Guadalajara: Home to Tequila, Mariachi, and Cowboys
Mexico has so many incredible destinations but the city of Guadalajara surprises travelers with incredible food, arts, and culture. There’s no shortage of fascinating things to do, so let’s dive into the best Guadalajara offers travelers.
Mexican destinations like Oaxaca, Cancun, Mexico City, and Merida get much of the acclaim, but Guadalajara should be on travelers radars. It’s the gateway to the region of Tequila, where the namesake liquor is produced, and a short drive from the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, making it an ideal base. Best of all, Guadalajara’s culinary scene is among the best in the country. The city is easily accessed by Aeromexico flights daily from many North American cities. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags now!
Where to Eat and Drink in Guadalajara
The food of Mexico is more than just tacos, and Guadalajara has its own dishes not found elsewhere. One example is the torta ahogada, a sandwich made on baguette-type bread that isn’t possible in other elevations. It’s filled with pork and topped in a savory broth, making it a popular hangover remedy. It’s found at street food stalls all over town. Guadalajara also offers hungry travelers savory stews like pozole and birria.
In addition to budget-friendly street food, Guadalajara also boasts one of the world's best restaurants, Restaurant Alcalde. Its menu features local ingredients and visually stunning dish presentation—it’s well worth the splurge, so make a reservation!
And, of course, tequila is the drink of choice since the spirit is distilled from the agave plants in this region of Mexico. Companies like Jose Cuervo and Sauza have been crafting their products here for generations. Tejuino is another favorite drink in the state of Jalisco, made from fermented corn and served cold with lime juice. It’s low in alcohol content so it’s fine to drink in the afternoon.
Best Cultural Things to Do in Guadalajara
Unlike areas like the Riviera Maya, Guadalajara isn’t overrun with tourists, even at its most popular landmarks. The Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady sits in the middle of the Central Square and is a popular spot for photos.
Visitors can also admire the murals of José Clemente Orozco, a contemporary of Diego Rivera, that are found throughout the city, including at the Jalisco Governmental Palace and the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria. These murals depict important events in Mexican history with vivid colors. Visitors will also find modern murals and street art covering walls in Guadalajara. Be sure to pack an international adapter so that your electronics will be charged to snap the perfect photo.
Shop at local markets and at the boutiques in Tlaquepaque for unique mementoes of your time in Jalisco. You might find hand-stitched clothing, leather goods, and everything in between. You might want to bring an extra tote for all the souvenirs you’ll inevitably want.
Guadalajara also has many day trip options, too. Guachimontones is a UNESCO-listed ruins site dating back thousands of years. The circular pyramids were re-discovered in the 1970s. The nearby town of Tequila is accessible by bus, train, and car from the city, and visitors can sample the namesake spirit. Come nightfall, head to a lucha libre wrestling match or enjoy live mariachi music at a bar or restaurant.
No matter how you decide to spend your time in Guadalajara, you’re sure to leave well-fed and inspired to return given the sheer number of memorable things to do and tasty dishes to sample. So pack your bags and start planning to explore Mexico’s hidden gem.
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By Caroline Eubanks on October 31, 2019
Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia whose work has been published by BBC Travel, Afar, Thrillist, and National Geographic Traveler and is the author of the book This Is My South: The Essential Travel Guide to the Southern States. You can follow her work at CarolineEubanks.com.