Zapopan: An Important Religious and Cultural Destination

Zapopan has several tourist attractions, modern first-class shopping centers, important entertainment centers, and the best hotels in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara.

Zapopan: An Important Religious and Cultural Destination
Traditional pedestrian area in the heart of Zapopan. Photo by Roman Lopez / Unsplash

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 has the capacity to 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.