The City of Guadalajara: The Pearl of Western Mexico

Guadalajara is a majestic city of monuments, parks, flowers, fountains, and trees lining its avenues, a lively city with a subtle appeal that keeps the first-time visitor entertained for weeks.

The City of Guadalajara: The Pearl of Western Mexico
The Historic Center of Guadalajara City in Jalisco, Mexico. Photo by Roman Lopez / Unsplash

Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco and the second most populated and important city in Mexico, internationally famous for being the birthplace of mariachi, and tequila and for having one of the richest handicraft centers in the country, Tlaquepaque.

The pearl of western Mexico is a majestic city of monuments, parks, flowers, fountains, and trees lining its avenues, a lively city with a subtle attraction that keeps the first-time visitor entertained for weeks.

The rich heritage of colonial Mexico is evident everywhere, with its enormous cathedral, the symbol of the city, standing out. Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are located on the outskirts of the city, both towns are world-famous for the quality and variety of their handicrafts. The average temperature in Guadalajara is 19.2ºC.

Traditions of Guadalajara


It was born from the time after the conquest when the landowners and their assistants showed off their skill in handling animals. In those times, it was mandatory to wear a suede or leather outfit, which over time came to form the typical charro costume. Currently, charreria is considered the "national sport" and is a multicolored festival where riders show all their skills and perform all kinds of suertes such as florear la reata, lazar el toro, terna en el ruedo, and jineteo de yegua, among others. On the other hand, the women show off in the skirmishes with their typical "adelitas" costume, performing equestrian pictures at a trot, with bold and elegant maneuvers on horseback.


It has become a synonym for celebration and joy, music and its costumes are famous all over the world. Their indispensable instruments are: the vihuela, guitar, guitarrón, violins and trumpets. Its members dress in the "charra" style, generally in black suits with beach applications and with the traditional hat. Although there is still much controversy, it seems that this type of musical ensemble originated in the north of the state, in the region of Los Altos de Jalisco. Cocula has been considered the birthplace of the mariachi. One of the myths about the origin of the word "mariachi" comes from the times of the French Invasion (1862) when during a wedding French soldiers arrived and their interlocutor answered "C'est un mariage" (It's a wedding) and that's how the group was called "marriach" which became "mariachi". In Guadalajara, these groups can be heard in folkloric restaurants, as well as in the traditional Plaza del Mariachi and of course in the famous Parían in Tlaquepaque.


Tequila is a distillate originating from the municipality of the same name, made from the fermentation and distillation of a juice extracted from the blue agave. It is the best known and most representative drink of Mexico in the world. The name tequila is a controlled denomination of origin. Tequila is classified according to its aging process: Blanco, also known as "silver", is obtained just after distillation and is bottled almost immediately. Reposado remains for a minimum of two months to less than a year in oak or white oak barrels. It is smoother than white and has a golden color and a woody flavor. The añejo is matured for at least one year in white oak barrels. Its color ranges from a strong golden to dark amber and its flavor is strongly impregnated by the wood. If it has been aged for at least three years, it can be considered "extra añejo". The Agave Landscape has been inscribed by UNESCO as one of the first cultural landscapes on the list of protected World Heritage Sites.

Festivals in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is synonymous with partying. The city hosts festivals and big events throughout the year. Some of the most important are these.

Anniversary of the founding of Guadalajara

Every year celebrations are held from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm at the Municipal Presidency, Plaza Guadalajara, Plaza Fundadores and the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres (Roundabout of Illustrious Men). It consists of a series of artistic, civic, and cultural events to commemorate the anniversary of the city, founded on February 14, 1542.

May Cultural Festival

The event is in charge of the Jalisco Secretary of Culture and is celebrated in several municipalities of Jalisco. It includes different manifestations of music, dance, painting, photography, sculpture, theater, cinema, and gastronomy. In 2003, the decision was made to organize the program around a specific country and since then Hungary, Poland, Austria, Spain, Mexico, Germany, and Japan have been some of the guests of honor.

International Mariachi and Charrería Encounter

The festival takes place in late August and early September. In this event, the streets of downtown Guadalajara become the stage for more than 1,000 mariachi musicians from around the world. The inaugural parade has become an icon in the West of Mexico and the best exponents of this genre gather in Guadalajara. As for the National Charro Championship, it brings together the best national teams in a spectacle that presents the suertes charras.

October Festivities

They take place from the first Saturday of October until the first Sunday of November. They are held in the Benito Juárez Auditorium and in different locations in Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá and Tlajomulco. The Fiestas include a great variety of artistic and cultural shows combined with multiple recreational activities.

The event begins with the traditional parade of floats along 16 de Septiembre Avenue and throughout the month there are concerts by nationally and internationally renowned artists, dance exhibitions, workshops, and the famous palenque. You can also find mechanical games, Mexican snacks, exhibitions and sales of handicrafts and industrial products, livestock expo, and sports activities.

Pilgrimage from the Metropolitan Cathedral to the Zapopan Basilica

It is the annual pilgrimage that takes place in the early morning of October 12 from the Guadalajara Cathedral to the Zapopan Basilica. The image is accompanied on its pilgrimage by its devotees and hundreds of dancers with masks and feathers. The event ends with traditional dances and fireworks. From May 20 to October 11 of each year, Our Lady of Zapopan visits the temples located in the municipalities of Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque, Zapopan, and the town of San Andres.

International Book Fair in Guadalajara

Better known as the FIL, it is the most important editorial meeting in Ibero-America and an extraordinary cultural festival. During the nine days of the Fair, the public can listen to their favorite authors. The city is filled with music, art, film, and theater from the Guest of Honor country or region. It is held every year, starting on the last Saturday of November.

Guadalajara International Film Festival

A cultural event whose objective is the diffusion and promotion of Ibero-American cinema, which has consolidated itself as the most outstanding cinematographic exhibition in Latin America, both for the quality of the films shown and for the international guests who attend.

Jalisco Jazz Festival

The festival has become a summer classic and brings together dozens of important national and international jazz figures in the city. The festival has a wide educational offer where prestigious musicians offer classes and clinics, sharing their experiences with all those interested in the subject. There are outdoor performances and important venues such as the Teatro Degollado.

Tequila Festival

More than 200 brands of tequila participate in the event, which features music, art exhibitions, gastronomy, and tequila tastings.

Authentic Mexican Cuisine of Jalisco

The legendary tradition of Jalisco's gastronomy is the result of the fusion of pre-Hispanic roots and the contribution of diverse migrant groups during the Colony. It is varied and full of flavor, where the use of spices and condiments gives a particular touch to its typical recipes.

The menu of typical dishes includes birria, pozole, pipián, tostadas de pata, enchiladas tapatías, salty birote, and a gastronomic challenge that should not be avoided is to try tortas ahogadas, a culinary emblem of the city. The sweetest moment is represented by rice pudding, capirotada, jericallas, milk sweets, cocadas from the coastal region, quince cajeta, coconut, and tamarind sweets, to mention a few.

Tequila is the mythical drink of the region with a history and presence that has gone beyond the borders, not only of the state but of the country. The famous drink is made from agave grown in the town of Tequila, located less than an hour from Guadalajara. If you are looking for something milder and more refreshing, it is worth drinking tejuino, a traditional drink made from unfermented corn and sugar cane that is drunk with lime, salt, and chile piquin.

To enjoy authentic traditional food in a popular atmosphere you can visit the San Juan de Dios Market with several stalls offering typical dishes; while for a more city atmosphere, the Paseo Chapultepec offers a wide variety of regional and international options.

Shopping in Guadalajara

The destination offers a wide range of possibilities that go from modern shopping malls with the best world-renowned stores, to typical markets and tianguis where you can find all the typical products of the region, starting with the beautiful handicrafts of the state.

Among the most important shopping malls in the city, we can mention Galerias Guadalajara, La Gran Plaza Fashion Mall, Plaza del Sol, Forum Tlaquepaque, and Andares, which besides being one of the largest and most important in the country, is part of a development that includes apartment towers, as well as offices and a hotel of great tourism.

Guadalajara is one of the leaders in the footwear industry, so it is recommended to visit the "Zona del Calzado" (Footwear Zone), which offers a large number of shoe stores. It is worth mentioning that Guadalajara has beautiful art galleries, as well as very good jewelry stores that are worth visiting for their unique designs and good prices.

As for handicrafts, Tlaquepaque and Tonalá have an attractive diversity of products made of clay, blown glass, brass, rustic furniture, and fine jewelry.

The Historic Center of Guadalajara: Buildings and Attractions

Main Square - With a beautiful Art Nouveau kiosk that was made in Paris in the 19th century. The four seasons are represented in the corners of the plaza with beautiful Greco-Latin sculptures. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday afternoons the traditional serenades are held with the presentation of the State and Municipal bands.

Coat of Arms of the City of Guadalajara - Bronze sculptural group, with two lions on an oak tree. To the side, two steles of 6 meters in height indicate that in 1539 King Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany granted the title of city to Guadalajara.

Mariachi Square or Patio Tapatío - Presents live music, Thursday to Sunday from 3:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Karaoke nights, Monday to Wednesday from 9:30 PM to 3:00 AM.

Founders Square - A sculptural group of 21 meters long and 3 meters high designed by the Jalisco artist Rafael Zamarripa stands out.

Government Palace - It dates from 1750 and has a quarry façade, where the gargoyles with forms of armor stand out. In its interior two amazing murals by José Clemente Orozco can be admired. Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 8 pm

Guadalajara Square - With gardens and a beautiful fountain. It houses simple cafes and commercial passages.

Municipal Palace - The quarry building was inaugurated in 1952. Its interior shows paintings by artist Gabriel Flores illustrating the founding of the city.

Legislative Palace - Neoclassical building from the 18th century. It was remodeled in 1982 to be the seat of congress. Inside there is a wall covered with Tonalá ceramics. Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 21:00 hrs.

The Rotunda of Illustrious Men  - Circular monument supported by 17 columns. It houses the remains of outstanding Jalisco citizens.

Degollado Theater - This beautiful neoclassical building was inaugurated in 1866. Its vault has frescoes that allude to the Divine Comedy and the facade is covered with quarry stone with a marble relief. It has a capacity of 1026 people.

Tapatía Square - Modern plaza built-in 1982. It extends half a kilometer to the Cabañas Institute and has several stores, restaurants, and an interesting sculptural group, where the Fountain of the Immolation of Quetzalcoatl stands out. The central figure measures 25 meters high and the allegories 6 meters each with a weight of 23 tons; to its sides are located the main jewelry centers of the city. In the Devil's Alley is located what was the headquarters of the Holy Inquisition and that at the moment houses the offices of the Sría. of Tourism. Also located here are the Dancing Fountains that dance to the beat of the music and during the night are accompanied by colored lights.

Belen Pantheon - Built-in 1848, it houses the remains of many characters that stood out in politics, education, science, music, literature, etc. It is an enigmatic place full of legends, with tombs of such unique architecture that it has become a museum. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday tours at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 2 pm. Thursday to Saturday at 8:30 pm, 10 pm, and 11:30 pm.

Palace of Justice - Built-in 1588 it was part of a Convent. In the stairway, there is a beautiful mural by Guillermo Chávez Vega. Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 am to 3 pm.

San Juan de Dios Market - It is the largest covered market in Latin America. It offers a wide variety of products such as handicrafts, typical sweets, and small restaurants with Mexican snacks.

El Castillo (Casa Colomos) - Inaugurated in 1902, it is a cultural center where there are exhibitions and art courses.

Guadalajara Zoo - One of the most modern zoos in Mexico, it has a herpetarium, dolphinarium, two aviaries, a children's zoo, an interactive museum, and restaurants.

Avila Camacho Park - It has sports courts, swimming pools, mechanical games, picnic areas, and beautiful gardens. Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 3 pm to 8 pm. Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 7:30 pm.

Selva Mágica Amusement Park - It has 33 mechanical games, the largest roller coaster in the West, the Marine World with dolphin and seal shows, and bird shows. Hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 18:00 hrs. Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 8 pm.

Agua Azul Park - It has an acoustic shell, where outdoor shows are presented, the art garden, the butterfly house, aviary, orchid garden, and soccer fields. Hours: Daily from 10 am to 6:30 pm.

Paseo Chapultepec - It is located between José Guadalupe Montenegro and Guadalupe Zuno streets and has become one of the favorite places in the city, both for locals and visitors. It has a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, and bars. It is not uncommon for the street to be closed to traffic and become the stage for concerts, or the venue for music and chess workshops, to name a few. On Saturdays, there are painters, booksellers, and artisans who fill the street with color.

Museums in Guadalajara

Government Palace Museum - It has eight different rooms. The highlights are "El Agave Azul" which shows the process of tequila and its history and the room of the Conquest, which tells the story of the indigenous groups that inhabited Guadalajara. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm; Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Cabañas Cultural Institute - Building designed by Manuel Tolsá and concluded in 1845 with a beautiful neoclassical style. The gigantic building is structured by long corridors, 23 patios, 2 chapels, and 106 rooms. In 1938 and 1939 the Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco decorated its interior with a mural known as "El Hombre de Fuego" (The Man of Fire).

The building has a school of arts and crafts, exhibition halls, and a movie theater. In the exterior esplanade, there are two beautiful and enigmatic sculptural sets made in bronze titled " Hall of the Magicians" and "Universal Magicians" by Alejandro Colunga. The Hospicio Cabañas has been declared a World Heritage Site. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.

Museum of Journalism and Graphic Arts (Casa de los Perros) - Neoclassical style building where the first printing press operated in the city in 1792. It is also known as the House of the Dogs, because of the statues that adorn the cornices of the building. It has a library, exhibitions of paintings, and information about the media and the history of journalism in Guadalajara. In addition, there is an interactive room that illustrates the evolution of writing. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm.

City Museum - Located on an 18th-century farm, it exhibits objects and documents related to the historical, urban, ethnographic, and artistic developments of the city. Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Saturdays from 10 am to 5:30 pm; Sundays from 10 am to 2:30 pm.

House - López Portillo Museum - Eighteenth-century building with a baroque style façade. It exhibits European furniture and various antiques. Venue for concerts, conferences, and various exhibitions. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Museum of Popular Arts - It exhibits the popular art of Jalisco. It has four permanent exhibition rooms and two temporary ones. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.

The Regional Museum of Guadalajara - Located in a building that was built between 1701 and 1758 with a beautiful baroque façade. It shows diverse archaeological and paleontological pieces, highlighting a mammoth skeleton. It also exhibits an impressive collection of paintings from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 5:35 pm; Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

Museum of the Arts (Rectory of the University of Guadalajara) - French Renaissance-style building. It has 5 rooms of contemporary art and two murals of José Clemente Orozco. Outside in the plaza is a sundial commemorating the bicentennial of its founding. Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm; Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm.

Museum of Wax and the Incredible - It exhibits more than 150 figures of famous characters with real scenery. Next to it is located the Museum of the Incredible which shows incredible and peculiar objects. Hours: Daily from 11 am to 8 pm.

Octavio Paz Iberoamerican Library - Located in what used to be a Jesuit temple from the XVI century. It hosts temporary exhibitions and other cultural events. Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm. Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Sister Cities Museum - Exhibits gifts from Guadalajara's sister cities. Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Museum of the History of Medicine - It is located in the Civil Hospital of Guadalajara which was originally part of the Belen cemetery complex. It has rooms dedicated to herbalism, audiovisuals of characters, photographs, paintings, sculptures, a library, and medical elements.

Museum of Archaeology of the West - Building dating from 1719 that housed a convent of Augustinian nuns, with an eclectic facade and an interior decorated in Art Nouveau style. It presents a collection of vestiges of the cultures that inhabited Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Museum of Sacred Art of Guadalajara - It is located behind the Cathedral. It has an interesting collection of religious art that includes paintings, ornaments, votive offerings, and gold and silver work, among others. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Te Quiero Tequila - It is a gallery located in a house of the forties that exhibits on its second floor a gallery of Tequilas and the store; while on the second level is located the Room of Processes, the Route of Tequila, the Cellar, and the Room of Traditions and Folklore, among others. Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.

Ex - Convent of Carmen - It was built in 1758. Now some of its rooms are used as auditoriums for cultural and social events and its patio is used as a stage for dances, plays, and galleries.

José Clemente Orozco House Workshop - Located in a 1940s house occupied by a famous artist. Presents exhibitions of drawings, lithographs, and photographs. Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Globo, Children's Museum of Guadalajara - Here children learn by interacting in workshops. Every three months the program of activities is renewed. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Fridays from 10 am to 7 pm.

Raúl Anguiano Museum - It presents the plastic work of the master Raúl Anguiano. It has an area dedicated to children that seek to awaken the love of art through workshops. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Museum of Paleontology of Guadalajara - Exhibits fossils found in the western region of Mexico. It is divided into seven sections and the exhibition is basically of Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene mammals. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm.

Children's Museum El Trompo Mágico - It has more than 150 interactive exhibits. Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm.

Air College of the Mexican Air Force - It is an interesting museum of the Mexican Air Force that offers a historical gallery and a room of model airplanes.

Army and Air Force Museum - It is housed in what used to be the "Red Barracks". The museum presents the history of the flag, as well as all the participants of the Mexican Air Force in missions in favor of the civilian population. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Museum of Archaeology of Western Mexico - It is located in the area of Agua Azul Park and the building that houses it has a peculiar shape that resembles a truncated pyramid. In its five rooms, it presents a small but interesting collection of archaeological pieces of the cultures that inhabited Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit. Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1:30 pm. Tuesday to Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm. Sunday from 10:am to 2 pm.

Institute of Jalisco Handicrafts - Located inside the Agua Azul Park. It offers an extensive range of handicrafts in the state. Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm; Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm.

Churches in Guadalajara and its surroundings

Guadalajara Metropolitan Cathedral - Construction began in 1561 under the orders of Philip II, King of orders of Philip II, and King of Spain. The two impressive towers with a height of 65 meters have become the symbol of the city. Its interior decoration in Gothic style interior decoration is unique in the country with gilded vaults and ribs.

Metropolitan Tabernacle - Building completed in 1843 with a neoclassical façade. neoclassic style. In its interior, the stained glass windows stand out.

Church of Jesus Maria - It was part of the convent of Dominican nuns founded in 1722. The interior features neoclassical altarpieces and colonial paintings.

Church of La Merced, Our Lady of Mercy - The construction dates from 1721 and has a baroque façade. The Sacristy preserves examples of paintings from the XVII and XVIII centuries.

Church of Santa Monica - Dates from 1733 and is one of the most beautiful examples of colonial Guadalajara. Its facades are of baroque style and the main altar is of neoclassic style.

Church of San Agustín - It dates from the XVI century and its façade is of baroque style. Annexed is the Ex-convent of San Agustin and Santa Monica, currently the School of Music of the University of Guadalajara.

Church of San Juan de Dios - Dates from 1726. It has a sober façade. To one side is the traditional Plaza de los Mariachis.

Church of San Francisco de Asis - Built at the end of the XVI century. It has a beautiful baroque-style façade.

Church of Our Lady of Aranzazu - The only church dating from the 18th century in Guadalajara that preserves its beautiful Churrigueresque altarpieces. Its main altar stands out with its cornices and medallions and polychrome images.

Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem - The facade is made of quarry stone and has preserved its three original altarpieces, which makes it a unique case in Guadalajara.

Church of Our Lady of Pilar - Dates from 1720 and has beautiful neoclassical altars, mural paintings, and a leaded ceiling.

Church of San Diego de Alcalá - Built in the second decade of the XVIII century, its main façade is simple and elegant. its main façade is simple and elegant.

Church of San Felipe Neri - Its construction was concluded in 1802 and its façade of beautiful plateresque style, together with its majestic tower make the whole building exceptionally interesting. In its interior, you can appreciate 14 paintings attributed to Miguel Cabrera, the greatest Mexican painter of the 18th century.

Church of Our Lady of Carmen - Founded in the 17th century and rebuilt in the 19th century in the neoclassical style. 19th century in neoclassical style. Its interior preserves a series of beautiful old paintings.

Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary - Interesting construction of 1962 with a neoclassical style. neoclassical style. Its interior is of classic style, where the paintings on the walls stand out. Parroquia del Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe - It was concluded in 1781 with a Churrigueresque style. Churrigueresque style.

El Expiatorio, Church of the Most Holy Sacrament - Its construction began in 1897 and has a neo-Gothic style with an impressive quarry façade divided into three sections. Its interior features long stained glass windows on both sides of the central apse.

Church of San José de Gracia - Elegant neoclassical building from the 19th century, built on the site of the former Santo Domingo Convent.

Church of Santa María de Gracia - Its construction began in 1661 and was part of a convent. The sacristy shows great oil paintings by Diego de Cuentas.

Parish of San Miguel de Mezquitán - Completed in 1733. It shows an interesting quarry façade preceded by a large atrium.

Parish of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe - Churrigueresque construction of 1781.

Church of the Lord of the Ascension - Baroque building from the XVIII century.

Church of the Light of the World - Modern construction whose form is an ellipse of 60 x 90 meters with pyramidal ascending bodies. Its tower rises to 60 meters. The building has no main facade, but each of the parabolas looks like a facade without a beginning or end. In the interior, the horizontal soffits are made of stained glass with each of the colors of the rainbow.

Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary - Neoclassical construction of 1958. The cover stands out for its sculptures of angels dressed as Charros and Chinas Poblanas.

Parish of San Juan Bautista - Dates from 1541. The current building has a transitional style between baroque and neoclassical.

Parish of San José de Analco - It was built in 1543 and was the most important temple of its time. The facade is of plateresque style and the beautiful main altar is made of quarry stone.

Church of San Sebastián de Analco - One of the oldest churches in Guadalajara, most of what is preserved dates from the 17th century and combines baroque and neoclassical elements. Two interesting sculptures of indigenous heroes can be seen in the adjoining garden.


Zapopan is the second most populated municipality in Jalisco and the seventh most populated in Mexico. The name Tzapopan or Tzapotl was given by the indigenous groups that founded it and mean "place of zapotes".

It has several tourist attractions, modern first-class shopping centers, important entertainment centers, and the best hotels in the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara. In contrast, it also offers different alternatives for ecological tourism such as El Diente and La Primavera Forest, among others.

Here the pilgrimage of the Virgin of Zapopan takes place, one of the most important religious celebrations at the national level. On October 12th, thousands of faithful Catholics come to witness the return of "La Generala" to her home, the Zapopan Basilica. The Zapopan Basilica is the third most important place of pilgrimage in the country.

Buildings and Tourist Attractions in Zapopan

Arch of Entrance - It is a colonial-type construction that measures 20.40 meters with beautiful sculptures and reliefs that show the history and traditions of Zapopan.

Teopotzintli Promenade - Beautiful cobblestone pedestrian walkway with a shopping area and a variety of restaurants and bars.

Plaza de las Americas Juan Pablo II - Located in front of the Zapopan Basilica. It is adorned with a monumental kiosk and two large bronze sculptures representing the god and goddess of corn, made by Juan Mendez.

Telmex Auditorium - Considered the most modern and functional in Latin America. It can hold up to 11,500 spectators.

Villa Fantasia Park and Zoo - It has an area of 15 thousand square meters. Various species of animals are exhibited here, and theatrical performances are held on weekends. It has an area for picnics and rustic children's games.

20 de Noviembre Avenue - Traditional pedestrian area in the heart of Zapopan. It is a place where bars, galleries, and restaurants are located. On Saturdays, there is an antiques and art market.

Juan José Arreola Jalisco State Public Library - The modern building where the library is located has an area of 45 thousand square meters and has more than one million books, although it can house twice as many volumes. It is considered one of the most important libraries in Latin America. Hours: Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm.

Zapopan Artisan Center - A place where you can find different types of handicrafts such as carved quarry, corn leaf, and wrought iron.

Metropolitan Park - It represents one of the most important green spaces in the Metropolitan Zone. It has 113 hectares of green areas, 4 running tracks, and 3-foot ball courts.

El Ixtepete or Iztepete - It is one of the most important archeological zones in the western part of the country. It has a great pyramid.

Etzatlán - Important for its Ceremonial Center "El Arenal", which has an area of shaft tombs.

Bosque de la Primavera - Extensive forest area of 30,500 hectares with 19 springs, 1,000 species of plants, 106 species of mammals, and 137 species of birds. The forest offers thermal water spas, a thermal water river, and interpretative trails.

Barranca del Rio Santiago - Natural beauty also known as Barranca de Oblatos. It is a steep canyon 3.5 kilometers wide, approximately 700 meters deep, and more than 200 kilometers long. El Diente - Ecotourism area of giant rocks located in the Sierra de San Esteban, northeast of Zapopan. Ideal place for mountaineering, climbing, and rappelling.

Museums in Zapopan

Zapopan Art Museum "MAZ" - It is the best contemporary art gallery in Guadalajara. It exhibits works by Rodin, Picasso, Tamayo, Warhol, Soriano, and Toledo, as well as Mexican art collections. Additionally, it has a multidisciplinary forum with contemporary proposals for plastic arts, music, dance, and theater. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.

Benito Albarrán Hunting Museum - Exhibits more than 300 pieces of hunting presented in realistic dioramas. Hours: Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm.

Ethnographic Museum "Wixarica Huichol" - Offers a permanent display of handicrafts made by this ethnic group such as bags, necklaces, earrings, masks, and clothing, among others. Many of these products are made for Huichol rituals. Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 1:30 pm and from 3:30 pm to 6 pm; Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Chivas Comex Museum - It contains the exhibition of historical objects that have belonged to the players of the Chivas of Guadalajara and trophies. It also has an interactive area with various soccer-related games. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 am. to 6 pm.

Churches of Zapopan

Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan - One of the richest and oldest architectural jewels of Jalisco. Its construction dates from the XVII century, in its interior it keeps beautiful altarpieces and its facade is of plateresque style. It was finished in 1730, although its towers were remodeled in 1734 with a rich decoration. Annexed to the Basilica is a museum that exhibits offerings made to the virgin as well as a collection of articles used in past centuries for her adoration.

Calvario Chapel - The first Catholic mass in western Mexico was celebrated here in 1530.

Santa Anita Parish - Dates from 1732. It has a quarry façade with two towers. Annex is the cloister of the Franciscan convent with two beautiful fresco paintings. In front of this temple is located the Chapel of Guadalupe.

Church of the Apostle San Pedro - It was finished in 1819. It is of neoclassic style and its main façade is made of quarry stone. Here you can appreciate an XVII century painting by the famous painter Juan Correa.

Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary in Atemajac - Located in front of the Main Square of Atemajac, it is a Franciscan construction dating from 1718.

Church of San Juan de Ocotán - Construction of the XVII century located in the town of the same name. The building still preserves the royal coat of arms of Spain with the emblems of Aragon and Castile.

Tonala Jalisco

Its name comes from the Nahuatl word Tonallan, which means "place where the sun rises". It is a joyful place, full of culture and history and with an ancestral craft tradition that dates back to pre-Hispanic times. Its enormous pottery prestige has grown and has been consolidated as one of the best in the world, so much so that currently a good portion of its production is exported to destinations with a recognized pottery ancestry such as Germany and Japan.

In Tonalá, other crafts such as wrought iron, paper-mâché, embossing, and blown glass, among others, are also made. The City Hall has organized free tours to craft workshops. Information can be requested at the tourism module located in Plaza Cihualpilli. Surprise your senses with the magic of the handicrafts of this town, the cradle of pottery in Jalisco.

Buildings and Tourist Attractions in Tonalá

Plaza Cihualpilli - It has a beautiful kiosk made in France dating from 1897.

Municipal Palace - This building dates from 1533, although it has had innumerable remodelings throughout the years. It has beautiful clay murals, as well as a spectacular sundial. Showcases are displaying various local handicrafts.

House of the Artisans - A place where the crafts of Tonalá are exhibited, promoted, and sold.

Artisan's Market - On Thursdays and Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm almost 4,000 merchants are installed in the center of Tonalá with a great variety of beautiful handicrafts at incredible prices.

Cerro de la Reina - Natural viewpoint 2,500 meters high, where you can admire the city of Guadalajara. It has games and is an ideal place for hiking. At the top is located the monument to Queen Cihualpilli and the Stone Chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. In pre-Hispanic times it was a ceremonial center.

Las Siete Cascadas - A place of exuberant vegetation with seven waterfalls, and staggering formations that emanate from rocky areas of the ravine. In their fall, the waterfalls form pools where you can swim. The seventh waterfall flows into the Santiago River. You can practice zip-lining, canopy, and nature observation.

Museums of Tonalá

National Museum of Ceramics - Unique in its genre, it exhibits pre-Hispanic, colonial, and contemporary pieces, more than 230 pieces dating from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. from the eastern and central regions of the country, as well as 850 pieces from Tonalá worked in various techniques. The museum also offers Tastoan masks and diverse pieces that are related to the devotion of the people to their Patron Saint Santiago. The exhibition includes more than 150 photographic images related to Tonalá. Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Tonalá Regional Museum - It is located in a 19th-century house. It exhibits painting, sculpture, popular art, archaeological pieces, and traditional pottery related to the cultural richness of Tonaló. Hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Churches in Tonalá

Parish of Santiago Apostle - It was the second church built in the Atemajac Valley. Its construction was initiated by the Franciscans in 1661. In its interior, the neoclassic style predominates and it has six Corinthian altarpieces.

Ex Convent of the Augustinians - It dates from the XVII century and is located next to the Parish of Santiago Apostle. Its enormous gargoyles with human and animal figures stand out.

Church of the White Cross - This is where the evangelization of the Atemajac Valley began on March 25, 1530.

Church of the Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart - The old chapel of the Hospital of the Virgin of Solitude was rebuilt and became the present Sanctuary, completed in 1899.

Hermitage of Guadalupe - Chapel of Castilian stone built at the top of the Cerro de la Reina.


Its name means "Place of the mud" and it is considered one of the places of greatest artistic manifestation in the whole country. Tlaquepaque is a suburb of Guadalajara but has managed to preserve the typical physiognomy and atmosphere of a colorful and cheerful small town.

Tlaquepaque is internationally known for its artistic quality in the production of ceramics, pottery, blown glass, wood, and wrought iron. There are more than three hundred picturesque stores that are a real pleasure for those looking for unique products at good prices.

You can also enjoy the local gastronomy in some of the many restaurants that line the sidewalks and of course in the traditional Parian. The City Hall offers free tours to sites of historical interest and galleries and craft centers. The tours last approximately two hours can be in English or Spanish and are conducted with groups of at least ten people. The starting point is the information module located at the intersection of Progreso and Juárez streets.

Tlaquepaque's Buildings and Tourist Attractions

El Refugio Cultural Center - Formerly a hospital, it currently functions as a cultural center. Night tours take place on Wednesdays and Fridays where the history and legends of the building are told. Hours: Monday to Friday 9 am to 8 pm. Saturday 9 am to 1 pm.

Hidalgo Garden - Dates from 1950. With a beautiful kiosk and a fountain, it projects the friendly image of Tlaquepaque. Place where the local festivities are celebrated.

El Parián - Built in 1878, this is the maximum expression of folklore. Its music, food, drinks, and handicrafts make it a place of international recognition. Hours: Daily from 10 am to 2 am.

House of the Artisans - Here you can find all the possible variety of Tlaquepaque's handicrafts. Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 am to 8 pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 8 pm.

Handicrafts Market - You can appreciate and acquire pieces made by the artisans of the region.

Independencia Street - It is a pleasant walkway full of art galleries, and stores offering all kinds of colorful handicrafts, old mansions, bars, and restaurants. The Regional Museum of Ceramics is also located on this street.

Churches in Tlaquepaque

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Solitude - Built in 1878 by the Franciscan order, in neoclassical style. In its interior, we can admire 20 pictorial works of recognized artists.

Parish of San Pedro Tlaquepaque - Built by the Franciscan order in 1670 combining several styles: Romanesque, Byzantine, Baroque, etc. Dedicated to the patron saint of this potter village and in its interior, it exhibits biblical scenes, elaborated in clay.

Tlaquepaque Museums

Pantaleon Panduro Museum of the National Prize of Ceramics - Displays the best collection of Mexican ceramics. The pieces decorated by the Presidential Award are exhibited, which at present ascends its collection to more than 500 pieces that express the most varied techniques. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Regional Museum of the Ceramics of Tlaquepaque - Located in a beautiful residence of the XVII century it exhibits the beautiful ceramics of Tlaquepaque. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Chapala is 48 km from Guadalajara and is the largest natural lake in the Mexican Republic with an area of 114,569 hectares, (of which Jalisco occupies 86% and Michoacán 14%) and an extension of 78.5 km. in length and 20.5 km. in its widest part.

Chapala has become a tourist paradise because of the beauty of its landscapes, and its typical cuisine, but above all, because it is surrounded by a mosaic of typically Mexican towns. In addition, the destination is nominated by National Geographic as one of the best climates in the world, because 365 days a year the Chapala Lakeside enjoys an average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius.

Lake Chapala offers an endless number of recreational and leisure activities for residents and visitors, such as walks, hikes, sailing, water skiing, golf, tennis, and horseback riding, among others. On the shores of the lake, there are stalls, markets, galleries, and craft workshops where it is easy to find antiques, furniture, tapestries, glass objects, lamps, wrought iron furniture, masks, and ceramics, jewelry, art and crafts of all kinds.

The Lake Chapala area is one of the best places in the country to buy quality art and crafts. Along the lake, there are several towns such as Chapala, famous for its textile production; Chula Vista, and San Juan Cosala, whose main attractions are the hot springs.

Ajijic, another town, has a unique rustic atmosphere and an interesting community of artists; the picturesque town is characterized by its adobe and tile gabled roofs and elegant country houses, as well as cobblestone streets, a beach with a pier, and many handicraft stores.

In its interior is the Isla de los Alacranes with its delicious restaurants and Mezcala Island called El Presidio for its fortified construction used by the insurgents in the final stage of the War of Independence, whose Renaissance style ruins are still preserved.


Its cultural richness dates back to the origins of Mesoamerica, with the vestiges of the Chiquihuitillo and the shaft tombs. It was a settlement of Nahuatlaca, Toltec, and Otomi indigenous peoples, and one of the most important routes in the exchange and trade of Obsidian. Tequila was founded in 1530 by Cristóbal de Oñate, with the name of Villa de Santiago de Tequila, and is located 65 km from Guadalajara.

Tequila is surrounded by a beautiful landscape where the fields of blue agave prevail, the base ingredient for the production of tequila. At night and in the early morning the whole town is flooded with the smell of cooked agave that escapes from the ovens of the factories, a smell so sweet that it captivates the senses and makes you fall in love.

The tequila tradition dates back to 1600, when Pedro Sánchez de Tagle, Marquis of Altamira, installed the first tequila factory. There are architectural works of interest such as the Church of Santo Santiago Apostle, which dates from the 17th century and stands out for its stone façade and its main altarpiece; and the Church of the Lord of the Forsaken, a building from the 18th century.

You can visit the Portales with a boutique store that sells Tequila and a Restaurant Bar that offers delicious cantaritos, a drink made from Tequila. The Industrial Corridor of Tequila, where the installations of the first Tequila industries are located. The Historic Tequila Washing Places at the end of the old tavern street, which has been remodeled to include gardens, walkways, and fountains. The Cleofas Mota Gastronomic Market, with a great variety of antojitos. And the Cantina "La Capilla", where you can taste the traditional "Batanga".

There are several museums in some of the most important distilleries, such as The National Tequila Museum, an old mansion from the 19th century that in its six rooms goes through the history of the tequila process, has old stills and an important collection of tequila containers (Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm). The Museum "Los Abuelos Familia Sauza", with three rooms where presents a journey through the history of the traditional Agave family (Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm). The La Cofradía Site Museum respects the site's facilities in their natural context (Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm). The Museum of Site Distillery Rubio, with an important collection of photographs, tools, and utensils used in the production of Tequila (Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm).

In the surroundings of Tequila, you can enjoy nature and practice various adventure sports. Highlights include The Tequila Volcano, on whose slopes there is a wooded area and exotic varieties of orchids and is completely safe for climbing. The Barranca del Agua Caliente, place of origin of the wild species of the blue agave Tequilana. El Chuiquihuitillo Viewpoint is located in the Tequila ravine. La Cumbre Viewpoint, where you can enjoy the scenery of the blue agave fields. The Balneario "La Toma", a subway river that flows into the Tequila ravine with a 6-meter waterfall, has several pools and a beautiful view of the Tequila mountain range.

Typical dishes include shrimp with tequila, Tequila steak, salsa borracha, agavera breast, chorizo tostadas with cuerito and gorditas de horno mounted on oak leaves in the mountains of Tequila. You can also taste the tequila snow; mango and plum preserves from the canyon; the cooked quiote, inflorescence of the agave, during the Lenten season; and the traditional ovo water, typical fruit of the region, in August and September.

Among its festivities is the Tequila Cultural Festival of the Jose Cuervo Foundation, held between March and April, and offers international shows at the Jose Cuervo Forum. The Cultural Week commemorates the founding of Tequila in the first two weeks of April with religious festivities, a great popular festival, and fireworks. The José Cuervo International Half Marathon is held on the third Sunday of November. The National Tequila Fair, from November 29 to December 12, includes an exhibition of the main Tequila manufacturers, serenades with mariachis, and pyrotechnic and mechanical games.

The Denomination of Origin, the designation of Magical Town, and the UNESCO Declaration of the Agave Landscape, as well as the old tequila haciendas, make this town one of the most important tourist spots in the country. Tequila has become the epicenter of the Tequila Route that gathers more than 150 distilleries located in El Arenal, Amatitán, Magdalena and Teuchitlán. In addition, these towns offer other archeological and cultural attractions.

Mazamitla Jalisco

It is located an hour and a half from Guadalajara, nestled in the heart of the Sierra del Tigre with abundant wooded vegetation, streams, and waterfalls. It is a beautiful mountain town full of history, tradition, and dreams. Its friendly people, architecture, traditional festivities, cultural festivities, handicrafts, and extreme sports will make your visit to Mazamitla a magical experience.

Mazamitla is famous for its offer of wooden cabins for lodging. You can stroll through its streets, admire its wooden handicrafts and taste its typical food. You can also enjoy horseback riding, cattle herding, ecological hiking, landscaping, photography, mountain biking, ATVs, rappelling, and zip-lining, located only 15 kilometers from Mazamitla.

Among its attractions are: the Parish of San Cristobal, with a peculiar eclectic style, is located on a pyramidal base; the Cerro del Tigre, a natural viewpoint at 2,800 meters above sea level from where you can see Lake Chapala; the Salto, a beautiful waterfall between the basaltic rock of approximately 35 meters high.

La Zanja Municipal Park, a forest with playgrounds, terraces, and grills; El Tabardillo, a great viewpoint to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the town and the mountains; Sierra del Tigre, where you can camp or practice mountain biking. This mountain village enjoys a cool and sunny climate with an average annual temperature of around 21°C (70°F).


Tapalpa is located about two hours (133 kilometers) from the city of Guadalajara, in the heart of the Sierra Madre Occidental in the middle of a wonderfully wooded landscape. With its highland atmosphere, it combines natural beauty with color and tradition. It is distinguished by its houses with white facades and red gabled roofs. It is an excellent destination for adventure, recreation, and rest.

The first thing you can visit in Tapalpa is its "pilas" (communal fountains), where the inhabitants used to get water, which still have their original names, such as Pila de las Culebras, del Tecolote, del Perro, and La Colorada, and each name is associated with legends of the place.

You can also visit the Church of San Antonio de Padua, a neoclassical construction built-in 1650 by the Franciscans, and the Church of La Merced, with a predominantly baroque style with beautiful murals and stained glass windows.

Near Tapalpa it is recommended to visit: The Paper Mill (2 km from Tapalpa), built-in 1840 was the first in the region. Atacco (3 km south of Tapalpa), where a Franciscan church was erected whose ruins are still standing. Las Piedrotas (5 km northwest of Tapalpa) are natural monoliths of whimsical shapes in an environment of forests and streams where you can practice rappelling, zip-lining, and climbing.

Los Frailes (9 km north of Tapalpa), rock formations higher than the previous ones, an ideal place for those who enjoy extreme sports. Salto del Nogal (18 km south of Tapalpa), a beautiful waterfall 105 meters high, surrounded by pine and oak forests, is ideal for mountain climbing.

El Nogal Dam (8 km from Tapalpa), where you can swim, fish for catfish, bass, and trout, camp and go boating. Hacienda la Media Luna (15 km northwest of Tapalpa), is a picturesque landscape with ruins of a hacienda in front of a lagoon where you can fish for bass and tilapia.

Tapalpa has become the site of one of the main stops of the Paragliding World Cup, which began in 2002. The competition departs from Cerro del Balcón and uses Las Piedrotas as its landing point.

Archaeological Sites in Guadalajara

The Ixtépete or Iztepete

The Ixtépete is located south of the municipality of Zapopan. The area protected as an ecological park is 5 hectares, but it is thought that the total area of the settlement was much larger. Its most striking feature is the largest pyramid, 20 meters long and 1.83 meters high, which is similar to the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan.

El Grillo

It is located within the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara in Zapopan, next to the Universidad Tec Milenio Zapopan, on a hill. It is made up of seven mounds about seven meters high that frame plazas at different levels and structures built of stone, sand, and adobe with painted stucco. The bodies of the structures are formed by large slopes and boards. According to scholars, it is believed to have been a cemetery dating from the Classic Period, between 500 and 700 AD.


Its first settlers were Nahua with Toltec influence. In El Arenal, an important Ceremonial Center, you can observe three circular buildings of the type of constructions made by the Guachimontones and an area of monumental shaft tombs. These burials date from 300 to 900 B.C. They have a depth of approximately 15 m and have multiple bedrooms of regular size, these were made for the members of the highest lineage.

Also, in the municipality of Etzatlan, you can visit El Palacio de Ocomo, which consists of the most monumental and best-preserved structure within a site of almost 400 hectares of extension; there are remains of terraces, sunken patios, pyramids, and platforms.

Guachimontones (Tyrian Tombs)

The ceremonial center and ancient pre-Hispanic settlement are located in Teuchitlán, approximately one hour west of Guadalajara. It includes several constructions with a peculiar architectural style, among them several stepped conical mounds or pyramids surrounded by circular patios, an amphitheater, some terraces, one of the largest ball games in Mesoamerica and the characteristic Tumbas de Tiro (Shooting Tombs).

In an aerial view, you can appreciate the perfect circle shape of its ceremonial building and its floors are an exact calendar of 52 years. In the center of the structure, there is a long hole, where possibly a pole was placed, from which the priests held on and swayed from side to side simulating the flight of a bird as an offering to the God of the wind Ehecatl. Schedule: Daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Find out more about Guachimontones here.

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