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25 BEST Things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico

25 BEST Things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico

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One of the most beautiful cities full of incredible things to do in Mexico is Guadalajara. Located in the central part of the country, this is a cultural city full of art, history, and incredible architecture. Although it may not be as popular as other destinations in the country, especially when compared to beach destinations like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara offers a more authentic Mexican experience and still plenty of fun things to do. 

In fact, walking the streets will have you rubbing shoulders with local Mexicans, not hoards of tourists heading to Señor Frogs. To the real traveler, this is the highlight of the area and the reason you need to visit while in Mexico.

But what are the best activities to do in Guadalajara? Well, after many visits to the city to explore, I’ve found so many unexpected fun and exciting activities as well as tours to enjoy in the city. And in this blog, I’ll share my 25 favorite things to do in Guadalajara! 

Don’t have time to read the full article? Some of our favorite things to do in Guadalajara are:

  1. Join a city walking tour for insight into local culture and history
  2. Go on this premium tequila tour which includes a visit to the town of Tequila – the birthplace of this popular drink
  3. Explore Mercado Libertad for local food and souvenirs
  4. Visit Lake Chapala – the largest lake in Mexico!
  5. Check out a lucha libre show at Arena Coliseo

About Guadalajara, Mexico 

Guadalajara Cathedral in the center of Guadalajara, Mexico
Guadalajara is gorgeous!

Located in west-central Mexico, Guadalajara is the capital city of the state of Jalisco. By population, it’s the fourth largest city in Mexico with around 1.5 million people. The city derived its name from the Spanish city with the same name, which was the hometown of the conqueror of western Mexico, Nuño de Guzmán. The name itself comes from Arabic and means “Valley of the Stone.”  

Guadalajara is considered to be the cultural center of Mexico, hosting countless events throughout the year. One of the most renowned events is the Guadalajara International Book Fair and the International Film Festival, which attracts most tourists and visitors from around the world!  

The city is not only home to some of the best architectural buildings in the world, but its culture is also one of a kind! In fact, the famous mariachi music originated from the very city of Guadalajara and the International Mariachi Festival here every August is worth seeing if you can.

This city is also home to a grand total of three first-division soccer teams (or fútbol as it’s known here) for all the sports fans out there. Soccer here is next level – especially for the fans. The most popular team is Club Deportivo Guadalajara, usually known by their nickname Chivas. If you can catch a game live, you’ll be yelling and cheering with all the locals in no time! Soccer here is a big deal and a significant part of the culture. A favorite pastime for locals is watching matches together with a large glass of beer.   

Things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico  

1. Wander Plaza de Armas 

The Plaza de Armas in Guadalajara, Mexico
On a beautiful day, this is a fantastic place to visit!

Situated in the midst of Guadalajara’s historic center, the Plaza de Armas is one place not to be missed. It was initially used as a meeting place in the 19th century when it was first built, and today, it’s still a popular spot to meet and people-watch. Lush green gardens surround the plaza and it’s one of our favorite spots to sit back and take in the beauty of the surrounding buildings and, of course, the plaza itself.  

While you’re here, make sure to wander inside the ornate interior of the Guadalajara Cathedral to admire the building and its characteristic Gothic façade. It has survived many fires and earthquakes, standing strong throughout the history of the region.

At the center of the square is the French wrought-iron gazebo, which a former Mexican president purchased in 1910 to celebrate the centennial of independence.  

While you are visiting the central plaza, you can also enjoy the live music in the surrounding gardens. I really enjoy bringing some food along to picnic in these gardens where you can enjoy the mix of music and breathtaking background.

Almost every tour of the city includes this main attraction and depending on your budget and time, you can choose to spend as much time as you want here. There are full and half-day tours such as this Guadalajara city walking tour that includes visiting the Plaza de Armas.   

2. Day trip to Tequila (the town) 

day trip from puerto vallarta to tequila
Me, visiting the birthplace of tequila – the town called “Tequila!”

Not far from Guadalajara is the birthplace of the alcohol tequila – a town also called “Tequila”! Did you know that the alcoholic spirit actually got its name after the town when it originated, not the other way around? The agave plant is grown in abundance in the small Mexican village, producing some of the finest tequila in the world.

When you visit this majestic town, you have to taste the tequila – it’s SO good, you’ll remember it for years to come. But it isn’t all about drinking here, you should also take time to see some of the most breathtaking scenery around this town too. The agave fields here have been listed as UNESCO heritage sites and you can tour them and learn all about the tequila-making process.

You can get to Tequila from Guadalajara via bus or by renting a car. The latter option is more suitable if you don’t want to travel in a group and have some room in your budget because it’s more expensive than the bus. However, the bus is great because then everyone in your group can drink and not worry about a designated driver for the way home.

If you want to catch the bus, look for the Tequila or Tequila Plus buses, and you can purchase tickets online here. Expect to pay around 115 pesos ($6 USD) for a one-way ticket or about 220 pesos ($11 USD) for a round-trip ticket. Each bus ride takes around 2 hours, depending on traffic. If you take an earlier bus, you are likely to reach Tequila in a shorter time. You can catch these buses from the ‘Tequila Plus’ bus station in the city. A bus leaves every 30-60 minutes from the station, so you don’t have to worry about missing your bus!  

If a guided tour is more your style, this full-day tour from Guadalajara spans 8 hours. You’ll have lots of time to explore the town and thoroughly learn about Tequila and its history while also visiting a distillery to see just how the world-famous and loved drink is produced. The tour is $97 USD per person and includes hotel pick-up and tequila tastings!

One of the most memorable things you can do while at a distillery in the town of Tequila is to plant a blue agave yourself. This is the plant that provides the base ingredient for preparing tequila. While planting the agave, you will be in a field where you can see these plants stretch into the horizon, making for mesmerizing scenery!  

Related Read: Day trips are a fantastic way to see more of Mexico! Check out the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta to add to your itinerary.

3. Go on a tequila tour  

Bailey at a tequila distillery talking a tour in Guadalajara, Mexico
Wandering the distillery is serious business!

For those of you who are more interested in the drink tequila than the town itself, hop onto this premium tequila manufacturing tour. Starting at 10 am, you will spend the entire day exploring distilleries across the state of Jalisco. It will take you around 8-10 hours to explore the region, enjoying its produce as you go along! 

The guides on the tour will tell you about the role tequila has played in shaping the culture and history of the country, as well as its economy. You will also learn in-depth about the production process of tequila. After all, it is always good to know how your favorite drink is produced!  

This tour is $149 USD per person and includes hotel pickup, avoiding the hassle of going to a bus station. The tours are also limited to a small group and the best part, it also includes tequila tastings and local breakfast, lunch, and snacks!

4. Get lost in Mercado Libertad – San Juan de Dios  

Fresh fruit and veg at Mercado Libertad - San Juan de Dios, Guadalajara, Mexico
There is so much to see at Mercado Libertad, but the fresh fruit and vegetables are a must-try!

When in Guadalajara, you have to go to the largest indoor market in Latin America, better known as Mercado Libertad – San Juan de Dios. This market, consisting of three floors and approximately 3,000 shops and stalls, has everything to offer, from locally grown fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and clothes.  

There is so much to see, you can’t possibly take it all in during one visit! We’ve been here quite a few times and still feel like there’s more to explore. There are endless stalls with pieces showcasing Mexico’s culture and art – it’s a great spot to pick up at least one or two items as souvenirs. Most things are also quite reasonably priced, which means your shopping spree will be pretty affordable.  

This massive market is open from 8 am until 8 pm every day, but some stores will close early on Sunday. Ever since it opened its doors in 1958, the market has attracted hundreds of locals and tourists every day. Located on Calle Dionisio Rodriguez, the market is easily accessible by bus and taxi. While wandering in the market, you can also grab some local snacks to devour!  

5. Enjoy a free walking tour of the city  

Bailey on a walking tour of Guadalajara, Mexico
The free walking tour gives you a great introduction to Guadalajara!

One of the ways I like to get to know a city while I’m visiting is by walking around and exploring the streets. This is the best way to try out the tasty cuisine, interact with the locals, and do some shopping at the unique stores. This really lets you get the “feel” of the city like a local and view the city’s art and culture firsthand.

Luckily, to explore Guadalajara this way, there is a free walking tour you can enjoy. Being a part of a guided tour while you explore the city ensures you don’t get lost or miss out on any attractions. It’s also the perfect way to find places you may want to revisit on your trip! This tour has experienced guides who will take you around the city, introducing you to the folklore and history of the region and the best places where you can try out authentic Mexican cuisine.  

The tour group meets at the gazebo in Plaza de Armas located right next to the Guadalajara Cathedral and in front of Palacio de Gobierno. The meeting time is 10 am, and the entire tour takes about 2 hours to complete. It takes place in groups of 6, on average, so you can have ample opportunity to ask questions to the guide. While you can simply show up, it’s best to book ahead of time to guarantee a spot.

There is also a paid private walking tour available in Guadalajara if you wish to choose that instead. It only costs around $25 USD. One of the best perks of choosing this tour is that it includes hotel pick-up and is an excellent way to avoid the flock of tourists. You can request a specific time to suit your schedule. Some other tours you can include along with this one are a tour to Lake Chapala and the magic town of Ajijic or a Tequila tour

6. Explore Lake Chapala 

Lake Chapala from the Malecon
Lake Chapala is huge!

On a busy trip, I always like taking the chance to wind down in nature. Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest lake, is an excellent spot to get away from Guadalajara’s hustle and bustle.

Lake Chapala is situated in a scenic setting, surrounded by green cliffs. One of the best things to do is take a stroll on the Malecon (boardwalk) here to enjoy the view and find a local restaurant to eat at. This area is also a popular place for fishing, or you can take a drive to explore the many picturesque villages located nearby.  

The Lake Chapala area is also super popular as a retirement destination for Americans, Canadians, and Europeans. The weather here is really nice and it’s relatively inexpensive to live here.

You can easily make a full-day trip to Lake Chapala! If you want to stop at the lake with a guide, this private tour stops here and lets you get out on the lake on a catamaran. You’ll also have time to spend in the magical town of Ajijic with its beautiful cobbled streets and colorful homes.

The tour is really budget-friendly at only $38 USD per person to combine both destinations in one tour. A great perk for animal lovers is that you can bring your pet along with you!  

7. Visit Government Palace  

The government palace in Guadalajara, Mexico
The architecture is so stunning!

There are government offices everywhere, but the one in Guadalajara stands out! The Government Palace, or Palacio de Gobierno, was built in the 18th century. It served as the Mexican parliament throughout the 19th century, where laws that majorly shaped the country were passed, including the abolishment of slavery.  

Today, the building houses murals and portraits that illustrate thousands of years of history of the country as well as a small museum. It’s free to enter and is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. There are also free tours offered throughout the day you can join that last about 30-40 minutes.

The best-known murals and paintings in the Government Palace include the ones painted by the renowned Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco. His most famous mural is the portrait of Mexican freedom fighter Miguel Hidalgo wielding a fiery torch against dark shadows.  

Coming here in the evening is also a treat as the outer façade and clock tower are beautifully illuminated. You can also wander around the surrounding gardens to admire the stunning architectural wonders around you.  

8. Explore Guadalajara on a guided tour  

The famous Arches of Guadalajara on a tour of the city
The famous Arches of Guadalajara!

Guadalajara is a big city and it’s just not possible to see it all by walking. If you don’t have a rental car to drive around, there are plenty of guided tours by van so you can explore more of this magnificent city.

Hop onto this downtown city tour that lasts for around 5 to 6 hours. The tour guides will pick you up from the hotel, and it is stroller accessible, too, if you have infants or toddlers with you.  

Priced at under $60 USD, you will discover the city’s main tourist attractions in one day including palaces and iconic murals. This tour is especially nice if you’re only planning a short stay in Guadalajara. The tour also includes a visit to the nearby village of Tlaquepaque. This village is famous for the tasty food it offers, where you will have time to grab a meal. The tour will end with a trip to a famous candy store for all of us with a sweet tooth.  

9. Visit the Guachimontones Archaeological site 

A temple at the Guachimontones Archaeological site near Guadalajara, Mexico
A temple at the Guachimontones Archaeological site near Guadalajara, Mexico

Located only an hour’s drive away from Guadalajara, the Guachimontones Archaeological site makes for the perfect day trip. This incredible place is known for its circular pyramids – how amazing is that?! The largest pyramid is more than 60 feet (18 meters) tall and has 52 steps, signifying the number of weeks in each year.

Los Guachimontones was discovered in 1969 by the American archaeologist Dr. Phil Weigand. However, complete excavation didn’t start until the 1990s. Researchers then discovered the round pyramid structures here (there are 10 in total) were constructed about 2,000 years ago by the Teuchitlán people.

To get here, you can drive or take a bus or taxi – taking the bus will be cheaper at around $3 USD. Once you arrive, you’ll need to do a short hike up to the ruins, so prepare for that. If you want an in-depth experience, I recommend booking a guided tour of the site. For $56 USD you’ll have all your transportation taken care of and you’ll learn so much about this incredible place.

It’s free to visit the ruins, but there is a museum on-site that charges a small entrance fee of about $3 USD. Hours here can vary, but it’s typically open from Thursday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. If you book a tour, you’ll be guaranteed to get access to the site!

Related Read: If you’re a history buff, make sure to see the Palenque Ruins – these are some of most impressive in Mexico and definitely one of the top things to do in Palenque.

10. Drink craft beer 

Cerveza Loba in Guadalajara
Photo credit: Cerveza Loba in Guadalajara

After tequila, craft beer is one of our favorite beverages in Guadalajara! There are some excellent breweries in the city where you can grab a cold one after a day of exploring the city.

Check out Cerveza Loba, where the unique tasting room overlooks the brewery. You can enjoy one of their nine different styles of craft beer while watching the action in the brewery. So cool!

With a huge selection of local beers on tap and a stunning rooftop terrace, Patán Ale House is another fun spot for a drink. There’s a good food menu here too if you’re hungry.

Delicious food, a cozy taproom, and excellent craft beer mean El Puesto Ambulante makes our list! It’s a hidden gem with some really unique beers that change frequently.

11. Lucha Libre wrestling show  

Lucha Libre in Mexico
The photos aren’t good because you can’t take your camera to the event, only mobile phones are allowed. Apparently, because people throw the batteries at the wrestlers!!

Guadalajara, Mexico doesn’t just have soccer; it has wrestling too! The cultural capital of Mexico offers something for art enthusiasts and sports enthusiasts. But you don’t have to be big into wrestling to enjoy the show at Lucha Libre. These Mexican pro wrestlers adorn themselves with colorful masks and paints, which are spectacular to see!  

The matches take place in Arena Coliseo with Lucha Libre every Tuesday night and sometimes on Sundays. Tuesdays are aimed at an adult crowd, whereas Sundays are good for families and kids. Tickets typically cost around 150 pesos ($7 USD) or a bit more for closer seats. Be aware that if you sit in the first couple of rows, you could be a part of the show!

I recommend buying tickets once you arrive as there is tons of seating and you’ll get the best price.

If you want all the details taken care of so you can just enjoy the show, book a guided tour that will pick you up at your hotel, start the experience right away with an entertainer dressed as a wrestler on the bus and get you ring area tickets.

Related Read: If you can, try to catch a Lucha Libre match in Mexico City too!

12. Watch a show at Teatro Degollado  

 Dancers at the Teatro Degollado Guadalajara
Photo credit: Teatro Degollado Guadalajara

This is another must-do in Guadalajara. Today, Teatro Degollado is considered the best-preserved theater in Latin America! The first stone was laid here in 1856 and it has been recently restored with new floors and seats and real gold leaf to make it even more ornate. You’ll feel like you’re in one of those incredible old theaters you’ve seen in movies!

The architectural style of the theater is neoclassical, with its grandeur outside featuring Travertine marble based on the theme “Apollo and the Muses,” curated by the sculptor Benito Castaneda. 

While you’ll definitely be looking at the stage, make sure you look up to see unique art painted on the ceiling. There’s a huge eagle carved of wood and bathed in gold leaf, holding a piece of chain in his beak, with the Mexican flag unfolding from its talons. A famous Mexican legend about the artwork says, “If the eagle were to drop the chain, it would announce the fall of the Teatro Degollado.” 

Today, the theater is used to host many cultural festivals and live theater performances, and even opera. To attend one of these events in the grand theater of Teatro Degollado, you can book your tickets here. There are plenty of events that take place each week, so make sure to attend at least one while you’re in the city.  

13. Explore the vibrant area of Tlaquepaque  

Colorful umbrellas at Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara
Colorful umbrellas down a street in Tlaquepaque

Only a 10-15 minute drive from the center of Guadalajara, you may think Tlaquepaque is actually a neighborhood, but it’s a completely different city! Tlaquepaque is known for its colorful streets, galleries, ceramic products, and pottery. The word Tlaquepaque translates to “best of everything,” and it holds true in the variety of things you can see and buy here.

The stalls in the town are filled with artistic wonders from across the country, so make sure you immerse yourself in some great shopping while you’re here. I like wandering down Calle Independencia as it’s a pedestrian-only street lined with shops and restaurants and, of course, beautiful umbrellas!  

Tlaquepaque is an art lover’s dream with museums and galleries galore, statues lining the central streets, and brightly painted buildings and murals. The pottery from here is stunning, so if you can carefully transport a piece back home, pick some up here … or just admire it from afar if you don’t trust it will arrive home in one piece!  

Make sure you visit El Parián while you’re here – it’s a collection of restaurants that surround a gazebo. There’s usually a mariachi band playing that you can sit and enjoy with a meal or just a drink from one of the restaurants.

Because it’s such a quick trip from Tlaquepaque, you can easily drive here or take an Uber or taxi from central Guadalajara. Another option is jumping aboard this tour of the Artisan Villages of Tonalá and Tlaquepaque. For only $135 USD, you’ll have a full-day tour of the art and history of this part of Mexico. You’ll have the chance to see artisans at work and explore two amazing towns without having to worry about transportation.

14. Cultural Institute Cabañas  

The Cultural Institute Cabañas , Guadalajara, Mexico
This place is a beautiful spot to photograph!

The Cultural Institute or Hospicio Cabañas was initially built in 1810 as a place to care for people in need like orphaned children or the elderly when it was known as the House of Charity and Compassion. The building’s uses have changed over the years from orphanage to headquarters during the Independence War to what it is today – a place dedicated to the arts.

You can wander around here now to see some of the 23 courtyards, 106 rooms, 78 halls, and two chapels. As you walk through the halls, it’s like walking through the history of Guadalajara as you tour the permanent and rotating art exhibits.

You can walk around parts of the grounds for free, but if you want access to the museum part of the building, it’s 80 pesos ($4 USD) per person – but free on Tuesdays. The museum itself is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm.   

15. Explore Bosque Los Colomos  

A garden at Bosque Los Colomos , Guadalajara, Mexico
This place really takes you away from the city!

Located in Providencia, about 20 minutes from Guadalajara, the Bosque Los Colomos is a stunning park to explore. It’s one of the best activities near Guadalajara for escaping into nature. One of the most famous attractions in this urban forest is the Japanese-style garden that celebrates the friendship between the two cities of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Kyoto, Japan.

There are lots of paths to walk and hike on in the park and spots to sit and enjoy nature. With all the trees, it’s also a good birdwatching spot! I’d recommend planning to spend at least three hours here – especially if you stop for coffee at the little cafe in the park.

Besides walking around here, there are also options to go horseback riding or play sports like badminton. Bosque Los Colomos is open every day from 7 am to 7:30 pm and is free to enter.

16. Museo de Sitio de El Puente de las Damas  

Bailey walks the underground tunnel at Museo de Sitio de El Puente de las Damas, Guadalajara
The tunnels are really cool!

Go beneath Guadalajara at the city’s underground museum! This was essentially a bridge known as Puente de las Damas (Ladies Bridge) that was built around 1790. It eventually got buried as the city expanded and was built over top of it and was only re-discovered in 2016. The city then worked to transform it into a museum.

This is a small museum, but it’s really neat. It’s a fun travel story to tell that you visited the lost bridge of Guadalajara! The museum is completely free to enter and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm closing for lunch and then reopening again from 2:30 pm to 6 pm.

This is becoming a popular spot, so you may have to wait in line for a while once you arrive. The entire tour through takes about 20-30 minutes and it’s cool here because it’s underground, so it’s a nice escape from the heat.

Related Read: If exploring cool museums is right up your alley, check out all the activities in Puebla, Mexico which has a lot of neat museums!

17. Go on a food tour  

Fried tacos on a food tour in Guadalajara, Mexico
These are traditional hard-shell tacos!

Of course, no holiday is complete without trying out the local foods! Whether you are at one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta or picking up food from a market while exploring Bucerias, Mexican food is the best in Mexico!

While you obviously enjoy all the local foods in Guadalajara by yourself, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start and you might miss out on some of the best the city offers. Join this private market food tour, where a local guide will take you around the largest indoor market in Latin America.

While you can try out a range of local foods, the guide ensures that you taste three of Jalisco’s best- Barbacoa (slow-cooked beef), Torta ahogada (a crispy sandwich with pulled pork and salsa), and Birria (stew). Then, after the main course, you will taste all the seasonal and local fruits that the state has to offer!  

Priced at under $60 USD, the tour includes some of the food you’ll eat, but you will need to bring 180 pesos ($9 USD) to pay for the birria. It’s also recommended to have more pesos on hand so you can buy snacks or souvenirs while you explore the market.

18. Wander Avenida Chapultepec  

Old and new on Wander Avenida Chapultepec, Guadalajara
This part of the city is modern.

Avenida Chapultepec is the premier place to go to when you want to experience the modern side of Guadalajara. This area has plenty of restaurants and shops and is bustling with activity.

Many events take place on this street and in the neighborhood, in general. The most famous is the annual parade of the International Mariachi Festival. This involves many Mariachi bands from all over the world taking part in folk dances and colorful floats. It is a beautiful sight and one that you will reminisce about for years to come if you can catch it live.  

There are also regular, weekly events that take place over here. Every Monday at 6:30 pm, a dancing event known as “Chapultepec Salsero” takes place. The event is totally free, and everyone can learn Salsa and Bachata together. It is the perfect way for tourists to end a long day of sightseeing.  

Generally, many concerts take place in the area, especially on weekends. The location is extremely lively, and there is always something going on in the area. You can never get bored!  

19. Visit Mirador Independencia Park  

On the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mirador Independencia Park is an often overlooked spot that’s worth a visit. Once you’re here, this park has many lookout points for stunning views of the Barranca de Oblatos canyon. If you’re here during the rainy season, everything will be an incredible shade of green.

There are concerts and other events here on weekends or if you’re here during a quiet time of day, sit down in the giant amphitheater with a book. The park is also an excellent spot, away from the hustle of the city, to jog and hike.

The park is open daily from 7 am to 7 pm.

20. Ride the Jose Cuervo Express  

Jose Cuervo Express traveling along some tracks in Mexico
Photo credit: Jose Cuervo Express

For a unique and fun way to travel, hop aboard the Jose Cuervo Express! It’s the only old-style train in Mexico and will take you from Guadalajara to the town of Tequila for a day trip. You’ll visit a distillery, agave fields, and have free time to walk around Tequila. This is a great way to make your visit to Tequila even more memorable!

The train’s inside is gorgeous with wood-paneled walls and comfortable seats. Depending on what car you travel in, there might even be a bar right inside! You’ll also enjoy a traditional toast with one of the premium tequilas of the country.

Tickets for the Express start at 2,590 pesos ($127 USD) and increase in price for the more luxurious train cars. The train only runs on Saturdays, typically every second week. So make sure you buy tickets in advance!

21. Learn to be a Charro  

A Charro on a horse in Mexico
These guys are talented and look so cool doing their thing!

Mexico and cowboys are two things that just go together! So why not learn to be a Mexican cowboy when in Mexico?

Have your own Charro for a day experience where you’ll learn from real-life charros about their way of life. You’ll also have the chance to learn skills like how to rope and catch a bull, ride a horse, and of course, wear a Charro hat while you do it.

This is like the ultimate job shadowing! It is only priced at $35 USD, which is a great price as it also includes hotel pick-up from Guadalajara.  

22. Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres  

Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres 
This is a very important monument!

The historical monument of Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, or the Rotunda of the Illustrious People, is right in the heart of Guadalajara. This enormous stone ring is supported by 17 columns. Inside, there are urns that contain the remains of people whose lives shaped the culture and history of Jalisco. These include the architect Jacobo Gálvez and muralist José Clemente Orozco.

The rotunda was built in the 1950s and originally only honored men, but when the first woman here was honored in 2000, the name was changed. Many people memorialized here were artists, revolutionaries, writers, musicians, or philanthropists. There are also dozens of statues around here of some of the most famous Jalisco residents.

The monument is open all the time, and if you’re here at night, it is beautifully lit up.

23. Street art tour  

Street art on a tour with Tour Street Art Gdl
Photo credit: Tour Street Art Gdl

Even the streets of Guadalajara are covered with breathtaking art! Street art is really common here, adding to the ambiance of the city. I love seeing what murals and paintings I can find while walking around the city. It’s easy to spend hours wandering around, finding new masterpieces around every corner.  

An easy way to make sure you don’t miss the best murals in Guadalajara (or get lost trying to find them!) is by joining a tour. This street art tour takes you around the trendy Americana neighborhood to see some of the best art in the city.

The small group (under 10 people) means you get a personal experience and your guide will make sure to give you history and information on the art as you pass by. The tour is only $25 USD and should last about an hour.

Related Read: One of the best things to do in Oaxcaca, Mexico is a street art tour too!

24. Wander the Museum of the Arts University of Guadalajara 

Artwork at Museum of the Arts University of Guadalajara 
These are famous works of art by José Clemente Orozco!

The Museum of the Arts at the University of Guadalajara houses a vast collection of masterpieces, including paintings, portraits, and murals, made by excellent and well-known Mexican artists. The most notable artworks in the museum are two José Clemente Orozco murals: Man, Creator, and Rebel and The People and Their False Leaders. The museum also regularly hosts many exhibitions, including international ones.

The Museum of the Arts was founded in 1994 and expanded in 2013 to include more magnificent artworks, such as the works of Jalisciense artists, including Javier Arévalo, Carmen Bordes, and Martha Pacheco.

There are free, on-site tours available that are an excellent choice if you’re looking to spend an extended period of time at the museum. These tours include detailed insights into each artwork on display!  

There are also lots of guided tours that stop here including this bike tour in the city center and this street art tour.

The museum is open 10 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Saturday, until 3 pm on Sundays, and closed on Mondays.

25. Plaza Tapatía  

Plaza Tapatía , Guadalajara
Photo credit: Eskystudio Depositphotos

Plaza Tapatia is an area in the middle of Guadalajara made up of several different squares and walkways representing different histories of the state. The showpiece here is the incredible Immolation of Quetzalcoatl fountain. It almost looks like a lightning bolt coming down from the sky!

The plaza is designed in a way that you can walk through the center and learn about the history of the region while simultaneously admiring the impressive structures.

There are also many shops and restaurants in the area. We really like visiting in the evening to walk around, do a bit of shopping and then grab dinner before we leave. The fountain is also a nice spot to take some pictures!

Where to Eat in Guadalajara 

BRUNA Guadalajara meal
Photo credit: BRUNA
A meal at BRUNA Guadalajara
Photo credit: BRUNA

Bruna: This high-end restaurant in an old mansion has the best of both cuisine and atmosphere. You’ll eat surrounded by a garden of gorgeous tropical plants that adds to the ambiance. There’s authentic Mexican food here, along with International dishes and the plating of the food here is superb – you almost don’t want to eat it because it looks so good!

Casa Bariachi: Come here for food and entertainment in the same place! As you enjoy your authentic Mexican meal at one of the top Latin restaurants in the city, the Folklorico dancers and Mariachi show will keep your artistic senses occupied. There is never a dull moment here, and the restaurant also provides a wide range of drinks for you to savor.  

La Chata de Guadalajara: Rated highly for both its food and service, La Chata de Guadalajara serves the best tortillas, enchiladas, and chili rellenos in town! The restaurant’s entire menu is focused on Mexican and Latin cuisines, which is another testament to the authenticity of the local food you will find here.  

I Latina: For those looking for a more luxurious dinner in a place with a funky and fun atmosphere, I Latina is the place to be. It’s a bit hidden in an alley, but once inside you’ll enjoy the vibe here. While it can get a little pricey, the food sure does make the buck worth it! Make sure to try out their specials and the duck and tuna. Nevertheless, whatever meal you choose to order, it will be exquisite.

Tikun Comedor Local: This is a good spot for the best value in terms of cuisine and service. With a highly attentive staff, the restaurant offers one of the best services in town. Their pork belly is among the most popular dishes with a side of artisanal beers. The best part about their wine menu is that most of them are pretty affordable. 

La Tomate Taqueria: This restaurant has excellent outdoor seating for those looking to bathe in the summer warmth. Their tacos al pastor, chiles tornados, and Queso fundido are among the highest-rated food items on the menu. For those who are looking for vegetarian options, La Tomate Taqueria also has plenty of options to offer.  

Where to Stay in Guadalajara, Mexico  

Real Maestranza Hotel Guadalajara
Photo credit: Real Maestranza Hotel Guadalajara

Guadalajara has limitless options when deciding on your accommodation in the city. This can, however, make it hard to pin down the most suitable ones for you. To help you narrow it down, these are our top three picks. All of these accommodations are located in the Centro and Santa Teresita areas. They are different in terms of the price range, depending on whether you want budget-friendly or luxurious accommodation.  

Selina Guadalajara– $

This trendy hostel-style hotel is the perfect place to stay if you’re on a budget. It has modern and cosmopolitan vibes with trendy restaurants nearby and the Museum of the Arts a short walk away. If you don’t mind sharing a room with other travelers, you can stay here for as little as $15 USD per night. There are also private rooms available here too. You can book on Hostel World or

Ibis Guadalajara Expo– $$ 

Located opposite the Expo Guadalajara Conference Centre, this hotel is in a great location to get around the city. It also offers free private parking if you have a rental car. The rooms can be on the smaller side, but if you’re out and about all day, you won’t mind. There’s a daily breakfast buffet and free wi-fi in the rooms.

Hotel Real Maestranza– $$$ 

Hotel Maestranza is the place to be for one of the most luxurious stays in the city. It offers the utmost comfort, cleanliness, and grandeur. A breakfast buffet is included in the room price, and there is also a restaurant and bar at the hotel. It’s nice and close to many of the main tourist attractions in the city, so you can walk out the door and start exploring. The hotel has been rated highly among couples, so if you are on a romantic getaway, make sure to check it out!  

Renting a Car in Mexico

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while driving around Mexico
A rental car means freedom to go to the beach whenever you want!

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car. 

I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2023, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically. 

I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend. 

The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too. 

Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit. 

Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper! 

Thanks for reading!  

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie
Thanks for reading!

There is never a dull moment in Guadalajara. After spending time exploring the museums, art galleries, and architectural wonders in the city, there is plenty of nightlife to check out or fun day trips nearby. And of course, you can’t forget the food! There’s great food here at the markets and local restaurants and drinks to be had at local breweries or even the nearby city of Tequila!   

It can be hard to decide what you want to do while you are in the city, so hopefully, this list has given you some ideas of the best things to do in Guadalajara.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. Check out our other guides to Mexico for more travel inspiration and ideas:

BEST Beaches in Mexico

Guide to the Cancun Hotel Zone + things to do!

Best things to do in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico