Guadalajara, sometimes called the Pearl of the West, is Mexico’s second largest city, and with around 4 million residents is one of the largest urban centres in North America. It is a city with deep roots in Mexican history, something that Guadalajara residents are happy to show off to visitors discovering the city.
Travellers to Guadalajara will no doubt spend their day wandering about the beautiful city, which consists of several unique districts including Centro Historico, Chapultepec, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá and Zapopan.
Centro Historico is, as you might have guessed, the city’s historical centre where there are many incredible colonial relics housing museums, bars, hotels and even government offices. For the architecture alone, it is worth a little stroll. Chapultepec is the place to go for fancy restaurants, coffee spots and nightclubs, and is more modern and distanced than the centre. Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are the go to neighborhoods for folk-art shopping, with Tonalá being the more local version of upscale Tlaquepaque. Even Zapopan offers some unique colonial sites, although it is more famous as Guadalajara’s Beverly Hills.
Guadalajara has been a major influencer to Mexican culture, and is considered to be the birthplace of a number of traditions and cultural offerings that the country is now famous for. These include tequila, mariachi music, sombreros, rodeos (known as charreadas) and even the Mexican Hat Dance. Lovers of Mexican culture will certainly find themselves swimming in a rich cultural setting, but Guadalajara has since distinguished itself again.
Now, as well as all the aforementioned wonders, Guadalajara is quite well known for it’s gastronomic offerings to the public. Visitors will no doubt delight in stuffing themselves with exciting tacos, chilli-soaked pork sandwhiches (known as torta ahogada) and a plethora of other delicious goodies. There are also so many great settings in which to enjoy such scrumptious, with dining options including street stalls, local cafes and even dining houses in colonial mansions. The choices are endless, and your stomach will be struggling to keep up with you.
When you’ve had your fill on the amazing Guadalajara food, a good walk through the city centre should be on the cards. Be sure to check out the Plaza of the Crosses, four plazas in the shape of the cross with the Guadalajara Cathedral at the centre. The plazas have water fountains to occupy you as you sit and enjoy yet more food available from vendors there. Or, you could explore the inside of the Guadalajara Cathedral, a building which took nearly 50 years to complete starting in the 1560s. It features towers replaced in 1854, following an 1818 earthquake, and a must-see mural known as “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin”. The cathedral’s interesting mix of neoclassical, palladian and gothic architecture is sure to impress.
Also of interest to many is the Libertad Market, the largest public market in the Western Hemisphere. At the market visitors will find lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a growing variety of goods such as homemade pottery, handicrafts, leather goods and more.