The second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is proud to present its historical background and landmarks to the travelers. Mix a day of sightseeing with some shopping and you will definitely feel like you are in heaven. And if you want to add a bit of spice to your vacation, combine a visit to the city with some days at the beach; Puerto Vallarta is closest.
Location and how to get to Guadalajara
The capital city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, Guadalajara is located in the in the western-Pacific area of Mexico.
Libertador Miguel Hidalgo International Airport (GDL) serves the city and receives both domestic and international flights.
The city is also well connected by bus as well, having two bus stations (the new one in the suburb of Tonala and the old one just south of the center).
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May avg high 89F/31; avg low 57F/13C
Jan avg high 75F/23C; avg low 44F/6C
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What to do
Guadalajara Cathedral is located at the cross-roads of 4 plazas. Plenty of interesting places are within walking distance of this important landmark completed in 1618 but which had some parts rebuilt due to an earthquake. The cathedral mixes in a very interesting way several styles: gothic, neoclassical and Palladian.
Plaza Guadalajara is right in front of the Cathedral and features a fountain (see photo top right) and an open door restaurant plus some food stalls with fresh fruits and beverages. Look around to spot the jewelry on sale as well.
Plaza de Armas offers the best view of the Cathedral and the Governor’s Office. There’s a kiosk in the plaza – used as performing arena by marching bands – and four statues representing the four seasons.
Plaza de la Liberación is behind the Cathedral and features two large fountains and a statue of Miguel Hidalgo.
Rotonda de los Jalicienses Ilustres comprises a mausoleum dedicated to the important people born in Jalisco, but the park around it is so lush that offers the perfect contrast with the mausoleum itself.
Governor’s Place, located east of the cathedral, is visited for the murals painted there by José Clemente Orozco.
Museo Regional de Guadalajara can offer a nice break from the heat and you can find interesting items here including the mammoth skeleton found near-by.
Plaza de los Mariachis has a romantic feel to it. It’s filled with bands which, for a small fee, will play for you while you stay at a café enjoying the crowds.
Templo Expiatorio is a neo-gothic cathedral built in the late 19th century. The interior features an amazing stained glass collection.
Do leave some room in your suitcase for the shopping you’ll be doing here. Guadalajara is renowned for the leather-work, ceramics and glass-blowing workshops. The best place to hunt for bargains is at the Mercado Libertad, the largest enclosed market in Latin America. The market also features a very big food court where fresh sea-food is at its best but you can find great dishes made of goat meat or pork as well.
Want to get out of the city? Then take the Tequila Express (see photo bottom left), which leaves Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10am from the Guadalajara train station. The atmosphere is fun and filled with tequila shots and mariachis all the way to Tequila (yes, that’s a village).