Places To Visit In Guadalajara Mexico

Guadalajara is an inland city with numerous attractions within the city center.  Museums, recreational parks, ancient cathedrals thrive near bullfight arenas, rodeo centers, and football. On the outskirts are the towns of Tequila, where the alcohol of the same name originated, Tlaquepaque and Tonala, a charming colonial neighborhood with accurate craftsmanship and shops of decorative objects and works of art. Mariachi Music which epitomizes Mexican culture and history is a typical sight and sound in Guadalajara.

When To Go:

The city is an all year round travel destination because of its moist sub-tropical atmosphere with temperatures normally ranging over 32° Celsius. The city of Guadalajara entices every visitor to have a glimpse into the excellent sixteenth century with its relic landmarks, flower gardens, fountains, parks, etc. The best time to spend a holiday vacation is during the autumn season (October – November). Around this time it helps you to dodge the mid-year downpours, cool nights of winters and warm days of the spring season.

The summer season exists from July to September and gets the most elevated measure of precipitation with the temperature range shuffling between 27and 28 ° Celsius while the winter season (December to February) rests comfortably on 21° Celsius. To delight in moderate nighttimes, hotter days and best hotel accommodation deals, visit the city amid the spring season (March to June).

Here are the top things to do when in Guadalajara City, Mexico.

Instituto Cultural Cabanas

This neoclassical architectural jewel and the murals of Orozco alone are worth a trip to Guadalajara. The Instituto Cultural Cabanas stands in front of the Plaza Tapatia where it is very pleasant to walk even if the surrounding buildings are full of jewelry shops with armed men guarding the entrance. Do not miss the nearby Mercado San Juan de Dios, an amazing market where they sell everything. Founded in 1791, it has a variety of uses and scroll saw much of Mexican history and awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The locals are very fond of this place; inside there are huge frescoes and exciting artworks from José Clemente Orozco.

The guides are vey amiable and explains in details the meaning behind every paintings. It consists of 23 patios and exciting frescoes from the famous Mexican artist. If you schedule a visit on a Tuesday, the entrance is free. The place is very well appointed, clean, with a bookstore. There is also a contemporary art exposition from other artists that are spread all thought out the museum which was a former orphanage.  But the main exhibit here are the buildings themselves, especially the former chapel, all covered with unusual paintings, to understand the meaning of which is difficult without assistance. But still, they are impressive.

Expiatory Temple

The Expiatory Temple is a Gothic church in a quiet area just behind the rector of the university. The style is reminiscent of that of the European Gothic churches like the Sagrada Familia. In the evening it looks more stunning when the façade is lighted, very impressive and at the square outside you can find many places to dine and enjoy Mexican food. It is a Catholic church dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament which took 75 years to be completed in neo-Gothic style. Get inside and admire the stained glass Gothic impressions of the interiors, you can take photos but without a flash.  

Visit the dome, hear a solemn mass, and if you go on Sundays, there is an organic market that sells fresh farm produce right across this temple. Its architecture, stained glass, square courtyard, and altar, is a nice experience. It is important to observe silence and not to interrupt the devoted pilgrims because the Blessed Sacrament is continually exposed.  Adoration is made even if it is not a day of obligation and there is no Holy Mass to celebrate. If you need to have a guided tour, a request from their friendly staff can be arranged on the day of your visit to have a better understanding of this temple’s significance in the city of Guadalajara.

Guachimontones Pyramids

The Guachimontones Pyramids is a must visit attraction in Guadalajara. From the city center it takes an hour by car to reach the village near Teuchitlan where this imposing circular shaped archaeological site is located. If you are in Guadalajara without a car, you can take the bus from the ATE or the Antigua Estacion Camionnera. You get off at Teuchitlan, about an hour and a half drive away.

The round trip costs about 134 pesos. Otherwise, there are also taxis with arranged rates that will bring you to this attraction. Once you arrive at the village, you can reach the site on foot (about 20 minutes to the entrance of the site), be careful when climbing. Start your visit at the museum and watch the video presentation made available in Spanish, English and French Language. Then join the pyramid tour along with other guests, the ideal time to climb is during the autumn season, when the grass is all green. The pyramids are very nice and impressive and the panoramic view of the entire city is all worth the time and effort.

Teatro Degollado

The Teatro Degollado is one of the most impressive European style buildings in Guadalajara City. Advanced reservations are recommended to gain entrance and attend one of their events. Its architecture is fascinating and the lighting at night is very good. The surrounding area is good for walking. You would think that this building is located in Rome, with its giant pillars and the sculpture at the building arch but, no, you are in Mexico and you cannot help but schedule visit and have the possibility to explore what is inside. It is an extremely elegant theater with excellent audio and lighting, built in classic style. Try to watch a musical performance in September (Mariachi Gala) and be amused by the orchestra and unforgettable Mariachi music. There are also scheduled recitals, operas, and ballet performances.

It is an excellent place and you can either choose to attend a presentation or to go for a coffee where the service is very friendly. This unique theater is also close to the wax museum, the cathedral, and the Morelos Park. Do not miss the opportunity to enter and enjoy a show. There are few theaters like this in Mexico and the constant variety of presentations are really good. The place itself is nice, well maintained, and it is worth taking the family with when in Guadalajara City. It is worth a visit because it symbolizes sobriety, elegance, and expression of culture and fine arts of Mexico.

Bosque Colomos

The Bosque Colomos gives you the opportunity to exercise, recreate, relax and live with other animals (horses, squirrels, birds, fish, turtles, etc.). To walk or exercise is an excellent choice and the earlier the better. Admission is free and you can have good run along its 5 kilometer stretch of paved roads and well manicured lawns. There is a natural forest recreation, Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, ponds, and fountains.

Get away from the city for a while and into the tranquility of a beautiful forest and as it is you can enjoy Colomos either for exercise in their tracks, go horseback riding, cycling, take pictures at the garden or read a good book. It is highly recommended if you want to give a different twist to your routine and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)

The Cathedral of Guadalajara or the Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana), besides being a symbol of the city is a beautiful building architecture. If you’re in town, take time to visit the center and take a tour of the cathedral, you will not regret it. It is a mixture of Baroque, Moorish, and Neoclassical Gothic influences. Its beauty is breathtaking even from afar. The towers are distinctive and the main body is very large.

Guadalajara is often called the metropolitan city and in this city there are a variety of tourist attractions and among them is the main cathedral. This property is the major attraction and icon of the city where you will also find other interesting sites. The formidable Cathedral is the architecture that represents the current Gothic bell towers by highlighting its form and design. Inside you can admire the design of the building such as vaults, domes, panels, drum and frescoes in the walls. If you like architecture and want to take a nice souvenir of Guadalajara, you have to visit.

The Metropolitan Cathedral is in an excellent location and next to it you will find the Rotunda of Illustrious Men where you can take very nice pictures on the side street of the Cathedral. It is here where you can also find the Tapatio Tours. It is a tourist bus that will take you to other interesting places in Guadalajara like the; Tlaquepaque, Tonala (a place where you can buy plenty of nice things at good prices) among other places, with an excellent price and the best option to visit several places in one day.

Zoologico Guadalajara

The Zoologico Guadalajara is located about 30 minutes from the city center. It is ideal to visit during the week if you want to walk around and see the animals without many people around. Because of its near location in Canyon Huentitán, it enables every visitor to appreciate the wonderful views from different positions in the park. There is a lot of walking but it is all worth it. The animals have much room to move and are in good condition. Worth a visit with family and especially the children who will really enjoy it. The food and drinks are very expensive in the zoo, and it is advisable that you buy prepared sandwiches and drinks before entering. It is a wonderful zoo and very well organized although there are some heavily soiled areas so it is highly recommended to wear comfortable clothes and good walking shoes.

Guadalajara Zoo is extensive, very neat and is constantly being improved by adding new attractions. It is perfect for taking the kids to see the animals in spaces that simulate their environments of origin.  The new cable car ride is interesting but a bit expensive. It requires more than 4 hours to see and enjoy everything. They have different packages to visit all areas of the zoo but still within the same you can also purchase individual tickets to appreciate the safari and all its amazing features.

Basilica de Zapopan

The Basilica de Zapopan is a very nice place to visit, the atrium, the square and the basilica itself, if you walk around the city center it must not to be missed. The gardens, the architecture, plus the clean and green surroundings are all worth the time and effort. It is a church that has a magnificent architecture and is situated in a very picturesque area of the city.

The basilica is huge and open to the public, the patio has a beautiful image of the Virgin Mary dating back from the 1530’s. In front of the Basilica there are many stalls selling food, flowers, candles, and religious items. And at night, you can see not only the whole Basilica lit, but also the Arcos de Zapopan, where there are many options of bars and also a restaurant called Las Papas, where they serve delicious Mexican tacos and tamales.

Palacio de Gobierno

The Palacio de Gobierno is an 18th century palace which is the seat of the government of Guadalajara. It has a well preserved and very old architecture. It is a beautiful building with one part open to visitors, with three floors. On the ground floor there are rooms with exhibits and an area with a tequila museum. It is well located and easy to access, worth the admission to see the murals painted on the steps of the Palace. It is a nice colonial headquarters of the executive branch of government and it stands opposite a pretty square where there are food kiosks in the center and next to the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Rectoria de la Universidad de Guadalajara

The Rectory of the University of Guadalajara or the Rectoria de la Universidad de Guadalajara is a landmark building in the city of Guadalajara that now also serves as a public museum. It is located in one of the most beautiful avenues in the city, which is the Vallarta Avenue. It is the cradle of illustrious men with extensive educational offerings.

In the Rectory is this beautiful building which houses exhibitions and large murals of famous exhibitors of fine arts that adorn the auditorium. The auditorium also presents concerts and other cultural university events.  At the back there is the MUSA (Museum of Art) which you can also visit while in the area and at the front you can admire the murals of Orozco. Next to the rectory is the Rambla Catalonia, where most of the outdoor cultural events of Guadalajara City are presented.

Escultura La Estampida

The Escultura La Estampida is located between the Avenues López Mateos and Young Heroes and one of the most representative symbols of Guadalajara City. It presents a metallic sculpture (looks like raw iron) out of several horses in skyrocketing, galloping, stance with their manes blown by the wind.

This artwork gives the impression of freedom. It is not hard to miss because it is located within a roundabout and visible while driving around the city. It is advisable to stop for awhile to reflect on its meaning and to take pictures beside a symbolic icon of Guadalajara.

Plaza de la Liberacion

The square is in the center of Guadalajara and is well worth knowing. The Plaza de Liberacion is surrounded by Cathedral of Guadalajara, the Government Palace and the Teatro Degollado. The plaza is really beautiful and full of historic places and some good pictures. It is a quiet place to spend time, walk and enjoy the outdoors, watch occasional free events, or shop for some souvenirs of the city.

Forest of the Spring (Bosque de la Primavera)

The Forest of the Spring (Bosque de la Primavera) is one of the main symbols of the city of Guadalajara, with a great diversity of flora and fauna which everyone has an obligation to protect and care. It is an excellent place to walk, enjoy quiet afternoons, or ride a mountain bike on its variety of routes. It is a place where you can go to exercise, walk with family or partner and have the opportunity to breathe fresh air and be very close with the animals that live there. You have to go and enjoy this beautiful forest because practically it is one of the few remaining green areas in Guadalajara City.

Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city, and in numerous regards can be viewed as the ideal holiday destination for families and backpackers. This is the home of Mariachi and Tequila. A walk around Guadalajara will provide for you a full appreciation for the green spaces and public murals and artworks in the city’s numerous public parks and plazas. At the heart of Guadalajara is the basilica. With its twin pointed towers and classic dome, it is the most unmistakable milestone on the Guadalajara horizon. Behind the Cathedral is the expansive Plaza de la Liberacion, built to recognize Miguel Hidalgo’s war against slavery. The Teatro Degollado can be found at the far east end of the square.

Whether you decide to go around the city by foot, on top of a double decker bus or via horse drawn carriage, you’ll find that Guadalajara is indeed an interesting city to visit.

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