Things to do in Guadalajara
Get ready for an incredible experience by entering the bustling streets of Guadalajara, Mexico. I set out on a tour through this magical city as an intrepid visitor, learning about its fascinating history, absorbing its alluring culture, and savoring in its culinary delights. Each attraction, from the Historic Center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—to the majestic Teatro Degalldo, left a permanent imprint on my heart.
Join me as I reveal the top 25 things to do in Guadalajara, each of which offers a special and unforgettable experience, and I share my personal experiences.
1. Visit Guadalajara’s Historic Center to Travel Back in Time
Discover Guadalajara’s rich history as you stroll through the Historic Center, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Explore majestic buildings like the Metropolitan Cathedral and Government Palace, stroll through quaint alleyways adorned with colonial architecture, and take in the lively ambiance of bustling plazas. The center of the city, the Historic Center, is where the past and present coexist harmoniously while providing a window into the interesting history of Guadalajara.
2. At Hospicio Cabanas, let your inner art lover out to play.
Get ready to be mesmerized by José Clemente Orozco’s captivating murals at the Hospicio Cabanas. Previously an orphanage, this UNESCO World Heritage Site today functions as a cultural hub presenting Orozco’s striking artwork. Each mural depicts themes of social and political conflict in a narrative fashion. You’ll experience a strong connection to Mexico’s artistic heritage as you move through the rooms, which will excite you and make you in awe of Orozco’s works.
3. Enjoy the Mercado Libertad’s Senses
As you enter the bustling Mercado Libertad, get ready for a sensory onslaught. This lively indoor market is a veritable sensory feast of sights, sounds, and smells. The market offers a genuine glimpse into Guadalajara’s lively culture, from colorful handicrafts and fresh fruit to scrumptious street food and traditional Mexican fare.
Explore the many kiosks, interact with local sellers, sample regional cuisine, and become immersed in the vibrant ambiance. The Mercado Libertad is an unforgettable aspect of the Guadalajara experience and a wonderful feast for the senses.
4. Discover the Jose Cuervo Express
On your trip to the town of Tequila, board the Jose Cuervo Express for a lovely train ride through stunning scenery and agave farms. The Jose Cuervo Express’s evocative atmosphere quickly takes you to a bygone period and inspires a sense of adventure as soon as you walk onboard the retro-styled train. The attentive and educated crew on board provides first-rate service during the trip while enlightening you on the background and workmanship of the famed Jose Cuervo tequila.
You’ll be enthralled by the stunning views of the Jalisco area as the train chugs over the rough terrain, with rolling hills, beautiful agave farms, and lovely tiny villages passing by your window.
5. Explore Tequila Adventures
Any tourist to the area must embark on a tequila excursion along the Ruta del Tequila in the town of Tequila near Guadalajara. Tequila tours, distillery visits, and tastings provide an in-depth look at the intricate traditions and skilled workmanship that go into making Mexico’s most well-known beverage.
Learn about the making of tequila, sample its many flavors, and become fully immersed in its history and culture. The genuine friendliness of the people gives the journey an extra dimension of authenticity and makes an impact that lasts. Don’t pass up the chance to learn about Tequila and the passion and craftsmanship that make it a Mexican cultural treasure.
6. Visit Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Illustrations to Pay Tribute to Mexican Icons
At the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, pause to pay tribute to Mexico’s most significant figures. Stunning statues of great Jalisco artists, statesmen, intellectuals, and other significant people line this grand roundabout. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of the contributions made by these extraordinary individuals to Mexican history and culture as you explore the area.
The Rotonda serves as a symbolic gathering place for inspiration and meditation and is a monument to the respect and esteem that the people of Guadalajara have for their hometown heroes.
7. Experience the Bohemian Charm of Tlaquepaque
Enter the magical world of Tlaquepaque, a district that oozes artistic flair and bohemian charm. Explore the cobblestone alleys that are lined with vibrant stores, art galleries, and artisan studios. Traditional handicrafts from Tlaquepaque, including as pottery, glass art, and textiles, are well-known. The lively mariachi music that permeates the air and the energetic street performances that take place in front of your eyes will enthrall you as you explore.
Take a stop at one of the charming cafés or restaurants and indulge in delectable regional fare and revitalizing drinks. Tlaquepaque offers a singular and remarkable experience in Guadalajara. It is a paradise for art enthusiasts and a location where creativity flourishes.
8. Mariachi Plaza is the place to experience mariachi culture
At the Plaza de los Mariachis, indulge in the soul-stirring melodies of Mexico’s renowned mariachi music. Talented musicians congregate in this energetic square, which is a hotbed of talent, to serenade guests with their moving performances. Sit down, enjoy a cool beverage, and allow the mesmerizing music to whisk you away to the heart of Mexican culture. You will feel delight and have a deeper understanding of this valued musical legacy after listening to the mariachi music at Plaza de los Mariachis, whether it is the sentimental ballads or the upbeat rhythms.
9. A journey through time at the Museo Regional de Guadalajara
Enter the Regional Museum of Guadalajara to start your adventure through the fascinating history and cultural legacy of Jalisco. The museum offers a thorough examination of the area’s past, ranging from pre-Hispanic relics and colonial-era pieces of art to contemporary displays.
Discover indigenous cultures, marvel at breathtaking archeological discoveries, and acquire understanding of the rich cultural diversity that characterizes Jalisco. A fuller understanding of the origins and traditions that have molded Guadalajara into what it is now can be gained via visiting the Regional Museum, which is a veritable gold mine of information.
10. Admire the architectural magnificence of Guadalajara Cathedral.
The Guadalajara Cathedral is a work of art in architecture that will leave you speechless. With its complex façade and soaring spires, this majestic building serves as a testament to the city’s perseverance and faith. Enter the building to see the grandness of the cathedral, which is embellished with exquisite stained-glass windows and elaborate altars.
The Guadalajara Cathedral offers a moment of peace and amazement in the middle of the busy city, whether you’re looking for spiritual comfort or are just admiring the artistry. Visit this revered site and be impressed by its enduring beauty.
11. Engage with Contemporary Art at the MUSA Museum of the Arts University of Guadalajara
Visit the (MUSA Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara) to fully immerse yourself in the realm of modern art. The museum exhibits a wide variety of creative expressions, from paintings and sculptures to multimedia works and performance art, all housed in a gorgeously renovated 18th-century edifice.
Enter each gallery and let the thought-provoking artwork inspire conversation and spark your imagination. The Musa Museo is a dynamic location where artists push limits, defy expectations, and provide a window into the always changing environment of modern art.
12. Experience the Vibrant Energy of Chapultepec Avenue
Take in the vibrant energy of the famous Chapultepec Avenue in Guadalajara. This bustling boulevard is home to a variety of lively pubs, hip cafes, and interesting businesses. Join the locals as they take leisurely strolls, sip coffee, or partake in an afternoon beverage. Discover the unique culinary scene while indulging in scrumptious street food and enjoying cuisine from around the world.
A location where creativity flourishes and brand-new experiences are waiting around every turn, Chapultepec Avenue is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. Get lost in its energetic atmosphere and let the avenue’s bright energy to transport you to Guadalajara’s heart.
13. Enjoy the Teatro Degollado
One of the must-see cultural gems is the magnificent Teatro Degollado. Entering the opulent theatre will take you to a bygone era of elegance and refinement with its breathtaking ceiling frescoes and elaborate golden ornaments.
Apart from to being a stunning architectural marvel, Teatro Degollado is also the site of a thriving cultural scene that features a variety of creative acts, such as ballets, operas, classical concerts, and theatre plays.
A must-do during any trip to Guadalajara, whether you’re an experienced art fan or just searching for a memorable cultural experience, is taking in a performance at the Teatro Degollado.
14. Discover Religious Significance at Zapopan Basilica
Set off on a spiritual trip to the Zapopan Basilica, a site of significant religious pilgrimage. Our Lady of Zapopan, a beloved icon that draws tens of thousands of dedicated pilgrims each year, is housed in the basilica. Step inside the lavish sanctuary to experience the aura of fervent religion, which is infused with magnificent religious artwork.
The Zapopan Basilica enables you to connect with your spirituality and enjoy a little moment of peace in the midst of the busy metropolis, whether you’re looking for comfort, saying prayers, or simply soaking in the sacred atmosphere.
15. Witness the Elegance of Charros at Charreada
Experiencing a Charreada, a traditional Mexican rodeo, will let you to fully experience the grace and traditions of Mexican horsemanship. Observe the talented charros as they demonstrate their riding prowess and daring rope feats. Admire the ornate traditional attire and savour this one-of-a-kind cultural experience.
Discover the thrill of activities like bull riding, rope stunts, and equestrian performances.
16. Bring Out the Lucha Libre Wrestling Energy
As you join the realm of Lucha Libre, Mexican professional wrestling, get ready for an exhilarating encounter. Take in the show as masked wrestlers perform acrobatic manoeuvres and daring antics. Passionate spectators who are supporting their favourite luchadores create an electric atmosphere in the stadium. Take in the colourful ambiance, allow the enthusiasm to sweep over you, and join the merry crowd.
A Lucha Libre bout is more than simply a competition; it’s a manifestation of Mexican culture and a singular blend of athleticism, theatrics, and tradition.
17. Wildlife encounters in the Guadalajara Zoo
At the Guadalajara Zoo, which is home to a wide variety of exotic creatures from all over the world, go on a wild journey. Wander through exquisitely designed environments and get up close to mighty wildlife. The zoo provides an engaging experience for animal enthusiasts of all ages, with everything from lions and elephants to vibrant birds and amusing monkeys.
Attend instructional talks, enthralling animal exhibitions, or even take part in feeding adventures. At the Guadalajara Zoo, you may learn about animal conservation efforts and get a greater understanding of the natural world.
18. Experience Excitement at Selva Mágica Amusement Park
At Guadalajara’s top amusement park, Selva Mágica, let your inner child go. Prepare for thrilling rides, adrenaline-fueled roller coasters, and engaging performances. Selva Mágica provides a variety of attractions for people of all ages, from thrill-seekers looking for excitement to families looking for laughter and enjoyment. Enjoy the traditional amusement park food, get lost in the enchanted environment, and make lifelong memories.
Selva Mágica guarantees an action-packed day that will leave you with a perpetual smile, whether you’re flying through the air on a Ferris wheel or screaming with excitement on a roller coaster.
19. Shake Hands with Stars at the Guadalajara Wax Museum
Discover the glitz of the Guadalajara Wax Museum, where renowned people are brought to life in realistic wax figurines. From renowned actors and musicians to legendary sports personalities and historical figures, walk among the stars. Take pictures with your favourite celebs while admiring the fine detail put into each figure.
The museum is a singular chance to engage with history and popular culture while being completely immersed in the realm of fame and celebrity. As you visit the Guadalajara Wax Museum and make priceless memories with some of the most well-known people of our time, get ready to be awestruck.
20. Escape into Nature at Guadalajara Botanical Garden
Find comfort in the Guadalajara Botanical Garden’s quiet beauty, a peaceful haven in the middle of the metropolis. Wander through verdant gardens that are teeming with a diverse range of plant species, including towering trees and exotic flowers. As you meander down winding trails, take in the fresh air, and listen to the calming sounds of nature, savour the tranquil atmosphere.
To help you better understand the local flora, the garden also has themed areas and informative exhibits. At this lovely floral oasis, you may get away from the rush and bustle of daily life and re-establish your connection to nature.
21. Experience History Up Close at Plaza de Armas
Visit Plaza de Armas, Guadalajara’s ancient central square, to travel back in time. The square boasts a timeless appeal and is surrounded by famous structures like the Government Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Spend some time unwinding on a park seat, observing people walking by, and admiring the magnificent architecture. The Plaza de Armas is not only a centre of activity but also a reflection of Guadalajara’s rich cultural past. Take in the atmosphere’s feeling of antiquity and allow it to take you to a bygone period.
22. Uncover Ancient Mysteries at Guachimontones
Stop by Guachimontones, a prehistoric ceremonial site with round pyramids, to go on a fascinating archaeological tour. Spectacular architectural feats may be seen in these pre-Hispanic buildings, which stretch back thousands of years. Explore the archaeological area to obtain a better understanding of the indigenous heritage of the area and to learn about the rituals and beliefs of the prehistoric people.
Guachimontones is an amazing and mysterious location where history whispers its secrets to those who are receptive. Explore this ancient site’s mysteries and let your imagination soar while listening to the remnants of a long-gone civilisation.
23. Enjoy the splendour of nature at Parque Agua Azul
Go to Parque Agua Azul to get away from the city’s bustle and enjoy nature. With its rich vegetation, flowering flowers, and winding walks, this gorgeous park provides a peaceful haven. Explore the colourful vegetation, take a leisurely stroll along shady pathways, and find a quiet place to unwind by the serene ponds and tumbling waterfalls.
Parque Agua Azul is a tranquil haven where you may rejuvenate your senses, get back in touch with nature, and find comfort in the uncomplicated beauty of the natural world.
24. Discover Plaza de la Liberación’s Charm
Take in the colorful atmosphere of Plaza de la Liberación, a bustling area rich in history and culture. Enjoy the grandeur of the Liberation Monument, a memorial to the Mexican War of Independence, and take in the surrounding ancient buildings’ exquisite architecture.
Both locals and visitors converge on the plaza as a major gathering spot. Street sellers, entertainers, and exciting events that highlight Guadalajara’s dynamic atmosphere will be encountered as you explore.
The Plaza de la Liberación is a location where the city’s beating heart can be felt, whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll or taking part in a cultural event.
25. Trompo Mágico Where Learning and Play Converge
A trip to Trompo Mágico is a necessity if you are travelling with children. This engaging children’s museum provides a unique experience that skillfully combines learning and play. As soon as you enter, a world of wonder and excitement is revealed to you. Trompo Mágico inspires creativity and curiosity in kids of all ages with its interactive exhibitions and hands-on presentations. Every nook of this enchanted place is intended to captivate young minds, whether it is via scientific investigation or exploration of the world of art and culture.
What’s best? Parents will also find themselves enthralled by the pure thrill of discovery, so it’s not only exciting for the youngsters.
Also check out our article on Things to do in Mexico.
Guadalajara’s Attractions: Fee and Free Experiences Await!
Guadalajara Zoo: Admission fee: Base price approx $5 for adults and approx $3 for children. This gives you access to the basic exhibits. But there are a number of additional attractions that cost extra: the Aquarium, the Antarctic Show, the Train, the SkyZoo, and the Safari Adventure. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 AM to 6 PM.
Cathedral de Guadalajara: Visit this breathtaking cathedral with stunning stained glass windows. No admission fee. Open during daylight hours.
Selva Mágica: Enjoy the largest amusement park in the western region of Mexico. Ticket prices vary depending on the day of the week and the time of year. Open 7 days a week, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Plaza de los Mariachis: Soak in the atmosphere and hire a mariachi band to serenade you. No admission fee. Open 24/7.
Museo Trompo Mágico: Engage in interactive exhibits at this children’s museum. Admission fee: approximately $5 USD. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 AM to 6 PM.
Morning: Historic Center, Metropolitan Cathedral, Government Palace
Afternoon: Hospicio Cabañas, Instituto Cultural Cabañas
Evening: Plaza de Armas, dinner at a local restaurant
Morning: Tequila Day Trip
Afternoon: Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, Tlaquepaque
Evening: Mariachi Plaza, dinner at a traditional restaurant
Morning: Regional Museum of Guadalajara
Afternoon: Guadalajara Cathedral, Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara
Evening: Chapultepec Avenue, dinner at a trendy café
Morning: Guachimontones, Zapopan Basilica
Evening: Teatro Degollado
Morning: Guadalajara Zoo
Afternoon: Selva Mágica
Evening: Dinner at a local restaurant
Morning: Guadalajara Botanical Garden,
Afternoon: Guadalajara Wax Museum
Evening: Plaza de la Liberación, Have a drink at a bar or restaurant.
Morning: Parque Agua Azul
Afternoon: Trompo Mágico
Evening: Lucha Libre Match
Remember to allocate time for rest and flexibility within your itinerary. Enjoy your trip to Guadalajara!
What is the best time to visit Guadalajara?
The best time to visit Guadalajara is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. The weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy outdoor activities without the interruption of rain.
Is Guadalajara safe for tourists?
Guadalajara is generally safe for tourists, but it’s always important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Take common safety precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night and keeping an eye on your belongings.
Can I drink tap water in Guadalajara?
It’s recommended to drink bottled or filtered water in Guadalajara to avoid any potential stomach issues. Most hotels and restaurants offer filtered water or bottled water for their guests.
What is the currency in Guadalajara?
The currency in Guadalajara, as well as in Mexico, is the Mexican Peso (MXN). It’s advisable to exchange your currency for pesos before your trip or withdraw cash from ATMs in the city.
How do I get around in Guadalajara?
Guadalajara has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and a light rail system called the “Tren Ligero.” Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also readily available. Additionally, many popular attractions are within walking distance of each other in the city center.
What are some traditional dishes to try in Guadalajara?
When in Guadalajara, be sure to try dishes like birria, tortas ahogadas, pozole, and churros. These are just a few examples of the delicious and authentic cuisine that the city has to offer.
Are there any nearby natural attractions around Guadalajara?
Yes, nature lovers can visit Barranca de Oblatos, Lake Chapala, and the hot springs of San Juan Cosalá, which offer opportunities for outdoor adventures and relaxation amidst beautiful natural landscapes.