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Guadalajara City Guide

About Guadalajara

The city of Guadalajara, which is known as “The Pearl of the West,” is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco. Guadalajara is also Mexico’s second largest city and is often considered to be the ‘most Mexican’ of all cities. If you are in the mood for a truly Mexican vacation, which features much tequila and mariachi music (indigenous Mexican music performed with string instruments, Jalisco is the birthplace of Mariachi music), perhaps you should book a vacation to Guadalajara and discover its many Mexican delights.

Besides featuring on the tourist trail, Guadalajara is also a fast developing urban center in Mexico, which has a booming industrious side and is home to a rapidly growing electronics industry along with other fast developing industries like finance, pharmaceuticals, food processing, and fashion. All this business and industrial activity render the colonial city of Guadalajara, as an important stop on the business travel network as well.

Where to stay in Guadalajara
Centro Histórico

The Centro Histórico is the heart of the city, which offers many plazas, historical landmarks, museums and the Cathedral. Restaurants, shops and nightlife options abound in this city center, which also offers diverse hotels that range from luxury hotel properties to discount hotels and budget accommodation. The majority of visitors on a visit to Guadalajara tend to stay within the city’s Centro Histórico district as it is easily navigable on foot and offers numerous attractions including a market and a huge park.

West Side

The West Side of Guadalajara is an exclusive enclave of the city that is home to several consulates as well as upscale restaurants, boutiques, galleries and an assortment of luxury hotels. If you have a penchant for luxury hotel stays then you should perhaps direct your hotel search towards these Guadalajara luxury hotels. We at Fare Buzz will then ensure that we get you the best hotel rates for your stay in Guadalajara.

Other neighborhoods

The other main neighborhoods in Guadalajara are areas like Zapopan, which was founded in 1542 and is home to the 18th century basilica, which is dedicated to the patron saint of Guadalajara, the Virgin of Zapopan.

Business travelers to Guadalajara tend to concentrate their visits to Guadaljara around the Minerva and Chapultepec neighborhoods of the city, which are also its main commercial centers.

Also of note are the areas of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá, both of which are located near the outskirts of the city and are home to numerous craftsmen and artisans, who produce the many arts and crafts that Guadalajara is famous for; such as furniture, wrought iron carvings, pottery, blown glass, jewelry, woodcarvings, leather goods, sculptures, and paintings. These Guadalajara neighborhoods do not feature as accommodation choices rather they provide numerous opportunities for sight-seeing and souvenir and gift shopping for holidaymakers on a vacation to Guadalajara.

Places to see in Guadalajara
Catedral Metropolitana

The Catedral Metropolitana is a prominent attraction of Guadalajara, located in the heart of the city. This Cathedral was built in 1561 but was not consecrated until 1616. The cathedral, which hosts one of the oldest organs in the city, is a mish-mash of several architectural styles like Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical. The original towers of the Cathedral were destroyed by an earthquake in 1818 and then rebuilt during the 19th century.

Basílica de Zapopan

The Basilica de Zapopan is one of the oldest churches in Jalisco, which is considered to be an architectural gem. The church was built by Franciscan friars in 1690 and offers Doric columns, vaulted Gothic ceilings along with a Corinthian altar. The church is the focal point of the Romería de la Virgen de Zapopan religious festival held every year on the 12th of October to honor the patron saint, the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.

Instituto Cultural Cabañas

Yet, another not to be missed landmark on a trip to Guadalajara is this neoclassical building, which has been declared a world heritage site. This building was built at the end of the 18th century and was inaugurated in 1810. Until 1980, the edifice was known the Casa de la Misericordia (House of Mercy which was a home for orphans). The main hall was decorated in 1938 by the celebrated muralist José Clemente Orozco. His famed masterpiece, "El Hombre de Fuego" (Man of Fire) can be found in the vault of the building, which is now an arts institution that hosts a permanent collection that features works of Orozco and other artists along with temporary exhibitions.

Mural de la Biblioteca Iberoamericana Octavio Paz

This building is a library and hosts the impressive mural, which was painted by internationally renowned muralist José David Alfaro Siqueiros and Amado de la Cueva, a Tapatío painter in 1917. The mural depicts labor and rebellion as it features a peasant and a factory worker and symbols of their respective domains. The difference between the two worlds is depicted as a conflict in the midst of the mural, which also depicts aspects of the 1910 revolution and an imaged of Emiliano Zapata, the revolutionary.

The Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum)

This museum is located in the city center of Guadalajara and is housed in an 18th Century building. The museum was established here in 1992 and offers historical, urban, ethnographic and artistic exhibits, which relate to the city of Guadalajara. The museum organizes exhibitions, concerts and workshops regularly for adults and children.

The Museo Regional de Guadalajara

This museum was inaugurated in 1918 in an 18th century building and chronicles the history of Guadalajara and features exhibits that include archeological artifacts, furniture, colonial and indigenous paintings as well as contemporary artworks by artists like Diego Rivera and Dr. Atl.

Best time to visit Guadalajara

The weather in Guadalajara is warm year round and the city experiences warm, wet winters and dry, mild winters. The city, in fact, receives a substantial amount of rainfall all throughout the year though July is generally the wettest month of the year while March tends to be the driest.

The warmest month in Guadalajara is usually May when average daytime temperatures usually hover around 33C (90F) while the coldest month in this home city of the Mariachi is usually January, which has a comfortable daytime temperature averaging around 24C.

Aside from its year round amenable weather, Guadalajara also hosts several important cultural events such as the International Film Festival of Guadalajara and the Guadalajara International Book Fair, which encourage visitors from around the world to book a trip to Guadalajara. In fact if you are currently planning a visit to Guadalajara, you must explore the many flight and hotel deals that Fare Buzz has for the city.

Getting around in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is served by its Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport which welcomes a whole host of domestic and international carriers. The airport is located roughly 12 miles south east of the city and is accessible via a 25 minute drive from the city center.

Fare Buzz in addition to its Guadalajara hotel deals also offers a wide variety of flight deals for Guadalajara all throughout the year. Even if you need a last minute flight to Guadalajara, Fare Buzz can come through for you, for its repertoire of travel deals is exhaustive and includes affordable last minute deals for flights, hotels as well as vacation packages.

Guadalajara offers a public transport system that consists of public buses, a small subway system and numerous taxi cabs. However, like in other mainly Spanish speaking cities, it helps to know the local language if you are desirous of using public transport. Otherwise, you can rent a car for the duration of your stay in Guadalajara as the city is quite easy to navigate, once you familiarize yourself with its layout and its main arterial roads and freeways.

Where to shop in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is one of Mexico’s main artisanal hubs, and a favored shopping destination for tourists. The city is renowned for its many handcrafted wares like pottery, glassware, leather goods, silver jewelry, traditional apparel and more. In fact, mariachis and churros from all over Mexico come to Guadalajara to buy ornate belts and boots, wide-brimmed sombreros and embroidered shirts produced in the various artisan hubs in the city. Many tailoring outfits located all over the city specialize in these traditional outfits.

The Mercado Libertad or the main market of Guadalajara is a preeminent shopping destination in the city though serious shoppers are also encouraged to visit the city’s Tlaquepaque and Tonala municipalities for both these locales offer numerous opportunities for souvenir and novelty gift shopping.

The old-world colonial neighborhood, Tlaquepaque is located in the southeast section of Guadalajara and today this fashionable neighborhood is littered with various boutiques and stores, offering a wide variety of fine arts and crafts. The municipality of Tonala which has been associated with pottery making for centuries is at present a working artisan village populated with numerous craft workshops, producing wooden furniture, blown glass, Paper Mache products and more.

On Thursdays and Sundays, a giant street market is hosted within Tonala. This expansive market is populated by vendors offering handicrafts sourced from all over Mexico at competitive prices, so if you happen to be in Guadalajara on any of these two days, do make sure you pay a visit to the market at Tonala.  Several companies located near this market area also offer packing and shipping services for tourists who need to ship their purchases to their home countries.

Where to eat in Guadalajara

The city of Guadalajara hosts a wide array of restaurants, many of which specialize in the regional meat-based cuisines of the state of Jalisco. Popular dishes of this cuisine include meat-filled tortillas, goat head tacos, and beef tongue in pipian sauce, adobado (meat based dish in a flavored tomato sauce) and a traditional mutton soup called ‘birria’.  Recommended restaurants for traditional food in Guadalajara include dining hotspots like Petra Pizza a la Leña, Mezonte, Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas and El Guero. For more contemporary and fusion fare try restaurants like Santo Coyote, Nude, Anita Li, Lula Bistro and restaurants like La Tequila and La Destilera for the complete tequila experience.

Nightlife in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is renowned the world over as the home of the mariachi and the city is a heaven for music lovers, for it abounds with live music venues. However aside from music venues, the city’s thriving nightlife arena also features numerous discotheques, salsa clubs, jazz bars, mezcal and tequila bars, piano bars and more.  Some of the city’s favored nightlife haunts include Pare de Sufrir (a bar offering mezcal tastings and small eats), La Capila, an iconic bar ranked amongst the best bars in the world,  located on the route leading to the town of Tequila and clubs like Hard Rock Café and Ibiza Club.