30 Best Things To Do In Guadalajara [Mexico] in 2024

George Alvarez
Written By:
George Alvarez
Last Updated:
January 2, 2024
Looking for the best things to do in Guadalajara? This city has so much to offer, with bustling markets, incredible architecture, and delicious cuisine!
Things To Do In Guadalajara

As one of the largest & most vibrant cities in Mexico, Guadalajara is 100% worth the visit. 

At least in my opinion ...

From its Mariachi culture and bustling nightlife to its picturesque architecture, this city really does deliver on all fronts.

It’s also located within the safe and diverse state of Jalisco.

Which has everything from mountain towns to wild agave farms that can easily be visited from Guadalajara.

It's actually the most popular domestic holiday destination for 9 in 10 Mexicans, so you know it's local approved!

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll aim to cover everything you need to know about this city.

Including, of course, the best things to do in Guladalajara. As well as the best times to visit, how much to budget, where to stay, and more!

With years of experience spent traveling and living in Mexico I've picked up on tips & tricks to help get the most out of this wonderful country.

Let's get started ...

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Getting to Know Guadalajara

Why Visit Guadalajara

visiting Guadalajara

Mexico’s big cities are often a wild hit or miss, given that its urban areas aren’t always the most attractive. 

However this is where Guadalajara boldly stands out, with its winding ancient streets found in the Centro Histórico, to a variety of neoclassical-style buildings found all over.

The culture here is also really unique too!

It’s the birthplace of Mariachi, and here you can see some of the best performers strutting around the city serenading both locals and tourists alike. 

The region of Jalisco is also known for its diverse foods too, with Pozole, Tortas Ahogadas and the tasty dessert of Jericalla among the must-tries when here!

Finally, the surrounding towns and natural spectaculars near Guadalajara make the city a popular one to visit. 

Close-by there’s the town of Tequila (which of course is the birthplace of Tequila itself!), where you can tour blue agave farms and try some of the very best varieties of this notorious spirit. 

Lake Chapala is another, with this stunning mountainous lake ranking in as the overall largest in Mexico.

If you've enjoyed your fair share of beaches in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas already, then Guadalajara is a fantastic change-up for your trip!

How to get to Guadalajara 

getting to Guadalajara airport

Guadalajara is situated within the rural state of Jalisco, which is located within Central Mexico. 

It’s very easy to access, with its airport and well-maintained highways connecting it up to all corners of the country.


Flying to Guadalajara from within Mexico is really quick and convenient, with direct daily flights available from dozens of other popular Mexican destinations. 

These include Mexico City, Monterrey, Puerto Escondido, La Paz, Cancún and Oaxaca. A one-way flight will cost between $30-70.

The Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport (Guadalajara’s main airport, pictured above) also welcomes mainly worldwide flights on a daily basis too, making it very convenient as you won’t need to stop in Mexico City or Cancún. 

Some of these long-haul, direct flights come in from Spain, the USA, Colombia and Panama.

You can compare flights using Skyscanner!


The other popular way to get to Guadalajara is by bus, and makes sense for those already backpacking in Mexico (especially as there’s many awesome destinations to visit along the way to this city). 

The bus from Mexico City to Guadalajara takes roughly 7 hours, whilst from Puerto Vallarta you can expect a travel time of 5 hours.

Booking buses within the terminal will offer the cheapest rates and most variety, however some tickets can also be purchased online in advance with Busbud for that extra piece of mind.

Getting around Guadalajara 

getting around Guadalajara by carriage

When it comes to getting around the city centre, then the local buses and Uber are going to be your best bet. 

They’re the most economic options and are very frequent, whilst a traditional taxi will usually be more expensive.

If staying within the Historic Centre, then you can easily walk to the majority of sites anyway!

You can also use buses to visit other sites outside of the city too, such as Tequila. 

Although if you’re strapped on time, then heading on a tour like this one will be much more time-efficient.

Where to Stay in Guadalajara?

where to stay in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a pretty big city, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the many different neighbourhoods when choosing a place to stay.

We’ve found the best two districts to be El Centro Histórico (for all of the best sights) as well as Americana (lively neighbourhood with the best amenities).

  • Top budget pick - When it comes to keeping things cheap, I recommend staying at Casa Azul Americana. Offering cosy private rooms, you’ll be situated in a great location which is the closest point between both Calle Chapultepec and the Parque Expiatorio. 
  • Top mid-range pick - For those looking for a good mid-range accommodation, then you’ll want to stay at the Hotel Grand Isitia. Located right next to the Plaza de Armas, here you’ll be right in the heart of Guadalajara’s historic centre. 
  • Top luxury pick - The best hotel for those who want luxury has to be the Hotel Laffayette Ejecutivo. Situated right on the Calle Chapultepec, you’ll have a deluxe room to relax in along with a pool for a quick morning dip. 

There are plenty of awesome vacation rental sites where you can find great deals. However, I find Booking.com tends to be the most reliable way to find cheap hotels.

Best Things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico

1. Walk around the Historic Centre

Centro Historico, Guadalajara, Mexico

Kicking off our list of the top things to do in Guadalajara, I have the most important area of the city. 

Known as La Zona Centro, this district of the city is the oldest, home to a clash of architectural styles as well as many important plazas and buildings. 

The Plaza de Armas is at the very heart of Zona Centro, which is worth an early morning stroll before heading to some of the other gems on this list. 

Also around here you’ll find the Guadalajara Cathedral, the Market of San Juan de Dios as well as the Regional Museum of Guadalajara (more on all of these later in this guide). 

It’s one of the best places to stay given that there’s all kinds of accommodation options here too.

You’ll also find a variety of authentic Mexican restaurants here, serving up both regional specialities as well as all-round national classics.

Whilst other areas of Guadalajara are less than ideal in terms of safety, Centro Histórico is safe to walk around during the day. 

I recommend heading on this fantastic walking tour, where you’ll start at the Plaza de Armas and cover many of the best sites here and in the neighbouring districts.

2. Visit Tequila

The historic town of Tequila

This town is already famous since it’s the birthplace of the same-named spirit. 

Many in fact come from Mexico City to Guadalajara solely to experience the truest Tequila of them all, and also to visit the distilleries. 

However, this mountainous town has tons more going for it than just its booze. 

The town centre itself has a classic, colonial feel with its cobblestone streets and cute plazas. 

Walking around, it’s worth visiting some of its picturesque churches too such as the Parroquia Santiago Apostol

Whilst most only visit the distilleries where the special stuff is made, you should also walk around the agave farms, where the rows of blue plants and backdrop of the highlands make for the perfect photo shot.

You'll find plenty of things to do in Tequila so what are you waiting for?

This tour here is the overall best, as you’ll spend more time exploring the colonial town, as well as having a visit included to the José Cuervo factory.

Tequila is located roughly 55 km from Guadalajara, with the bus taking around an hour to arrive.

3. Stroll around Colonia Americana

University of Guadalajara Art Museum in Colonia Americana

The truth is that no trip to Guadalajara can be completed without visiting Colonia Americana

This hip neighbourhood is the trendiest in Guadalajara, and a good contender for all of Mexico too! 

Upscale and safe, you can easily walk around during both the day and night with little issue, whereas other parts like El Centro Histórico are not so good when the sun goes down. 

Here you’ll find some awesome restaurants such as Casa Habita, as well as the infamous nightlife scene of Calle Chapultepec (which deservedly has its own section). 

When exploring its streets, you’ll see many colonial houses that have since been converted into bars and museums, giving the place its own feel and vibe. 

One of these museums is the University of Guadalajara Art Museum, showcasing a range of contemporary beauties.

As you can see there's a lot to do in this neighborhood so make sure you spend some time in Colonia Americana! 

4. Get Rowdy with the Locals at a Lucha Libre Fight

A winning tag team in Lucha Libre match

Luchador fanatics, and those who used to watch WWE as a kid (or perhaps still do today) will love this one. 

Lucha Libre is a way of life in Mexico, where high-fliers take to the ring and put on quite the show. 

Guadalajara is one of the best cities to see a show, along with Mexico City and Puebla. 

They are held twice a week at the Arena Coliseo de Guadalajara, usually around the evening, however the time can vary so be sure to check them out on their website. 

You can also join this wrestling tour, where you’ll stop for a few beers in a local bar before going to the match.

Those who want the full experience will want to go with The Red Pub, who will take you there on a double decker bus with plenty of time to get the beers in. 

And once you arrive, you’ll see what all the fuss is about, since the crowds often whip up a frenzy of energy that really has to be experienced to be believed.

If you're looking for fun things to do in Guadalajara then this is your place!

5. Get Serenaded by a Mariachi Band

Mariachi Band playing

Those looking for an authentic experience will want to watch a Mariachi Band when in Guadalajara. 

Although the roots of this style of music are hotly debated between different areas of Western Mexico, it’s often said that the birthplace of Mariachi music is within the state of Jalisco. 

Usually, there’s an ensemble of 4-6 musicians (although they can be much bigger, especially in more formal settings) who play a variety of instruments that range from violins to the guitarrón. 

Plaza de los Mariachis is the classic and most touristy area to catch a performance, where there are always mariachi bands hovering around come the evening. 

Another great time to get serenaded is during dinner. 

Two of the best restaurants in Guadalajara for having a live Mariachi band play for you are Casa Bariachi, as well as El Parián de Tlaquepaque

The latter is located along Calle Juárez in El Centro, and is open from 9:00am until 3:00am every day of the week.

6. Guadalajara Cathedral

Guadalajara Cathedral

Of all of the cultural gems and architectural masterpieces that you can find in Guadalajara, this one has to be up there with the very best. 

The Guadalajara Cathedral was first built in 1541, and showcases a variety of styles that range from Spanish renaissance to Gothic revival. 

Inside there’s a beautiful altar constructed out of silver and marble, and large ceilings which are typical of cathedrals found within Central Mexico. 

It’s also home to the remains of Santa Innocencia, a young girl from the 18th century who was tragically killed by her father for her religious choices. 

Given that Guadalajara experiences occasional earthquakes, the cathedral has often had to endure structural damage, with the last major incident occurring in 2003 (although reinforcements are continually being added to strengthen it). 

The Guadalajara Cathedral is located between both the Plaza de Armas as well as the Plaza Guadalajara, and is open for viewing from 9:00am until 6:00pm daily.

It's one of the most popular Guadalajara tourist attractions and is a must-visit.

7. Explore Tlaquepaque

Local food in Tlaquepaque being prepared by vendors

Tlaquepaque is a trendy neighbourhood located around 6 km south of Guadalajara’s centre. 

Dating back to the colonial era, it was once a separate town, but has now been absorbed into this city’s outer reach. 

Despite this, Tlaquepaque still retains its authentic vibe!

I recommend first heading to the Jardín Hidalgo, which is the heart of the district and a beautiful place to walk around with its gardens and cute church. 

Whilst here, you’ll want to visit the numerous small markets and boutique shops that sell everything from traditional pottery to locally grown vegetables and produce. 

Speaking of food, here you’ll be in good hands, with restaurants such as Casa Luna and La Ambivalencia Taqueria cooking up some mouth-watering Mexican favourites.

8. Explore the Cultural Institute Cabañas

Cultural Institute Cabañas

Once an orphanage and hospital, the Cultural Institute Cabañas was in fact both the oldest and largest of its kind in all of the Americas! 

It was founded in 1791, and was heavily relied upon for centuries up until 1980, when it was then converted into a school for arts and crafts. 

It’s rightfully designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, given both its history and also for its incredible murals found throughout the complex. 

These frescoes were painted by José Clemente Orozco in the early 1900’s, and are honestly worth the visit just for themselves. Here is where you’ll see his most famous work of The Man of Fire. 

The Cultural Institute Cabañas is located close to the San Juan de Dios market in the La Perla neighbourhood, so it makes sense to visit both at the same time. 

It’s open from Tuesday until Sunday, from 11:00am until 5:00pm and is one of the best attractions in Guadalajara!

9. Head to an Agave Distillery

Barrels o Tequila in the Distillery

I think we’ve already mentioned this a handful of times in this article already… however this region really is the birthplace of Tequila. 

The majority of travellers visiting here take advantage of this by heading to the local distilleries, and I highly recommend you do the same! 

Most are located near the town of Tequila, and once there you’ll be shown the full manufacturing process, as well as having the chance to stroll through the long, blue agave fields. 

They’ll also have their own pure blends of Tequila and Mezcal (the latter is another popular brew made from agave - which is just as lethal!), and here you’ll be able to try them all.

If staying in Tequila, you can technically walk to the distillery and sort out a guided tour there yourself. 

However for those staying in Guadalajara, I recommend jumping on this all-inclusive tour.

10. Explore the ruins of Guachimontones

Guachimontones in Guadalajara

When it comes to ancient ruins in Mexico, most tend to visit the temples of Teotihuacán, or the coastal site of Tulum. 

However, you’ll be surprised to learn that actually one of the very best (and unusual) historical sites is located quite close to Guadalajara. 

Los Guachimontones are a series of perfectly circular structures, with each terrace rising up until it’s very highest in the centre.

Built around 300 BCE, it’s thought that their main use was for burying the remains of relatives, and also for storing important objects such as shells and ceramics. 

What makes it such a picturesque destination is the fact that they’re also covered in lush green grass, making a pretty superb photo opportunity.

Los Guachimontones is located in the hills above Teuchitlán, and are open Tuesday until Sunday, 9:00am to 5:00pm.

I recommend joining this private tour, where an expert guide will tell you all about the history, before taking you to Tequila to try a few different blends.

There are plenty of things to see in Guadalajara itself but you don't want to miss out on visiting the Ruins of Guachimontones! Book tickets in advance here to avoid disappointment.

11. Feast on some Guadalajara Classics

A delicious bowl of Pozole

Most food lovers head to either the capital or Oaxaca when it comes to trying out the local grub. 

However, Jalisco is also known for some tasty dishes too, and when in Guadalajara I recommend you try out some of the following:

  • Torta Ahogada - Literally translated as “drowned cake”, the actual dish itself is much better than it sounds. It consists of a sandwich filled with refried beans, meat and other special spices. It’s one of the most beloved dishes of Jalisco, so it’s worth trying a Torta Ahogada at least once when in Guadalajara.
  • Pozole - This traditional soup is great for those cooler early mornings, which contains meat, avocado, onion, chiles and other ingredients, depending on how the chef prepares it.
  • Birria - Leaving perhaps the most-known until last, birria is essentially tacos made with goat meat, however this can also be substituted for beef or lamb too. They’re cooked in a special adobe sauce which gives it its unique flavour, and are then often layered with cheese, avocado and chiles.

12. Go Clubbing in Avenida Chapultepec 

When it comes to nightlife, this particular street has earned itself a legendary status among the top cities in Mexico. 

Pretty much everyone will walk along Avenida Chapultepec at least once during their trip, and here there’s a whole range of different clubs and bars for a good ol’ boogie. 

El Grillo is a more relaxed bar to start things off, with its own swanky atmosphere along with a range of cocktails and craft beers ready to go. 

Those into electronic music will want to then head to Bar Americas, which is often considered the best in Guadalajara (and also among the most popular in Central Mexico). 

Another popular visit is to Cervecería Chapultepec, which is a well-known chain found throughout Latin America. 

You’ll find the original here, with all drinks and foods costing the exact same price (makes it less likely to be caught-out come the end of the night!).

Here's some more information about the best bars in Chapultepec Avenue...

13. Watch a Passionate Football Game 

Estadio Akron
Source: Marco Guzman Jr via Wikipedia

Regardless if you call it football or soccer in your parts, there is one thing for certain - football is a big thing here in Mexico!

The MX League is one of the biggest leagues outside of Europe, and has even had teams compete in global competitions in recent times. 

Atlas and Club Deportivo Guadalajara (better known as Chivas) are the main two rivals in town, and you’ll want to see a game whenever they’re hosting within the city. 

The atmosphere can get pretty intense, but that’s what makes it so good after you’ve had a few beers and got involved with the local chants and antics. 

Usually after the games, fans then spill out into the streets and continue the celebrations (or losses - any reason to party all the same). 

You can check the MX league to see if there are any matches on around the time you visit, and you can then browse for tickets online at Ticketmaster.

14. Head up to the Mirador Independencia Park

When in Guadalajara (or any other Mexican city for that matter), it’s always a great idea to head up to a mirador, which is often the highest vantage point in all of the city. 

The Mirador Independencia Park (also known as Parque Mirador Independencia) is the best of the bunch, and offers a different type of view. 

Whilst others hone in on the city itself (which is nothing too special to be honest), this one faces outwards towards the surrounding canyons and forest on the periphery of Guadalajara. 

It’s a great way to spend a few hours to breathe in some fresh air, and also to hike along a few of the forested paths. You'll also want to make sure that you've packed your camera for this one!

The Mirador Independencia Park is situated in the north of the city, in the district of Huentitán El Alto which is overlooked by the imposing Cerro de la Higuera

It’s open from 7:00am until 7:00pm all days of the week.

15. Visit Lake Chapala

Excellent Aerial shot of Chapala boardwalk by the Chapala Lakeshore

This stunning place is actually the largest freshwater lake in Mexico so it's rather impressive!

Spanning an area of just over 1,100 km², Lake Chapala is a popular place for locals to head for the day or weekend, given its shores are just an hour south of Guadalajara.

There are many different towns around the lake’s edge to explore, however Chapala itself is the most popular and closest to the city. 

Some of the best things to do here include taking a boat ride out onto the lake, and visiting some of the islands such as Isla de los Alacranes (Island of the Scorpions). 

Mezcala island is also home to an old prison and fort which is cool to check out. 

As well as strolling along the malecón and catching the rays, you should also check out the actual town of Chapala. 

Here you can get a photo with its brightly coloured letters, explore the plaza and also the nearby Parroquia de San Francisco.

You can also head on this awesome day trip which includes a boat ride, and time exploring the island of Mezcala.

16. Get Lost in the endless Market of San Juan de Dios

San Juan de Dios Market
Source: Christian Frausto Bernal via Wikipedia

Situated on the fringes of the La Perla district, this market ranks in as one of the overall best that you can visit when in Guadalajara. 

It truly is massive, with endless stalls as far as the eye can see, and is officially the largest indoor market in all of Latin America.

The San Juan de Dios market is relatively new, having only opened its doors in 1958. 

Here you’ll find around 3000 different vendors selling a massive variety of things - a head’s up that it’s not going to be a smooth or relaxing ride here! 

This is a good place to try some of the more authentic dishes too, where the numerous food stalls cook up city classics such as Tortas Ahogadas and a range of other tacos. 

The other great reason to visit is for its hand-made goods, which makes it the perfect place to get yourself some souvenirs to bring back home. 

The San Juan de Dios market is located close to the Plaza de los Mariachis, and is open from 8:00am until 8:00pm, 365 days of the year!

17. Visit one of Mexico’s best Craft Beer Scenes

craft beer

Mexican beer has long been associated with Corona, with even those in far-flung corners of the world putting Mexico together with this tasty cerveza

However craft beer in particular has seen a surge of popularity as of recent, with Guadalajara being one of the most important cities responsible for this upcoming trend. 

There are many awesome bars and venues to try out the good stuff within the city centre. 

Malta 33 is conveniently located close to Chapultepec Avenue, and has quite a large range of craft beers to pick from.

La Taberna Minerva is another popular choice, and upon arriving you’ll see the massive factory next to it, with it being a well-known brand throughout Mexico.

It’s known for its 8 solid varieties, and they also bring in new temporary flavours, as well as having some good food too. 

So whilst you’ll still pound the tequilas down when in Guadalajara, I recommend changing things up with a craft beer or two!

18. Go Exploring in the Bosque Colomos Park

Bosque Colomos Park

This stunning city park is the place to come if you want to get away from all of the noise and sounds of the city centre. 

The Bosque Colomos Park is recognised as a national forest within the city of Guadalajara, and is home to some truly scenic and gorgeous trails. 

There’s also a stunning Japanese Garden to be explored too. 

It’s quite a large space, so it never feels like there’s too many people, which is common with other parks in Guadalajara. 

The Bosque Colomos Park is located roughly 10 km north of Guadalajara within the outskirts, with a taxi taking 25 minutes to get there. 

It’s open from 6:30am until 7:30pm all days of the week, although I recommend coming from 6:30-9:00am for the most peaceful and relaxing setting.

19. Ride the Legendary Tequila Train

The Tequila Train in Guadalajara
Source: Braid Willson via Wikipedia

The Tequila Train (or known by its real name of the José Cuervo Express) is one of the downright coolest things you can do in Guadalajara!

We all know why you really came to this city in the first place… and this is the absolute must-do given it’s such an authentic experience. 

Hopping on the train within the city, you’ll be transported through baron landscapes with endless rows of blue agave fields passing you by. 

You’ll also enjoy a range of tequila and mezcal blends on-board, as well as some tasty snacks to keep you filled up. 

Upon arriving, you’ll have an included tour of the infamous La Rojeña production site, as well as lunch and a one-glass educational tasting experience.

20. Try out some of Jalisco’s most famous Desserts

Small bowl of Jericalla

For those who have a serious need to satiate their sweet tooth, you’ll be glad to know that Guadalajara will do the job in spades. 

The most famous dessert from this city has to be Jericalla, and after trying it, I can only say good things! 

It’s usually served in a cup, and is made out of milk, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla (quite close to that of a crème brûlée). 

You’ll find the majority of these desserts in all levels of restaurants across the city, and I recommend making a stop at La Postrería.

Other local favourites to try include Nieves de Garrafa (a Mexican sorbet), Alegrías as well as Cocadas. 

These desserts will be tasty regardless of where they are made, however I personally suggest trying them when visiting the labyrinth that is the San Juan de Dios market. 

This useful guide is a great place to learn more about the distinct desserts found in this Mexican region. 

21. Spot Rare Marine Wildlife at the Acuario Michin

fish in aquarium

If you’ve already seen all of the top highlights in Guadalajara, or perhaps need a more relaxing time with those tequila-fuelled hangovers, we’ve got you covered!

The Acuario Michin is a great aquarium to explore, with many exotic fishes and species native to the waters close to Jalisco found here. 

Here at the aquarium you can feed Manta Rays and Crocodiles, as well as be submerged in a tank to observe the numerous species of shark that they have here. 

Not quite your usual day, but definitely one for those who are up for an adrenaline rush! 

The Acuario Michin is open all days of the week, from 11:00am until 6:00pm.

22. Stroll through the Parque Metropolitano

The Parque Metropolitano is a fantastic area to head to, and is one of the largest urban parks found in all of Guadalajara. 

Here you’ll find numerous lakes and walking paths, making it yet another good area for escaping the hustle and bustle. 

I recommend coming in the mid-afternoon, where you can have a picnic (they have many picnic benches scattered around), and also ride a bike as they have rentals on-site. 

If you're wondering what to do in Guadalajara then make sure you spend some time here!

The Parque Metropolitano is actually located in the adjacent city of Zapopan, which is often considered part of Guadalajara since they’re situated so close to each other.

A taxi will take you around 30 minutes to get there, with the site open from 6:00am until 8:00pm all days of the week.

23. Marvel at The Murals of the Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Jalisco

Awesome Mural in Tequila

The Government Palace is one of the most popular sites you can visit within Guadalajara’s historic centre. 

Built in 1650, it was originally destroyed by a fatal earthquake 100 years later, but was then resurrected in 1790 with stronger materials and a new baroque facade.

The best part though is inside, where you can examine many of the incredible murals painted by José Clemente Orozco (the same artist who painted the murals in the Cultural Institute Cabañas).

Some of the best designs here include “The Political Circus” as well as “Flaming Hidalgo”. 

The Government Palace sits right on the east wing of the Plaza de Armas, and is open from 9:00am until 5:00pm all days of the week. 

Despite serving as an important government building, it’s free to enter the museum part of the establishment, and is good to combine within a visit to the nearby Cathedral too.

24. Visit the Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento

Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento

This stunning Catholic Church is one of the architectural highlights of any trip to Jalisco, let alone just Guadalajara. 

It’s often considered the greatest neo-Gothic construction of its kind in Mexico, taking a painstaking 75 years in total for construction to be finished. 

The Temple Expiatorio opened its doors in 1972, where you can walk around and admire the massive stained-glass windows, as well as the Italian mosaics designed by Francisco Bencivenga. 

The majority of the church is made out of carved stone, and it also has as many as 25 bells which play a range of both religious and popular music pieces. 

The Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento is located on the Plaza Expiatorio in the Americana district

25. Visit the stunning town of Mazamitla

Mazamitla Town

This cute town is one of the lesser known day trips to be taken from Guadalajara, but I 100% recommend heading here on one of your days! 

Situated in the highlands of Jalisco, Mazamitla is perfect for those looking for a slower pace of life, and also for easy access to some incredible nature hikes.

One of the best of these trips has to be to the El Salto Cascada, a waterfall tucked away in the nearby forest. 

You’ll also want to go for a stroll around the Plaza Municipal Jose Parres Arias, where you’ll find the beautiful church - the Parroquia de San Cristóbal. 

For those who are strapped on time, I suggest jumping on this tour where you’ll visit a different hidden waterfall too.

Mazamitla is located 125 km south of Guadalajara, and takes roughly 3 hours to arrive by car. 

In-between the two is Lake Chapala, so it’s worth breaking up the trip with a stop here if you have the time. 

26. Regional Museum of Guadalajara

horse and carriages outside the Regional Museum of Guadalajara

History buffs will love this beautifully set museum, where you can learn all about Guadalajara. 

From its roots and traditions of pre-historic times up until the Spanish invasion, here at the Regional Museum of Guadalajara you’ll learn how the city has adapted and grown over different periods. 

One of the very best things to see here has to be the skeleton of a Wooly Mammoth which dates back to 10,000 BC! 

You’ll also find lots of pottery, ceramics as well as paintings from its more recent era. 

The museum itself is beautifully laid out, where there’s a picturesque courtyard too for a quick breather from all that exploring.

The Regional Museum of Guadalajara is located just two blocks north of the Plaza de Armas in the centre, and is open from 9:00am until 4:30pm,Tuesday until Sunday.

27. Stay in a Tequila-Shaped Cabin

Tequila-Shaped Cabin of the Matices Hotel de Barricas

The town of Tequila is a popular day trip given its full of awesome sights and gems, however it tends to only end there as travellers head back to Guadalajara the same day.

I recommend going a step further and staying the night in Tequila, and there’s no better place to do so than in a barrel-shaped accommodation! 

The Matices Hotel de Barricas is a stunning hotel located within the blue agave fields in Tequila’s wild surroundings, and for me is one of the best places you can stay at. 

It’s situated right next to the La Cofradía distillery, so you can easily go for a morning tour here after you wake up. 

The accommodation style itself is worth the stay, with a very authentically designed room inside, each with its own private setting and balcony. 

The nearby main building of the hotel is home to a great restaurant as well as a bar with some awesome tequila cocktails on hand! 

28. Learn about the traditions of the Charros

Charros Mexican horse rider

Charros are best known as horse riders, and have played a very important role in the past few centuries of Mexican history. 

Whilst most associate Charros with cattle ranching or public performances, the Spanish word actually refers to all kinds of other riders, including the more unsavoury types such as gunmen and outlaws. 

Whilst they’ve been influential all over Mexico, the region of Jalisco also has its fair share of Charro culture, which is still alive today in certain parts (mostly small towns). 

Within Guadalajara, you can head to the Lienzo Charros de Jalisco to watch one of these authentic rodeo shows, which I would say ranks as one of the most authentic experiences throughout this entire list! 

This specific rodeo is located in the neighbourhood of Moderna, just south of Colonia Americana.

29. Head on a Food Tour through Guadalajara’s Center


The food of Jalisco is very distinct, and throughout the city you’re going to find great dishes in both the markets as well as in the top restaurants.

As we’ve seen, some of the best foods to try here include Birria and Torta Ahogada

Of course you’re going to find many tasty drinks too, such as Tequila, as well as other regional favourites such as Tejuino and Raicilla. 

However it can be a challenge if your Spanish isn’t quite up to scratch, or if you’re not so confident venturing out and about solo to find these top varieties. 

That’s why I recommend going with an all-inclusive food tour like this one, where you’ll try many authentic dishes and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

Taking a food tour around the city is one of the best activities in Guadalajara and incredibly popular. So be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid not getting a space.

30. Explore Tonalá

Tonalá District
Source: Alejandro Linares Garcia via Wikipedia

As well as Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara is also home to many other interesting districts that used to be their own towns (before being absorbed into this ever-growing metropolis). 

Another of these is Tonalá, and for me it's a great way to spend the day getting to know another distinct area of Guadalajara. 

One of the very best things to do here is to visit the Tonalá Craft Market, where you’ll be able to browse through a diverse range of ceramic, pottery and authentic art.

I actually recommend coming here instead of the San Juan de Dios Market if you’re after some novel ceramics, since the quality is going to be better. 

You’ll also want to walk around the central plaza which is home to a Disney-style church, visit Cerro de la Reina as well as go for a walk through the Museo Nacional de la Cerámica

Tonalá is situated roughly 17 km east of Guadalajara’s centre, with a taxi taking roughly 25 minutes.

Guadalajara Travel Tips & FAQ

When is a good time to visit Guadalajara?

The climate of Guadalajara is best described as warm and subtropical, with both its temperatures and levels of rainfall fluctuating throughout the year.

The dry season is regarded as the overall best time to visit Guadalajara. 

Running from November until April, daily averages can range from 57-65°F, with some months reaching highs of up to a toasty 87°F (March and April usually). 

Rainfall is also at its lowest too, where you can expect anywhere from 0.1-0.7 inches falling throughout each month. 

This makes the dry season a great time for exploring the city and region without worrying too much about getting wet.

The contrasting wet season picks up in May and lasts until October

Average temperatures are warmer this time of year (between 66-72°F), although they don’t reach quite as high as those during the dry season. 

Rainfall is much heavier this time of year, with anywhere from 1-7 inches falling within any particular month. 

Whilst this puts many travellers off, the wet season is a great time to visit to save on costs, since it’s off-peak and you'll encounter fewer tourists.

I recommend taking a look at WeatherSpark, which will give you a better idea of the best time for your trip to Guadalajara.

How long should you spend in Guadalajara?

Not only does Guadalajara itself have many awesome things to see and do, it’s also a perfect jumping off point for exploring the many gems of Jalisco. 

From the authentic centre of Tlaquepaque to the agave fields of Tequila, you’ll also want to factor in time to head on day trips to these gems. 

I recommend spending around 5 days in Guadalajara, which will be plenty of time to get a great overview of this major city and its surrounding region.

If at a stretch, you could do it in 3 days, however you’d be touring non-stop to see everything (unless you only want to see a few things that is).

What is a good budget for Guadalajara?

There's no denying that Mexico is one of the best backpacking destinations in the world!

This in turn means, Guadalajara is a budget-friendly destination for all kinds of tourists. 

You can either enjoy the finest luxuries here, or keep things super cheap if that’s your goal. 

You’ll also be in good hands since there are a tonne of good restaurants dotted throughout the city too.

For those who want to stay on the more inexpensive side of things, then you’ll need a daily budget of $20-25. 

There’s a large range of hostels in Americana and Centro Histórico that you can stay at, and also a tonne of local restaurants for tasty food that doesn’t break the bank.

On the other hand, those who want a more luxurious trip will be looking at spending between $30-50. 

The best area to stay will be close to Chapultepec Avenue, given it’s full of pretty much everything you’d need. 

There are also some high quality hotels and top restaurants along here too!

This budget only accounts for accommodation and food costs, with perhaps a little left over for a museum visit or taxi here and there. 

It doesn’t account for flights, travel insurance, tours or buses between destinations.

Can you just book a tour for Guadalajara?

Sometimes we don’t always have the luxury of a lot of time in a new destination. 

If this is the case for you when heading to Guadalajara, then I highly recommend heading on this awesome day tour

Not only will you see all of the city highlights including the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Gothic Temple of Expiatorio, you’ll also be able to try some incredible, authentic Mexican food in Tlaquepaque.  

Where to go after Guadalajara?

As you can now tell, there are endless things to do and places to visit in Guadalajara! 

Once you've finished exploring this authentic Mexican city, you may be wondering where to head next.

I recommend continuing within the state of Jalisco by heading to the beachside paradise of Puerto Vallarta

Known for its perfect climate, white-sand beaches and buzzing malecón, it’s a great place to come and wind down (or live it up depending on your needs!). 

The best way to see Puerto Vallarta’s highlights is by heading on this private luxury yacht tour. Here you’ll spend the day snorkelling in the best spots, visiting hidden beaches as well as spotting whales and dolphins.

Just make sure you've included plenty of swimwear in your Mexico packing list!

If you're travelling around Mexico here are some other guides that you may find helpful:

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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