Many praise Mexico’s second-largest city for having produced mariachi and tequila, for being a modern, cultural city with malls and urban parks and for its grand historical buildings.
Guadalajara is the capital of the central Mexican state of Jalisco and the sprawling metropole is home to about 4.5 million people. The highly developed city has wide avenues and modern offices, but also reveals a rich cultural identity.
Many of the city’s historic plazas and cathedrals have been preserved and can be found in the Centro Histórico and surroundings. A small metro network connects the major sites. Visit the 17th-century Catedral Metropolitana (Catedral Basílica de la Asunción de María Santísima), adorned with neo-Gothic towers.
Take a seat on the Plaza de Armas just to the south of the cathedral or admire the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Illustres on the opposite side of the cathedral. To the east is the Plaza de la Liberación, where you can see the statue of Miguel Hidalgo, commemorating the abolishment of slavery. Don’t miss the plaza’s neoclassical Teatro Degollado, where folk dancing is still performed today.
The huge, covered Mercado Libertad (Liberty Market) is a good place to try authentic Mexican food. Snack on tamales stuffed with meat and cheese or sit down for a bowl of birria stew, a local delicacy. To see the contemporary side of the city, admire the artistic fountain on Plaza Tapatia or shop at the Plaza del Sol.
Use one of Guadalajara’s many affordable buses to explore the edges of the city. Don‘t miss the expansive Zoológico Guadalajara and its rare Mexican wolves.
Guadalajara’s climate is relatively mild due to its location at 5,200 feet (1,585 meters) above sea level. The days are mostly sunny and evenings are cool. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit.
Guadalajara sits between central Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta on the west coast. Guadalajara’s international airport is 9.9 miles (16km) south of the city center from where regional buses can take you all around Mexico.