week of January will have one of the lowest temperatures in the year, but it’s still manageable with a light sweater during the day and a jacket at night. For Mexicans, the first week of January is a continuation of the Christmas season, culminating on January 6 with the Día de los Reyes Magos. This is when most Mexican children traditionally get gifts, rather than Christmas. But adults get to enjoy themselves too by indulging in Rosca de Reyes, a ring-shaped cake made specially for the occasion.
Key event: Día de los Reyes Magos.
February means celebrations for Guadalajara's anniversary
In February, Guadalajara lights up with light shows, projection mappings, multimedia shows, live music and fireworks to celebrate the anniversary of the city. GDLUZ Festival lasts approximately three days around February 14 and takes place mainly around Guadalajara Cathedral, Liberation Square, Degollado Theater and El Hospicio Cabañas.
Key event: GDLUZ Festival.
March is busy with tourists
Semana Santa occasionally falls in late March, though often it’s celebrated in April. Tourism can get quite high around this time and the temperature will be hot and humid –but without much rain.
Key event: Semana Santa (occasionally).
April means Easter celebrations
The heat starts to kick in for Semana Santa and Easter Week, but still not uncomfortably so. You might be able to spot one of the religious processions happening around the city.
Key events: Semana Santa, Easter
May is festival time
May is the hottest month in Guadalajara with highs of 33℃ (91℉). Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Festival de Mayo, which combines different artforms, from theater and painting to opera and dance. If you’re into music festivals, Corona Capital Guadalajara delivers a good dose of international rock and indie bands.
Key events: Festival de Mayo, Corona Capital Guadalajara
June sees fewer tourists
June is the start of the slowest season when it comes to tourism but it has its share of events. The Feria de San Pedro Tlaquepaque, a town 30 minutes away from the center of Guadalajara, is in no shortage of comedy shows, livestock exhibitions, circus perfomances and carnival rides. Guadalajara’s International Film Festival took place in June 2022, but it’s been known to be held in different months, so make sure you research in advance if you’re planning to attend.
Key events: Festival Internacional del Cine en Guadalajara (Guadalajara’s International Film Festival), Feria de San Pedro Tlaquepaque.
July is Guadalajara's rainiest month of the year
There’s a good chance you could get stuck in a summer storm in July, so make sure you come equipped with a raincoat, umbrella and appropriate footwear.
August is the month to celebrate Mexican tradition
The International Mariachi and Charrería Festival sees mariachi from all over the world partake in a celebration to preserve and promote this popular Mexican tradition. Charrería shows (called charreadas) are a big part of the event. With some similarities with a rodeo, in a charreada a male rider – called the charro – performs a series of equestrian activities to demonstrate his skills, be it precision lassoing his horse or the good rein and obedience of the animal. Meanwhile, a female rider, or escaramuza performs sidesaddle wearing a traditional dress brings a graceful touch to the event. Charrería is considered the Mexican national sport. The festival starts at the end of August and extends to the first week of September. Please note: while there is no intent to harm the animals in the performances, the rough nature of the activities carried out can result in the animals getting injured.
Key event: International Mariachi and Charrería Festival.
September is the "patriotic month"
If a festival extolling the virtues of mariachi music and charrería is not enough to satisfy your need to feel like you’ve experienced the “real Mexico”, you’ll be happy to hear that September is also referred to as “el mes patrio” (the patriotic month). Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day and, though a bank holiday, is not widely celebrated around the country. But September 16 is. Drink tequila and margaritas to your heart's desire and join in with the “Viva México” chants that take place close to midnight.
Key events: Independence Day, Jalisco Jazz Festival.
October hosts a month-long festival
This is the start of the best season to visit Guadalajara: the temperate weather will allow you to explore the city and its surrounding areas at leisure. Next on the list of really Mexican events is the Fiestas de Octubre, a month-long event filled with concerts, exhibitions, dancing and a traditional Palenque. The Palenque, a small round stage originally used for cockfighting, is a cherished venue where well-known artists sing in an intimate setting. Please note: while cockfighting is still a tradition at the Fiestas de Octubre preceding the performances, it does result in death and serious injury to all roosters involved and may be disturbing for viewers.
Key events: Fiestas de Octubre, La Romeria de Zapopan, Tecate Coordenada
November means Día de Muertos parades
The month opens with Día de Muertos, where visitors can attend a Catrinas parade (a skull lady dressed in fancy attire) and visit the Panteón de Mezquitán graveyard to admire the decorations on the graves. Literature lovers can attend Guadalajara’s International Book Fair – the biggest book fair in the Spanish-speaking world and second largest in the world, after Frankfurt – where famous international authors present their works in intimate settings. You need to speak Spanish to have the best experience.
Key events: Día de Muertos, Feria Internacional del Libro (Guadalajara’s International Book Fair).
December is peak tourism time
The festive season brings the tourists. Mexicans don’t just celebrate the days between Christmas and New Year: celebrations start on December 12 with the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe. From that day onwards, avoid doing anything where you expect bureaucracy to work. Should you happen to have a Mexican friend, get them to invite you to a Posada, a party that takes place at someone’s home to recreate Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage before Jesus was born. Expect fruit punch with a sugarcane stick popping out of it and piñatas. And yes, during this time, higher accommodation prices.
Key events: Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Christmas, New Year's Eve.